The Big Blue: How to swim when all you want to do is sink
Today is my final day at one of the best audit firms in the world and with every goodbye comes a moment where you think about where you started and how much you have learnt over the years. I came through the doors of KPMG with just a degree and a passion to learn and I believe that has helped me excel even in times I thought I never would. I have to say that without a doubt that the corporate environment can be extremely challenging and many times you may absolutely feel like you are drowning. You are not only drowning in work but in so many things: your own expectations, your failures, your graduate debt and the dreams that you had fathomed for yourself. So you either sink or swim.
That being said there are a million lessons to be learnt and some of which I believe have been a lifeline when all I wanted to do was sink:
- DO EVERYTHING WITH EXCELLENCE- I realised how important it was to do everything to the best of your ability. We take it for granted just how important it is to really live a life of excellence but the nature of audit is such that you simply can't take shortcuts and whether you are an auditor or not this is a necessary discipline to have because so many of us as youngsters want the quickest route without realising that by cheating the process, we cheat ourselves. Everytime you hand in an assignment to your manager you hand in your name along with it, make sure it's something you can be proud of.
NOTHING GOOD EVER COMES EASY- I thought that when I had completed my degree that things would naturally fall into place but boy was I wrong. I have had sleepless nights pushing deadlines and trying simply to survive and if it wasn't for the teams I was working in I wouldn't have made it. I'm glad that I worked with teams who were interested in making sure the team succeeded, we lived by the motto "when you fly alone, you die alone". Nothing really good ever came easy but every drop of blood, sweat and occasional tears brought me a step closer to better ratings and overall job satisfaction.
KEEP YOUR HUMANITY- Above all the technical and professional skills you can gain, they simply mean nothing if you forget that the most important thing is the people you interact with. Any big corporate will have people who are from diverse backgrounds, from the partner to the security guard all of them have a role to play in strengthening an organisation. Every time I had a junior who was assigned to me I tried to remember what it was like when I was them, and even though some people may say things about a junior member that isn't pleasant remember that how we treat people has a direct effect on how they perform. None of us come into an organisation knowing everything , we are who we are because somebody else took the initiative to make us better so always pay it forward. I've met some really decent people at KPMG, who have emulated the values of the organisation so well and it is precisely why I believe we should keep our humanity going in an organisation no matter how hectic it gets. Take a minute to step out of your office and learn the names of the people who you'd ordinarily pass by, a company is only a company because of the company it keeps.
Although I didn't initially choose KPMG, it was the best twist of fate a girl could ask for and will forever remain the clear choice. Few people enjoy auditing but it's the attitude you bring with you to work that determines your outlook on the day (sounds corny but these corny things are almost always true). You determine your reality every single day through your thoughts, through your deeds and the company you keep. Be grateful that you are fortunate enough to work even if it's not where you may have wanted because learning can be found everywhere you go. I'm glad I came to the big blue because now all of KPMG's values and work ethic are ingrained in me. Ultimately I believe a positive attitude can take you anywhere you desire. No matter how bleak anything may seem, look within yourself for all the strength you need to get to the other side and remember to JUST KEEP SWIMMING!