This week, we are sharing G’s story, who is a senior associate in a private practice.
I didn’t really know of anybody in the IP profession being from the North East and there wasn’t much exposure to patents and trademarks above Milton Keynes at that point. Obviously now business is booming in the Northern regions of the UK which is great to see.
My only knowledge of legal services were through solicitors within the family and family friends. I remember asking someone about the interview process and how daunting it would be. We then discussed my ‘situation’ and whether I should keep this a secret during an interview process – probably due to the stereotype of the business being quite ‘stuffy’.
My interview was rather different in that my employer paid for me to travel to Munich to hold the interview. I’m obviously so old that Whereby and Skype didn’t exist as they do today (and I’m not even that old)! Anyway, after the discussions about me keeping my situation a ‘secret’, I decided not to mention it during the interview unless I was asked.
I arrived in Munich, and it was a very hot July. My Mum had just bought me a new suit (the ‘power suit’ she liked to call it – probably a mother’s instinct to instil some sort of confidence into her little boy) and I arrived at the office drenched in sweat. Honestly, Tony Blair looked tame compared to me at this point – I was absolutely dripping.
My eventual boss walked in to the conference room to greet me and asked if I would like to take my jacket off, which I politely declined. I just remember being welcomed by very warm and friendly faces from the minute that I walked into the office – everyone was just so nice and I felt at ease. The interview went on with many technical questions, a little exercise of drafting a stapler and a physics test under supervision. It all seemed to be going well and I felt very warm feelings from my interviewers – and not due to the hotter-than-the-sun type of day we were having.
I was asked to go for lunch with what would be my eventual colleague and adopted sister over here in Munich. We went for Italian food at a local restaurant and it was still one of the hottest days I have ever felt – so much so that it is easy to get distracted whilst eating a bowl of carbonara. This man walked past in Lederhosen and I just couldn’t help but be distracted by the beauty of the German tracht. My eventual colleague obviously noticed that I was distracted and looked over her shoulder. We just instantly knew what had happened and both just laughed at my ‘outing’.
Needless to say, the day was not overshadowed by my sexuality, but somehow the afternoon interview went even better because I felt a relief that I did not need to hide the real me – I was at ease and I was being myself, I had all the qualifications and could do this! I was offered a job later that afternoon and still work at the same firm now.