As the GTA for ACCT 3810 (Professional Development in Accountancy), I see a lot of questions from students heading into the recruiting process. Some of the most pervasive themes are: prestige, success, and money. Many students want an objective answer to the question of which firm will best position for success in the future. Let me break the news to you now: careers are not one-size-fits-all. And “success” is certainly not a term with a single definition.
Spencer Rascoff (CEO of Zillow) agrees, and he has some advice for those of us early in our careers:be careful about choosing career role models.
On an episode of Business Insider’s podcast, “Success! How I Did It,” Rascoff said that many young people make the mistake of only looking at things like compensation when setting their sights on senior positions. He thinks that we need to take a big picture view: “say, ‘Do I want her or his work-life balance, respect in the community, intellectual stimulation of their job... the whole package?’” rather than just the title and compensation.
Your job is only one part of your life, but it’s a big part, and one that has many trickle-down effects. Keep Rascoff’s advice in mind during recruiting, and use it to help you find your initial career direction. Talk to as many professionals from as many fields and employers as possible. Don’t become blinded by name brand clients or a perception of prestige. Look at the big picture, and ask yourself what lifestyle you’re looking for in the first few years following graduation. Keep in mind that your goals may be different than your neighbor’s.
The Auburn School of Accountancy grooms us to be high performers in our careers. Be thoughtful about where you set your sights, because time moves fast. Before you know it, you could be sitting in your role model’s office; so choose wisely, and reevaluate often.