Web teaser: Need I Change My Name?

MODUM – Will I have to change my name completely to get a job? asks Waleed Nagy (27) from Vikersund. He has already deleted his middle name, Muhammed, because he suspects it scares off potential employers.


– It reveals my Muslim background, explains Nagy, who last October left his home country Egypt to marry Norwegian Trude.

Now I wonder if I’d better change my entire name, maybe to something truly Norwegian. How about Ola Hansen?


For the past six months Nagy has applied for a good one hundred jobs, many of which he was evidently over-qualified for. He has also personally visited a number of companies offering his services and signed up with the employment agency NAV, all to no avail. Neither he nor his wife Trude had imagined that a job would prove virtually impossible to get.


Waleed Nagy has a degree in commerce. For the past couple of years, however, he has worked as a waiter and barman in the hotel and restaurant business. It is in this field that he would prefer to work, Nagy admits, but emphasizes that he will take almost any type of job.

I apply for everything and anything, says the 27-year-old Egyptian, who has never shunned hard work and long hours.


In January, Nagy started taking Norwegian courses and he already speaks the language well. The fact that he also speaks English, German and Russian, along with some Czech, Polish and Italian – apart of course from Arabic, his native language – is proof of a well-developed ear for languages.

I was told at the employment office that I need to master Norwegian 100 per cent in order to get a job. But how am I to learn the language properly if I haven’t got a job? I’m sure there are jobs available that don’t require perfect Norwegian.


Never one to concede defeat easily, Waleed Nagy admits the seemingly endless search for work is nonetheless beginning to take its toll.

 – Not having a job drains my energy and puts me in a bad mood. I feel useless – almost like a parasite. But I refuse to give up.