You’ve recently interviewed for an exciting-sounding job at a new place. You can’t wait to start there!

You rock up on day one, and your new boss, Jess, welcomes you and gets you settled in. They direct you to a web form for you to fill in with your personal details so they can get you added to HR and the other various systems – name, address, contact details and so forth.

You load up the form, and take a look at the first question:

screenshot of a personal details web form

Err, that doesn’t look right. The “name” field is a drop-down. What’s with that?

You take a look at the available options:

screenshot of a personal details web form

So the allowed options are “Jess” and “Steve”. And that’s it.

Your name’s Steve (or perhaps it’s Jess), so you select your name, complete the form, and move on.

Welcome to the company!

The end.

And now, the alternate ending

Alas, your name is neither Jess nor Steve, so this is going to be tricky.

You call Jess over.

“What’s up with this?” you ask. “Why is ‘name’ a drop-down list?”

“Well, it’s a really small company, and it turns out everyone who works here is called either Jess or Steve”, says Jess. “Just fill in the form as best you can”.

“But my name’s neither Jess nor Steve”, you say.

“Oh! Oh, I see. Don’t worry. I’ll get Steve to fix the form.

One coffee later, and Steve has fixed the form:

screenshot of a personal details web form

Well, it’s definitely different: the form now allows for three choices for Given name: “Jess”, “Steve”, or “[other name preferred]”.

You explain the problem to Jess: “My name’s neither Jess nor Steve: it’s Alex.”

“Oh!”, says Jess again. “Oh, I see! You prefer being called Alex.”

“I don’t prefer it”, you say, starting to get frustrated. “Well I do, but I prefer it because it’s my name. It’s not my preferred name – it’s just my name.”

“Right-o”, they say, and two more coffees later, Steve’s come up with the goods again:

screenshot of a personal details web form

Now the final option is labelled just “[other name]”.

When you arrive back at their desk again, they can tell you’re not happy. “Well what’s the problem now?”, asks Jess.

“I still can’t enter my name”, you say. “All I get to choose is that it’s not Jess, and it’s not Steve. It’s like you don’t even care what my name actually is.”

Jess mutters something about “special snowflakes” under their breath, and walks off.

Day one isn’t even over, and that initial welcome is starting to feel a little hollow. Do you really belong here?

The end.