Sharing life and work, but not last names, has lead to some interesting reactions by clients and others with whom we work. Sometimes it is a reaction of surprise that we, as a married couple, can work together. Other times, it is an acknowledgment that we’ve done well in creating our own identities such that clients never considered if we were married. The reality for us is that we approach work as co-partners in a business, both with a job to do, a contribution to make. A client asked me if I call Melissa “Dr. Pigott” – my answer is “yes, from 9:00 to 6:00.” It is not a secret that we’re married, but it really doesn’t matter in the services we provide to client.
Other people’s fascination with David’s and my marital status has always intrigued me. I have never understood why it is important to so many people that I am married, single, divorced, or widowed; these categorizations have nothing to do with the manner in which I perform my job. But, people being the curious creatures they are, invariably the issue of to whom I am married arises. Over the years, because my role often includes telling our clients things they do not want to hear, they have perceived me in less than positive ways. When this happens and they complain about my having to “counsel” them to David, the clients who do not know we are married (because our last names are not the same) have a sympathetic ear in David, who says, “yes, Dr. Pigott can be rather direct” or something similar. Among the clients who know we are married, there is a tendency to congratulate David for all the things he must be doing to keep me happy at home and at the office. All in all, having different last names has made each of us seem more unique as individuals to our clients than we would perhaps seem if we were known to be married.