Getting married presents numerous decisions – where to have the wedding, who to invite, which dress to wear, etc. etc. etc. Few are career related. One, however, keeps many engaged career girls awake at night. Should I take my husband’s last name? And while there is no right
answer, I can speak to the struggle I encountered with this decision five years ago and the reasons I made a different decision in my second marriage than I did in my first.
When I married in 2006, my ex-husband was adamant I change my name. I kowtowed to his traditionalism and agreed. In 2008 when we divorced, the lovely IT Director in my workplace changed my name on my email and phone for me before I even saw a divorce attorney. And that same day, I swore I would never again change my name. So here I am, a happily married lady (quote from Sex and the City, “It’s all so great 7 days in!”) with a permanently different name from my husband and completely happy with my choice.
The choice is one every woman has to make individually. For me, I was attached heavily to the legacy of my father, who has always stood behind me through hell and high water. Furthermore, I believe my career is built on my name. Changing my name at this stage in my career just seemed like a change in course I wasn’t ready to accept. I love my last name. It’s unique, no one else has it, and I feel good when I say it. And for me, that’s all that mattered. And luckily I’ve found a man who doesn’t mind introducing his wife by a different last name.
I’ve had it both ways, and this one feels more authentic and more like me. So that’s the key to success with this decision. Think carefully about what feels authentic for you, and only that authenticity will point you in the right direction to make the right decision.
Marcy Twete is the Founder and CEO of Career Girl Network and the author of the book “You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works.” At Career Girl Network, Marcy provides women with information, resources, and networking to empower them in their careers and to advance the work of women in business as a whole. Prior to launching Career Girl Network, Marcy worked in numerous nonprofit organizations and as a consultant in the field of nonprofit fundraising, marketing, and community relations. Marcy is a graduate of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and a native of rural North Dakota. She is the Vice Chair of the Chicago Board of Directors for Step Up Women’s Network in Chicago and a member of the Advisory Board for Girls on the Run Twin Cities, and is dedicated to advancing the work of organizations that move the needle for women and girls worldwide.