How a name can shape your life (and job prospects)

'What's In A Name?' More Than You Think

In Shakespeare's tragedy "Romeo & Juliet," Juliet asks Romeo, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Well, it turns out there may be a little more to names than that.

A recent article published in The Atlantic points out that names have the power to shape our our lives, including job prospects. In professional fields that are often dominated by men, like lawyers or engineers, women with sexually ambiguous names are more likely to find success.

Not to mix our Shakespeare references, but it's called the "Portia Effect," named after a character in the comedy "Merchant of Venice." During the play, Portia disguises herself and changes her name so that people will believe she is a lawyer's male apprentice in order to save a merchant. Like the "Merchant of Venice," studies have shown the more masculine the name, the more successful the female lawyer.

Another easy way to boost those chances, according to a study out of the universities of Southampton and Limerick, just add a middle name.

Psychologists have found using a middle initial boosts a person's social status in the eyes of others as they're associated with professions like lawyers and doctors, though an article published last month in the New York Times reported that middle initials are becoming less and less common.

So, in review, a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet -- but Rose wouldn't be the best name if you want your little girl to become a lawyer.

What's in a name? Check out how many people have unexpected (or famous) monikers:
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Crazy copy cat names
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How a name can shape your life (and job prospects)

David and Goliath 

1 person in the United States is named Dave Goliath.

 (Photo by: SeM/UIG via Getty Images)

Joseph Stalin

2 people in the United States are named Joseph Stalin.

(Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)

Jedi Knights

While no one in the United States in named Jedi Knight there are 7 people named Jed Knight.

 (Photo by Stefan Jeremiah/FilmMagic)

Spanky

232 people are named Spanky in the United States.

(Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Elvis Presley

48 people are named Elvis Presley in the United States.

 (Photo by Bob Thomas/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Arya

1,135 girls were named Arya in 2013. The name starting appear on the Social Security Administration's Top 1000 baby names in 2010, which coincides with the filming of the show. It was the 277th most popular girl's name in 2013.

(Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)

Khaleesi

241 girls were named Khaleesi in 2013. Khaleesi is the official title of Daenerys Targaryen in the 'Game of Thrones' TV show and books. 14 girls were also named Khalessi. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Suri

218 girls were named Suri in 2013. Suri is the name of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise's daughter. 

(Photo by Raymond Hall/FilmMagic)

Aniston

206 girls were named Aniston, the surname of actress Jennifer Aniston, in 2013. 

(Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)

Pippa

78 girls were named Pippa in 2013. Pippa Middleton is sister to the Duchess of Cambridge. Pippa's nickname is short for Philippa. 

(Photo by Antony Jones/Julian Parker/Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Shakira

58 girls were named Shakira in 2013.

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Billboard Awards 2014/Getty Images for DCP)

Solange

51 girls were named Solange in 2013. Solange is a singer and Beyonce's younger sister. 

(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Wednesday

48 girls were named Wednesday in 2013.

Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Primrose

34 girls were named Primrose in 2013. Primrose is the name of Katniss Everdeen's sister in 'The Hunger Games.'

(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)

Beyonce

28 girls were named Beyonce in 2013.

(Photo by Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment)

Mulan

27 girls were named Mulan in 2013 after the title character in Disney's 'Mulan.'

(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Blue

21 girls were named Blue in 2013. Blue is part of Beyonce and Jay Z's daughter's name, Blue Ivy.

  (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)

Drake

1207 baby boys were named Drake in 2013.

 (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Zayne 

576 boys were named Zayne in 2013. Zayne (pictured center) is part of the boy band One Direction.

(Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Flynn

359 boys were named Flynn in 2013. Flynn Rider is a character in Disney's 'Tangled.'

Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

Loki

86 babies were named Loki in 2013. Loki is a Marvel character and Nordic god that has been popularized in the movie 'The Avengers.' 

(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

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