Open All Hours
Posted on 7th February 2022 by Daniel Picave
Where do we stand on open all hours, that is today's rub...
I regard myself as being in the people business.
I counsel them through the tough stuff in life. I stand shoulder to shoulder with them in family court when life is disintegrating. I entrench with them in civil court until a fair resolution is reached. I clothe them. I write stories for them. I am in the people business.
Two things happened in the last 24 hours which I wanted to share.
Friday evening about 8pm, my mobile rings and it is the office number on divert. I say hello, the caller says hello and then he bursts into tears.
He says he has a family crisis, the details aren't important but he is at his wit's end. He doesn't know what to do. He had surfed the internet and he found some phone numbers and he started ringing.
It is 8pm on a Friday night, there isn't a family law firm in the land who will answer his call. Somewhere on the list is my number, he dialled it, I answered it. I settled him down and we are working together to fix his issue.
The point is this, I am in a people business and more specifically, I am in the crisis business. People don't ring me to invite me to the wedding, they ring me to ask me to officiate the divorce. So I need to answer the phone because crises don't work 9am to 5pm.
Anyway, Saturday morning I am in my office reading a property dispute case bundle (I know, I know how to live!) and the phone rings. I say hello, the caller says hello and then she says the strangest thing (and I quote):
"it is Saturday morning and no self respecting solicitor would answer their phone to a client, it is not usual business hours. My client is being compromised because you work every day."
I asked who her client was and she told me. Her client and her for that matter had lost the last round with me and my client, so I empathised with her frustration.
She went on, "Out of professional courtesy, I would ask you to adopt a similar approach to the rest of us."
I pondered for a moment and offered my reply...
"I am in the people business. I am not a solicitor. If and when my client needs me, I will answer the phone. If your client is feeling compromised, tell him to call me, we can settle this dispute like civilised human beings instead of gladiators and for far less money."
She hung up....rude.
I do work in family court and civil court and in a counselling suite but only because that is where the people are.
I don't work 9 to 5, I could work 9 to 5 but I choose not to. I don't need that regimentation. I don't like it. I like the lack of boundaries so all my worlds just merge into one.
What about you? How are your work-life boundaries?
If I haven't mentioned it already, I am in the people business.
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