26 January 2004
Subjudice is not sure ‘What she Wants to Be’, and wonders whether it’s too late to change her GCSE options, carefully chosen to enable her to become any sort of solicitor or accountant she likes.
“I mean,” she told her dad, “there’s a world out there, beyond professional services, you know. Suki’s going to be a film make-up artiste. Daniel’s going to be a journalist. And Juanita says she’s going to marry money.”
“Yes, but they’re not real jobs, are they?” replied the Lawyer. “Where’s the career progression?”
Where indeed, I felt like asking, faced with the facts that the roof needs replacing and the firm has again declined to cough up a bonus this Christmas. It was a ‘bad year’ for bonuses, of course. You’d think, after 15 ‘bad years’ in a row, they’d ask someone else to have a go at running the firm, just to see if it made a difference, but they always seem quite happy with their own performance.
“Yes, but they’re following their dreams,” said Subbie. “They’re getting in touch with who they really are. I mean, what was your dream, Daddy?”
“Well, being a lawyer mainly,” he replied.
Subjudice looked appalled. “I thought it was something you were forced to do, like violin practice,” she said. “I had no idea you actually chose it. I bet your colleagues never wanted to be lawyers.”
Oh dear. Being a lawyer had been his ambition from the age of 13 and until now he’d assumed that’s what everyone else in the firm wanted too. It’s been a shock to find out most of them fell into law after trying out some other path.
Trevor, for example, played for the Manchester United youth team but was let go after developing a dangerous diving habit, which is appropriate, as he’s gone into Marine and Fisheries. Posh Sonia from pensions trained to be a ballet dancer, but she’s known for bending over backwards to help people, so that worked out fine. And Peter, the brilliant intellectual property associate who’s been extracting millions for website copyright infringement, is doing so well because of his years running an illegal music download service on the net.
“Apparently he’d have been a millionaire if he’d been able to get them to pay,” says the Lawyer. “Why don’t I have an interesting past like that? You think I’m interesting, don’t you?”
“Well,” I said tactfully, “maybe you’ll have an interesting future instead.”
“Yes, Daddy.” Subjudice said. “You don’t have to stay a solicitor. Anyway, staying in one career is so 20th century.”
The trouble is, he’s good at what he does. He likes knowing things that no one else does and getting praise for helping people out of a hole; he doesn’t mind too much when clients are rotten to him; and he loves the money. So he took an online psychometric careers test to discover what his true vocation might have been. It took hours, and he kept shouting out questions such as “Do I prefer orange or blue?”, or “Would I hand back a £50 note if I found it in the cash machine?”
“The trouble is, he doesn’t know who he really is, does he?” noted Subjudice.
At the end of the test the results flashed up. Apparently he is a creative problem solver with an eye for detail and a liking for repetitive work who likes to make people feel special. Possible careers include solicitor, hairdresser or nail technician.
He looked at the screen blankly. “There just aren’t any real jobs any more, are there?” he said.
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