Big 4 firms are well known for offering flexible working arrangements. They are designed to allow employees to schedule their jobs around life events. On paper, they sound great and even in reality, they work well for the people that take advantage of them.
However, for the co-workers of these flex-life folks, we all know that feelings of resentment and jealousy are common. "Oh, you have to go on bedrest? LIKELY STORY. Hope you are still able to get that performance review in ON TIME," or "GOD, I wish my Dad could get cancer so I could work 30 hours a week."
Regardless of the haters, there are plenty of flexible work arrangement success stories out there. Today, we learn that Ernst & Young Olympian and public accounting sex symbol Gwen Jorgensen was also able to take advantage of a flexible work arrangement to train for the Olympics:
Jorgensen’s current journey began when USA Triathlon recruited her upon graduation in 2009—after she had accepted a position at Ernst & Young. Initially reluctant to take on the challenge of juggling both, the firm set up a flexible work arrangement and she completed and won her first triathlon in 2010. Her first-place finish was achieved with an 80 percent reduced work schedule. She continued toting her laptop abroad, going on to win the 2011 World Cup 18 months later with a 50 percent, and then 20 percent schedule, before taking a leave of absence last winter to train down south. “When I was working, I'd wake up, swim from about 5:30-7 a.m., run for about an hour, head to work at Ernst & Young, come home, go for a bike ride, lift, and go to bed,” she explained. “Now that I'm on a leave, I'm able to recover more in between workouts…and sleep in more, which spoils me.”
At first you just know there was a lot of, "Oh, sure you're training for the Olympics while we're working 15 HOURS A DAY without any access to daylight or food that doesn't come out of a vending machine, Gwen," and "GO AHEAD, go try and be a world-class athlete while we strain our eyes squinting at spreadsheets and destroy our spines in chairs with terrible ergonomics, GWEN. We'll get the work done, GWEN. Don't worry about us."
But as Jorgensen's training got more and more serious, people probably started warming up to the idea that she actually had the chance to be an Olympic champion. And now that she's a famous athlete/accounting sex symbol, everyone is, predictably, claiming that they "were so supportive of Gwen THE WHOLE TIME."
“My coworkers have been extremely understanding and helpful with my flexible work arrangement, and now leave,” she said. “I feel blessed to have this support. My coworkers also follow my triathlon career and are always excited about how I do in my competitions.”
Anything less than gold will bring out the guilt-trips, Gwen. Good luck.