I'm in the middle of a crisis & I need an advice, could you please help me? I just graduated as an accountant & I realized I hate it. I feel like I wasted the last 5 years of my life I don't know what to do :( thank you in advance if you answer
Thanks for your message, I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a bit of a rough time. I do know exactly how you feel though.
Because Oxford and Cambridge are Oxford and Cambridge in your final year you begin to receive invitations to all sorts of events and drinks parties and even dinners with huge corporations within the UK. It doesn’t matter what you studied, a lot of these companies just head hunt students from Oxbridge universities based on the university alone. For that reason I was THISCLOSE to choosing between working for a huge bank in London or taking a training contract with one of the biggest corporate law firms in London (and the world) when I was graduating. I didn’t particularly want to do either of these jobs, but it’s what I thought I should do.
My best friend (Ben from the book) had graduated before me and taken a corporate job in London which he hated and while I was telling him about these job prospects and how dull they seemed he was like, “Don’t do it. You’ll hate it and you’re too creative to work in a bank.” I had a good friend who I’d known since I was a child working at the law firm I had the offer from and she took me out for drinks shortly after this conversation with Ben and told me all about her job and how she basically did a lot of research and paperwork for anywhere from 80-90 hours a week and that it paid really well but that she didn’t have much time off. So I asked her finally if she liked her job and she said, “Well, I wouldn’t call it soul satisfying.”
I don’t come from a particularly affluent background, despite my education. I think one of the greatest lessons I was ever taught was by my mum who told me that because of our economic background that I would always have to work, so if I was going to have to work I needed to at least enjoy what I was doing. That’s why my first job was dog walking when I was ten. I’ve kind of carried that over into my adult life, which is why the idea of a job that wasn’t “soul satisfying” solidified my apprehension towards the job. Sure I’ve had jobs that I didn’t love, but later on I found myself in a career that I hated two years ago and thought about what would happen if I stayed in that particular job and it was just kind of depressing to think that I knew exactly where I would be and what I would be doing for the foreseeable future. So I started interning at a radio station in my spare time and going to music festivals to interview bands and realised that what I really wanted to do was write and listen to music (I mean…who doesn’t?) So eventually I saved enough money to quit my job and start freelance writing and here I am, publishing two books and still getting free passes to festivals to write about music.
I was the managing director and head sales trainer for a company once and we used to ask every applicant to choose what was the most important thing to them from the four F’s - family, fame, fortune or freedom. The answer for me has always easily been freedom, but if it’s fortune you want you’d take a totally different path. Similarly, if your priority is a family the whole boho living month to month and travelling all the time lifestyle I’ve built probably won’t work for an entire family, and fame-wise…I wouldn’t call myself famous, but I think attention in the media was actually the easiest thing that ever came to me which I know isn’t normal, but I had more newspaper articles written about me than actual blog posts when the Sex At Oxbridge blog first went viral so I think the fame thing really just made me realise that I could use my writing to achieve the kind of freedom I wanted.
Regardless of what you choose to do, if you want to be great at your job it requires a massive amount of work. I read a Korean proverb that said “Hard work will never betray you” so when I want something I just keep working until I get it and I don’t know if I’m just lucky or if I just have an extremely aggressive work ethic, but I have never not gotten something that I’ve put all of my effort into getting - from sports, to what university I wanted to go to, to publishing my book.
In my experience, freedom and happiness are directly correlated for me. Money does afford you a lot of freedom, and not having it can definitely make you feel trapped but I’ve never felt like I’m too good for a job and last year I was working in a pub whilst trying to sort out other plans because realistically you can’t just not work if you don’t have a trust fund or a massive amount of savings. The temporary nature of the job made me much happier than the bleak possibility that I could be sitting at a desk for the rest of my life, and I got to talk to people and listen to music all day which is what makes me happiest, but it’s really a personal thing.
Anyway, that’s my story and hopefully a good example of how getting out of something you hate can work out for the best. I think it’s a good idea to consider your options - 1. You stay in this job you hate and ultimately you might be okay with it but it’s kind of like settling or 2. You do literally anything else and regardless of what it is at least you’re not stuck with option no. 1…The last five years are gone, you can’t get that back, but hopefully you learned something even if that something is that you do not want to be an accountant. The only thing you can control is what happens now, so there’s no use in mourning what you could’ve done in the last five years because that will never change. What you can change is what happens next.
If there’s one thing I learned from growing up poor it’s that the easiest thing to get if you really need it is money. Whether it’s working in a pub or selling stuff on eBay…if you need money you can always find a way which is why I’ve never been motivated or driven by money. You can’t buy the feeling of freedom and happiness I had lying out by a pond in Hyde Park writing a book yesterday and if I have to sacrifice bi-weekly shellac manicures (which I only really needed for the sake of appearances for my job) for groceries then I think it’s a fair trade.
I hope this helps! Feel free to dm me or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk in private xx