Volume 9, Issue 8
I considered myself a lucky clerk at Mid Tier & Firm. The people were friendly. The work was interesting. The partner referred to me as “mate” and never wore a tie.
It was awesome. And every day that I left at 5:00pm (not a minute late for the entire three and a half weeks) I thanked my lucky stars that I’d gotten the opportunity to work at MT & F. I even got to work on [redacted] on behalf of [redacted]. I mean what an honour! [redacted] is legendary!
And then came the Monday of my last week.
The situation was this: mid-cheery chat with a senior associate and a graduate, the issue of the one and only Donald Trump (or Donald Drumpf for those of you who watch John Oliver) came up.
In retrospect its occurrence was written in fate. The man they call “The Donald” had recently mounted a spirited defence of his plan to build a wall on ‘Murica’s Southern Border’, instructed participants at his rally to “beat the crap” out of protestors representing, and, most insidiously, used “nuclear” as a noun in a policy discussion.
The graduate let out an exasperated sigh: “what are the American people thinking?” she lamented.
The senior associate nodded vigorously in agreement: “The guy from Apprentice could be running for president… how preposterous”
I followed suit, but didn’t allow my eagerness to deride the Republican front-runner show: “it’s pretty tragic, isn’t it?”
Then came the partner’s interjection. And my whole world was turned on its head.
“Aww y’know, there’s nothing wrong with a hard line.” He said, oozing the confidence of a guy who called all the shots but didn’t follow the dress code.
The air around my cubicle changed. Paralegals in proximity to our discussion visibly contracted as partner-without-a-tie ventured physically and metaphorically into our casual conversation.
“Sure he’s rough around the edges, but don’t you want someone like that in American politics? Someone other than a machine politician?”
The senior associate and I locked eyes. Something told me this wasn’t the first time partner-mc-hard-line had gone Mark Latham on the rest of the office. I silently pleaded with him to venture a response. But to no avail.
I ever so slowly spun my chair around to face the partner, my mind racing at breakneck speed. Do I challenge the partner and sterilise the hope of ever getting a grad job? Or abandon my principles (that I had already compromised by taking a clerkship) by expressing tacit agreement?
I was now facing partner-mc-sympathy-with-fascists. He looked expectant – who was I, clerk-without-any-other-placements-who’d-partly-gotten-this-placement-through-nepotism, to defy him?
And then, at that very moment, his desk phone rang. By this time I had met his gaze, and a full five seconds had passed since his second comment.
He slowly retreated into his office to take the call.
And I into the introversion that would characterise my final week.
Have a funny clerkship story but still want a grad job? Send it to mlsdeminimis@gmail and we’ll publish it anonymously.
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