Cradle to Grave … In strictly professional terms I hasten to add!

I just came back from lunch with someone who I class a friend.

And who I think it’s fair to say I have helped shape his career every step of the way.

Back in the mid 80’s this guy was a civil engineer and I suspect a very good one. He rang me one night after hours and asked if I could help. He told me that he’s spoken to a number of other recruiters all of whom had been less than encouraging.

His story was simple – he was indeed an excellent civil engineer but, due to his strange love of the law which he had formed when negotiating huge contracts relating to massive construction projects, he had decided to complete a part time law degree – to add to his other degrees. Having cruised through the law degree and still being in love with the law (this has persisted throughout his professional life!) he had come to the conclusion that he wanted to be a lawyer.

This was a weighty decision – he was married with 3 young children and would be surrendering a gold plated pension in preference for 1 year of Finals, 2 years of training contract and no guarantee of a job upon qualification.

One of my then excellent clients recognised the potential of the guy, paid for him to do his Finals and gave him a training contract. This led to a job upon qualification and despite there being a massive crash around when he qualified (boy did I feel nervous on his behalf) through sheer hard work, determination and not an inconsiderable amount of skill he was one of the few trainees to get a job that year. Maybe because he was a “retread” in terms of professions he knew what hard work meant and soon enough he was a partner, then a partner in a global law firm and just when things looked very rosy – there was another major crash in the global economy and he was effectively “out on his ear”. Undeterred and perhaps because he had no option than to work (no off shore trust fund for him!) he set up his own niche law firm, had great success with that and then was attracted back into the fold and joined a very successful National firm during a period of great and sustained expansion.

Over the years I’ve met his family and he’s met mine. I’ve provided work experience for one of his children (who went on to be a very successful City Lawyer) and he for mine (who decided law wasn’t for her and is now a global head-hunter!). I was invited to his 60th birthday party and if it wasn’t for me being very ill I’d have been there to toast the success of someone I now call a friend and a very successful lawyer. Over the years I’ve used him on countless times as a lawyer and a sounding board and he has also used me for the latter.

So why am I telling this story – to demonstrate that unlike lots of other recruiters out there, I and all of my team take a long term and sometimes VERY long term interest in everyone we come into contact with and it is NEVER EVER just for the money. Trite to say but nonetheless true – we are here to help people truly shape their careers – we’ve been in this game far too long to be anything other than long and sometimes VERY long term.



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