I’m going back to my maiden name, Kimberly Robb Baker, for professional purposes. I am legally remaining Kim(berly) Mohiuddin and will keep most personal arenas (i.e. my personal Facebook profile) the same. Those of you who know me both personally and professionally will just have to understand that Kim Mohiuddin and Kimberly Robb Baker are both me.
Though one might not expect it of people who had spent only 16 days together before getting engaged, my marriage of 9 years to my best friend of 11 years is going strong (some people have asked). I’m lucky to have a husband who supports me as I find my way through these questions of personal identity.
If you just needed the basics of why the name I’m using on my website, email, etc. has changed, read no further.
For those curious about my musings on the topic, you’re welcome to dig in below.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of the clients, colleagues, and friends who have made me and my business a success under any name. Let’s keep movin’ on up!
Follow your bliss,
For the record, Mohiuddin is pronounced, “Mo-hee-you-Deen,” with a hard “D” if you care to be perfectly authentic.
When my husband asked me to marry him, I said, “Yes! And could you tell me how to pronounce your name one more time?” (There was a more formal engagement process initiated by my wonderful in-laws, per Indian cultural customs. Good thing I knew how to pronounce their name!)
I’ve told this story to put people at ease when they ask me how to say my married name. They often ask with a bit of embarrassment, as if they are being culturally insensitive by not putting it together themselves.
I loved the name Mohiuddin long before I could say it properly. It means, “propagator of faith.” In truth, it has taken me years to say it with anything like the ease of a native speaker. Even our children add a distinctly American accent to it, so the name is evolving as it enters its first generation in the US. But the name, which has Arabic origins, is accustomed to travel.
The thought of changing my name came up because I’m writing a book and booking speaking engagements. More people need to be able to say it and remember it. As I go more public with my mission to help people succeed in their careers and lives by being more authentically themselves, my advisors have told me that I could have more privacy if I used a different name for my professional endeavors.
My husband, Imran, is “Ron” to his work colleagues and to most Americans he meets. He calls it his Starbucks name. It’s just easier.
But this change for me is more than just a Starbucks name. My maiden name was given to me when I came into the world. It’s the one that described me for the first 29 years of my life. It trailed the shy, thoughtful girl that was me as she went to school, read mountains of books, danced ballet for seven years, and rode horses for many more. Laurie Beauchamp, my mentor in horses and life since the age of 11, reminded me recently of the time a horse threw me off five times in a row, and I just kept getting back on until he stopped. I had forgotten that, and it made me wonder what other aspects of myself had receded into the background.
It was Kimberly Robb Baker who almost bailed out of India when the mosquitoes and poverty and seeming lack of order challenged her comfort levels. She was the one who stayed on past the discomfort, allowing the beauty, dignity, and diversity of the land to reveal itself.
Nowadays, it would be a big production to go backpacking in India or anywhere else. Simple shopping trips require planning with young children, a husband, and a business to consider.
“Kim Mohiuddin” has a different life, and even a different scent. My hair usually smells of curry, a fragrance I’ve always been attracted to. When I entered an Indian household and smelled what I now know to be a mixture of many spices—notably cumin, cinnamon, garlic, and curry leaf—my mouth would water. Even now that I eat mostly raw food, I add cumin to my date shakes or pair bananas with fresh ginger.
The lady who teaches our kids to rock climb always smells my hair on purpose when we hug hello or goodbye. “I love it!” she exclaims. My hairdresser has suggested a hair deodorizer. “I don’t know if you need it or not, but I wanted you to know that we sell it,” she [not so] tactfully states.
As much as I love the smell, it’s not one I would have chosen as “mine,” but the curry has chosen me. It has unpacked its bags and put its toothbrush in the medicine cabinet. Unless I keep all of my belongings in a closet far away from the kitchen and wash and dry my hair (a many-hours process for this curly girl), every time I leave the house it will be with me. I’m simply not willing to go to great lengths to separate myself from it.
The fact that my home is an amalgam of two cultures is a huge piece of who I am, and those with sensitive noses are cued into it right away. But it’s not all that I am. I’m a vegan, yogi, resume writer, mystic, singer, actress, public speaker, teller of bawdy jokes, and more. When we really start to describe ourselves, it all gets beautifully complicated.
I sometimes lose touch with that quietly voracious young Kimberly who still wants to be in the picture. I don’t know exactly why it feels good to use my maiden name for my professional life, but it has something to do with her.
I shared my name-change plans with a married colleague recently. She confessed that she loves her maiden name and wishes she could use it again. “It’s a lot of trouble to change your name,” she lamented, “But I’ll be watching eagerly to see how it goes for you.”
Is there a change, name or otherwise, you’ve been thinking about making? One that will bring you more authentically into the world? I’d welcome your insights in the comments below.
Resume writers, career counselors, and loved ones are killing dreams every day.
To paraphrase Tony Robbins, if a friend accidentally puts cyanide in your coffee, it will still kill you. Your friend’s (or counselor’s) good intentions do not lessen the negative effect of the poison.
Today, I heard from yet another potential client who was told he could not be a CFO because he wasn’t a CPA. I’ve heard various versions of this. You can’t be a project manager, you don’t have a PMP credential. You’ll never be considered at a top pharma lab because you only have a master’s, not a PhD.
I’m here to tell you right now that 90% of this advice is bullcrap.
Pardon my language, but it really makes me angry. People who are looking for work are already in a vulnerable position. Every powerful person I’ve worked with—whether a celebrity, CEO, or successful entrepreneur—has had a moment or more of feeling like a fraud or like they are not good enough to achieve their next, heart-felt career goal. It’s challenging enough for job seekers to quiet the nay-saying voices in their heads. As resume writers and coaches, we are here to encourage and to help them increase their chances of success.
The average chance of getting a CFO job without a CPA might be 10%. But we don’t know what any particular individual’s chances are. If they are smart and a hustler, their chances could be close to 100%. I don’t mean to pull out the rainbows and unicorns and live in total fantasy. It’s our job to be realistic with them, but then to get to work with all our heart and soul to tip the scales in their favor.
People beat the odds all the time!
Stephen Spielberg got his first gig at Universal by jumping off the tour tram and setting up in an office. He just pretended he belonged, and soon enough he did.
My friend Tiffany Brooks was working as an administrator in my children’s school last year, trying hard to get her interior design firm off the ground. Now she has her own show on HGTV. She has no degree in design, just a damn good eye and the confidence to put 100% of her spirit into sharing it with the world.
A couple of months ago I worked with a CFO of a state agency. Did he have a CPA? No! He didn’t even have a bachelor’s degree. And after our work together, he got the job he was after, CFO of a federal agency. And we’re talking government here—they are known for not going outside of the box in terms of qualifications requirements. He had worked his way up from the role of executive assistant.
I could go on (and on, and on—really there are so many examples), but I think you get my point. Are there times when you need to be realistic? Sure. If you’re 80, it might not be the time to pursue your astronaut career. If you want to be a doctor, you should gear up for medical school.
Take a realistic look at your prospects. But once your decision is made, throw realism out the window. Being “realistic” is often code for a defeatist, pessimistic mentality. You don’t have time or energy for that if you’re going to shift paradigms and beat the odds.
Guard your coffee, and replace negative thoughts with positive ones that involve all the senses.
Whether it’s a close family member or well intentioned career coach, do not let anyone hijack your dream. Envision what you want for your career, create statements that support that. These targeted statements will add momentum to your goal and crowd out the negative input. Take some time to write out statements like:
“I see myself in my new role as _______. I love my desk, the view from my window, the people I work with. I am well compensated. I am amazed and grateful for the seemingly coincidental happenings that got me here. The company I work for feels very lucky to have me—and they are! I’m so happy I can telecommute when I want. This is just the flexibility and autonomy I need to be fulfilled and productive. Oh, and they have really good coffee in the break room!”
Visualize yourself a year from now, telling a good friend about your career journey. See the restaurant you’ll be in. Decide what you’ll eat, how it will taste. What is the view? Is there a live band? What kind of music?
You might also try guided visualization/mediation, if that’s your cup of coffe. It does wonders. You can get a free guided meditation on trust (i.e. having faith that God/the universe will always provide for you in abundance) here.
Along with a positive attitude, you’ll need to put some strategy and action into place. If you have a question you’d like me to answer on this blog, contact me. You can find out more about working with me one-on-one right here.
After all, my dream is to help you fulfill yours!
Never put this on your resume: Something an online article told you to put on your resume–unless you’ve thought it through first.
The same goes for leaving something off your resume.
There is a proliferation of “Top-5-Things” kinds of articles which are great for generating traffic, but not so good at discussing important nuances. Many articles about resume writing are saying things like:
“Don’t list ‘knowledge of Spanish.’ Either you know it or you don’t.”
“Leave off outdated items like the Y2K bug issue you solved.”
“There’s no need to tell everyone that you volunteer at an animal shelter. It will not win you any favors in the HR office.”
While I agree with the sentiment of these articles–include only the most relevant information on your resume–I disagree with their sweeping assessments of what the most relevant things may or may not be.
If you’re a return-to-work parent, the award you got for solving the Y2K problem might be a needed feather in your cap. Just be smart. Switch out Y2K for “massive system-wide bug that put $2M revenue stream at risk” or something. Can a savvy hiring manager see through this? Perhaps. But at least they’ll see that you are smart enough to know it’s outdated and that you know how to make the most out of what you’ve got.
Why not put that you volunteer with animals? It just takes up one line, makes you human, and offers an entry-point for small talk. We all know, small talk = connection = opportunity.
Hiring decisions, like all buying decisions, are emotional. That means that there can be no comprehensive list of what should or should not ever appear on a resume. Each case is different. Look at your resume with your goal in mind and make good decisions. Or, better yet, get help from an experienced professional whose primary credentials should be the results their clients are seeing in the real world.
Want to have a significantly greater chance of a positive outcome at your job interview or board presentation? This video is a must watch for the simple, powerful body language tools you need to impress yourself and enter any situation with confidence.
It is also Harvard professor Amy Cuddy being so open, vulnerable, and inspiring that she made me cry.