Always Put Your Name on It

Last week I got an e-mail from a manager.  “I saw your name on some source code.  Nice job.  Here is some information that might interest you.”  Sweet.  By just  typing my name, I got information I needed, plus I have someone thinking nice things about me.  If you do good work, put your name on it.  If you do not do good work, well, you can stop reading right now.

Early in my career, I started adding my name to everything I created. Ever since, new acquaintances would comment, “Ah, I know you. You wrote that informative manual,” or, “You wrote those useful Scheme programs.”  This name recognition helped launch my consulting career and even got me a girlfriend.

You never know which project will end up giving you this kind of publicity, so whenever you create something, write your name first. Don’t wait. It’s perfectly natural to begin by writing your name, but as time goes on it gets more awkward.

Most companies recognize that the author’s name is essential information–it tells where to get support.  But in the end, it’s not your intellectual property.  If they delete your name, accept it. If they ask you to remove your name, comply.

Still, finding and erasing your name is their job. Your job is to always put your name on it.

This article was originally published by John McGehee, Voom, Inc. under the CC BY 3.0 license.  Changes have been made.