Wednesday, July 20, 2005

New Frontiers

As I've come to discover, nothing is definite... even yesterday as I was talking with a coworker who is leaving our firm, I was compelled to tell him that "I am leaving the accounting profession!" I still qualified that statement, yet it feels so liberating for me to think of the days when I don't have to answer to the responsibility of a 9-5 job.

Today, I spoke with Mary, a partner in my office with whom I work most often these days. When I first started working here, my peers told me to avoid her, and if I did work with her, expect to feel the wrath. Last spring, we began working together on some of her medium-size files, and she delegated authority for me to take full ownership (and accountability). It was an opportunity for me to test my skills, and as she developed more trust in me, I took full responsibility for these files. Soon, she introduced me to her large plastics files, around which time we traveled together to the midwest to work onsite. This became known as forensic accounting bootcamp.

A year later, I am writing reports for $25M losses, and she is giving me kudos for a great work product... of all the complaints that people made about working with her, the number one complaint was that she was never positive and never satisfied with people's work product. As you can tell, Mary and I have developed a great working relationship through trust, mutual respect, and hard work. She has provided me with opportunities to develop my technical and marketing skills, and continues to be a proponent of my career.

A week ago, she returned from her 2-week vacation in Australia, and invited me to have lunch with her. I could tell from her voice that it was not anything bad... although in the back of my mind, I was concerned about how much of the past two weeks had been spent slacking off and billing ambigious tasks on her large jobs. Well, this morning we sat in my office to discuss a file, and afterwards, I asked her if we were still on for lunch...

She began to tell me why she wanted to take me out for lunch - to discuss an opportunity. At the sound of those words, and the look in her eyes, my body started to get a few chills of excitement. She has known for some time that I have an itch to go work in our Sydney office. Well, during her vacation, she spent some time with the RGL folks who work in Sydney, and learned that the manager-in-charge is going to take maternity leave, and they will need someone to fill in for her.

She spoke with our managing partner in London and the other decision makers and gave them a recommendation on my behalf based on her experience working with me. She explained that my lack of experience in numbers of years, and my lack of a certification, was a major discussion point. Although she did petition that I have what it takes to manage the workload and take this opportunity to embrace the challenge and shine!

Although it is unlikely that they will put me in her place to supervise the office, it is possible that they will be responsive to my request, and perhaps send me out there for a little while to get some all-time surf... and help out in the office. As I have discovered time and time again, when someone gives you a chance to prove yourself, the stage is set to make a lasting impression... and given that chance, I want to show them what I've got!

Mary has been one of my greatest proponents during my tenure with this firm, and I realize that she made this recommendation selflessly. She is genuinely concerned about helping me to pursue my career goals, wherever they may take me. I have so much respect for this woman as a professional and personal mentor.

In summary, you just never know what you're going to get! Now that I have a real opportunity to have a guaranteed source of income in Australia, I am suddently more inclined to extend my journey along the career path of a forensic accountant... on a new frontier.