Welcome to the Bachmann 2012 edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a Big 4 acceptee’s beloved is moving across the country while he’s stuck with his job in New York. Does he request a transfer, stick it out or simply choose love over money?

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Back to our ockquote>Hi Caleb,

I graduated from a west coast college and moved to the New York after graduation with a few friends. I ended up going back to school out here (NY) and am getting my Masters in Accounting in June. I went through the accounting hiring process this past Fall and did much better than I expected, receiving offers from a few mid-tier firms and two from the Big 4. I ended up accepting an entry level audit position in a New York Big 4 office and am starting in the Fall (2011).

However, my girlfriend, who I am serious with, is getting transferred for work to the city I was born and raised in on the West Coast. I had always planned on working in New York for a few years and transferring/moving back closer to my family. Now I wish I had gone through the interview process for the specific west coast office where my family lives but I have already accepted my offer for the east coast office.

I know there are a lot of politics in the Big 4 and I don’t want to be viewed as a problem child/uncommitted by asking if I could transfer to the west coast before even working a day at the firm. And if I start in the New York office and want to transfer: first, I have no idea how long I would need to work there for for a transfer to be appropriate (both to ask for one as well as how long it would possibly take), and second, a long distance relationship would be stressful and not ideal (duh).

So, my two options seem to be:
a) Ask my HR contact at my firm or my manager I interviewed with about my situation and see what they can do.
b) Suck it up and work (a while? how long?) at the New York office until it’s an appropriate time to transfer.

Thanks in advance,
Lost but in Love

Dear LbiL,

I never thought I’d actually delve into relationship-cumBig 4 career advice but luckily for you I have a similar experience so here goes nothing.

I know the LDR situation all too well, so we feel your pain. It can be good if you like space but it can be bad, well…obviously. What’s missing from your story is your better half’s side. Is her company requiring her to move to the west coast or is this her choice? If it’s the latter, did you discuss the potential ramifications of such a move? You say, “I wish I had gone through the interview process for the specific west coast office where my family lives but I have already accepted my offer for the east coast office,” but this is meaningless since we get the impression that you accepted your Big 4 dream job (with the intention to work in New York for “a few years”) prior to your girlfriend’s transfer.

Assuming you’ve talked this over with your g/f, she certainly has an opinion on the matter. If she can’t live with you being so far away, that sounds a bit needy (but maybe you like that). If she’s indifferent (i.e. she says, “do what you want” or “I don’t want you moving because of me”), perhaps she’s passive-aggressive, incapable of emotional intimacy or a little freaked out about the seriousness of the situation and doesn’t want to held responsible if things go wrong. If the two of you have actually sat down, talked it over and she says, “I’ll support you in your choice, whatever that may be,” you have a winner. But remember, ultimately it is your decision.

Now, then. Your firm. Odds are, they won’t be impressed with your request for a transfer straight out of the gate but situations similar to yours have surely come up in the past, so hopefully they’ll be sympathetic. Problem is – as you mentioned – transfers do involve the intricacies of the Big 4 bureaucracy so you’re looking at a slow process and they could just say, “no” or “right now we need you here but we’ll continue to work on it.” That being said, if moving back to to the left coast is really what you want to do, then you’ll never know unless you ask. Sooooo, ask the question (being prepared for “no”) and then go from there. If your firm isn’t accommodating you and you’re still head over heels in love, you can always quit and hitch it west. I hear they have accounting jobs out there. It may not come to that but we’d be remiss if we mention it as an option. Good luck.