On April 27th, after receiving my marching orders, I dashed home. Once I’d spoken to three different men who were, or had been, important in my life, I cried for a while. Trying to pluck up the courage to call my parents, because I was worried (needlessly) that they would be angry with me for losing my job, I turned to my computer and started emailing anyone and everyone who I thought might be able to help. One such email went out to a few key people, some of whom I had met, others virtual acquaintances, and the gist of it was “I need a good employment lawyer”.
One of the first to reply was Colin Randall, French Bureau Chief of the Daily Telegraph. We had never met, he had simply linked to my blog a couple of times, and I had emailed him briefly to say hello. Colin wasn’t sure whether he had any useful contacts in the legal profession, but he did want to meet me. He felt sure that my story would be of interest to his readers.
We met soon afterwards, chatted over a bottle of wine. I joked afterwards that the alcohol must have been intended to loosen my tongue, but the fact was that until I had consulted a press lawyer, I wasn’t even sure I would let any story run. Even after I’d received the green light from my lawyer, I still kept Colin hanging on until shortly after my contract had officially ended in early July, and he respected my wishes. Throughout that trying time, he kept in touch regularly to see how I was doing.
When the story broke on July 18th, Colin fielded calls from other journalists and passed me the details; gave me advice about what it would be wise to accept or decline. I don’t think I could have navigated my way through those murky waters – in the middle of moving house (!) – without his help.
Last week I received a shocking text message which made me gasp when I read it: “My turn to get fired.” I had read about rounds of redundancies at The Telegraph, but I knew Colin’s blog was the most popular on the newspaper’s website, and never dreamed for a second that his name would come up.
Colin’s final post has just been published here. I would like to wish Colin well for whatever the future holds, and will be offering a little assistance in sprucing up his new, and hopefully temporary abode at blogspot.
I hope I haven’t jinxed any one else?