When law and love clash

June 13, 2013

Sooner or later your relationship will suffer, warns The Survivalist

Photo: Shutterstock

The Survivalist’s ultimate nightmare is easy to guess, but he can’t dwell on it for fear of breaking out in a serious case of the sweats. And down here in the bunker, where shower water is at a premium, more sweat is the last thing we need. So let’s skate over that.

Your ultimate nightmare as a young lawyer is that awful, inevitable moment where you are going to have to choose between your job and your relationship.

The point comes at different stages for different people. But everyone has a breaking point. Let me illustrate.

If your partner is not a lawyer but, say, has a sensible job, the third or fourth time you have to stay ’til midnight might be the breaking point.

They may be more tolerant than that. It may be the time you say you’re going to be back at 11pm, but you come home, shattered, at 4am, having forgotten to text.

Alternatively, the breaking point may be having to miss your anniversary (argh) or Christmas Day (argh, with a sprig of holly) or their birthday dinner (double-argh with a big stick of dynamite in the cake).

Or – and this is the real doozy – when you are told by your supervising partner that you cannot go on the expensive two-week holiday that you booked after much nagging from your domestic darling. And, mind, you are told not two weeks before, not a week before, but the day before. And you are, further, told that if you do not, your partnership may not be quite the done deal you thought it was.

Yes, this happens. It happened to someone the Survivalist knows.

HB or not HB?

The real question is, what do you do? The Survivalist has never been much of a corporate animal, so the partner in question would have suffered an immediate double nasal injection of Staedtler’s finest HB, but the individual in question opted to put career ahead of holiday.

And relationship, as it turned out, the girlfriend’s breaking point not being that late-stay, nor the missed text, or the missed anniversary, Christmas or birthday. Her breaking point turned out to be discovering her partner was of the invertebrate class of small, slimy animal.

Now, you may think the Survivalist is judging this poor chap harshly. Or, worse still, that the Survivalist is being ‘uncommercial’, given the likely value of a career of partnership at the kind of firm where clients demand and partners apply the whips and cudgels without hesitation.

Or you may agree that bad behaviour is simply bad behaviour and that everyone needs to have a line in the sand where they say this far and no further, my self-respect is worth more to me. The Survivalist has no doubt that the partner in question had it done to him at some point and thought it was perfectly acceptable to do so given what was at stake.

Personally the Survivalist wouldn’t want to be in the same law firm as the kind of compassionless oaf who would do something like that. And the Survivalist wouldn’t want to go out with the kind of worm who would bend to that kind of thing either.

Stay frosty. TS

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