But the thing is; they only give you a suggestion. It's one's own choice what to tell people, and how to sign off. The decision arises because of the collision of two worlds: the 'friend' world of "Steve" and the 'family and work' world of "Stephen"... The two worlds move closer together with an "activist" world having elements of both.
The decision becomes necessary for consistency purposes and consistency is of course a large part of professionalism. The specific decision needed is what to sign off at the end of emails.
There are two options:
- Steve; or
The problem is, that 'Steve' is not really a shortening of 'Stephen'. The correct shortening would be 'Stephe', pronounced 'Steve', as one or two of my friends have noted... Except that Steph is not pronounced 'Steve' at all but 'Stef'. So I can't really consistently be both Stephen and Steve; I can only be one or the other for official purposes.
Now, it's easier to go for the more informal of the two. There are more friends around than family and easy informality is a part of business as well as friendliness. For a while, my housemate was called 'Stephen' and so 'Steve' was easier.
But there are considerations for 'Stephen' too. I generally prefer it; it seems a more beautiful and generally higher class name than 'Steve', and 'Stephen' is actually slightly easier to say that 'Steve'. When combined with my surname, 'Stephen' has a better ring to it than 'Steve'.
Of course people can call me what they like. If people know me as 'Steve' then the definition of my name 'Stephen' is not going to change anything between us. It will just be how I sign emails and introduce myself.
So that is where I am. If people have any comments, please say so in the next few days. I will then post my final decision.