Friday, June 17, 2011

Work Ramblings

I work with numbers and when the words do not flow out of my mouth quite the way I intended (this happens more often than I care to admit), I like to say something like “I like numbers, not words”. This is not exactly true. I did not go into accounting to be a “bean counter”, “number cruncher” or whatever you like to think is true about accounting. I went into accounting because I got it. It made sense. I wanted to have an influence on the bottom the line without selling. By now, I thought I would have been done with working in public accounting and would be on the fast track to stardom in an industry company where the corporate culture promoted all the same values and ideals I have. Alas, I am in public accounting today (by my choice, most days) and I enjoy my current career path (well, here again, most days). Maybe someday the mood will strike and I will pick up the thought of industry stardom. Until that moment arrives, I’m here and doing whatever I can to make our firm profitable, respected and known.

In order to “sell” my firm I need to believe in the firm. We are a professional service and this means, to me, I have need to believe in our people. I admit, a few years back, I did not believe in a few of the people (we are small company and a few people have a huge impact) and I decided to look for a new job. I almost took one that likely would have led to the industry stardom but decided within a couple years and would want to be back in public accounting. I’m happy I made that decision. Within the next year the mood of my firm had changed and all the people were once again top-notch (it’s an excellent feeling knowing you are not the smartest person in the room). Our young accountants, who I sometimes refer to as kids – because I’m so old and they are so young, are second to none.

Because I have such high regards for everyone, I was recently surprised in a discussion.

“I don’t need to have a relationship with you. We just need to get the work done.” (NOTE: Not verbatim and there was also reference to not needing a relationship with a couple others at the firm - among other things.)

However, what I heard was more like this:

“I think you are crap and I tolerate working with you because I have to.”

I am not a person who needs to be best buddies with everyone. I am a person that needs to be more than tolerated with those she works with.

I develop relationships with clients because it improves working relationships. It seems like developing relationships with co-workers improves working relationships, gives a higher quality service to clients, and makes works more enjoyable. This hurts.

I came home that night and talked with Big Poppy. There were tears because I do not want to be “that” co-worker. The one people thinks does a good job but that’s about it. Even now, just thinking about it, there is a frog in my throat. What if I am now (or always have been) the less than top-notch one at the firm?

I am not questioning myself, per say. I’m questioning if I’m doing the best for my firm. I’m questioning if I’m the best person for my firm. Would it be a stronger place without me? Am I holding it back?

They say love hurts. I say work hurts…but as I think about it, I do love/care for everyone at my firm. It makes sense that this hurts. That it has shaken me. I do not get together with most of them outside of the office, but we are a small and you get to know people. I have been there for nine years. I cannot be somewhere for that long without forming bonds. My lesson, not everyone needs a relationship with those they work with.

My work ramblings are done – for today. And I feel a little better for laying it out and seeing what the real issue is for me now.

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