The advocate

“… and thirdly … you aren’t a very good trainer.”

I work for my brother. Have done for years now. Me from home. Him from the London office. We meet each Friday (holiday and family commitments excepted).

I thought about running my own business years ago. Even tried it once. It wasn’t for me.

Because he is my brother I can say (or not say) stuff like that to him when we have lunch each week. Just like he does to me because he is my boss and brother.  Bosses and brother.  Not-bosses and brothers.  It works for us both (usually).  The latest conversation was about him covering my not-boss job when I go on holiday.  He has for years.

The rows we have had!

My holidays have to work around his holidays AND his not-holidays … I (and my wife) like to plan ahead and book a bargain … he doesn’t … I get mad … he gets “tolerant” (how bosses get mad when they say they aren’t) … his getting “tolerant” winds me up even more … he then combines boss and big brother – and treats me like a kid brother (even though he obviously doesn’t because bosses don’t do that) … and that winds me up even more and I want to punch his lights out (like a kid brother)

We get over it (usually).

So the latest solution is for a colleague to be trained to cover my holidays so he doesn’t have to.   Except we disagree on the training.  He thinks he can (I know he can’t) – he thinks I make my job too complicated (I know he doesn’t know the details) – he thinks he knows the details (I know he doesn’t).  We get over it (usually).

Yesterday my truth was that my brother “needed” to hear he is not the trainer (he thinks he is). Yesterday he needed me to hear that the target we agreed he has revised (without telling anyone). Come September (and the next holiday) that may change – and there may be another row … either loud and fractious – or silent and hurtful (we can do both).

But underneath it all …

I know he cares even when he doesn’t – and he knows I do too.  We both care – the same and – often – differently.  The caring doesn’t change – but the how does.  And usually that is enough.  Except sometimes it’s not.

And when it’s not … ?

The business has a “Joint Managing Director” – a work “equal-boss” to my brother.  It was why I said yes to the offer of my employment years ago.  Having someone I could turn to – someone to check whether I was right and wrong – someone who could tell my brother he was right and wrong – an “advocate” who cares the same but differently.

Because loving and caring can be the same and different – because our truth changes back and forth as we each change.  Love never changes – it’s just that we do – we have to – we have no choice.

And that is why having an advocate … ?

It works.


John 14


4 thoughts on “The advocate

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