- This topic has 18 replies, 11 voices, and was last updated 2 months ago by Jennifer.
August 20, 2020 at 9:35 pm #3082404
I used to work at a Big 4 but left after 6 months because it was just so toxic and it got to the point where I just went to bed every night praying to God I wouldn’t wake up the next day. 90% of the time I’m super grateful to have left, but then the other 10% of the time I panic and wonder if I threw my whole career away bc I quit so easily. This is probably a silly thing to ask, but it’s just been one of those days. I don’t know why I do this to myself but some days I’ll just look up old coworkers and I feel disappointed with where I am in my career compared to them. I know I shouldn’t do this but there’s this urge in me to do it but then of course I feel terrible about myself after. I feel like at 25 I should be at the senior level but I’m just a staff accountant at a retail grocery store.
Anyone else do things like this or ever feel like they’re not enough or doing enough??August 20, 2020 at 10:11 pm #3082425SkynetParticipant
I had a similar experience with a previous non profit where I worked. After two years I was getting more stressed and more pissed of by the end of the day. All this happened was due to the management and another accountant they hired was practically clueless and useless.
I finally left due to a spat with the other accountant and was better for it. I'm actually happy where I'm at now and really like what I do.
As or the previous place I worked at,I couldn't give a Rats @$$ about it. I don't see myself as staying in the same place careerwise at my current job even though I'm not a senior. I see it as recharging and reenergizing and taking the next opportunity when it presents itself.August 20, 2020 at 10:36 pm #3082449aldoParticipant
For as long as you keep comparing yourself to others, you will never find happiness in life. You should realize that the only competition you have is yourself and your main goal is to be better than who you were yesterday. Be positive and confident in yourself and for as long as you keep working hard, you will achieve whatever you set your mind to.
I'm 24, came as an International student when I was 19 years old and will start at a big 4 at age 25, 2 years older than the norm. Do I feel discouraged that my peers are seniors at age 25 and I will just start by that time ? No, because I never compare myself with them. I feel proud and happy because I am achieving my goals at my own pace.
Just focus on the positive side and never lose faith in youself, you have the ability to make great things in life 😊August 21, 2020 at 1:02 am #3082476lifofifoParticipant
@April94 I'm so sorry you would go to bed feeling so lonely =( I know where you're coming.
I was mid 20s when I started full time at Big 4 and knew within 2 months it wasn't for me. I quit nearly 2 years ago, now in late 20s and have been studying for CPA since. *oh also I quit 6 months after starting*
It's a lonely process. I'd look up old coworkers too. The ones I've started with are now moving onto senior roles.
I hope you find a place that isn't toxic, makes you feel valuable and makes you feel like the work you do makes a difference. For me, I realized at Big 4 (well at least my office), everyone was negative. I'd get snarky remarks for leaving at 5PM as a new 1st year (even when I had nothing to work on!) so I found myself just lingering around the office so no one would say anything. This took away from my gym time and self-care time. It made me miserable. Also, a family member died and I took some time off and felt like I was seen less-than because I didn't put work first.
In general, I feel like the industry is very toxic. From the Big4Accountant memes to even this forum–people always have something to say. For example, the memes would make fun of interns or first years when literally it's mostly everyone's first time working professional, we have no idea what we're doing and we're just trying out best. It makes me feel like I would never be good enough.
And this this forum, I found could be a double edge sword. Someone posted about their hesitations testing at a full Prometric testing center due to COVID exposure. Some people posted obviously some misinformation or seemed holier-than-thou, pushing the OP to just go test. They didn't seem too nice about it either. What I'm getting at is, people are all different. Someone may ride or die to take the exams whereas others don't feel comfortable, do what's best for you and don't let anyone tell you what that is CAUSE THEY REALLY DON'T KNOW THE FULL SITUATION!
You're in your 20s, it's meant to figure out what you like and don't like. It's meant to pave the way to being happy to go into your 30s. And it shouldn't be consumed with self-doubt and second guesses. I don't think you threw your career away, there are so many choices with an accounting background and CPA license. I would know, it's taking me double digit tries!
Be happy, live in the present, and keep your head up.August 21, 2020 at 12:02 pm #3082761ReckedParticipant
It took me until my mid 30's to sit for the CPA exam, so at least you got that going for you.
Money and career are the single focus of some people, but not all people.
We'll all die in the end, regardless of the money we have or the role we achieved in our careers.
There is definitely more to life. The goal should be happiness, and if Big4 wasn't making you happy then you should not regret leaving at all.
I know Big4 wasn't the right environment for me post college.
Sometimes I think back and wonder if I should have tried at least.
But was much happier at a smaller firm, and now with a shingle of my own.
The what-ifs will always haunt your mind, but you just need to accept it wasn't the right place at the right time and you are where you need to be right now, and just keep watching for other opportunities if you decide you are truly not happy now.August 21, 2020 at 12:48 pm #3082920DieselParticipant
There's hope for you. I know of several CPAs who never went to a Big 4 and likely make far more money than someone stuck at a Big 4 could ever obtain (unless you're a big dog I suppose). Big 4 isn't too common around where I live though. Maybe working at a Big 4 is something colleges pushed? My colleges didn't push going that route.August 21, 2020 at 1:10 pm #3082935CGParticipant
id rather eat my own shit for every meal than work in a big 4August 21, 2020 at 1:28 pm #3082959CGParticipant
get the cpa and we can do whatever we want to.August 21, 2020 at 2:06 pm #3082974
@April – Quit beating yourself up and get a life coach. I found one when I quit IT and rather than drag me down a rabbit hole of self-doubt and recrimination (as a therapist would have done,) he helped me find and keep the focus I needed to change careers. It didn't take much and didn't take long and it was relatively inexpensive to get underway. In the end it has not always been as I hoped but it has been well worth the journey. While you are at it, speak to a nutritionist and make sure your diet is supporting you properly. You would not believe how terrible food can make you feel – low energy, lethargic, depressed, disappointed. You are young, you have your entire life ahead of you. Your career is important but it is not everything – it is a means to an end for your happiness. Look at your scores – you are holding yourself back with doubt. You ultimately do very well but you make yourself climb to get there. Unleash your drive! First, be kind to yourself. I can't say it enough – POSITIVE SELF-TALK MATTERS!August 21, 2020 at 2:37 pm #3083004
To be clear, I am not suggesting a career change for you. A good life coach will help you make your chosen career work better for you. Good luck!August 21, 2020 at 4:01 pm #3083121AnthonyParticipant
Threw your whole career away? Nope..your career is what you make out of it. Get your CPA and come back in 20-30 years from now and tell us how your career went.
You need to think about the big picture here. There is more in life than working at corporate America. Public accounting and Big 4 is really just a sink or swim culture that churned fresh new grads every single year. It's simply not for everyone and there no shame in it.August 21, 2020 at 10:00 pm #3083430SkynetParticipant
FYI, it's not the end of the world if you don't go into public accounting. I have met people who never went into public yet do really well.
I never went into public myself. Been mostly in Nonprofit and Tax, yet I feel I'm doing ok and not missing out. I love my job and don't really have any complaints.
It took me a long time after many ups and downs to finally have a steady accounting career.
Each day I thank God and Jesus Christ for guiding me to the place I'm currently at which I can call my second home.August 21, 2020 at 10:40 pm #3083442fsugirl2005Participant
@April94 You sound like me…before I went on an anti-depressant. You need to make sure you are mentally healthy and in good physical health while on the CPA journey. Many people walk around with all kinds of issues not realizing they are suffering from a depressive disorder, bipolar, etc. Also, Monikernc is correct. Your food choices can play a huge part in how you feel. Try changing your diet, exercise, and relax a bit. If that doesn't work, look into a mental health counselor.
I hope you feel better.August 23, 2020 at 5:38 pm #3084519
Thanks everyone for your input/advice. It’s really comforting to know I’m not the only one who feels like this. I definitely put my mental and physical health on the back burner since I started this journey two years ago and I’m now starting to regret that, but all I can do now is move forward and make myself a priority. No point on feeling in the past!August 23, 2020 at 6:12 pm #3084546
Hi April, I am glad to hear your response. You are so young. Ditching a toxic environment shows your wisdom. Learn to trust your instincts as you move forward. Enjoy your life. Good luck!🍀August 23, 2020 at 6:49 pm #3084573
Thank you! I appreciate your support and I have always enjoyed seeing the advice you give to CPA candidates 🙂August 23, 2020 at 8:56 pm #3084660
Thank you, April. This journey is challenging in so many ways. This forum was vital to my success with exams and I am happy to help. Always do what is best for you and be nice to yourself.August 27, 2020 at 11:18 am #3088620I can and I willParticipant
I’m so sorry you feel this way. Big four environment is totally toxic most of the time. If it weren’t for one really good team I had, my view would be 100 percent jaded. I left just shy of senior due to being on rolling busy seasons While trying to pass my Cpa exams. It was getting down to the wire for my expirations so I made the decision to leave. I hated the work, the company, clients and the people so honestly- it was the best decision I ever made. I made a pivot to finance at a well respected media giant- and I’m on track to become a manager due to needs on my team
This year. I obviously took a jump in my pay (maybe not as much as if I stayed another year or so)But you cannot put a price on happiness. Life is more than work. I too would cry every other day or get anxiety Attacks thinking of
Managers emailing me at 11 pm and thinking about how I’m going to pass my exams. I don’t miss the firm at all- maybe I miss the perks.
I’m going to make a bold statement and say I don’t think I’ve found a single person that likes auditing at big 4. Most people who stay are so complacent and dead set on making the next promotion or shiny external thing they are presenting you to validate you. It takes courage to recognize you’re unhappy and actually do something about it and create your reality.
Long story short- left right before senior promo for a SFA position and never been happier. Haven’t looked back once. (I just had my one year with nbc this month)August 27, 2020 at 12:19 pm #3088692JenniferGuest
To the OP and everyone else – you can have a fine career in tax even if you never do public accounting. I purposely avoided it (especially big4) because of the horror stories I heard from graduate friends, etc. a part of me regrets it now because not all firms are like that but I’m still proud of my experience and career. I’m in my 30s and a Director with a CPA. I honesty think the CPA is more important than public accounting in your career. You can still get a well rounded experience depending on what company you work with and how much freedom you have to do new things.
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