I woke up on the first morning in Sydney feeling much better than I should have done after a fairly late night. In case I didn’t mention it, the accommodation was at Silkari Suites in Chatswood, a suburb which looked like a tightly-packed version of Malvern. I was on my feet a little before 0800. I got a clean suit on and grabbed a complimentary coffee from the cart downstairs.
It took me a little while (and a trip to google maps) to navigate from Silkari to LexisNexis’ offices, and a little longer again to remember that I needed to get to the reception on the first floor to get a day pass for the building. This is what happens when you get very very used to working from home! The offices are on one of the upper floors and it felt good to have windows with a view. I found my way to the desk I’d booked and set to dealing with emails and a few odds and ends of work from both of my jobs. About mid-morning I had a very productive face to face meeting with my boss (the first time I’d met her in three dimensions – which is an interesting commentary on what the pandemic has done to everyone’s working habits!).
I had to attend remotely a mediation for the other job in the afternoon and so I stepped out for some sushi while I had a chance. I’d briefed John Richards QC, who put the plaintiff’s case robustly and adeptly. Sadly, the matter didn’t settle. It was a bit hard to focus my mind after the mediation, but I was able to attended to some preparation for the next day.
I called it a day at about 1815. I picked up some groceries for dinner and decided to go for a run down to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I’ll talk about that over on my running blog. It’s probably enough to say that it’s a great city to run in.
I do like Sydney. There’s a novelty, of course, but it’s a lovely city.
While I’ve been neglecting this blog over the past two years, I’ve had a couple of career developments. The first arose mid-2021. I received a phone call out of the blue asking if I’d be interested in applying for a role as a legal writer with Lexis Nexis?
Yes. Yes I would.
I’m now working for that publisher three days a week as their writer for Personal Injury law in Victoria. The job is great: we’re well resourced and the work is interesting.
There’s been at least one adventure in that line of work so far; I’ll talk about that in my next post.
Taking that job three days a week led to an attempt for me to keep going with practising in personal injury work two days a week. This was less successful: too many files and too little time, alas. Eventually, the boss said he would have to have someone take on my role full time. I couldn’t disagree: the money I could bring in working two days a week certainly wasn’t covering my own wage, let alone making a profit for the firm. So, my work concluded last Friday. If all else fails, I have a sign to wave beside the freeway.
I shall certainly miss my friends at PR&Co. Good people, doing good work. On the whole, though, I think this is for the best for me. There’s so many new things in this world – so many jobs to explore – that I’m positively looking forward to the new challenge.
I had a matter fixed for hearing yesterday for a nice lady with an injury case. She was quite nervous and so she’d brought three members of her family to the office for the conference pre-hearing. The client and her family are from India originally.
The hearing was to proceed by Zoom, and so we set the client up on a computer in a spare office. As I got everything ready, I was mainly thinking about the half-dozen other things I needed to do so the hearing would proceed smoothly. As I often do when I’m thinking about something else, I was chattering away rather thoughtlessly to avoid an awkward silence. One of the things I had to do was enter the computer login password, which is in part the word “Blackjack”. Without thinking about it I blathered away “so the password is ‘blackjack’ so clearly whoever set it up was either a keen gambler or a fan of the 1960s Country Party, the leader of the party then being called John “Black Jack” McEwen”
The client asked why he was called “Black Jack” and I explained “well, I understand he had dark hair and had quite a dark complexion and …”. It was at this point that I remembered who I was talking to and the fraught ethnic times we’re in and thought in a panic “Oh Lord, I hope they don’t think I was having a go at them!”. I felt my face getting red and I blithered on by saying “and, I understand he favoured dark suits, and he was Prime Minister for a bit too, and … Oh good, we’ve got Zoom up and running!”.
I don’t think the client and her husband were paying much attention to it all, but from the grin on her son’s face he was clearly enjoying watching me trying to dig my way out of the hole I’d dug myself into!
Comic relief can be useful in stressful times; apparently yesterday it was my turn to provide it.
Anyway, this got me to thinking about things in your job you didn’t expect when you went into it (or in my case, came back to it). Something I didn’t expect on returning to the law was how often I’d find myself drinking cold tea and coffee.
I should explain.
I love what I do, and because of that, I get a bit focussed on it, especially if it’s a challenging file. I also drink a lot of tea through the day. This is a poor combination. At least once a morning and a couple of times each afternoon I go and make myself a mug of extra-strong Tetley and then come back to my desk. As soon as I do I find myself caught up by the current legal problem that I need to unpick. Meanwhile, my mug sits there thus…
By the time I remember it, the tea is feeling unloved and (like any things that feel unloved) it’s having trouble staying excited about its job, which is to be hot and bracing.
I’m sure this isn’t a rare problem. My friend Allie, for instance, at Living My Full Life, recently posted about how much she’s enjoying a line of seasonal teas. She has a newborn baby, and I’m guessing from experience that she drinks a lot of it fairly lukewarm. Anyway, it seemed to me that my experience now contrasts radically with my not-too-distant work as a factory hand or gardener or labourer when the tea break/smoko was close to sacred and was rarely-if-ever disturbed. I suppose it’s because the five minutes of peace and quiet for a hot cup of tea or coffee made a welcome break from sun and dust and power tools and physical labour.
What do you find about your current work that you didn’t expect?