From the mailbag:
I’ve been perusing your website for about 5 months now and I cannot believe the amount of complaining people do and still stick it out in public accounting. If it is that awful, why are you trading away your life for this job? I’m in assurance in New York Metro with PwC and everyone that I work with is pretty pleased with their jobs.
Yeah we work a lot and probably could get paid more working in industry, but for whatever reason public accounting is the career we choose. All my teams have a pretty good time even during busy season. I have yet to work for a manager or partner that I didn’t like, and interestingly enough I’ve had multiple interactions with managers where they’ve taken long periods of time out of their day to chat with me about things unrelated to our current work. I’ve referred a number of college prospective auditors to your website and their response as always been to the effect of, “the articles are interesting, but the comments people leave make this sound like a horrible career choice.” Just wondering if we could get some positive articles and comments going about the good things that come out of working in public accounting!
A satisfied PwC employee
Okay, so it sounds like a few people are happy with their careers – thankyouverymuch – and are a little put off by the loud bellyaching and articles that aren’t “positive.” I’ll address the latter concern first by simply pointing everyone to a post from February where I presented my answers on the “Career Value of the Big 4 Experience” and wrote the following:
I’m very grateful for my Big 4 experience. It was unimaginably valuable, I met a lot of great people and have no regrets (except for a few brutal hangovers at national training). So, I’ll give it a 5 [that means super-duper satisfied!].
Not to the mention the two to three posts that we dish out a week (despite complaints from some that they’re all the same) giving career advice, that often highlight the benefits of the public accounting path, frequently featuring Big 4 firms. If you find these articles to be “negative” or displeasurable in tone, I can’t help you. Adrienne and I both believe in presenting a straight, no-bullshit style. If you want something that resembles a town hall meeting, then I suggest you go read the latest list from Fortune, Forbes or just look around your office for all the benefits to working at your firm. The marketing people certainly aren’t shy about plastering them everywhere.
As for “getting […] positive comments,” you’ll have to call on your equally satisfied Big 4 brethren to speak a little louder in the comments section. If you and others find the comments on a particular post offensive or misleading, TRY RESPONDING. It’s not our responsibility to convince the happy people to speak up and we’re not going to tell haters to calm down. Everyone has a voice here and if some are louder than others, so be it. There are plenty of constructive discussions happening all over the site so go find those and ignore the noise if it bothers you. If snark and bad words offend you, then perhaps you should avoid the comments altogether. We’re not going to create a “Family Section” of GC just because some people’s ears are burning.
I think it’s great that you enjoy your career at PwC (“deranged” is simply a joke, in case you need briefed). It’s a great firm with plenty of great people and kudos to you for doing what you enjoy. You’re lucky to have figured out what’s important and write, “I cannot believe the amount of complaining people do and still stick it out in public accounting. If it is that awful, why are you trading away your life for this job?” which is the same question I ask of people on a regular basis. Regardless of where people fall on the satisfied scale (I’m a “5,” don’t forget) we’re going to continue covering the industry and the firms like we always have. When a firm does something worthwhile, we will call attention to it, Tweet it or link to it. When something gossipy or juicy comes our way, we’ll do the same. If you don’t like it, you’re free to express your opinion as much and as loudly as you like.