I am an Accountant, I Don’t Have a Life
Well the accounting part is just a metaphor for generally working in the financial sector – I’m not necessarily an accountant, but the accounting profession perhaps sums up what life is like working in the financial sector. You literally become your work and are kept very busy long before you even arrive at your workplace to formally start your day and long after knock-off time has come and gone. It really is that hectic.
You’d think having an entire accounting team would ease the burden a bit, but it only really seems to compound it. The more professionals there are involved, the more synching has to be done, between the admin staff, auditors, accountants and bookkeepers, with constant liaising with sales department every now and then in order to query some of those cheques and balances which don’t quite add up. Working as part of a team is an absolute necessity because there’s usually just too much work to get through alone and also because a team approach has built-in quality control mechanisms.
Still, it doesn’t make it any easier or less time-consuming, especially when the financial year end is approaching or when it’s tax season. Usually these occur at the same time, but in some companies all the cheques and balances with regards to the taxes aren’t limited to being done when the financial year end is approaching.
Being an accountant or just working in the financial division of any company, big or small, effectively renders your social life a rare commodity which is to be savoured whenever it can be entertained. It gets much worse when you’re actually working for a big financial institution because finance is what your primary job is all about, with all the stresses that come with it compounded.
Things can get so bad that on one of those rare occasions when things get back to normal, you realise that you’ve not seen what your house looks like under the sun for a while, since you leave early in the morning while it’s still dark and then come back late at night after only knocking off when you or your boss is satisfied with the amount of work you’ve managed to get through. There are some periods when we even have to go on what they like to call a retreat, where we’re taken to what would otherwise have been a nice place to get away to and unwind, except we’re very quickly made familiar with the destination’s corporate facilities which is where we’re to get through the required workload without the usual distractions of our regular working environment. Ironic, isn’t it?
So for anyone looking to get into the financial industry, all those movies about rich stock brokers make things look a bit rosier than they are in reality. For every trade that gets concluded on the trading floor, there’s a team of about 10-16 professionals who have to actually do the real work of making it official. Yes, the financial rewards are quite satisfactory, but the only place you’ll really be driving your Mercedes Benz to is your office and then back home again.