Thursday, May 17, 2012

Unique First Name Makes For Difficult Job Search

Dear Tazi:

I have a unique first name that is difficult for many people to pronounce correctly from looking at the spelling of it. All through high school teachers would not call on me for the first few weeks of class, until they learned how to properly pronounce my name. Men would always call me “baby” or “honey” – rarely by my given name – unless I demanded that they call me by my first name, which they would then garble. I thought I could live with this problem by educating others, but a new wrinkle has shown itself.

By the time this letter is printed, I will be a college graduate; seeking my very first professional job! Unlike my classmates, I have never had an internship; so I do not have any professional work experience beyond my work-study job. I thought this might be the reason I have been having trouble finding full-time employment, but I just discovered that several of the companies to which I applied have hired members of my graduating class; many of whom have less experience in the field than me!

I am starting to think that my unique name is holding me back in life, and am considering having it legally changed to something easier to pronounce – like Lisa or Jane – but I am not certain if this is the right step to take. I feel that changing my name would be a denial of who I am, and that the people who refuse to hire me because of it are practicing some form of discrimination. I would really like your advice on this matter, King Nebuchadnezzar! How do you feel about shortening such a regal sounding name to “Tazi”?


Dear Jhéojhañâ:

Just out of curiosity, how do you pronounce your first name? Is it JAY-ohzh-an-yah? Am I close? I ask because I am seeing the problem you have described.

Mispronouncing a person’s first name is one of the more discomforting parts of being a human, don’t you think? Many people would rather not risk it and will simply ignore the person with the unusual moniker until they feel comfortable that they are pronouncing it correctly. Some, as you have discovered, will refrain from offering a job interview to someone whose name they cannot pronounce. Although this practice may sound discriminatory, I believe the intent is to simply save the embarrassment of destroying a hard to pronounce name. A Hiring Manager is a person who represents their company to those they seek to hire. To be put off guard by a difficult to pronounce name shifts the power to the other person and changes the tone of the interview and job negotiations.

It seems that you are very attached to your unique identity, so I would not advise legally changing your name to suit the needs of others. Rather, I would suggest adopting a suitable nickname that is to your liking but easy for others to pronounce. This practice is not uncommon among Americans who live and work outside of their personal ethnic culture. Simply choose a name that you like and put it on your resume; but first be sure to inform your professors and others who would recommend you for a job that this is the name you will be going by as you apply for a job. You could also choose to write your new nickname in quotation marks between your first and last name – like King Nebuchadnezzar “Tazi” Kat – to inform hiring managers that you are amenable to something that is easier to pronounce. A third suggestion would be to simply use your first and middle initials in place of your first name (if you have no middle initial you can use “X”).

To answer your question about how I feel about shortening my regal sounding name to the more familiar “Tazi”, I have to say that I never really thought about it. I answer to both names, and people who know me will call me both names – as well as a variety of endearments that let me know that they love me, including the generic “sweetie”. So long as the name is spoken with respect and is followed by treats, snuggles, or playtime I am a happy kitty.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Family Riffs Start As Tiffs So Mend Them Quick!

Dear Tazi:

I am having an argument with my sister and we would like you to settle it for us. I am the type to buy expensive, quality goods that are meant to last. I see spending a little more on my purchases as an investment because they last longer so, in the long run, I spend less. My sister “Mary-Ann” prefers to buy the cheapest, least expensive brand of something so when it breaks – as it always does – she isn’t out a lot of money and she gets to go shopping again. My style works for me and Mary-Ann’s style works for her; but our personal styles do not work for each other.

Last week, I loaned my sister a pair of Donna Karen sunglasses because we were going out for a family field day at the park and she had forgotten her cheap throwaways. I expected Mary-Ann to respect my property and treat it with care; but she treated my sunglasses with as much care as she treats her own – that being none at all. Before the day was half over, Mary-Ann had broken the earpiece of my sunglasses clean off while playing volleyball; leaving them beyond repair. Although she apologized for wrecking my sunglasses, she did not offer to pay for a replacement pair. Rather, she offered to “replace them” for me.

I took Mary Ann’s offer of a replacement pair of sunglasses to mean a new pair of Donna Karen’s, so you can imagine my surprise and disgust when she presented me with a pair of plastic throwaways she purchased at the local drugstore. When I expressed my displeasure, Mary-Ann told me that Donna Karen sunglasses are a “waste of money” and that the sunglasses she purchased me were perfectly fine.

I believe that since Mary-Ann broke my sunglasses she should be responsible for purchasing me a replacement pair of equal value. Mary-Ann believes that since I loaned her the sunglasses in the first place I accepted the fact that they may have been damaged, and that she was being nice in replacing them at all. Is this the thanks I get for watching out for my sister’s vision? Or am I wrong in thinking I deserve more?


Dear Ginger:

Mary-Ann and Ginger were always two women of different tastes. Mary-Ann with her gingham tops, cut-off jeans, and coconut cream pies was the down-to-earth balance the glamorous Ginger needed. Who wears an evening gown on a three-hour-cruise? Seriously, I am asking because you seem the type who could answer this question for me!

As a fan of designer sunglasses (we felines look fabu in them!) I can understand how upset you are with your sister. However, did you really think that pair of Donna Karen sunglasses was appropriate to wear to a family field day? It’s a castaway in an evening gown all over again! As the lender of this fine eyewear, you should have assessed the risk of damage to them before loaning them to anyone; although as the borrower of these sunglasses, your sister has an obligation to make good on the damage done while she was wearing them.

Doesn't this kitty look fabu?

Unless the sunglasses were brand new, there was probably some amount of wear and tear done to them – regardless of how good the care you gave them – therefore I do not think it fair of you to demand the full retail value of the sunglasses, or the full replacement cost of an equally valued pair. All things depreciate in value and construction, including sunglasses. I do not believe that Mary-Ann did the appropriate thing by purchasing you a pair of throw-away sunglasses from the local drugstore, either. Knowing your tastes, I believe it would have been appropriate for her to offer you a fair amount towards the purchase of a replacement pair of sunglasses. An easy way to resolve this issue is to look for the sunglasses on an online auction site like eBay. The average cost of a pair of Donna Karen sunglasses similar to the ones damaged should be the amount your sister owes you towards a replacement pair. If you would like, Mary-Ann can purchase you a pair of sunglasses used from eBay or she can simply offer you the cash towards a new pair.

Regardless of how you resolve this issue, the lesson to keep in mind is “never a borrower or a lender be” – especially to family. Do you really want an argument over sunglasses to be the breach that cannot be resolved between you and your sister?


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

EXTRA EDITION: Happy Birthday, Mommie!

Dear Readers:

Today is my Mommie's birthday, and I wanted to use my forum to wish her a great, big, happy one - so here it is:

Happy Birthday, Mommie!!
I love you!

There. That should keep her happy enough that she doesn't spank me for puking in her shoes. --T.K.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Follow-Up Letter: Tea-Partying Teenager Writes To Tell His Tale!

Dear Tazi:

I am the teenager named "Joey" whose parents wrote to you about my wanting to join the Tea Party. I can't say I am happy with the response you gave them because it has been a very difficult six months for me, but I can see the point that they were trying to make. My Dad wanted me to write this letter to you so your readers can know how everything turned out with their "experiment" with me. It's just easier if I make a list, so here it is:

1. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to have to give up your iPhone for a Jitterbug phone? If nothing else, this taught me that I never, ever want to be so poor that I can't afford a normal phone. It is practically child abuse to make me use this thing!

2. Education is important and a high school education is free, so taking it for granted is stupid. I realize that not everyone can afford college, but doing well in high school can earn you scholarships so you don't end up doing tough jobs for low pay. My father paid me what he paid the landscaper to do our spring cleanup. It was the toughest $250 I ever made. I thought I was being underpaid and complained about it when he told me the landscaper has to pay his expenses out of that $250 (employees, gas for his truck and equipment, and dumping fees), and actually makes a lot less.

3. I don't want to be a landscaper. I applied for a summer job as one and was offered $9.00/hour to mow lawns and do garden cleanup. My day would start at 7AM and end when the sun went down. My only days off would be when it rained, and I would be an "independent contractor" which means I would have to pay all of my own taxes, even though I am only 16 and it would all be refunded anyway. My Dad told me that the cleaning lady works under a similar arrangement. I don't want to clean houses, either.

4. It is tough to find a job when you have no skills. I just turned 16 and got my working papers, only to find there is no work for me other than minimum wage fast food kind of stuff that I don't want. I was hoping someone in a trade would offer me on-the-job training but that didn't happen, even when I offered to work for free, after school, for two weeks to learn the basics. What is with people? I offered to work for FREE just to learn how to do the job!

5. It is impossible to live off of minimum wage. I have no idea how people manage to pay rent and buy food and own a good car if they have to live off of minimum wage. I still say it is an incentive to work harder so you don't have to earn minimum wage, which is why I am working harder in school and will be taking some Voc-Tech courses next year, so I can learn a trade in case college doesn't work out for me.

6. A helping-hand is not the same as a hand-out. I now understand why my parents give to the United Way, to help those who have less than us. I just wish they would demand that the money go into programs that offer job training and adult education instead of hand-outs.

I still believe in the Tea Party, but I have learned that many of the people who support it would not have all that they have if they had not been given a privileged start when they were young. I also realize that they would not have gotten as far as they have if they made stupid mistakes like Levi Johnston, and that Bristol Palin is a lot luckier than most teen Moms. I still say people need to own their actions, which is what the Tea Party is all about, but I can see the other side of things now, too. People need to remember that people like Herman Cain are Tea Party members, and that we are not all bad; we just want people to live by the standards that made America great.


Dear "Joey":

I thank you very, very much for writing to me and sharing the lessons you have learned with my readers, many of whom have asked for a follow-up to your parents' story. It sounds to me that you have learned some valuable lessons about how the real world works. It is my hope that these lessons are not soon forgotten, and that they serve as a guide in how you live your life as well as how you treat others. I would ask that you work to practice what you preach in all areas of your life, lest you fall back into the hypocritical behaviors that brought about the need for this experiment, with you as the guinea pig.

You ask "what is wrong with people?" that they were not willing to train you in a job, even after you offered to work for free for a part-time, two-week training period. The fact of the matter is, even with you working for free, your training would be costing the company time and money; therefore, it is more economical for them to hire someone who is already trained. There are many job-force training programs available - however, they are generally sponsored by unions; which are organizations that the Tea Party works against.

As for your experience in lawn-care and your lack of desire to become a landscaper or home cleaning professional you must remember that the people who do these jobs generally enjoy them, and get paid very well to do them. Many landscapers are college educated, with degrees in Agriculture, Botany, or Environmental Science. Do not assume that these are the jobs of the unskilled or under-educated. There is no shame in having dirt under your fingernails if it was put there by hard work.

Perfunctory Snuggles,

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pregnant Teen Has Regrets; Will Her Baby Be One Of Them?

Dear Tazi:

How I wish I could pick you up and give you a big snuggle and make everything right in my world again. I have a big problem, one I am not so certain that even a cat could solve. I am 15 years old and pregnant, and I do not know how to tell my parents or if they would even believe me when I tell them how it happened.

A few months ago my best friend and I got dressed up, put on make-up, and made ourselves look older in order to sneak into a frat party at one of the local colleges. We did it on a dare and because it felt sooooooo cool to be drinking with college students and to be escaping from my parents firm rule. They are fundamentalist Christians, and have tries to raise me to live by the same rules, but I hate it. Now I feel like I am being punished for breaking the rules.

I take full responsibility for going to the party, Tazi, but I did not have sex on purpose. I can't remember how much I had to drink, only that I got really dizzy after my last one and may have blacked out or passed out - I can't remember! I know I would not willingly have sex with a stranger, so I am thinking maybe someone at the party slipped something into one of my drinks - but I can't be 100% certain! My best friend wasn't with me at the time; all she remembers is seeing me sitting on a couch looking "out of it" and then finding me at the end of the night with my clothes pulled off.

Obviously, I am far too young to be a responsible Mom, but there is no way I could have an abortion, either, even if I believed in it. Sooner or later I am going to have to tell my parents - I just can't imagine how! I just wish this was all a bad dream.

Growing Problem

Dear Growing Problem:

You have my deepest sympathies for your plight. Your situation is a difficult one all around, and the sooner you work on setting things straight the sooner your life will start to make more sense. The first thing you need to do is tell your parents everything you have told me here - you can even print out this letter and tell them it is from you, if that is easier for you. The second thing you must do is report your sexual assault to your local authorities.

Normally, a few months after a sexual assault occurs is a few months late to collect evidence; however, your assailant left undeniable evidence that now grows inside of you. Regardless of whether the sex was consensual or not, at fifteen you are considered to be too young to give consent, so your assailant is guilty of statutory rape at the very least. If you provide the police with the time, date, and location of the party they may be able to track down the man who has fathered your child. Fraternities - especially those that are chapters of a national organization - have a reputation to protect, and will generally cooperate in exchange for keeping the house name of their organization out of the negative spotlight that is about to be shone upon it.

Your parents will be understandably upset, to put things mildly. As fundamentalist Christians, though, it is their avowed duty to practice the love that they preach. This means forgiving you of your sins (going behind their backs to a party qualifies as a sin) and offering you the emotional support you need to work through this difficult time. This child you carry is their grandchild, so they have a duel emotional stake in what is happening.

Since termination of your pregnancy is out of the question, this leaves you with two choices: putting the child up for adoption or raising the child yourself. There are several non-profit resources out there that would be willing to offer you assistance as you attempt to find the right path for you to follow. I would suggest that you start with the church that you and your family attend.

I realize this is a scary situation for you to be going through, but I want you to take a deep breath and think for a moment how your decision will affect you down the road. Can you picture your life ten years from now? Do you see raising your child as a daily part of it? Or do you see yourself content with the decision to offer him/her to a loving couple who are seeking to start a family? In the end, the final decision is yours to make; but I do hope that your family will be supportive of whatever you decide.

Extra snuggles and a purr,

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tazi Recommends: Five Words

Good Morning, Readers!

I hope your week has been as productive as mine! I spent my days napping, my nights prowling, and the in-between time playing a new game I discovered through the blog

Five Words
by Bill
What is Five Words, you ask? It is the blog I will be reviewing this week!

With all of the addicting but mind-numbing games out there on the Internet, this blog takes a simple concept - being concise - and turns it into an intellectually challenging game. Each week the author posts a new topic and readers must respond to the question posted in five words, no more and no less. It may not sound difficult, until you try it! Each week the most creative answer gets bragging rights as the winner!

The topic posted for this week is "Define the pitfalls of maturity". Can you do it in exactly five words? Remember, you have to be insightful and creative and/or humorous in order to be declared the winner! If this topic does not work for you, check out one from a few weeks ago: "Don't say to significant other". (The winning response was "I kinda miss my ex").

Five Words is funny, thought-provoking, and a great way to kill time while keeping your mind sharp. How it words is after reading the five word question (all of which are posted on the home page) you click on the comments section to leave your answer. You do not have to register for anything; the site accepts anonymous comments; but wouldn't you prefer to leave your name so the world may know your glory?

Right now, Five Words only appears to have about a dozen regular followers, based upon the number of comments on each post, and I would like to see that number increase - the more the merrier, right? Seriously, this blog is a lot of fun, does not take up a lot of your time, and is not likely to get you kicked off of an airplane. So take five minutes and check out Five Words! While you are there, you can check out my responses to the current questions being asked. What more could you want? Other than a nap in the sun, which is what I am off to do right now!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.