“The Karens” and Other Name Topics on LinkedIn


By Lynne Williams

Don’t shoot the messenger, especially if your name is Karen, Becky, Caroline, Patty, Gail, or Ann. Knowledge is power. Here’s research to learn more about the onslaught of nicknames and monikers, which are now memes.

As an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) Candidate, I have taken courses over the past six months. The synthesized content for this article is from one of my assignments.

I figured if I did not know all of this information, maybe the readers of this publication did not know either, other than hearing bits and pieces on the news.

Although there are stories that explain #BBQBecky, #CornerstoneCaroline, #PermitPatty, and #GolfCartGail, today is the day we shed light on the archetype known as #Karen or #TheKarens.

The headlines, hashtags, and memes on Reddit should be a cause for a pause of reflection, hoping that we are the solution, rather than the reason for the problem.

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, listen to the July 15, 2020 episode on “What’s in a Karen?” on NPR’s Code Switch.

The beginnings of “Karen” is not precisely known, but it may have originated in 2005 with Dane Cook’s Comedy Act aired after the 2004 release of Mean Girls.

CAREN, with a C, is now the root of the CAREN Act, which stands for Caution Against Racially Exploited Non-Emergencies and was enacted on July 8, 2020, in San Francisco. It makes racially-biased calls illegal. There is legislation happening in other cities where there are fines imposed for false reports.

Karen now stands for a white woman with white privilege who feels they are entitled to make 911 calls towards marginalized community members.

The Urban Dictionary gave Karen a definition back in 2018 as a stereotypical name associated with “rude, obnoxious and insufferable middle aged white women.” Now there is the Coughing Karen and also the Coronvirus Karen, who refuses to wear a mask.

Now meet Miss Ann, which is an African American expression, referring to a European American Woman or, sometimes, a black woman, who is condescending and arrogant.

Although there are more profound implications of using the code name Miss Ann, what do we teach young children? Many of my friends’ children called me Miss Lynne as a show of respect. There is still an African American adult male who calls me Miss Lynne, but he tells me that is how he was raised to respect others and that it’s a habit.

Have you listened to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s hit song from 1992 called Baby Got Back? Meet Becky and meet her again in 2016 with Beyonce’s Lemonade album with You Better Call Becky with the Good Hair.

Would you name your child Karen or any of these other names now?

So what does all of this have to do with LinkedIn? Since the topic is NAMES, here are some considerations about names on LinkedIn:

  • Need a former or married name on your profile?
  • Need to customize your name in your LinkedIn URL?
  • Need to look up your name in the LinkedIn directory?
  • Are you using your true name on LinkedIn?
  • Are you mixing upper and lower case or typing all caps for your name? There is one week left to take the LinkedIn poll – click here.
  • Are you showing your full last name or just the first letter to the public?
  • Do you need to change the name of your company page?
  • Do you need to record and display your name pronunciation?
  • Are you adding your credentials AFTER your last name (because Linkedin is a database and first name and last name have a specific field)?

Apologies to my family members, friends, colleagues, clients, and readers with these names mentioned. Now you hopefully know more than you did a few minutes ago and where all this started.

So, enough of Karen, “Bye, Felicia.” Or should we end with “Can I Speak to the Manager?”

Missed the previous LinkedIn article on Have You Examined Your Spots and Stripes on LinkedIn?  Click here.

>>> If you have an interest in attending a workshop on Sat Oct 3rd and 10th 8:30 AM – 12 PM, on Racism & Sexism in Society and the Workplace, please send an email to lynne@aroundtheclockexecs.com as I have a workshop presenter committed to those dates.

Upcoming September Online Zoom Events

Register as noted on the events tab on the website and join our meetup (see step one of this Google doc). To attend the speaker meetings for free for a year, become a Bronze or BENG member. Your membership or sponsorship supports our nonprofit to help job seekers in career transition and self-employed and employed with career management.

  • 8/31 Career Success Group Meeting
  • 9/1 How to Harness the Power of Feedback
  • 9/2 PowerThinking Resiliency Building Call
  • 9/2 Don’t Get Discouraged; Get Hired!
  • 9/3 Career Success Group Meeting
  • 9/3 Business Executive Networking Group (BENG)
  • 9/4 Interviewing Techniques with The Interview Doctor
  • 9/8 Issues Facing Job Seekers (with LinkedIn Tips)
  • 9/8 Strategic Research-based Approaches to LinkedIn



Lynne Williams, Ed.D. Candidate (she/her/hers) is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a nonprofit with over 6300 members and alumni. Contact Lynne by phone at 484-393-2951, email at director@greatcareersphl.org, on social media @GreatCareersPHL and #GreatCareersPHL and connect on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lynnewilliams. Read our SCORE Success Story as a 2020 Small Business Achievement Award Winner!