When I said ‘Can my day get any worse’, it was a rhetorical question, not a challenge…

Why is it that some days start badly – and just keep getting worse?

One wrong turn leading inevitably and inexorably to the next, til you’re in a cul de sac with a juggernaut too big to turn.

The arse-kicking I got the other day set the scene for a difficult conversation with my ‘client’. I can’t dress my failures up as anything other than failures. Nae point. Bullshitting is not my game. But that involves laying yourself bare as a professional plonker – not a great strategy when you’re trying to reassure anyone that you really, actually, truly and in fact, know what you are doing.

Said me I accept full responsibility for the poor show. I will understand if you have lost faith and would prefer alternative representation. However, here is what I plan to do – if you are prepared to give me the opportunity to redress the balance…

Silence.

Big fat yawning silence.

It is a long time since I experienced this acute sense of plonkerishness. It hurts, big style. I reflect, during the silence, that this is my idea of hell and that I deserve it.

It’s a funny thing, but the longer silent man hesitates – and then procrastinates – the more I want to keep his case. I need to show him. Prove to him that I can win his dodgy case.

He says he’ll phone me back.

I come off the phone, shaking with a frustration that surprises me and immediately go for a cigarette or two.

When I come back in, I sit. Tapping my foot. Mind spinning and wheeling. The phone is quiet. By now I am obsessed by the need to fix that case.

I look around. I’ve nothing pressing. I’ll do something I haven’t had time to do for years… something which I was taught to do way back at the beginning when I was prosecuting Health and Safety cases. Write my case in reverse…

And so, feeling positively, sublimely virtuous and smart, I write my submission for that case now. I’ll make this all perfect. It will be textbook. This will be the submission to top all submissions. My case will shine like a shiny big diamond shines. It’ll be a stunner. Knock the spots of the employer. 

Excited, I start typing. I have quotes from the Competency Framework and comparative studies. I have ET caselaw authority. I quote lengthy legal judgement and academic studies. I have my client’s statement and all the in-gathered ‘evidence’ (so far anyway). My fingers clatter across the keyboard. I am on fire! This is smoking. I start to laugh. This’ll show them.

Four pages in and the system crashes.

I’m at home now. I don’t know what has been saved. The Office manager was still working on the server when I left.

And a 7pm email from my client says he’ll phone to discuss on Monday.

I want to believe that this is proof that there is hope. But today has been so shite, so I am not counting my chickens.

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