I am pleased to welcome Dr Davina Charon, a cousin of mine, who specialises in cosmic ordering, neuro-linguistic programming and giving advice. She has been a guest agony aunt on several give away supermarket style magazines, so I have invited her to guest as an agony aunt on my blawg from time to time.
Dear Dr Davina,
I am an associate in a City law firm (PQE4). Recently, I have noticed that my girlfriend does not seem to be quite so fascinated when I talk to her about my day and my plans for progressing within the firm. I was rather disappointed, to say the least, when two weeks ago, she declined to accept my invitation to come to my firm’s May Ball. This did not go down at all well with the managing partner when I told him that I was coming alone. He told me that if my girlfriend was not prepared to be supportive I should ring an agency and hire an escort for the evening. The firm prides itself on demonstrating to clients that all the lawyers with the firm are family men and women. I suppose my selection of a Ukranian poledancer was not wise, in retrospect. Should I tell my girlfriend that unless she is prepared to take a long term view and support me, it might be best that she seeks a position elsewhere? We don’t live together, but I do try to see her on a Saturday night and phone every night at 10.30 when I get in – although recently her mobile seems to be switched off when I call. I have not been able to see her for some time, in fact since the firm’s May Ball, because of a big banking deal I’m working on. The firm does not allow us to use our email addresses for personal correspondence, so we do not keep in touch by email and she has not replied to the letter, sent by special delivery, only last week.
You probably did not learn any social skills on your LPC; possibly because you were on one of those firm specific courses and only met people from similar backgrounds to your own. Your CV, which you kindly attached to your letter, reveals that you spent most of your time at university rowing, playing rugby and being a member of a male drinking society. I don’t know how many girlfriends you have had. Your CV did not list any information. The briefing paper on your girlfriend, also attached, complete with her CV and the background credit checks you obtained through an agency, indicates to me that you view your relationship with your girlfriend as a career step and I suspect that she has finally realised this, which is why she declined the opportunity to attend your firm’s May Ball and has thrown her mobile away. She may also have moved, which is why she has not responded to your special delivery letter. I’m a bit surprised that you did not consider having the letter served personally on her.
It is always difficult to accept the ending of a relationship, but, frankly, it seems clear to me that your girlfriend has already decided to move on and therefore your advice to her on the matter is probably redundant. This, at least, will save you a bit of time because you will not need to draft any more letters to her. The path to partnership is long and arduous. I have no doubt, when you do make partner, that you will be able to find a suitable companion. In the meantime, why not continue to hire a girlfriend / wife as and when you need one for firm events? You firm is unlikely to take any interest in your personal life beyond their immediate concern that you present your girlfriend/wife occasionally and it probably won’t matter if you have a different girl each time.
Hope this helps