Get a Job or Have a Career?
Your Epic Quest for Professional Growth:
A Journey to becoming a Chartered Professional Accountant
Almost all of us have had the internal debate about jobs vs. careers at various life stages and have asked ourselves these questions:
- I need to support myself but where am I going?
- Do I get a job just to pay the bills, or am I ready to commit to a career and an organization that has longer term, life-changing possibilities?
Do your research. Identify the organizations who value long-term relationships by researching whether they invest in staff development through training and education. Other examples of an organization’s commitment to employees’ wellbeing are flexible schedules, job enrichment, paid and unpaid leaves, training, scholarships and tuition reimbursement programs.
Look for signals. Look for organizations that have a well-defined mission statement that speaks to staff as well as customers. Organizations who are invested in the long term success of their staff can give out signals of their team-oriented culture, for example, by displaying their staff photos on their website.
Get social. Attend networking events and speak to organizational members from various departments. Some of the best people to speak with are the administrators, as you can sometimes get more insight into a company’s real culture from an administrator than you can from a partner or senior staff member.
Define and align. Create a personal goals checklist and compare them to the company’s goals to see if they align. You will be able to gather valuable information online but a face-to-face meeting with a current employee is ideal. Remember to be thoughtful of the person’s time when asking for these kind of information interviews! For example, it’s extremely difficult for an accountant in public practice to go for coffee near month end and almost impossible in April.
Be prepared to give a little. It is difficult to find a company whose goals match yours exactly; you must be willing to make concessions. A successful employer-employee relationship is based on reciprocity where both parties are willing to compromise certain objectives for the greater good.
You’ve got personality, fantastic. Managers are concerned about how a new member will impact the dynamics of the workplace. The better you know yourself, the better you can assess whether your personality is a fit for a particular corporate culture. For example, if you are a collaborative person, how would you fit in a competitive environment? If you dread talking to people, how would you perform in a service-oriented firm? It is very important to have honest answers to these questions.
And finally … commit and conquer. If you successfully match your goals and values to the organization, being engaged should come naturally. You’ll be well on your way to a successful, fulfilling, life-changing career experience.
Ready to set out on your quest? Watch for our upcoming series of blog posts for tips on creating a great resume, crafting a perfect cover letter, and nailing the interview.
Omar Castro-Garcia is an Account Manager with Loren Nancke. His passion for helping others succeed is evident in the time he devotes to supporting his community and coworkers. You can reach him at 604-904-3807 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Kate Jessup is responsible for human resources, training and client services. As a Senior Account Manager, her work focuses on the human side of the equation. You can reach Kate at 604-904-3807 in New Westminster, British Columbia.