Chapter 9Belonging

For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love, Meaning and Connection are the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire.

Viktor Frankl1

There's a scene in the film, The Devil Wears Prada,2 in which Emily (Emily Blunt) tosses a fat black binder full of photographs onto Andy's (Anne Hathaway's) desk and tells her she needs to memorise the names and faces of everyone in the binder within a few hours.

The scene then cuts to a charity gala event later that evening, in the course of which Andy leans over and whispers into her tyrannical boss Miranda Priestly's (Meryl Streep's) ear the name and backstory of a particularly prestigious guest who is approaching, thereby saving Miranda from embarrassment, outshining her co-assistant Emily, and securing a stellar future for herself.

This scene played on loop in my head in the few weeks running up to the CMS merger on 1 May 2017. I was carrying around in my handbag a dog-eared stapled-together bundle of photographs of all of the partners in the new firm, and poring over it whenever I had a few minutes to spare – on the train, in the queue for coffee, at bedtime – ‘this is Phil, a partner in the corporate practice, specialising in technology … this is Susie, a litigator, specialising in fraud …’

In my case, the reasons were less to do with embarrassment, or meteoric career trajectories and all about ...

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