I’m still at it. Burning midnight oil to get this rusty ‘ole brain functioning again. Two years out of the rat race will do that to you. Journal entries aren’t coming as easily to me, bigger picture ideas are fuzzy, training from years past is long gone. Things are slowly falling in to place for me, fortunately, it’s just taking a little while to get warmed up again.
The whole working for myself thing (I’m an independent contractor for the company I’m working with) is an odd concept to me. I’m pretty sure I understated my rates when I started this gig; basically using the hourly rate I made when I left the workforce, plus a percent to cover self employment tax. I didn’t add any special consideration my CPA license, the hours I’ve invested in training or the years of auditing and industry experience that I bring to the table. I also didn’t adjust for the fact that I am picking up training cost and time on my own tab, the scrutiny and push back over the hours billed, or the hours I might have to eat for my own trial and error when working on a project.
Hour tracking and goals aren’t new to me. I dealt with it in public accounting; you submitted your hours based on client and task. Overages weren’t that big of a deal for me as an associate, but when I started senioring jobs, it suddenly became my budget on the line, and those extra hours my associates were putting in mattered… a lot. I never loved that part of it, but I got the reasons for it. In order for a job to be profitable, you can’t spend too much time on one project. There’s something to be said for a salaried work arrangement, especially when hour tracking isn’t critical to your role. Someone else’s budget, getting work done on your own timeline, not worrying if it’s taking you a bit longer to finish something. I guess it’s the same deal here – you end up eating hours whether you’re salaried or hourly.
I try… I really do, but sometimes I feel like my brain just doesn’t work. I’ve always considered myself to be a kinesthetic learner, as audible and visual learning never really stuck for me. I learn best by writing things down – they just don’t get in my head unless I physically write them out. It turns out there’s a whole new category of learner since I was a kid, the reading/writing preference learner, which fits me exactly. It doesn’t work well in meetings, though, to be fervently writing while someone is talking to you – head down, pen scratching, processing thoughts and ideas through your pen instead of your head. It’s not until an idea is written and read back that it sticks in my brain and I can roll around the concept. This, most assuredly, is the reason I’m in any sort of customer relations / marketing / sales job. My brain just works best when I can put things on paper. I even run in to this when working in excel. Sometimes I just have to step back and write down, on paper, what it is I’m trying to accomplish. What are the inputs? Where am I trying to get? What am I missing from the big picture?
It’s a humbling thing to be back in the accounting world. I feel “less than” my peers quite often. Ben assures me that I’m not, but, man, sometimes I just feel dumb. I guess everyone has moments of insecurity. Mine are just magnified by the fact that I haven’t had much positive reinforcement from the professional world in a very long time. It’s also tough to work for someone who seems to be “on” at all times. Something I aspire to be. My colleague picks up information from conversations that I miss. His financial statement analysis blows me away. Only a few years my senior, and yet, my skill set pales in comparison to his. Certifications, experience and a resume that far exceed my own.