Competency and enjoyment – both necessary ingredients for job satisfaction

by Bernadette Healy

competent and happy

Are you happily engaged in your work and feeling competent? Do you feel like this for a good proportion of the time? If you find yourself struggling to recall the last time you had a week when you mostly felt like that, it may be time for a re-think about your role or even your job! (The exception to this is of course where you are new to the role / job – in such cases it is perfectly natural to feel quite incompetent most of the time!)

Are the areas that you dislike related to a short-term project? Is completion of the disliked tasks clearly related to a specific and highly sought personal goal? If either of these 2 situations apply to you, you are probably able to tolerate the mis-match, but it is preferable in terms of job satisfaction and stress management, that such a situation is only for a defined period of time and accompanied by regular tracking with regard to your stress levels and your goals.

In order to feel a reasonable amount of job satisfaction we need to spend a large proportion of our time at work engaged in tasks that we both enjoy and in which we feel competent. Think about your skills. Are most of them able to be used in your current role? If not, are you happy for that to be the case? Do you have non-work outlets for use of these currently under-utilized skills? If not, can you create an opportunity to do so? There is an in-built stress management component to a life characterized by the ready expression of most of a persons’ attributes, interest areas and competencies. Of course this can occur primarily in a work domain or primarily within one’s personal life, but the risk of experiencing significant stress in either one of these domains is reduced where there is a sense of satisfaction from expression of our personality via our interests and competencies across both the work and personal domains.

How would you rate your level of competence in your work-based skills? How would you rate your level of enjoyment utilizing these skills at work?

Medium to high competency plus medium to high enjoyment of exercising those competencies is the best fit in terms of job satisfaction. Spending most of your time at work in this zone is optimum.

Medium to high competency combined with low levels of enjoyment may be ok for a while or for short, time-bound bursts but when sustained over long periods of time will tend to lead to burnout.

High competence and low enjoyment may also suggest the need for a shift in focus within a current role or
even that it is time for a different role or job.

High competence and low enjoyment may also be due to other factors such as a significant stressor in one’s personal life. In any case if you are very good at what you are doing but have lost enthusiasm and enjoyment doing it, you probably need to spend some time considering possible causes to this situation. And it is worth remembering that just because you are good at something doesn’t mean that you must continue to apply that skill. It may be that you developed a reputation for being good at something, received attention when doing it, and then came to be known as the one who was good at …. but actually, deep down, it may no longer (or ever!) be of interest to you.

Medium to high levels of enjoyment combined with low to medium competence levels suggest the need for further training and development.

It is extremely stressful to be working in a role while feeling that you have insufficient competency but if you are in the first few years of your working life, (or at the beginning of a career change), a reality check is needed to ensure that you do not mis-label yourself or worse, make a decision prematurely based on this feeling of incompetence before you have had a reasonable period of time to learn and develop. Find yourself someone – who you trust –who is at least 3 to 5 years ahead of you in terms of work experience and ask them about their experience of the feeling of competency at the beginning of the job and over the first 12 to 18 months and beyond.

If you are working in a role in which you continue to have low competency combined with low enjoyment, you are quite possibly in the wrong role – and perhaps even the wrong job. You need to think carefully and make a plan about how you are going to get yourself out of what is likely to be a toxic and stress-inducing situation.

A little musing on relationships

by Bernadette Healy

couple

Learn to be open and honest with each other

In order for relationships to improve, dialogue and change has to be possible – some people are capable of this and others are not.

It is necessary to engage regularly in an open and truthful conversation with each other about the important and personal issues that underlie relationships, particularly values, needs and priorities. This means specifically asking each other:

  • What really matters to you?
  • Are there any hurts being carried from old wounds in the relationship?
  • What are your needs in our relationship?

Think about what patterns you have formed.

Talk about the patterns. Consider how your family of origin may be shaping the way that you are relating to your partner and share this with each other.  For example, if you grew up not feeling heard or understood, you will likely doubt that a different kind of communication is possible and may be unable to trust that you can be open without being hurt or attacked. If you haven’t processed this early experience sufficiently, you may find that you are attracted to someone who leaves you feeling similarly.

Where the primary need is not about the relationship, the possibility of change is unlikely

Where one person is primarily committed to satisfying a need that is external to the relationship to the extent that they are routinely unavailable to participate and contribute in a fully present way with their partner, any meaningful shift in the relationship dynamic is impossible.

Be on the lookout for trends in you and your partner leading parallel existences.

If you are feeling left out of the household, ask what decisions are being made and what you have missed.

Where partners are uninterested in what really matters to one another

Another scenario is that the partner of someone who is passionately interested in their professional domain is unwilling to make themselves available to show interest in this aspect of their partner’s life – perhaps due to unexpressed resentment about the consequences of this passion on them and the relationship.  This needs to be talked about before the resentment builds otherwise one partner is likely to feel lonely as their passion is not understood and the other perhaps self-righteous – a risk-filled combination.

All relationships need to move past romantic beginnings

Consider where your relationship is in terms of development. For example it is very common for one or other partner to continue to expect the excitement and passion of the early stages of a romantic relationship to extend indefinitely. Many relationships suffer serious fault lines around the failure to move beyond the romantic beginning. Practice talking openly about sexual needs and wants including waning interest, disparity in sexual appetite and contextualize the discussion within the frame of the relationship as a whole, rather than separating out sexual needs as if they are a separate item.

Make some time to meet with your partner to open up a new conversation.  

Establish some ground rules and etiquette for example:

  • timing of the conversation,
  • action if interruption occurs,
  • taking turns,
  • not raising voice,
  • resisting urge to use blaming language such as accusatory statements or summations or caustic beginnings[1]

Caustic beginnings are fights between partners which leave no room for collaboration or constructive problem solving.  Use of opening phrases with you always… and you’re such an … or opening questions such as: what is up with you? or what is it with you? – are not about trying to resolve issues but more likely to incite reaction and to inflict hurt.

Rather than the voicing of a complaint or resolution of a problem, such beginnings quickly lead to escalation and to meanness and character assassination.

If you are on the receipt of caustic comments the following framework can help get the conversation back to a more constructive place:

When you said x, I felt y and what I would prefer is a and the benefits would be b.

That is, when you said … just then (for example, you always…), I felt…(for example disappointed, angry, hurt…) and what I would prefer is … (for example, for you to speak about a specific situation and to tell me what the problem was as you saw it, how you felt and what behaviour you would prefer from me in future) and the benefit would be (for example, that I don’t shut down or become defensive or bite back or leave etc and then we will be more likely to engage in a conversation).

If you find yourselves stuck in an exchange of ‘you don’t understand what I mean’, try taking it in turns to make statements to each other followed by a series of clarifying questions from the partner until they receive three ‘yesses’ in a row[2] to signify that your statement was understood exactly as you intended.  Make sure you both have a turn.

Talk about the responsibility of nurturing the relationship.  Are you able to stand back and consider the relationship as something separate from each of you, as an entity deserving of respect and one for which you are both responsible?  Is the relationship an equal priority for both of you?

Remind each other of what drew you to each other.  Remember together the loving beginnings.  Talk about what mattered then and continue the discussion to the present situation.

[1] Reivich, K. & Dr A. Shatte (2002). The resilience factor: 7 keys to finding your inner strength and overcoming life’s hurdles. New York: 3 Rivers Press.
[2] Adapted from Satir, V., J. Stachowiak & H.A. Taschman (1994). Helping families to change. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Pub. Inc.

The Right Bloody Thing to Do

By Dean R P Edwards

Monash Dean of Law Bryan Horrigan (left) joined panellists (left to right) Federal Court Justice Shane Marshall, King & Wood Mallesons partner John Canning and Monash University Pro Vice-Chancellor David Copolov OAM (Credit: NLL)

Monash Dean of Law Bryan Horrigan (left) joined panelists (left to right) Federal Court Justice Shane Marshall, King & Wood Mallesons partner John Canning and Monash University Pro Vice-Chancellor David Copolov OAM (Credit: NLL)

On the 12th May 2015, lawyers and educators met to celebrate the launch of the Monash Mental Health Front and Centre Wellbeing in the Law Initiative.

Panellists offered some “antidotes to the pressures” that lawyers and law students face alike at Monash Law School’s launch.

The panel brought together some of the law’s top professionals – the Honourable Justice Shane Marshall of the Federal Court and King & Wood Mallesons partner John Canning – into conversation with Professor David Copolov OAM, Monash’s Pro Vice-Chancellor and a practicing psychiatrist, and Professor Bryan Horrigan, Dean of Monash Law School and the panel’s host for the hour-long panel discussion.

Before the panel discussion got underway, Horrigan and Monash Law’s Student Experience Manager Lloyd England opened the evening with a launch of a YouTube video series (watch here) produced by the university to raise mental health awareness and mindfulness in the law.

Dean R P Edwards and Marie Jepson

Dean R P Edwards and Marie Jepson

 

Monash Law School then recognised the efforts of the evening’s Guest of Honour, Marie Jepson, founder of the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation, which advocates for greater mental health awareness and support in the legal profession.

The Tristan Jepson Foundation recently introduced the “TJMF Psychological Wellbeing: Best Practices Guidelines” which the Foundation encourages law firms and other organisations to adopt and put into action.

Monash Law School formally announced its adoption of the Guidelines on Thursday night, joining more than 100 organisations to sign onto the Guidelines to date. Jepson praised Monash Law School’s effort as “modelling leadership for others in the law”, adding that “there is no end point to this campaign” to push mental health into the limelight in the legal profession.

With stress a well-known factor in the profession, a 2007 Beyond Blue survey found that 15 per cent of law students and lawyers suffer from “moderate to severe depression”. Other surveys report that around 20 per cent of barristers and 33 per cent of solicitors are depressed at some point in their career.

Lloyd England, who introduced the panel, said that the statistics show that “mental health problems don’t end with the law degree”.

Justice Marshall and Canning spoke to their personal, lengthy battles with mental health issues and how they learned to cope over time – and more importantly, how as they overcame difficulties, they could share their experiences in the hope of helping others suffering silently. “De-stigmatisation starts with the law students and lawyers of tomorrow”, Canning said, noting as well that, in his experience at Mallesons, “young people tend to talk more about mental health”.

Dean R P Edwards, Justice Marshall, Arna Delle-Vergini

Left to Right: Dean R P Edwards, Justice Marshall, Arna Delle-Vergini

Panellists also shared their thoughts on strategies within the profession to change attitudes and support individuals with mental health issues.

“It comes down to humanising the legal practice,” Copolov said. “The healthiest lawyers are those who report an intrinsic sense of moral satisfaction” and are collegial rather than overly adversarial. “It’s important to have a breadth of activities beyond the law and to seek support”, Copolov added.

When Canning had pushed for action on mental health within his workplace, he said colleagues were receptive and set up a subcommittee to discuss ways forward. In the words of one of those colleagues, Canning paraphrased, “it’s just the bloody right thing to do.”

 

 

 

Pachydermal Paranoia

by Phoebe Churches

Elephant and dog

You need a ‘thick skin’ to be a lawyer – but is this sort of resilience purely dispositional or can it be acquired?

My brother quipped recently that his every utterance contained ‘layers of meaning, and meanness’. Growing up with this, I have developed both a thick skin and the expectation that almost everything has a hidden meaning.

This started me thinking about environments where there is positive survival value in becoming immune to many provocations. I am not impervious to all types of needling of course, as my partner will readily attest. However in the cut and thrust of my professional life – shields are up and you will have to work very hard to get a rise out of me. No doubt my years working as a social worker also honed my ability to keep ‘other people’s stuff’ at a safe arm’s length.

Firstly, why do I suggest that thick skin is an essential quality in a lawyer?

Working as a lawyer has many challenges – but one of the biggest tests for many is remaining confident in the face of criticism. That doesn’t mean rejecting all feedback. Confidence is not arrogance. Self-confidence allows you to recognise weaknesses and fix them. Reframing criticism as something that will just make you better, both disables its debilitating sting and fuels self-improvement.

However, facing down criticism in an adversarial milieu is a different matter. I am talking about learning to zone out the white noise that is simply designed to undermine your confidence and get you to give in.

Your competence, skill and judgement will often be challenged. Even during negotiation in an alternative dispute resolution setting – you need to be resistant to the games which will inevitably play out as each party tries to get their best outcome. In the typical day of a working lawyer, we may need to remind ourselves that our clients are generally not misleading us, we are not thick or gullible and the claims we represent are not querulous. So when our opponent suggests we should just drop our case, that we are wrong and there is no merit to our claim – will we give in?

Well, not unless they are right.

How do we build this resilience, if you didn’t grow up with a troll for a sibling?

There are really two ways you can deal with criticism as you develop – you can absorb it, let it soak into your bones, weaken your confidence and sap your desire to challenge yourself. Or you can create a barrier which protects your inner world.  These are decisions we often fail to make consciously – but there is nothing stopping a conscious decision to develop or enhance our resilience to criticism at any time in life.

Number one tip – is that life is not a popularity contest. We don’t need constant approval to be happy. That’s it. Move on.

Next – nothing is personal. People generally act in self-interest – they aren’t really trying to tell us something we need to know about ourselves, they are trying to get what they want. Why do some things just roll off the proverbial duck’s back and other things cut to the quick? This is about knowing your ‘red flags’. The tiny (or sometimes screaming) inner voice which articulates the beliefs we have about ourselves. If you grew up thinking you were gullible, not good at logic or too emotional for example – criticisms on these points are going to score direct hits. If you have a strong inner belief that you are intelligent and rational – being called stupid and emotional is going to just seem silly.

It’s that simple. No, really it is. We can always question our unexplored self-beliefs and reality check them against what we know to be true. It is the unexamined character of the little inner voice that makes it so destructive. These things are no more than cognitive-emotional habits. Practice makes perfect.

Finally, could a thick skin be the enemy of empathy and compassion in our work? It would be easy to see someone like Julian Burnside as a bundle of porous empathy. However he has to face fierce criticism for his efforts. Thick skin is also about a boundary between you and everyone else. Perhaps paradoxically, when you are involved in the most empathic types of lawyering – you will need the best boundaries. I volunteer once a week in the Human Rights Law clinic at the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and the risk of burn out is all too real.

We can be of public service only as long as we have resilience in the face of manifest systemic unfairness and the raw horror of some people’s lived experience.

Ultimately I don’t know whether it was growing up with a mean brother or 25 years of social work which thickened my skin the most.

Maybe I was an elephant in another life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear lawyer Bob, please be kind and gentle to yourself and remember …

by Bernadette Healy

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Have you ever tried writing a letter to yourself?  It can be an amazingly comforting experience. About ten years ago, I had a particularly memorable experience of composing and then later reading such a letter.

I had just returned from a very, very relaxing holiday.  Back at work on the first day I remember being so relaxed that I floated through most of the day.  At some point however, I was in the company of someone who needed me to go with them (metaphorically that is) to a very painful emotional place.  This of course is very common in the working life of a psychologist (and many others, including lawyers).  On this particular day, however, I was not there with them as they needed me to be.  They left and I sat and reflected and owned the fact that I had failed to do my job properly.  I recognized that I had been in a sort of relaxed fog that I didn’t really want to get out of and that nothing much could get through it unless a more conscious effort was made by me to make that happen.   I can still remember the mixture of feelings I had as I sat and analysed that particular work incident.  I thought what can I do about it (in addition to reparation with the individual) to try and ensure that it doesn’t happen next year?  I decided to write a letter to myself to be read the following year on my return from holidays.

I wrote myself a letter about how it felt to be back at work and what I might like to be on the lookout for, in terms of avoiding repeating the same mistake.  I made suggestions to myself and also reminded myself to be kind rather than punitive in my approach.  It was a very easy letter to write and I found myself being very reasonable to myself, accepting responsibility, applying critical thinking and suggesting strategies to myself.  I then signed off in a very warm and loving manner.  As soon as I had a diary for the following year, I attached the letter to the relevant week.   When I came back from holidays the following year, I read my letter to myself and ensured that I took my own advice!  Most importantly though, I experienced a quiet and private feeling of comfort that I had  not reacted to the mistake in either an overly indulgent or overly critical manner and that I had been able to trust in my own judgement about an effective response for the future.

Journaling (writing to yourself, specifically for yourself), can be a very powerful process.  If you will be patient and practice writing in one of the various journaling styles – of which the letter to oneself is an example – you will experience yourself coming up with all sorts of ideas, pieces of wisdom and an ability to identify potentially problematic patterns (amongst much more).  There are all sorts of variations of journaling, for example:

Style of Writing: Conversation / script

Helps With: Preparing for negotiation or performance meeting including

Examples:

“Hi Bob where is that xxx I asked you to prepare?”

“It’s a fascinating project and I have identified at least 3 possible tracks so far and would welcome your input about which one should receive most attention going forward”

“Its still a work in progress – how do you want me to proceed moving forward? “

“So its not finished?”

“That’s correct.  I assumed you wanted me to approach it comprehensively. But if you would prefer I give comprehensiveness a lower priority that the timeline I can adapt my approach from now on.”

“That’s right, I am having trouble setting task priorities  “

“Just get it done!”

“Of course but is it possible moving forward to provide an indication of the tasks within a framework, that is, level of detail required / priority of task relative to others / timeframe?”


Style of Writing: Stream of consciousness

Helps With:

  1. Accessing your own ideas and wisdom
  2. Finding out where you are stuck
  3. Clearing out difficult emotional material for which there is no real solution but which might be taking up lots of space

Examples:

Just write whatever comes into your head without any censoring of any kind, preferably first thing in the morning before doing anything else and keep going for 2 or 3 pages – push through resistance to the process! Keep private.  Don’t re-read until you have allowed yourself at least a week of writing.


Style of Writing: Letter to self

Helps With:

  1. Remind yourself of strengths
  2. Acknowledge effort
  3. Highlight need for improvement

Examples:

  1. Dear self, just want to write to remind you that today you did really well coping with that thing that you have had a lot of trouble with…. And the strategy you used was …
  2. Dear self, please remember that you are particularly vulnerable to ….. and even more so when x Is around
  3. Dear self, please remember that today you really stuffed up / hurt someone’s feelings when you behaved …. Said …  Next time it would be better to …

Style of Writing: Letter to other (not to be sent)

Helps With:

  1. Helping yourself to let go of difficult emotions
  2. Honouring feelings towards another not able to be expressed

Examples:

  1. Something you would ideally like to say to someone but know that that is unrealistic
  2. Something you wish you had said to someone who has died

Style of Writing: Detailed writing about known future anxiety-provoking situation

Helps With: Exposes yourself to your worst anticipated fears which frees you up to handling the actual situation more effectively

Examples:

Write in detail about the situation that you will be facing and everything you fear will happen including all your worst case scenarios[1].  Re-write daily for at least 4 or 5 days before the event.


Style of Writing: Worry log

Helps With: Manages worrying; helps you to sort out whether your worrying is useful or otherwise; illustrates your vulnerabilities; and over time, and with continued use, helps to break the habit of constant worrying.

Examples:

A few words jotted on note pad every time you become aware of worrying thought.  (Could be a thought to do with a current problem or it could be a ‘what if’ kind of thought.  Could be a problem solving thought or could be pointless rumination).  Put aside a time at end of day (same time each day) to consult worry log.

 

 

[1] Of course if you become extremely uncomfortable, discontinue and seek professional advice.

The Good Fight

Chan and Sukumaran

Photo: Anita Kesuma courtesy of The Age

We are so saddened to hear of the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Our thoughts are with their families and friends.

We would also like to acknowledge and applaud the tireless work of the legal teams who fought – right to the final moment – to save these men’s lives.

It is a none too subtle reminder of why our work as lawyers is so vitally important. Sometimes politics prevails over the rule of law – but we should never give in.

Growing up, Dad worked in the same suburb as our school in Sweden.

Growing up, Dad worked in the same suburb as our school in Sweden. Mum would pick us all up from school (there were five kids) in a huge car, a spaceship. We would then go and pick Dad up from work every afternoon in the spaceship. I don’t remember this but my sisters tell me that one-day, we went to pick Dad up from work. Mum went into his work, and then came out and got in the car but Dad didn’t come. We were all asking where Dad was but Mum didn’t say anything. We got home and Dad came home about an hour later. He asked her why she didn’t pick him up. Apparently when Mum went to collect Dad, she looked through the glass and saw him kissing his co-worker. He ended up marrying his co-worker and they have two kids. I get on really well with his kids and say to people that there are seven kids in the family. Mum and Dad didn’t go through lawyers for their divorce and kept things pretty amicable. When I ask mum about it, she says that she is glad that dad cheated on her with a woman he ended up marrying rather than a one-night stand because at least something good was able to come out of it.

The unbearable lightness of being a (female) lawyer

by Arna Delle-Vergini

female lawyer pic

One of the frustrations of being a blawyer (lawyer/blogger) is that, more often than not, one cannot blog about one’s own clients. And yet, that is where all the best stories happen: in and around court. How to get around this? Well, this is this blawgers attempt. To protect my real identity, in this blog I’m going to call myself “Andy”. Oh, and I’ve made up a whole different country too. Just for added protection. 🙂

Once upon a time, there was a land called “Mysonia”.  It was a strange, half-forgotten land, where the quality of people’s lives was predetermined from birth essentially, according to the colour of their hair.  Basically, in this land, if you were born a brunette, you were considered to be a second-class citizen, blondes were first-class citizens and redheads were the ultimate rulers. Gender was irrelevant. In any event, there were rules and regulations about whom one could marry and have children with (as there are in our own country of course) but, since there were so many more brunettes than blondes or redheads, exceptions were allowed. These were rarely happy marriages though, as the brunettes would be routinely treated awfully by their partners and whilst there were laws that protected second-class citizens from being victimized, in practice, it happened all too often and little was done about it. Anyway, a great war broke out in this country and many people, of all different coloured hair, fled. Some fled to the US. Some to the UK. Some to France. Some to Sweden. And some saw fit to flee to Australia.

Our story picks up in Australia where “Andy” a lawyer is briefed to appear in a bail application on behalf of “Felicity” a blonde Mysonian who recently arrived in this country. Felicity had been charged (again) with breaching an intervention order. This was her third breach. She had a history outlining multiple assaults against her partner, Phillipe, who was; you guessed it, very much a brunette. On this occasion, Felicity bashed Phillipe so hard that he had to be hospitalized. After her arrest she made it very clear to the police that she had nothing but contempt for laws that protected brunettes from violent assaults and made it clear that she would repeat her behaviour the minute she was released. This was unhelpful for a bail application but Andy had been doing this for a while and was quite sure he could manage it.

It was 9.15am when Andy first met Felicity in the cells down in the Melbourne Remand Centre. He said a cheery “hello” and began to take Felicity through the remand brief. At one point he noticed Felicity looking at him strangely, but he decided to just continue. Eventually, he realized that the “strange” look was one of anger, possibly even contempt, so he asked Felicity if everything was all right.

“No, it’s not!” she said, with some anger. “They have sent me a prostitute”.

Andy looked around him quickly to see if anyone else had slipped into the interview room. Nope, just him.

“A prostitute?”

“In Mysonia, married brunettes do not work. The only brunettes who work are prostitutes. You are not married.”

Andy looked at his ring finger. “Oh, of course, I’m not married and I’m a brunette so you think I must be a prostitute”.

“You are a prostitute”.

Andy felt that, perhaps, reason might assist in this circumstance and explained: “Oh, no, you see, in this country, brunettes are allowed to work doing all sorts of work and it doesn’t matter whether they are married or not.”

Felicity did not seem at all pleased with this answer. In fact, she became angrier and demanded to know again why they had sent a prostitute in to act as her lawyer. Furthermore, Felicity didn’t believe, even in Australia, that Andy actually could have been a qualified lawyer, rather than a student, so she demanded to see Andy’s ID. Andy produced his ID but Felicity just became more and more enraged. She was starting to yell at this point and white flecks of foam were spurting out of her mouth. Eventually she started banging on the glass: “I want a proper lawyer. I want a redhead”.

Since Andy got paid either way, he was happy to leave Felicity foaming at the mouth in the cells while he organized a lawyer with different coloured hair to come and represent Felicity.  As luck would have it, there was a perfectly capable blonde idling about in chambers, so he flicked the brief to her and then casually made his way home.

As he was driving home he thought about two things. The first was how he might spend the rest of his day. (He favoured sitting at a café reading a book only slightly over sitting in a warm bath reading a book.). The second thought he had was: “what must it feel like to be born into a world that thinks you are superior by nature of your hair colour?” He had some idea of this because, in truth, even in Australia – the lucky country – there was a little of this caper going on. He had had some experience of people who were raised to see themselves as superior. These were people who were treated as smarter and funnier, even if they weren’t. These people were paid more to do the very same work as anyone else; consequently, they were typically wealthier. These people were given more airtime, as if everything that fell out of their mouths was golden when, really they talked as much rubbish as anyone else. These people often believed that they had no advantage whatsoever, but the moment someone tried to challenge them about their advantage, they instantly became very defensive and angry. They would say things like “just exactly who do you think you are?” Because Andy liked himself a lot, he didn’t spend a lot of time with these people but he had spent enough time with them to know that they existed and that, underneath it all, their greatest fear – greater than any other fear – was of being exposed. Their greatest fear was that one day, someone would discover that they were not actually superior after all. Andy couldn’t think of anything worse than living with a fear like this. It made him feel very sorry for them.

Postscript: Felicity was not satisfied with the blonde lawyer either and promptly sacked her. Felicity had come to feel a deep distrust of all Australian lawyers after having met Andy; after all, what kind of country allows brunettes to practice as lawyers anyway? No one will be surprised to hear that Felicity was not granted bail on this particular occasion.