"We can put a man on the moon but we can't process a woman's name change without someone assuming she doesn't exist." -my job
— Stephanie (@SpaceySteph) May 22, 2013
Would that I were kidding! (Although a helpful coworker pointed out that we can't actually put a man on the moon currently, which does not make it better...)
Some background: I work for a contractor on a government facility, so I needed to change my name with both my contractor and civil servant management, both security offices, and various IT resources managed by various companies/contracts. It's a very tangled web.
First, HR tells me I need to bring my marriage license and 2 forms of ID with the new name to the company security office. At the time I had my SS card but was waiting for my DL to come in the mail so I had to wait for both of those. My DL came in the middle of the week while I was supporting the day shift. I did a lot of my other name change stuff that week, but didn't have time to swing by the security office before they closed.
I shoot the security office lady an email telling her my DL is in and I'll be swinging by the following Monday. She tells me she'd like the new name so she can "start working on the paperwork." I tell her.
What follows is a series of unfortunate events. Now that the saga is mostly over, I think we can all look back on it and laugh together...
"Hilarious" thing #1: Please enter your login. No, the other one. No, not that one either.
Apparently "start working on the paperwork" was code for "put in the IT change request" because the very next morning (where I am in mission control preparing to dock a troublesome Progress resupply vehicle) I get an email that my username for some applications has changed. Among them, my profile for the intra-office instant messenger client, so I spent the rest of the day explaining to people who I am and why I added them to my buddy list.
Fast forward 3 hours and I am actively sending commands to the International Space Station, from a procedure which I am viewing electronically on my computer, and my username to that very computer changes. It kicks me off, and I have to log back in with the new username before proceeding with my commanding. Awesome. [Here I jot down a note to future name-changers: Don't let them change your name the day of complex ops.]
Fast forward 5 more hours, and I'm trying to sign my timecard after a very long day on console. Nope. My old username no longer exists and my new username isn't recognized by the server. Too tired to deal with it, I send an email to my boss with my hours and call it a day.
"Hilarious" thing #2: "I managed to hold onto your card for 22 years, you lost it in a month."
Sunday night I am preparing to go the next morning to the security office with my new DL and SS card, and I CANNOT find the SS card (which I mentioned briefly in this post). I don't take it well.
Who knows where it went? I never did find it...
So I head first thing Monday morning to the Social Security office. They open at 9 and I arrive at 8:30. There were already a few people in line so I join them. They open the door at 8:45 and station the first 15-or-so (including me, yay!) people at windows; exactly at 9 the windows open and we are helped right away. I get out by 9:15, which is much better than the 2 hours I waited last time. Getting there before they open is definitely the way to do it!
I worried I would get in big trouble for starting the name change process with the IT resources and then losing my SS card, but nobody yells at me (except for the voice in my head who thinks I'm a giant moron for losing my card).
I do sort out all my login issues from the previous week (except I just discovered a new one last weekend so I guess I'll have to deal with that now, too.) My changed login required my name to be changed on a bunch of group calendars, so now I'm working under different names in different applications and have to regularly tell people who I am. It turned out to be a great thing moving my last name to my middle name, because I changed my display name in the email system to read Last, Stephanie Middle (it defaulted to Last, Stephanie) so both my old and new last name are visible. Then its pretty obvious who I am.
A week later the replacement card comes in, and I do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars, do not move that card from it's safe hiding place, except to bring it to work. I get my new contractor badge and she photocopies my documents for HR and gives me back the originals. Which go back in their safe place that very night. Whew! [Side note, according to SSA policy, you are limited to 3 replacement cards a year, which means at least one person has lost more SS cards than me. Knock wood.]
I get summoned the same day (convenient since I have my SS card on my person for the last time EVER, lest I lose it again) to the NASA badging office. They confiscate my permanent badge with my old name and give me a temp badge with the new name. (It seems silly to me, because I am the same person, but whatever.)
"Hilarious" thing #3: What, you still work here?
Actually this one was hilarious the whole time, so...
Hilarious thing #3: What, you still work here?
A new laptop box appears at my desk. (I was due for an upgraded machine for a few months now, but due to whatever procurement issues was waiting for the machine to actually come in.) Ordinarily before they deliver the machine they send you an email telling you when you are scheduled for your upgrade and how to back up your files so they transfer properly. But I didn't get an email.
I ask our group's secretary, who informs me that my name change confused the system and they thought I didn't work here anymore, so I got bumped to the bottom of the update list. She cannot explain why nobody told that to the person who delivered a brand new laptop to my desk, with my old last name written on the box. (While I am one of 3 people in the Agency with my new last name, I am the only one with my old last name.)
She emails the people in charge who say definitely I am not on the list. But then someone else responds that yes I am on the list, and my upgrade is the very next day. I ask them to please send me the list of things I need to configure so I can get ready with a day's notice.
Oh, you thought this story was over? It's not.
The next day the IT guy comes to do the upgrade; but it won't let him transfer my profile over to the other computer because here it has my maiden name and there it has my married name. Instead he has to drag folders over piece by piece and reconfigure from scratch. I spend 6 hours at work camped out in a conference room using the conference room's computer so I can try to get some work done. It was not my most productive day, as you might imagine... but I did end it with a shiny new work computer!
I want to say I think the drama is finally over, but I thought that after thing 2 before thing 3 came along. Who knows what other access is just waiting to be revoked? So far I am getting still getting paid, so that's good!
Let's review the stats:
What: Change my name at my job
Time spent: Probably 8 hours
Cost: Nothing monetary, but plenty of sanity
The last big thing on my to-do list is my Passport, but they require you to mail in the originals of everything. This makes me nervous, so I'm trying to make sure I figured everything out before I do that.
Other name change posts