Views & Reviews Laying Foundations

On first name terms

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 06 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1450
  1. Oliver Ellis, foundation year 1 doctor, Mersey Deanery
  1. oli.ellis{at}

My first proper job was as a computer salesman at a big chain of electrical shops. During my induction the general manager introduced himself as John Clark.

I had just left school, and my only retail experience was from watching reruns of the 1970s British sitcoms Are You Being Served and Open All Hours, so I had no idea whether I should call him John or Mr Clark. I spent the next week addressing him as “Excuse me” and desperately listening out for cues from my colleagues.

Seven months into my first job …

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