December 12, 2018

Accountant with Too Many Career Options Needs Help

Struggling with your breakfast options? Trying to resist the siren's call that is a cushy government accounting job? Confused as to whether you should try your new 'edgy' stand-up material on your co-workers before the next open mic night? You have questions; we have ideas in our heads that may vaguely resemble answers. Email us.

I left the House of Klynveld after my fourth full year.  Believe it or not I had a positive experience (thanks mostly to *gasp* good clients), but the life got the best of me.  I left for a well-known Fortune 200 company's financial reporting department, and I've done well here for the last two years.  I'm at the point now, however, that my boss is talking about how I should start to consider other jobs within the company, be it within the corporate function or in one of our businesses.  Here's the problem, and one I didn't know when I started here.  Mobility is a huge issue, and I'm feeling the pressure to relocate.  For unrelated reasons, I can't relocate for at least another two years, and truthfully, relocation isn't something I'm interested in anyway. 
 
I could move within our corporate structure to a similar job, but it's been made very clear by upper level management that to succeed with in our business you have to move around, preferably with international travel involved, so I don't see a long range future with this company. 
 
I've put out some feelers, and there are three other companies that may have some interest in my particular skill set.  One big public company has a position almost identical to the one I'm working now.  As far as titles go, it's still an analyst position.  Another, slightly smaller public company has an opening within one of it's businesses, so it's away from corporate functions and carries a manager title, though it has no direct reports.  The final one is a much smaller private company who needs someone to oversee all their reporting and consolidation.  Again, it carries a manager title but has no direct reports. 
 
So here are the questions I'd like some advice on.  Is it worth staying with a company for at least one more job when you know there is no long-term career path?  If not, does it make sense to make a truly lateral jump to another company where the mobility questions would not be an issue?  Would it be better to take what would be considered a promotion based on responsibility and title if there are no direct reports to develop those needed soft skills?  Is the draw of a bigger public company worth more than other perks at a small private company, such as free parking (no more buses!), no premiums on health insurance, etc? 
 
-Moving On, Not Away

Dear MONA,

You're right. Most people will be skeptical of your "positive experience" at the HoK, but since you've successfully moved on, your delusion is not your current problem – your next career move is, so we'll address your options one by one.

"Is it worth staying with a company for at least one more job when you know there is no long term career path?" – You're clearly not interested in relocating, so it doesn't make sense to stay with the company. It also doesn't make sense to "stay for at least one more job" because, effectively, it will be a dead-end one. You sound like an ambitious chap, so why waste a year at a new job within a company that you doesn't give you a future? It'll take you at least a year to get up to speed in the new position and unless you've misjudged your current company's expectations (completely possible), you'll be ready to leave. 

"Does it make sense to make a truly lateral jump to another company where the mobility questions would not be an issue?" – No. This is an awful idea.

"Would it be better to take what would be considered a promotion based on responsibility and title if there are no direct reports to develop those needed soft skills?" – You've been a working professional for 6 years; hopefully you've had the chance to develop some "soft skills" as you say, or what I like to call "not being a dick that lacks empathy, common sense, doesn't have unrealistic expectations, manages to perform actual work, and, on occasion, would be okay to spend time with outside of work." And as for the promotion – um, duh.

"Is the draw of a bigger public company worth more than other perks at a small private company, such as free parking (no more buses!), no premiums on health insurance, etc?" – Okay, this is the tricky part. Based on your vague description, it's safe to say that you're comfortable working in a large company and you've done so with moderate success. If you aren't looking to disrupt your comfort level too much, then the manager within the public company would probably be a good fit for you. If you're not risk averse and wouldn't mind a challenge, then go with the smaller private company. You may not have anyone reporting directly to you now, but if it's a growing company that requires lots of your time, it won't be long until you're begging your boss for support to help you run the reporting and consolidation area. 

It's nice having options, isn't it? Good luck.

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