In search of the golden goose

Yes, it’s been a while, but The Accountant Formerly Known As Unemployed is back in the saddle. The bloke at the institute said it would take more than six months and it did.

So what have I learned from my days in the dole queue? Firstly, the competition for finance jobs is ferocious. It’s a buyer’s market, and if an employer decides he wants a colour-blind Bantu warrior with webbed-feet and ten years manufacturing experience he’ll find one. This means you must tailor each and every application to fit the advertised spec as closely as possible.

Otherwise you won’t get an interview, and if you don’t get an interview you’re not in the game.

Secondly, it’s impossible to change direction unless you’re crystal clear about where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.

If you’re not completely focused you’ll take a scattergun approach which can only end in failure and disappointment. Last spring I started out with a strong feeling I wanted to downshift, but only a vague idea of how to do it. I’m now back in the same job as I was a year ago.

Thirdly, and most importantly, make the most of it. As an accountancy professional you are a financial sophisticate and hopefully you’ll have some reserves to see you through.

Look upon a period of unemployment as an opportunity to do some of the things you’ve always wanted to do but were too busy working.

Seven months ago I couldn’t play the piano, I’d never written a book, and I didn’t know what my kids looked like in their school uniforms. In my new job I can work late at the office, happy in the knowledge that lifetime goals have been achieved and debts to my family paid. And if you should ever feel down then just remember the boss, commuting and Monday mornings.

Be positive and who knows, it might change your life forever.

  • This is the last column from James Andrews ACA (a pseudonym) from the unemployment frontline.

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