Diary of a busy practitioner, juggling work and family somewhere in England
I have recently tweeted my first 'Twitter poll'. For the uninitiated, this is where you can undertake a survey, with options for other tweeters to select. I did it with some trepidation as I didn’t know if anyone would vote at all and then I would feel silly. I will come back to this later.
Following my last blog, I haven’t yet heard from Sir Keir on our (no doubt) budding romance. But actually that is OK, because I have my own, ahem, knight in shining armour at home. We met at a temping job one summer, just before I went off to do the LPC. We were both freshly returned from backpacking and, oddly, had been at a number of the same places on the same days but, as I say, only met at a scruffy old business park on our return.
I had started a few days before him, and he started alongside another young man who had a law degree, like me. As such, I didn’t even notice the future father of my children, I was only interested in the bloke with the law degree. For the purposes of this article, I have just googled him and not only is he now a partner in a regional firm, you would have absolutely no idea from his website profile that he was a complete arse. My favourite moment was when he declared that anyone who had achieved a 2:1 at university was definitely, totally, you know, a bore. The Future Father and I had both got 2:1s. Luckily for him his website profile also fails to mention his grade.
Anyway, the point I am failing to make is that the Future Father and I spent week after week that summer laughing our heads off as we got to know each other whilst inputting data into a computer. I remember mentioning that I was going to see Simon and Garfunkel in Hyde Park one particular evening and a middle-aged bloke sitting near us said to me that he had seen 'The Quo' the previous year, as if these two things were comparable. The Future Father spat out his drink at the look on my face.
When I got home on my last day, in the knowledge that I was fleeing the region in a few days (in case of rejection), I text him to ask him out. And you know the rest - we are a great team. Mostly, of course, I mean that we are a tag-team, meeting our children’s incessant demands for snacks and bottom wiping.
I know I am old, but this seems to be a much better way of meeting a partner than, say, Tinder. My last trainee was glued to it, and it seemed a very roundabout way of doing things. It seems that you judge someone on their photo, then spend time asking each other hundreds of questions about each other, and after a while agree to meet. By the time of the first date it would seem that the relationship was already quite intense, only to fall flat for a lack of something. To get so in depth with someone before meeting - intensely, over a short period - seems a bit odd. I’m sure Tinder has its place - my point is that it isn’t as good as meeting someone 'IRL', as I think they say. And I am really concerned that this is yet another way in which our junior staff are going to be held back in their lives as a result of this ghastly pandemic.
In comes my Twitter poll. 533 people took part (I know!) and exactly a third of them met their partners at work. I think that is a lot, bearing in mind how many other places there are that you could meet someone. I’ve said it before about work friends, but you do go through a lot together at work - extreme highs and lows, as well as the small everyday stuff. You catch up with work colleagues so regularly, more than any other friends, because you see them so often. You are likely to have things in common- for example, an interest in the law (not me so much but some of you will, no doubt) - and may have many of the same values. You get an insight into how they treat others, what makes them tick, and whether they eat with their mouths closed. This is how you really know whether you want to spend decades arguing with someone about whether you really need to put the burglar alarm on when you are just popping out. Work with them first.
At the time of writing I don’t even know anymore if the government is encouraging us back to the office or not. But as firms make their plans I would ask them to spare a thought- again - for the younger ones. Just because I have no real desire to socialise ever again, as with everything in this pandemic, we are not all in the same boat.
*Some facts and identities have been altered in the above article