Life as a trainee can be like war: long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of terror.
You spend weeks on a numbing due diligence exercise, checking the same eighteen boxes on the same form, thousands of them, all day, every day. Not even the God of Bore itself, a composite of Paul Scholes and my friend's dad, could design a better way to plough your synapses into a fugue state. But when you finally collapse into bed, your traitorous mind asks whether you missed one anomaly in one of those boxes, and leaves you to picture the ball-crushing negligence claim and shameful end of your professional life that would surely follow, and your heartbeat accelerates and your stomach spasms like a wrung flannel and your guts actually weirdly seem to be burning and now your heart is a black stone hammering through your back and only a desperate, calming act of onanism can lull you to rest.
Basically, it's like working quality control on an M&M conveyor belt where if you don't spot the Smartie they shoot your kids. That's what it's like. Like war.
Sometimes you think you've been given a breeze of an assignment, but you haven't, you're just desperate. So when a partner tells you to collect his forgotten gym kit, you're so Shawshanked you treat a visit to a basement thick with hot BO like a trip to Santorini. When you're safely back in corporate with his ponging spinning vest and your Stockholm syndrome, perhaps the gym receptionist, perhaps in between sipping water from a cone and offering bending advice, perhaps he wondered what trauma turned you into a broken spaniel.
But let's not plumb those depths with Gavin. Occasionally good things do happen to bored people, and those lucky roffers have revealed on the discussion board their best experience as a trainee. Here is the top ten ordered correctly by me.
10. "Purchasing counterfeit womens' trainers in Peacocks stores in East London for a TM infringement case, looking like a weirdo in a suit buying womens' shoes."
| It's homework.
9. "A week looking though porn mags to find breaches of copyright."
| Julie notes that Denise from Ipswich looks suspiciously like Amy from Stockport.
8. "Test-purchasing champagne in swanky West End bars."
|Nicky disliked champagne but had a camel's thirst for chablis.|
7. "My firm acted for the BDO in the darts litigation against the WDC. I got to meet and hang out with lots of top darts players and got to know Tony Green quite well."
|Up to the oche - and listen to Tony.
6. "Chasing a well known gossip columnist around the city to serve a writ on him."
|Probably not him, but he's not going to sue now.
5. "I had an assignment in Zurich where I had to supervise a bunch of document-scanning monkeys to scan stuff at some head office in response to a subpoena. After identifying the relevant documents in the first week all I had to do was go to the office, open up, let the monkeys in then go and find somewhere to have a nap. Did that for another week - went out on the p*ss till about 3 or 4am every night. Good times."
| His reign was brief and negligent.
4. "There was a large development contract for a bus lane to go through a nature reserve. The environmentalists were all up in arms but the government wanted to push ahead. I spent a week walking through the nature reserve with a bunch of scientists and greenies and government peeps observing them recording all the flora and fauna along the proposed route. I was there to write an independent verification report that everything had been done properly. Way better than being in an office looking at documents."
| Reader, she approved the bulldozers.
3. "Being invited to a closing celebration in Dublin: Michelin star restaurant for lunch, evening beers with the client, hotel, lunch the next day in a fancy café sat next to Pierce Brosnan and his wife, then to Lansdowne Road for Ireland v Australia...all paid for by the client."
| Double oh who gives a toss about the Bribery Act.
2. "Having to go to the old Bourse in Paris to pick up three billion in bearer bonds in a briefcase which was handcuffed to my wrist, and taking it across Paris in a cab to the client at La Defence. I was convinced all the way I was going to get mugged and have my arm chopped off with a machete."
| That is pretty cool.
1. "The day spent looking through the house of a man who had died unexpectedly. His estranged wife had asked that a solicitor locate various items including all photos, negatives and undeveloped film. Found the films in the fridge. Eventually found the rest in a locked filing cabinet that the removal man helped me break into. We could see exactly why she was so keen to get them back."
|What they found.|
If you've had an unusual training experience, maybe it involved a tricycle and pirates, chime in.