One of the greatest challenges faced by any trainee is the shift from being a university lad/ette to consummate professional. One of the best ways to embark on the path towards a professional persona is to avoid writing blogs. You see if you write a blog you get called blog boy by those who are yet to learn your name. Then they ask why I have such an unprofessional photo next to the blog: You look like youre in a bar (I was).
Being professional is one of those soft skills the business world harps on about. And I think its pretty hard to master.
Recently, whilst attending an early morning conference on how the economic downturn is affecting the property industry I had the head of a large investment fund sidle up to me as I poured myself a much needed coffee. I made small talk (youre supposed to right? which consisted of nothing more than: Its a bit early for economic doom and gloom isnt it?
The investment fund managers response: You must be a lawyer, you people dont get into work until 10am.
What a cracking lawyer joke. My professional laugh was better.
Then there was the client Christmas party. Creditcrunch through those oysters. Quite the affair, many hundreds of successful business people, partners and the poor trainees quivering in the corner hoping no one asks where they felt the business would be in five years. This question was asked of a trainee;
A. Assortment of words whilst spilling drink in trembling hand Expansion/fiscal/banks/market/shorting/medium term/squeeze/Libor/incredulous/living memory/apocalypse/dont panic
B. Due to the global financial turbulence I wouldnt like to make that call.
C. Heading East in a big way I cant say anymore. Here have a brochure.
D. James isnt here right now, if youd like to leave a message, please do so after the beep..beeeep.
E. Dont know (If the questioner is clever enough and has seen through a, b, c, and d).
Its in situations like this that I would turn to my new motto. What would Obama do? Isnt he a paragon of virtue, an icon of charm? He oozes charisma. Just a sprinkle of Obama factor and Ill be king lawyer before you know it.
Now hes a professional, he says a lot whilst saying nothing or very little and yet still manages to impress most people: Chhhhhannnnge.
Maybe I need a law-related word to say whenever Im posed with a challenge that will inspire my superiors and peers
Money? Yes, I think that might do it.
You know Obama was a Senator for a only couple of years before running for Presidentwatch out Mr. Managing Partner, Im only a trainee for 21 more months!!