No one ever seems to understand auditors. Why they have monologues or talk to their laptops! Why they sometimes do both day and night shift combined, ( read as working overnight), why they are always deep in thoughts or try to make sense out numbers in the middle of totally unrelated conversations. True auditors always have their laptops in some black backpacks that they never leave behind, or constantly think about numbers in the laptops; especially during the busy season #factfile. Wonder no more. This is what it means to be an auditor.
- Everything is urgent. You barely ever have the time to think about what can wait, and what is needed now’now! Because the thing with audit is that the bosses never give requests. They give some form of commands, with hidden threats embedded in the tone of the email. At one point, you receive multiple emails all at the same time demanding for deliverables. At another point, you will get an email that gives you a panic attack. (Why do they have to be so harsh though?). Anyway, you will decide to take a water break, but end up standing next to the dispenser for ten minutes thinking about why you did what you did, and asking yourself if your career is about to come crashing down. (There is always something about that one number that you accidentally or intentionally forgot about)…Then, there is the part where no one ever understands why you insist that you have beat deadlines. You get used to pressure and late nights at very early stages of your career. And here’s the thing. Associates bear the pressure from seniors, who bear pressure from managers, who bear the pressure from partners. Every level in audit has it’s own weight and pressure, and every person has someone above them who gives them adrenaline rush. With time, you get used to it, the system has a way of making your nerves keep calm. To the outside world though, all you do walk in heels and Italian suits…and spend the day nodding to numbers. Let’s keep the perception that way.
- You will go home one day and people will ask you if you lost your job. They will think you lost your job because of the stress you will have eaten that day. Because the thought that things are still not making sense will be cat walking on your face proudly. Like it wants the world to know that you took stress for breakfast, nonsense for lunch and crap for supper. Those are the days you will have spent a whole day agreeing balances, which will not agree after all. Have you read ‘5 Reasons you’re “So Busy” Every Day, Yet Not Really Getting Anything Done By Larry Alton?’ At a glance, Larry says there is a big difference between being busy and being productive. So you spend a whole day busy being busy and no results to show. Or one of those days when ghosts from the time of Noah will resurrect, backed up by those emails I talked about. This time, the emails will be served with some hot desert with reminders of such terms as inefficiency and poor quality bu’sh*t. (As though you do not know that there is a problem with that mind of yours already). Some third parties who have taken it upon themselves to discipline people who seem to be sabotaging the ‘quality of work’ might be copied in that email too. Why now? (Just thinking out loud here). While at it, lets pause and sing a song of glory to all those *people*/*bosses* who will ask you how far you are with work after every two minutes. Oh how we adore you! Back to the point, you will find yourself subconsciously sneering and giving frequent sighs…Hold up people, please give me your full attention here! If you see an auditor in this state, just let that auditor be! Stop this thing of feeding them with more bu’sh*t. Questions of “kwani what do you do, ama ni nini hauelewi for a whole day? My brother/Sister, are you still struggling with understanding the basics? Those questions were served at lunch time. They sermoned themselves for a mental meeting trying to understand whether or not they are struggling, and why basic things are suddenly too complex. They also took time to question their intelligence, their expertise and their life goals.
- You must look and feel stupid at one point or another. Of course you will! We all have those moments. You spend your life understanding the numerical stories of different organizations. Sometimes you will pick up pretty fast. Others, you will not. You will try make sense out of numbers unsuccessfully. Sometimes clients will even tell you that it appears like you do not understand your job. Shrugs shoulders. Now what can you do? Pull out a powerpoint presentation on who you are and what you are capable of doing? Print out your past experience and academic qualifications? No? Sometimes you will also embarrass yourself in front of your team. It is worse if you are the rookie in the team. Some slippery mouth in the team will look at you condescendingly and comment that during their time, they were not as slow as you are. ( Rolls eyes). During their time, they were Wayyyy better. (They will say). This is the point you will call a peer for help, but not before giving them a presentation of your well articulated hate speech on the people who are making your life impossible. Your bosom peer will give you some woiyes and woishes here and there, because they understand what you are going through; the experience is the same across the board. They too have had worse days trust me. You will ask yourselves if you are learning, and if you are growing. Worry not, eventually things will make sense. There are days you will find it necessary to insert a ‘cry break’ within your tight schedule. (The ones who pretend to be strong will call it a bathroom break and imagine that you cannot tell an eye that is about to cry). I do not know about the male auditors but what I am sure is that they also have their own rite that they perform to relieve stress… You get a learning curve that is stiffer than any other that you will ever have; with so much to learn within such a short time. Please note that it’s important that you take your humble pie before asking questions. In other words, be ready to bear those condescending looks…or anticipate the ‘ you suck’ kind of look for asking some questions which might seem to be obvious to everyone else apart from you. To all the rookies out there struggling to understand stuff so that they can be good at their stuff, hang in there.The expert in anything was once a beginner, no one starts as excellent. So stop pretending that you know things you do not know and ASK. The priceless advice I got when starting my career, was that the junior’s main job is to make the senior look good. That means that you have to deliver quality work and make it appear that they have done a good job coaching you. The surest way of doing this, is by making sure that you consult with them on how to go about stuff, especially when in doubt. On the same note, you have to accept the small fact that you will do a lot of work for them, and they might scold you if you do their work wrongly. Then they will take all the credit for your sleepless nights on the same
- You will forever be job hunting in your head. Auditors will forever rant about their jobs and how they need work life balance. But five years later, you find them still Mack timing in audit and giving themselves ted talks during the evening traffic jam. (It will look like they are mad because they are really talking to themselves, but no, just call it a TED TALK ). You might go through this phase. Not because you do not love your job or something. Okay, I think that is what it is. There are days you wake up fully decided to give that resignation letter, but we both know you will not. You will remind yourself that every relationship has good times and bad times…just like your relationship with your delicate career. If you are not passionate about audit, you might crash along the way. You might have heard the rumour that there are auditors who walk out of audit rooms, and just like that they have quit! (True rumour). Or that one auditor who resigned despite not having gotten another job! Your idea of bashing shifts from the wild campus parties, to the new kind of bashing. *inside joke alert*. And really, you will have no social life. The uncountable times you promise your crew that you are shutting down, but you end up showing up five hours later…or not showing up at all. You think less about your life, and about your relationship. You become intolerable to anyone who does not understand the nature of your career. I wonder how non auditors dating auditors survive the emotional absence. The times you miss conversations and genuinely forget about them, the times you are physically present but mentally thinking about variances, the times you have nightmares about variances while your partner is dreaming about you and hoping that this dream is mutual. (Lol- auditor’s best dream are the ones which reveal how a variance can be solved)… and how you set dates and forget to cancel. Sometimes, you make it for that date…but end up restoring packages and responding to querries somewhere in the middle (I already told you that no one understands why we constantly treat work as the priority)… How you find issues about time and leaving hanging conversations as non issues. But most key, how you can do late nights continuously and still have someone understand that you are not being inefficient. ( Ama sisi ndio hatujui kujipanga??) Anywho, like I said, these people called auditors are a special class of people.
- Things will go wrong. There are assignments you will shine on for all the good reasons. But there are others you will be starring for all the wrong reasons. And somehow, there is always that one day when everything that can possibly go wrong will go wrong. From 1. waking up late yet you are the master, ( it’s very okay to be asked if you are on flexi, or a partner, or something close. Very sarcastic comments there)…to 2. doing the wrong thing all day and …and most importantly, deleting files and packages in the spirit of confusion. Just when you think it cannot get any worse, you make another round of fresh mistakes. I have heard confessions of associates who make so many mistakes in an assignment that they start fearing their team members. You know the feeling of being the deadweight of the team. Yes that one! Do not kill yourself about it. You know you cannot have a good day every day after all. And if the senior will not want to work with you again, that is their problem, not yours. Si you have always been taught that you cannot please everyone? But again, never forget that you are in a career where a lot depends on the perception people above you have about you
When all is said and done, you realize that starting your career in audit gives you the kind of experience you need to handle just anything in this world. A toast to all the auditors out there,bless yours souls! And all the corporate newbies. I do not know how you will do it, but find a way of having your own kind of work balance. And finally, no one will ever understand you if they have never been in audit. So spare yourself the numerous explanations to people and just do your thing in peace.