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finance with intention: changing jobs
November 10th, 2011     |    Life

Hi, MML! It’s Cathy of Fiscally Chic. Last time I was here, I talked about my inner battle between epic and enough. Since then, I decided to go with “epic.” More specifically, I started a new job! It’s scary and exciting. While I’ll still be working in accounting, the position is a bit new for me. For the past 4+ years, I’ve been an external auditor in public accounting. Now I’ll be an accountant and in financial reporting at a private company. A company that makes products quite near and dear to me.

While public accounting was an excellent way for me to start my career, I’ve grown out of “like” with it. The first year was exciting, but each following year sucked more and more out of me. The pay was OK, but the hours were grueling. And I didn’t feel that my clients or managers appreciated my contributions. Plus, I felt all out of balance. I wouldn’t see my husband for about four months out of the year. And I became disinterested in running, cooking, and baking. It became a chore dragging myself out of bed some mornings.

There were days that I was so prepared to quit, but I knew that would put extreme financial pressure on everything: my husband, me, our relationship, the thoughts of a future family, etc. It would have been one thing if it was just me with an apartment, but we have been married for three years. We just bought a house 6 months ago! Quitting wouldn’t have been very fiscally chic without something else lined up. Yes, we have savings, but that would have been a big sacrifice for everything else.

I had been working with recruiters, but wasn’t very proactive because I didn’t really know that I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I had a laundry list of what I didn’t want. I’m not from Chicago, so I didn’t really know all the companies that might be hiring. I didn’t have a strong network to reach out to. To make things more complicated, my recent client base was completely different that my clients in St. Louis. And this industry and I just didn’t click. I wanted to go back to my industry “sweet spot” from St. Louis.

So I continued to field cold calls and random emails from recruiters. I interviewed earlier in the summer, but never heard back. I didn’t mind because I didn’t really want that job. It felt like I was settling.

Looking back, I wrote one of my first contributor posts about being happy with “enough” around the time I was struggling to find my way. Around the time of the financial blogger conference (FINCON11), it really hit me that I wasn’t achieving my full potential at my job. I was settling for someone else’s measure of my worth. And I sure as hell wasn’t happy. (OK, that last part was more for the last 2 years or so.)

Print from letterhappy Etsy shop

About a month ago, a few days before FINCON11, I received another cold call from a different recruiter. The position sounded interesting and met many of my criteria. I had a phone interview. Then I was asked for an office interview. And a second round interview. Within two weeks of the initial call, I had an offer.

My most recent MML post was about my inner conflict between epic vs. enough. Through FINCON11 and Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to be Rich, I started to figure out my worth. I realized it’s better to earn more income than you spend instead of cutting back on costs. Ramit was the keynote speaker at the conference and totally rocked it. His blog (plus emails and videos) are rock solid. They also contributed to my epic vs. enough debate. I emailed Ramit the other day to say “thanks.” One, for amazing material. Two, for the kick in the pants to know my worth. Three, to give him results.

I didn’t discuss the results in my MML post because it was still fresh, but I went back and negotiated my offer. They gave me $1K more for my salary and threw in a $1K signing bonus. I wouldn’t have thought about it if my husband didn’t suggest it or if I hadn’t been following Ramit. Seriously, don’t forget to negotiate!!

Also around that time, I started my Etsy shop. I love to sew and find beautiful fabric. I want to share these skills and finds with others. Plus, it’s a way to create some income. I’ve slowly started to monetize the blog. I attended Jess’s October “Business in the City” meet-up and walked away with some great ideas. I was able to help others with my accounting and business knowledge. It felt amazing.

So back to the new job. It’s going to be a big improvement over my last job. It’s an increase in pay (about 10% if you’re wondering) and the hours are much better. Which means my hourly rate has vastly improved. The commute will be shorter and the role itself will be a new challenge. And did I tell you the Company is in one of my favorite industries? Yes, I did. And yes, I gushed about that fact on my phone interview. And yes, I brought some Halloween cupcakes to work on my first day. Can’t beat heartfelt enthusiasm 🙂

While I am excited, I’m still approaching this new position with controlled optimism. I’m still a bit burned from the job search from two years ago. When I moved to Chicago, I had to change firms and industries. I wasn’t desperate for a new job, but 2009 was definitely a rough time for the economy. I knew enough that I didn’t want to be working in St. Louis while my husband was in Chicago.

This time, my job change is more for personal reasons. So I wanted to make sure it was a good fit. Is this new job my perfect or dream job? I don’t know. But I would always wonder if I didn’t try. During my exit interview last week, HR brought up an excellent point. He was supportive about my leaving the firm because he knew the only person that can make me happy is myself. The only person that really has my best self-interest in mind is me.

So here I go. Off to chart a new chapter in my life. And not just for me. This new chapter is also for my husband and hopefully the future family God blesses us with.

Originally posted on Fiscally Chic on November 1, 2011

  • I know all too well the burnout related to public accounting that you speak of. Congratulations to you on your new job and on taking a leap into the unknown for the sake of your happiness!

    P.S. I’m sure you made a great first impression on your co-workers with those cupcakes. 🙂

  • Such a happy post to read! You’ll never know if it’s the right move until you give it a shot. Good for you!

  • Thanks ladies! It’s been two weeks and so far, so good! I can tell the my new job is a much happier place than my last job and I feel much more balanced.

  • Adanna

    I really appreciated reading this post, especially the point that you made about it being better to generate more income and spend less than it is to cut costs. I’m definitely going to be thinking about how I can do so. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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