Today was my second last day at work. I have one virtual meeting tomorrow and after that I’m done and dusted.
Today’s most entertaining handover job was being asked to pen a gardening article for beginners. This is for colleagues stuck at home who find themselves driven to consider gardening. I went for foolproof and suggested calendula and poppies on the basis you can sow them straight in the ground (and they are front of mind as I have some to go in myself when I have a minute). I have, as a good lawyer, given a warning about the risk of self seeding everywhere and after tomorrow my email address comes off the internal list so any complaints will not find me…..
In a more thought provoking moment a colleague rang to catch me before I left to seek deep and meaningful career insights. I was, in the moment, completely stumped. Best and worst moments – well yes I was sure I had definitely had some – but like everything else they passed. I’m not sure that was quite what was wanted, but I’ve always (so far as possible) been a bit of a take each day as it comes sort of a person. Looking back any disasters don’t seem so bad. Clearly I survived them. Legal triumphs, well, if you try to explain these to a sensible normal person they do rather give you the side eye, and not entirely without reason. It’s all just a little arcane, especially at the moment.
But I continued to ponder and by the end of the day had digested my life advice into a few snappy bullet points and sent them to the juniors I work with regularly. If we ignore the specifically legal ones they largely boiled down to:
- teach other people what you know and help out anyone that’s struggling – that’s the most rewarding thing ever
- be proud of who you are, where you’ve been and what you like to do and tell others about it. People prefer to do business with, and be helped by, real people not cardboard cut outs. Everyone likes a bit of craic
- you don’t need to know everything and it’s dangerous to think you do. Share ideas and noodle over problems with others
- always do your homework, but having done so, be confident and have your say. Make space at the table and don’t apologise for being there
- do not suffer in silence. If there’s something that needs to change, try to suggest a change. If you have authority to make a change, don’t abdicate that responsibility.
- make time to have a life outside the job, take your holidays – be organised to make it happen
- don’t just drift, check every now and then whether you still like what you are doing. If not, think about what could change it for the better and make a plan
I know for certain sure that at times I have ignored each and every one of these sensible rules. I also know that you can always get back on track and when I did I felt a whole lot better. So for good or ill here they are….
Well that was all a bit earnest. So to lighten the tone, here is what happened on my final video call with the Chairman
Yes – in clear line of sight of the screen Lyra found the half Christmas pudding (I kid you not) which Keith was keeping, along with a rounders ball, in his box of domestic filing. We pretty much gave up at that point.