‘Not bad, not bad.’
My new boss perused my letter, red pen hovering like a kestrel, ready to swoop on any infringements of grammar or law.
I relaxed a little. If it was taking this long to find a problem with my work then perhaps it was acceptable, good even. The relentless shifting from Partner to Partner as I made my way around the law firm in pursuit of qualification was fraught with danger. Should I write in first person or third? Did the client need an introductory paragraph or was that a waste of time and fees? But this boss seemed easy to please. He was handing my draft back for signing without a single red blemish. I stood a little taller in my stilettos. Three months in and already penning the perfect letter.
‘Hang on.’ He pulled the paper towards him and my confidence evaporated. ‘‘Outwith”? What kind of word is that?’
I wasn’t sure. It sounded legalistic and my boss, I mean yesterday’s boss, used it all the time.
‘Is it not right?’ I stuttered. I watched the red pen run it though like Zorro’s sword. In that moment I learned always to select my own words.