Once your goal has been achieved/prey caught and dispatched with ruthless efficiency, what are you left with? A medal that’ll lay untouched in a drawer for years, a shaken-to-death grey squirrel or a half-eaten mouse. Hardly seems worth the effort, does it?Sir Alex Ferguson used to say that the pure, unfiltered joy of winning a major trophy only lasted about 30 seconds. After that the elation drained away quickly and he was back to planning how to be even better next season. And so it was with Daughter #1 last week. After three years of a Covid-disrupted slog through Liverpool University studying for a law degree, she was desperate for a first. Even though she was still working her part-time job (if you’ve rung up for a moan at the council over the last 18 months, chances are you’ve spoken to her) she kept working hard at her studies with her eyes fixed firmly on the prize.Then last Monday she got the news she’d been waiting for and called to say she’d got a first.What is there to say, apart from well done, you worked hard for that and you deserve it? She did sound pretty chuffed. If that was me (fat chance! I went to what was, the last time I bothered to check, the worst ranked uni in the country and knew I’d be getting a Desmond* within about six weeks of arriving) I’d commission a bespoke gold lamé bucket hat with I GOT A FIRST!!!! written out in flashing lights and worn it til Christmas. For work. Next day I texted to ask how it felt to be strolling around her new home city of Manchester with a first in law in her back pocket? And she replied: “Forgot about it tbh.” And here’s the thing. Employers couldn’t give a stuff about your qualifications or where you got them from.
One of the partners at Daughter #1’s new law firm told her straight. All they’re interested in is what you can do to improve their business. That’s it. One of the reasons she got her new job was through her council experience of dealing with often angry and sometimes desperate people at their wits’ end, and then finding a way to calm them down, learning exactly what it is that they want and then trying to help them get it. You know? Real life. *Desmond Tutu, a 2:2, the absolute bog-standard, will-this-do? class of degree.