Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Self Portrait #1

Many years ago I was interviewed because someone wanted to include my life as one thread in a web of LGBT peoples' stories.

To my knowledge the project was never completed. However, I did get a draft of the interview manuscript to check.

Before it gets lost, perhaps I should air it.

It's raw for sure. Honest and open. Impulsive even - bear in mind the text comes from responses to an interview.

I remember that Xfe certainly wasn't happy with some of the things I had said. But if I said it, I must have felt or at least perceived it. Having flicked through it I think he didn't like how it made him sound...

Well, just in case you thought you knew me, think again....

I fell into the work I do by accident. It’s funny: you have to go back to my parents to understand it. Both my parents left school when they were about 16. My father was an only child and I think he was just expected to go out and work. He went to trades college and became a joiner, then he joined the fire brigade as a fireman and subsequently became a fire officer and went into fire prevention and stuff. My mother was the middle child of five. They all had the opportunity to go to university except her; she doesn’t rate herself academically. Funnily enough, her talent was singing and dancing. She was offered the opportunity to go professional but her father wouldn’t allow her to, so she went out to work fairly young. I think she always had felt undervalued because of that. So she was very conscious of wanting to give my brother and me the best chances we could have. We were given the chance to try for private school, and we both got in. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. My mother and I were talking about the possibility of my being a lawyer and she decided it was a good idea. From then on it was fixed. She set it in my mind, and I didn’t think of doing anything else. Then, when I started thinking about it properly, I decided it was as good as anything else. Doing a law degree opens up a lot of opportunities. You don’t have to become a lawyer; there are many other avenues it opens up. So I applied to Scottish universities, got the results I needed and ended up doing my law degree.

The system’s slightly different in Scotland. Typically, if you want to become a lawyer, you do a law degree, whereas in England you do your degree and then think about going to law school to do a conversion course. So that was the climate I was in. They were all doing law degrees and were pretty focused on becoming lawyers. Usually what happens is that after your law degree you have to do a one-year post graduate diploma, then a two-year traineeship, then you qualify as a lawyer. The further I got the more I thought, “I have to get to the end of this,” even though I still thought I could possibly do something else. But then of course you become qualified as a lawyer and you get offered a job and you think, “I’ll just get a couple of years’ experience because then I’ll be more marketable”—and two years later you’ve bought a house and you think,” “Well, I’d better carry on earning so I can continue paying the mortgage,” and then, before you know it, you’re so far gone that it’s is too late to change and do something else. You just progress down a route and the further down it you go, the harder it is to about-turn and head back.

I decided not to change career but to leave where I was in Aberdeen and move down to London I thought, “This is my last chance. If I don’t do it, it’s just going to be too late.” I’d qualified and done well in a pretty good Scottish firm, where I’d been promoted, then made a partner, then about three years after becoming a partner, I thought, “This is going to be it for the rest of my life unless I do something now.” I really didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in Aberdeen so I decided to leave and find a new job in London.


Nik_TheGreek said...

That's a nice pic...
Now, where is the rest of the story? :-p

MadeInScotland said...

Worry not Nic, it will come...

It was an overlong interview, so I've split it over 13 posts.

As to the pics, well, honest with text, honest with pic... It's me; raw and unedited.



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