Making massive life changes requires balls. These balls are metaphorical and genderless – that’s why I can say with complete confidence that my sister Elspeth is sporting a giant, enviable pair. She has recently taken up my father’s offer to become a partner in his small business, leaving her old job at a large, inner city, triple-name* firm to do so.
She’s doing it for awesome, old school reasons like having the chance to tuck her kids into bed each night and being her own boss.
But even her old school sensibilities haven’t prepared her for the positively vintage nature of dad’s business. He is the only lawyer I know of that doesn’t actually use a computer. Or a laptop. Or a blackberry. Or his own email account. Or a mobile phone at all. In his personal office the only word processor is his brain. When he works on a matter there is one font, and its name is ‘longhand’.
Don’t you worry, his mind is as sharp as the pencil he uses to make notes. His pencil is sharp because there’s an old-fashioned winding pencil sharpener attached to a bench just outside his door. The only thing sharper than that pencil, is the pins dad uses to attach documents to each other… you see in his own way my father is rather PPC. Pre-Paperclip. Anyone who receives mail from him with any regularity knows never to simply shove their hand into the envelope, unless they want to draw blood.
My father’s business is so old he occasionally still receives payment in the form of produce. Dad’s firm has been around for so long Elspeth found a whole section of legal forms in the back room that aren’t actually used anymore. His practice has been running for so many years he has 3rd generation clients.
Obviously you can’t run a business for that long without be ridiculously smart and good at what you do.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a severe case of culture shock coming Elspeth’s way – after all ‘the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there’. They say fortune favours the bold. It also favours the beautiful and the benevolent. How fortunate indeed that E fits into all 3 categories.
Watching someone else make any sort of seachange is like watching them unwrap a present. You really, really hope they’ll like it. In this case the gift being unwrapped is rather like a heritage-listed knitted jumper. It’s a niche fit. Luckily Elspeth is the sister that looks good in anything.
* Why does having 3 names in the title make a business seem instantly credible and established? If I said I was working for the accounting firm of Them, They & Those I can guarantee I would find a group of suits at Friday drinks who would nod approvingly in response.