“This reminds me of a “trial by vol au vent” event I went to as new trainee to meet the partners more than twenty years ago”. Natasha was standing next to Rob as she motioned to the room full of nervously shuffling senior representatives of both firms. “And what was the verdict?” asked Rob. “Don’t eat vol au vents in any social setting”.
As they separated and mingled they picked up snippets of conversation:
“So you’ve had a day off today?” asked Hamish as his eyes flitted between Manisha’s face and the bright orange “Milton Keynes 10k 2012” t-shirt she was wearing. “Hell no! It’s been non-stop – drafting a franchise agreement for a new client in Southampton, then a skype call with another client’s accountant and then tweaking our guidelines for prospective trainee interview days. Oh and in case you’re wondering… yes I did change for the skype call”
“Do you think if the merger really happens we will be expected to move offices? Will they want all employment lawyers in one place?” “Surely not – no one is going to want that …… would they?”
“A seminar for high-tech start up’s – what a great idea! We need to get together asap – my lot would never have supported that. My brother and his girlfriend want to get into designing games – I’ll pick their brains”
“Yes, surprisingly warm, but I expect it will turn chilly soon”
Rob had been occasionally and deliberately glancing over towards Rupert every few minutes – and what he had seen didn’t surprise him. Glass full of red wine, then empty, then full, then empty, then full. And there would probably be a few more repeats of that. He knew Rupert wouldn’t be driving home, that hadn’t been and wouldn’t be possible for a while. And he knew Rupert would probably not do anything embarrassingly outrageous and would be at his desk apparently all well the next morning. If asked he would say, “Well I thought the point was to relax and have a good chat and they weren’t exactly holding back”. Rob was always unsure what he should be doing – he wasn’t a doctor or counsellor and didn’t know if that was what Rupert even needed. But doing nothing, particularly with the merger pending, didn’t seem to be a sensible course of action for Rupert or the firm.
Is there anything for Rob to do?
Share your experiences of this type of work gathering - are they useful or what problems can they cause?
If someone in a firm has a drink, drugs or gambling problem who should do what? Does it make a difference here that a merger is on the horizon?
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