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Charity golf days, axe-throwing, and office shenanigans

View profile for Richard Carter
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An important client is running a golf day. As managing partner I know it’s important we go, press the flesh, smile a lot, do not win and behave impeccably. I press gang 3 really reliable colleagues who are not golf bandits. It’s a great day, the sun shines, we play well, and after we have tucked into the traditional golf royal banquet (ham, egg and chips always)  there’s the dreaded charity auction.

This is really tricky. You know you have to bid, and worse, you are sort of expected by the client to “win” something. The lots on offer are usually a mixed bag. Some you would love to win (a round of golf at a course you can never usually play) whilst others (a signed photo of John Terry in full kit or corporate tickets to see a Wham tribute band at Leeds Castle with special guest “Sophie sings Adele”) are definitely items you want to avoid. The dilemma is to try and win something that means you avoid having your finance director rolling his eyes at you but ensures the client is happy you’ve added to their charity total. You bid for the golf four-ball, but some plumbers with a pile of actual cash on the next table outbid you, you have to go higher, they outbid you again and so it goes on. Sweaty palmed you win and pay £620 for something you could have bought for £400 at the course. Importantly the Client is satisfied but I’ll have to face a cold stare from the non-golf playing finance director which is guaranteed tomorrow when the invoice turns up. “Come on Mark it’s for Charity mate” is going to fall on deaf ears. But at least I don’t have to look at John Terry’s mug in the downstairs loo for the next 6 months nor listen to Sophie murdering Someone Like You in the pouring rain on August bank holiday.

Since COVID we have taken to having our staff Summer social event on a work day afternoon and closing the office for the afternoon. It ensures everyone can make it and we’ve have been lucky that the sun has shone in the 3 years we’ve done this. This year we went to the Secret Garden, a superb venue in Ashford and a good time was had by all. Getting everyone together socially when you have offices in 5 separate locations is a key priority for us. The photo booth is always massively popular as departments and offices get team photos which decorate the wall next to their desk for the next 6 months. My observation of these photos is they usually involves the trainee holding up a sign saying “I’m wasted”, secretaries humiliating partners by dressing them in cowboy gear and forcing them to hold a sign saying “Yee Ha” and someone blinking every time the camera goes off making them look asleep. This year the extra event was axe throwing. Big queues formed. The marketing department monsters were still smarting from being singled out in last week’s blog so they printed my photo for the axe target. I am slightly concerned at the venom shown by some slight mild people in accounts launching an axe at my photo whilst releasing a loud guttural roar of “aaargh”. The pleasure at splitting my head with a sharp blade is also slightly disconcerting. I wake up with a headache the next day – coincidence?

Next week...

"I’m a solicitor not a bleeding tax collector" and "An Interview with some dutch courage"