Welcome to the National Hugging Day edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, someone is miserable at a Big 4 firm. AGAIN. Perhaps it’s been awhile since we’ve covered this, so we’ll make another run at it.
Need some advice on a busy season take-out routine? Worried that a client’s strange penchant for ginormous vehicles could be a Ponz? Having trouble coming up with a superhero name? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you avoid something that involves a flying mammal.
Back to our accountant who really needs a hug:
I started with a Big Four firm a little over a year ago. When I accepted the offer pay was a HUGE concern for me. I took an over $20k/year pay cut to accept a “campus hire” position with a firm when I had six years of accounting experience under my belt (I worked my way up from clerk to manager in the years before joining the firm). At that time they weren’t even considering people with non-public accounting experience for experienced hire positions. I was wrapping up my 150 units (even though I am in a 120 unit state) and figured the experience would be worth it so I could get certified and bounce to somewhere that would pay me appropriately.
Unfortunately, I’m now a second year staffer who is expected to work more than my peers- because “I can handle it.” I haven’t had time to study or sit for a single CPA exam and no one seems to care aside from telling me I won’t get promoted until they’re all done. I requested a lighter workload during the summer so I could study but was turned down, sent on an extended out of town engagement with very long hours and then scheduled on another out of town engagement for the one week my boyfriend was supposed to be in town for work. I feel like I am giving up my entire life for a job that doesn’t even care about me.
I’ve tried multiple times to tell the firm about my concerns and am always shut down. It’s not like I hate the job- I actually like it- I just can’t stand feeling overlooked at best and mistreated at worst. I am burnt out and just wish that this job was more in line with my goals. I’m probably not going to quit during busy season because I cannot imagine doing that to the people I’ve come to care about- those whom I actually work with- but I probably won’t be there in the summer if something doesn’t dramatically change.
I feel lost, like I don’t know what else I can do and like I will go apeshit and quit the day the external binder for my client is turned in. I wish it weren’t the case and don’t know if you have any other suggestions for me at this point. Can you think of anything I can do to save my career and my sanity?
Dear I need a hug,
Your email was ridiculously long, so you’ll note we edited some things out that we found to be less important. We’ll channel a certain Irish talking head to any would-be advice seekers – keep it pithy. If not, expect your message to ignored or edited until it’s a manageable length. You want a full session? Get a therapist.
Now, then. You took a risk. A good risk in our opinion but a risk nonetheless and now it sounds like things haven’t panned out the way you hoped. It sounds like you’ve taken many different approaches to address the problem but ultimately it’s falling on deaf ears and now you feel like it’s affecting your life in an extremely negative way. We would suggest leaving ASAP for your own mental health but since quitting right this second (even though others are doing it) doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in doing, we suggest that you at the very least get the ball rolling. Call up some reputable recruiters in your city and explain your situation. They’ll take a look at your experience and will hopefully be able to give you an opinion on your experience to date and some good options for employment post busy season.
Honestly, you sounds miserable, so we encourage you to get out fast but be mindful to find a job that will meet your work-life needs and is “more in line with [your] goals,” to use your own words. It sounds like you’ve already made up your mind that you’ll quit after busy season but there are some things you can do now so that you’ll have something to look forward to rather than going apeshit. Hang in there and good luck.