My husband is the CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul and I am the publisher. I am primarily in charge of creating our books, and he takes care of our other products. We also have a lot of overlapping responsibilities and we are constantly consulting with each other about decisions, and sometimes disagreeing.
t People always ask how we can work together all day, spend our nights and weekends together and not kill each other. Well, that’s what restraining orders are for. Just kidding. Believe it or not, we always say we want to go on vacation so we can spend more time together. I’m not sure I understand it myself.
t Actually, we are hard workers and passionate about what we do, so we have a certain built-in sympathy for each other’s obsession with work and we don’t mind talking about it… a lot. I think we have a great deal of respect for each other’s abilities. But we also try to respect each other’s right to say “enough is enough” when we need a break.
t Here’s how we do it. If you saw any of the Harry Potter movies or read the books, you’ll remember that the evil wizard Voldemort was so terrifying that everyone but the equally powerful wizard Harry Potter called him “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
t So through some bizarre husband/wife shared brainwaves, we both decided that work, i.e. Chicken Soup for the Soul, would be “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Discussed,” a bit like Voldemort. When either of us is sick of talking about work at home, we can “declare Voldemort,” as we term it, and the other person is not allowed to talk about work at all. This usually happens on Friday nights and “Voldemort” remains in effect until Monday morning.
t My husband is not even allowed to instant-message or text me a question about work when “Voldemort” is in effect, because texting is too much like talking. We can be sitting right next to each other at the kitchen table, working on our computers, but we have to e-mail each other our questions.
t Declaring Voldemort works for us, and there is still plenty for us to talk about besides our business. Just because we enjoy working together doesn’t mean we don’t have a normal marriage. My husband still asks me where things are in the house, things that have been in the same place for 15 years. He still asks me what to wear, what time we are leaving and what we are doing. I still refuse to tell him until he “needs to know” since he won’t listen to my answers the first few times anyway. All in all, it’s a perfectly normal marriage, despite the evil Voldemort’s regular appearances.
t For a similar story, read “Notes Left by Two Working Parents” from Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul.