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Mediator : A Day In The Life Of

Alarm goes…
Shower – there’s only one positive – it’s too early for the kids to have taken all the hot water
Peck on the cheek

Taxi toots – wakes the dog
Driver makes small talk – too early, I’m not even talking to myself let alone anyone else. I freeze him out

Empty streets; Wellington is stirring on a drizzly winter morning but greens all the way to the roundabout – a good start
Update office voice mail from the back seat with today’s date and activity

Arrive Wellington Airport, raining heavily now. My coat is back at the office.
Straight through to the
Koru Club, having obtained a boarding pass via my laptop last night
Regular shoe clean on the Koru shoeshine machine (the receptionist tells me for the umpteenth time only me and local politician Winston Peters use it)
Review litigation papers over an average cup of coffee in a quiet corner of the lounge

Go to security, I’m in luck – the line is short – the guy having a bad hair day in front has enough change, keys and assorted metal objects to get to go inside a booth with an 800lb gorilla

Flight NZ406
Front window seat 2A, slight chop at 23,000ft
Decline a mineral water
Continue my review of the papers – woman in 2B keeps peeking – I put her off with a withering look.
Power nap until the engine pitch changes. For a moment I think the pilot has knocked the on/off switch and my heart rate spikes – it gives me the adrenaline hit I need

Gentle landing against the odds as from the pilot’s voice he sounded like a learner. A quick disembark – time to grab breakfast at the Auckland lounge – I like their fruit toast

My regular driver Graham is waiting amongst a gaggle of drivers with name boards
Hit the Auckland traffic; it’s slow despite going a sneeky back way
Awake now, we talk about Graham’s latest family drama – no real answers I’m afraid

Drop off at a cafe, a block away from the law firm venue
my opening over a second (real) coffee and do my usual back of my pad ‘standard lumps and bumps’ analysis and mediator predictions for the coming day

Arrive at the law firm and
change the room around. Whistle up a whiteboard and 3 different coloured pens. Can’t find an eraser, I’ll have to use my hankie again


Break for lunch – because of private discussions with each party, I get to eat my emergency muesli bar kept in my bag for such occasions


Resolution not looking likely
I text home and say I probably won’t be late

Someone blinks and we get back on track

We are writing it up, some tax wrinkles emerge but we iron them out

Handshakes all round and
the room empties quickly
I indulge myself for just a moment as that feeling all mediators live for settles on my shoulder
Ring a taxi – Graham has gone home to sort things out
While I’m waiting, I use my
Treo to take a photo of the boardroom carpet for my rather flaky series of posts on ‘carpets upon which I have mediated’ and hope no none is looking

Taxi arrives
I sort out the file in the back seat and return email and voice mail – great, some
new jobs
I text family cellphones to say I’m late/I’m tired/I love them – expecting some a like message and some sympathy. I get a reply saying ‘k dat’s kul’ from my 13 year old, no one else bothers.

I make the 8pm flight, front window seat again but this time have the luxury of a vacant one beside me
I decline the mineral water in favour of a half hour sleep

On landing, an effusive and high pitched ‘thank you for flying with Air NZ’ speech – not that there’s any real choice
Line of 50 taxis to choose from. I walk to the top of the queue, while the guy behind me takes the closest car prompting a sharp exchange between rival taxi companies

In the gate.
Dog goes nuts – kids underwhelmed – Susan has a smile
Someone kept dinner for me. I reheat it.
On the couch for the last half of
Boston Legal with anyone who will join me – a bit like the opening frames of The Simpsons

Gotta’ love it… 



Geoff Sharp

Geoff Sharp is a Commercial Mediator from Wellington, New Zealand. Geoff works in the Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Pacific Islands. He is a mediator resolving business problems. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and mediates complex and hotly debated litigation covering… MORE >

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