3 July 2008
Week Two Inside the north of England office of a major international firm
Hi all. Ive entitled this weeks entry the crunch for several reasons. Firstly, Ive just finished a week in the corporate department and perhaps unsurprisingly, it proved impossible for a day to pass without the words credit crunch crossing a worried partner or associates lips. Secondly, week two was the crunch of the scheme as Wednesday was the training contract assessment day.
Being the week of the assessment day you may expect that the competitive spirit among my fellow summer schemers wouldve heightened somewhat in comparison to last weeks dirt digging demeanour. Shockingly this simply wasnt the case. Indeed, the mutual fear we all seemed to share created a sense of camaraderie that hadnt been present in the camp last week. Indeed, I even found myself warming to our resident Oxford graduate and on occasion caught myself indulging in polite conversation with him about his young family and Buddhist lifestyle. It seems fear can in fact do strange things to a man.
Sanity was soon restored when each of us gave our three minute presentation to graduate recruitment. Since we were allowed to choose our own topic, the natural choice for any self respecting male was the classic film Top Gun. You shall now appreciate my dismay when our Strand working pet delivered a presentation entitled Reading between the lines, clauses commonly excluded from publishing contracts.
OK, so you think Im pulling your leg, right? Well actually, no. Admittedly, I thought it was perhaps some intellectual prank that I was too slow to grasp. I couldnt have been more wrong. I shall leave you to contemplate the reaction this presentation received. But allow me to give you a push in the right direction with some helpful words lead, balloon, down. To quote a line from that classic film: Son, your egos writing cheques your body cant cash.
For fear of sounding similar to one of BBC 2s Grumpy Old Men, I shall change the subject. This weeks social was a vast improvement on last weeks lack lustre effort. As the night progressed and the liquor flowed the members of the group began to show their true colours. The trainees also began to let us in on some of the office banter that had eluded us in recent times. Use such information in appropriate circumstances only. Its not wise to mention poor Johnnys (no that isnt his real name!) liking of Eastern European women in the presence of a senior partner. This will go down like a three minute presentation on clauses regularly excluded from publishing contracts.
Also, in deference to the Governments new advertising campaign: please drink responsibly. This will save your head from feeling like a piano has just fallen on it when youre sat in the following mornings client meeting.
This weeks most embarrassing moment? Throwing myself onto the office chair only to topple from it backwards, thankfully the office was deserted!
This week likened to a drink. A white wine. A sweet taste with a sharp after bite. (Drink Responsibly)
This week summed up in a word - crunchy.
That shall draw an end to the northern era. Next week I shall update you on my progress in Britains second City. Until then, over and out.
Not quite champagne
Week One: Inside the north of England office of a major international firm
An over used and utterly irritating clich?t may be, but to say that one could cut the atmosphere at Mondays initial welcome meeting with a knife, and a rather blunt knife at that, is about as close to the truth as it gets.
Initial niceties and pleasantries having been exchanged, the typical awkward silence ensued. Predictably, the silence was sporadically broken by a spontaneous and utterly pointless enquiry made by one of the fellow summer schemers eager to dig out some dirt on their competition. Note to others silence can be golden.
Beware; this situation can be a potentially devastating moment in the socio-political game. Ask too many questions and risk being that annoying person everyone avoids in the bar after work through fear of becoming stuck in tedious conversation, whilst everyone else concentrates on numbing the pains of the week. Ask too few questions and take the chance of being labelled a social recluse; the one with a personality rating of somewhere between 0 and 0.1.
My supervisor. First impressions - middle aged, Irish, no time for young wannabes. Picture my shocked face then, when the first word he utters is a four letter expletive beginning with the sixth letter of the alphabet. Forcibly removed from court on several occasions and prone to irrational and inexplicable outbursts of traditional Gaelic dialect, Jim Carey would be an apt comparison. The highlight of the week, a phone conversation to a fellow solicitor obviously so boring that it became acceptable to hold the phone at arms length whilst making a V sign in the direction of the handset. A seat for neither the faint of heart nor those easily offended by crude language. For all others, top quality entertainment at no cost.
Allow me to apologise. Although some may expect a shocking tale from Tuesday nights social I fear I have to disappoint. It was, by and large, a non-descript affair culminating in one female trainee becoming so intoxicated she had to be carried to the bar for her next drink. Tucked up in bed at 12:30 that evening I reminisced on the debate as to whether the death penalty should still be in force, hosted by our resident RP speaking, Surrey residing, Oxford graduate currently working on the Strand. Seriously, do we have to talk about law 24/7?
This weeks most embarrassing moment? Strolling into the toilet whist whistling The Great Escape theme tune rather loudly, only to bump into the department partner youve yet to meet.
This week likened to a drink. A sparkling wine, Cava. Not quite that high priced Champagne. Ostensibly, plenty of fizz and quite palatable. However, rather likely to go somewhat flat a short while after the cork has been popped.
This week summed up in a word Changeable.
Next weeks outlook is brighter, potentially with some sunny spells as the delights of the corporate department await me. Until we next meet, ciao.