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#CareerConvos™️: Navigating Reality from College to Corporate

#CareerConvos™️: from college to corporate | ©️ CreateHER Stock
#CareerConvos™️: from college to corporate | ©️ CreateHER Stock

It's a beautiful time between graduating from college and starting your first "real" job. You finally get to put all this studying into action and see what accounting looks like in real life. It's exciting and unnerving at the same time. There are no more late nights in the computer lab, but there may very well be some late nights for other reasons.

My career is mostly corporate accounting, except for a few years I dabbled in (and enjoyed) consulting at a public accounting firm.

Had I chosen the public accounting route while in undergrad, I would've secured a job months before I even graduated. The public accounting recruiters were regulars on campus and that was the most talked about career path for accounting majors. My takeaways from these talks were that I'd (1) live out of suitcases all over the world (2) work a ridiculous number of hours and not have a life, and (3) make a lot of money that I'd be too mentally exhausted to enjoy.

The first point was alright with me except I had a fear of flying. Emphasis on "had" because I'd take a flight now for a day trip to the Brooklyn Museum or a Heat game, hell I'd fly to the grocery store if I could. How I got over that fear feels like a separate conversation (check back for this one) but it's similar to how I laid the foundation for my career.

I chose industry. Corporate accounting, month-end close, financial analysis, balance sheet reconciliations, annual audits, SOPS, those are my things. I graduated in the Spring quarter which ended in June, so I took the summer off before I started really looking for a job, which I landed a couple months later.

When I graduated with my accounting degree from THE Ohio State University, I had a vision in my mind of what my first real job would look like. I'd rock my pencil skirt, button up blouse, stilettos, and black girl hairstyles in some swanky high-rise office building somewhere sunny. My 23-year-old self decided I'm gonna be the smartest, dopest accountant and do things my way. I'd make a lot of money and get a nice house and a sexy car because after the work I'd put in for 5 years at Fisher, this is what I expected out of my career.

Now, the reality...

When I first started my accounting career, I thought my manager was out to get me.

She would say things that felt abrasive. I remember being in her office after-hours for a meeting with the corporate office and she used that same abrasive tone when speaking to her boss. Ok, she is NOT a game. I get that and I dig it, but I still couldn’t figure out why she was antagonizing me like:

  1. Why am I the only one she called into this meeting while everybody else on the team went home?

  2. Why is she scrutinizing my account recs and my financial analysis during month-end close?

  3. Why is she nitpicking about little things like what time I get here and what time I leave?

  4. And WHY do I have to do inventory?!

  5. I have a lot of questions about this real accounting stuff but what if she gives me a rude answer?

My approach to that last thought was: regardless of how she responds to my curiosities, I'm gonna ask anyway.

These were the thoughts going through my 23-year-old mind: at work, on the way to work, getting ready for work in the morning, on the way home from work, and when I got home.

I don't recall taking any accounting, tax or business law classes that prepared me for this part of my career journey.

It was about 5 years later before I realized what she was actually doing - and she wasn't antagonizing me after all.

There's a #CareerConvos™️ podcast episode called "The Best Career Advice I Ever Got" where I talk about this experience. How does a manager go from antagonizing me to giving me the best career advice I ever got? You gotta listen to it - I also delve into what happened before I even started the job - the interview I had with her and the feedback she gave me. It's available wherever you get your podcasts, but here's the link to it on Apple podcasts:

There's so much to talk about so I'm going to break this into multiple conversations. After you finish reading this, leave a comment with your thoughts and feedback.

Then listen to the #CareerConvos™️ podcast episode so you have context on the situation with my first accounting job and how it still impacts my career today. There's a nugget or 2 in there that will help you as you transition from college to corporate life.

If you need answers for your own career situation, you can book time on my calendar for a coffee chat.

Explore the #CareerConvos™️ blog for career tips for new accounting professionals.

My accounting career has taken me across many locations and industries from large publicly traded companies to startups where I've done, seen, learned, and delivered a lot. I've been the youngest in the room. I've been the ONLY in the room. I've been asked if I "cut my hair." For the new accounting professionals, I'm sharing my seasoned millennial career guidance with you on how I started in my accounting career including the non-traditional yet proven strategies I used to find the right jobs for me.

Join #CareerConvos Premium for deeper conversations, career best practices, and guidance like this that you won’t get anywhere else.




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