Career advice

BelemNole

HR Legend
Mar 29, 2002
33,351
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A few years back I had a good job with a big firm that was paying me a nice salary but I hated the job. Aside from the fact I was driving 6 hours every other week or so to work in our Bakersfield office I just wasn't getting the support from the upper management I was promised. Then my dad had a stroke. I was trying to help my mom while I'm getting calls and email all hours of the night and on weekends. Finally I took an interview with a small firm nearby. I told them upfront that I understood if they couldn't match my salary as they were a smaller company and I was moving from a regional manager position to a more technical job, but one that offered a better work/life balance. They actually matched my salary and I jumped at the chance. Been here 3 years now. Life is better, dad is better and the old place has gone thru 3 more people trying to find someone who will put up with the job.
 

Finance85

HR Legend
Oct 22, 2003
18,196
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Taking a pay cut is usually a bad career move for a couple of reasons. First, your base is a baseline for moving forward. Second, if you are ever asked for a salary history, you will need the opportunity to explain why you took a cut to make a lateral move. A lot of prospective employers might look at the history and not even consider the context, especially in today's job market.

Others have brought up the loyalty aspect, which is also true. Company loyalty isn't what it used to be.

You need to ask yourself if your current situation is where you want to be in 5, 10, or 20 years. Is your small company growing? If so, what will that do to your work load, job duties, and compensation in the future? What would happen if the current owner / partners retired or died?

As far as community reaction, you have some control over that by how you make the change. As long as you try to do the right thing, nobody should begrudge you trying to better yourself and your situation.
 
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MepoDawg#

HR Legend
Gold Member
Oct 29, 2012
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I don't even like the majority owner that much. In fact, she bugs the F out of me. She's way too political/opinionated in the workplace and we are on different sides of the aisle. I pretty much keep my mouth shut when she starts talking.

However, they have been very fair to me. It's also my other co-workers that would be put in a difficult position.

My decision affects them as well.
If you have family then how does the 100+ hours during tax season impact them? How does it impact you? You can’t worry about how it’ll impact your current co-workers. If it’s that important you could work something out staying longer to help find a replacement, but I definitely wouldn’t offer to help part-time. Even the best of bosses would take advantage of that.
 
Mar 25, 2020
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Taking a pay cut is usually a bad career move for a couple of reasons. First, your base is a baseline for moving forward. Second, if you are ever asked for a salary history, you will need the opportunity to explain why you took a cut to make a lateral move. A lot of prospective employers might look at the history and not even consider the context, especially in today's job market.

Others have brought up the loyalty aspect, which is also true. Company loyalty isn't what it used to be.

You need to ask yourself if your current situation is where you want to be in 5, 10, or 20 years. Is your small company growing? If so, what will that do to your work load, job duties, and compensation in the future? What would happen if the current owner / partners retired or died?

As far as community reaction, you have some control over that by how you make the change. As long as you try to do the right thing, nobody should begrudge you trying to better yourself and your situation.
Not always the case, know quite a few people who have taken a step back to get them to a better position in the future. Worked out very we for them in a short time period as well. This is more for career changes/complete company changes.
 

Herky T Hawk

HR Heisman
Feb 5, 2003
6,300
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If you aren't a partner in the current firm, assuming it is a partnership, or if you don't have equity in the corporation you're working for then why on earth would you not consider jumping ship for a situation that fits better with your life?

Just because your friend leaving that job is making 5% less than you doesn't mean that can't negotiate a higher salary if you make the jump. Plus this job sounds like it has better future growth than your current firm. Sounds like a win/win to me.

Anyone in a small town complaining doesn't understand your situation and they can screw off since they aren't the ones working 100 hours a week at tax season. If you're working for a larger firm, which it sounds like, and your office is just smaller then the larger firm needs to pay people to relocate to the office. The firm is the problem, not you.
 

dekhawk

HR Heisman
Nov 14, 2001
6,470
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Do it. I left a big 4 public firm, tired of the long hours and being always asked for more. Your family will thank you. Ask for more salary at the new place.
 

Hawki97

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Dec 16, 2001
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Iowa City, IA
Post in jest but a lot of truth to this.

I know of people that have lost friendships over job changes, made the rest of us that hang out in these friendship groups feel like we have to pick sides. There is a whole other aspect of living and working in a small town that you don't have to deal with in a bigger city. Grudges that can last for years, even decades.

Yup. Actually, my original post wasn’t in jest!
 

SeaPA

HR Heisman
Dec 17, 2002
6,789
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What are your future prospects with the accounting firm? Ownership potential? If so, what does the future look like for the firm? Is the area growing? Do you do types if work that have a strong future, or potential to add services that are more profitable?
 
May 27, 2010
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Option C: Let me know if you may be interested in joining a much larger accounting firm with growth/advancement opportunities, professional development, challenging work, etc.

My firm has offices nationwide and internationally, but it started out of Iowa and has offices in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa City, and Waterloo.
RSM?
 
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HawkMachine

HR All-American
Jul 6, 2020
3,345
5,593
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IOWA
What are your future prospects with the accounting firm? Ownership potential? If so, what does the future look like for the firm? Is the area growing? Do you do types if work that have a strong future, or potential to add services that are more profitable?
There's definitely ownership potential. However, I really don't want to buy in.

When I'm ready to retire, I don't want to worry about trying to sell my ownership. I just want to walk away.

We had a very brief talk a few months ago about ownership, but it was brief and nothing has been mentioned since.

I do know they are deathly afraid of losing me.

Future of the business? IDK. Once again, it's very hard to get staff in small town Iowa. We could grow if we had additional help. Right now we have too much work. Even if I stay, we are planning on dumping some lower end clients. Just too much work for the current staff.
 

Finance85

HR Legend
Oct 22, 2003
18,196
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Not always the case, know quite a few people who have taken a step back to get them to a better position in the future. Worked out very we for them in a short time period as well. This is more for career changes/complete company changes.
Every situation is different. Sometimes taking a step back works. Odds are it doesn't though, when staying in a similar line of work. If it does work, it takes a lot of time.
 

SeaPA

HR Heisman
Dec 17, 2002
6,789
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Yeah, if you are working 100 hour weeks in tax season you definitely need to make changes. I work a lot, but by a lot I mean 60 hour weeks in March and April. Outside of that, only a couple of weeks near the extension deadlines am I working more than 40 to 45.
How automated are you guys - a helluva lot can be done by a low level employee, a scanner, and OCR software
 
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Hawki97

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Dec 16, 2001
9,243
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113
Iowa City, IA
Yeah, a 3 minute commute isn't bad at all.

To be fair, on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, my "commute" is still just down to my basement. I come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays because a group of us enjoy being in the office and around each other a couple of days/week.

Have the Big4 (or RSM @5) started doing any gig hiring yet? I can do IT and security audits in my sleep and am certified up the wazoo to both standards (e.g. ISO) and industry - but don't want to ever work 40 hours a week again. I keep busy mostly busy with other IT consulting but have considered doing gig audit work if it was an option. Seems like it would be a win-win on both sides - 1099 an auditor when you need it (and it seems like Big4-5 always needs auditors) vs. FTE and the auditor picks and chooses what/when they want to work.
 
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NDallasRuss

HR Legend
Dec 5, 2002
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Have the Big4 (or RSM @5) started doing any gig hiring yet? I can do IT and security audits in my sleep and am certified up the wazoo to both standards (e.g. ISO) and industry - but don't want to ever work 40 hours a week again. I keep busy mostly busy with other IT consulting but have considered doing gig audit work if it was an option. Seems like it would be a win-win on both sides - 1099 an auditor when you need it (and it seems like Big4-5 always needs auditors) vs. FTE and the auditor picks and chooses what/when they want to work.
My group hasn't, but I'm not sure if other groups have or not. I can ask around and find out though. We've got a technology risk consulting group (think ITGC type work) and a group that does security & privacy IT projects (cybersecurity, dark web, etc). What kind of work do you do?
 

Hawki97

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Dec 16, 2001
9,243
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Iowa City, IA
My group hasn't, but I'm not sure if other groups have or not. I can ask around and find out though. We've got a technology risk consulting group (think ITGC type work) and a group that does security & privacy IT projects (cybersecurity, dark web, etc). What kind of work do you do?

Technology with a security and BCP/DR focus. A long time ago I was in the exact groups you're talking about at a Big6 - fun days but waaaaay tooooooo much work, and travel, and debauchery for me now full time!! No need to ask around too much - I've got my hands full with 20-25 hours worth of work a week to do for the foreseeable future. ;) I was just curious if the big boys HR depts got creative enough to go the gig route yet. Might be something I look for in the future and also give me a reason to keep paying to keep all my certifications current! Just seems like a slick option to deal with the staffing highs and lows.
 
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SeaPA

HR Heisman
Dec 17, 2002
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Yeah, if you are working 100 hour weeks in tax season you definitely need to make changes. I work a lot, but by a lot I mean 60 hour weeks in March and April. Outside of that, only a couple of weeks near the extension deadlines am I working more than 40 to 45.
How automated are you guys - a helluva lot can be done by a low level employee, a scanner, and OCR software

Note, when I said "you need to make changes" I was referring to your employer and the way they are doing things.
I love my job, and wish more people would go the route I chose as a CPA/financial planner in a small town. I will never be filthy rich, but I have made a good living from having a very positive impact on the lives of a lot of people.
 

StormHawk42

HR Legend
Nov 3, 2009
17,075
18,837
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I don't even like the majority owner that much. In fact, she bugs the F out of me. She's way too political/opinionated in the workplace and we are on different sides of the aisle. I pretty much keep my mouth shut when she starts talking.

However, they have been very fair to me. It's also my other co-workers that would be put in a difficult position.

My decision affects them as well.
I made the jump four months ago and this was the toughest thing for me. The business and some direct employees relied on me. Looked at my boss as a true mentor.

But I had passed on other opportunities in the past because of those reasons and I didn’t want to let that dictate my entire career. Because I was a small department, I had to take on a lot of stuff/types of accounts that just wore me out and I was ready to narrow down my focus.

I certainly still feel bad for my old place but I’m extremely happy with my new spot. My wife has even noticed a big change in my at-home mood. Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about. My new job is more or less a lateral move in terms of title and pay, but it’s more what I want to do and my work life balance is fantastic.
 
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Tenacious E

HR Legend
Gold Member
Dec 4, 2001
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I made the jump four months ago and this was the toughest thing for me. The business and some direct employees relied on me. Looked at my boss as a true mentor.

But I had passed on other opportunities in the past because of those reasons and I didn’t want to let that dictate my entire career. Because I was a small department, I had to take on a lot of stuff/types of accounts that just wore me out and I was ready to narrow down my focus.

I certainly still feel bad for my old place but I’m extremely happy with my new spot. My wife has even noticed a big change in my at-home mood. Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about. My new job is more or less a lateral move in terms of title and pay, but it’s more what I want to do and my work life balance is fantastic.
I remember when you were mulling that over but I didn’t know what you did. Sounds like you made a great decision.
 
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Hawk_4shur

HR Legend
Jan 2, 2009
15,803
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I live and work in a small town Iowa accounting firm. I make pretty good money, probably overpaid. We are short staffed, finding additional EE's has been very difficult. Work 100+ hours during the tax season which is extremely taxing. Pun intended?

I was contacted by a lady I know that is leaving her current position at a local business. She believes I would be a good candidate and wants me to apply.

Since I do her taxes, I know how much she makes. I would take a small decrease, maybe $5k, depending on where they started me of course. But no more tax seasons is well worth $5k. This position would also set me up for CEO or CFO down the road.

Here's the deal. If I were to leave, my current firm would be completely screwed. We are small, and I'm a huge part of it. The thought of leaving them high and dry makes my heart beat faster/harder, couldn't sleep last night.

Go with the it's not personal, it's business and don't worry about my current firm? Only look at what's best for me/family?

Use this opportunity as leverage and be overpaid even more? LOL They would probably give me an extra $20k.

This might be the biggest, most difficult decision of my working career.

Need help ladies and gents.


For your troubles:


tumblr_p4ggqu5EaU1x27i1ko1_400.gifv
I know this isn't easy for you -kudo's to you for loyalty.

I spent 35 years of my 38 year career at an accounting firm. Tax season were obviously a grind, but it came with the territory and I learned to live with it (as did my family). I had a lot of loyalty to my company and never wanted to leave them in a lurch.

I always valued relationships above all when I was working. My co-workers were very important to me. I also made many, many strong friendships with clients.

BUT, an opportunity to be CFO or CEO? Have your weekends back in Q1? Hard to pass up. New opportunities, new challenges, fresh faces? I think you should go for it IF, the company and the people are solid and interesting to you.

When I finally did leave my company it was because I had a chance to become a CFO with good people that I already had a relationship with. I might not have left without that comfort.

It turned out to be a very good decision for me.

If your current employer is screwed by your departure, then shame on them. A little forward planning is usually a good idea. Give them 60 days notice.

Good luck!
 

General Tso

HR Heisman
Nov 20, 2004
7,776
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I live and work in a small town Iowa accounting firm. I make pretty good money, probably overpaid. We are short staffed, finding additional EE's has been very difficult. Work 100+ hours during the tax season which is extremely taxing. Pun intended?

I was contacted by a lady I know that is leaving her current position at a local business. She believes I would be a good candidate and wants me to apply.

Since I do her taxes, I know how much she makes. I would take a small decrease, maybe $5k, depending on where they started me of course. But no more tax seasons is well worth $5k. This position would also set me up for CEO or CFO down the road.

Here's the deal. If I were to leave, my current firm would be completely screwed. We are small, and I'm a huge part of it. The thought of leaving them high and dry makes my heart beat faster/harder, couldn't sleep last night.

Go with the it's not personal, it's business and don't worry about my current firm? Only look at what's best for me/family?

Use this opportunity as leverage and be overpaid even more? LOL They would probably give me an extra $20k.

This might be the biggest, most difficult decision of my working career.

Need help ladies and gents.


For your troubles:


tumblr_p4ggqu5EaU1x27i1ko1_400.gifv
TL;DR, but do it.
I understand not wanting to hurt the people you currently work with… But companies will show you zero loyalty when it suits them… Do the same. Do what is best for you and your family.
This. It's not your fault they put so much on you with no contingency in place, and you're clearly underpaid if you could leverage this new opp into $20k.