Saturday, September 6, 2008

When I grow up, I want to be...

a/an _______________.

14 years ago, like many of you, I was given a green manilla card, amongst other personal details, with one question requesting for three answers.

# Cita-cita:
1. _____________________
2. _____________________
3. _____________________

14 years down the road, we laugh about it- the silliness of it all or whether you've stuck by your words to be who you want to be (at least one of the three occupations listed).

I thought about this today, except I didn't laugh. It is silly. I mean, c'mon who sticks to doing what they wrote in that green manilla card more than a decade ago?? Not that I remember what I wrote or what my other friends wrote... but in reality, hardly anyone becomes what they wanted to be when they were 7.

We were taught of the more 'glamourous' occupations- peguam, doktor, juruterbang, jurutera, akauntan, arkitek, polis (eh m'sian police also can become kaya raya, muncul in tv, rub shoulders with big time politicians one all ok), guru (teachers of cos must promote their own profession mah), penyanyi, etc. Hence, the three blanks were often filled with either one of these 'glamourous' occupations.

I am of no exception.


Now, fast forward to present. I am not an accountant, what I thought I would become when I took up accounting as my university major. Yeah, for the past 4 years I believed I was going to be one.

To be honest, I must admit that amongst my sisters, I am probably the most undecisive, confused and hopeless in this thing called "making career decisions". And I know it's a very big problem especially if 'career' is the one thing you have to constantly think of for the rest of your qualified-to-be-employed-life.

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"Y Lim, whyyyyy...!!"

Truth to be told, my present job is NOT my first job. I am not ashamed to admit that I job hopped after the 1st month of employment. But I am ashamed to say I left a high paying graduate-entry position in a prestigious local bank with turnover of billions per annum, great staff benefits, and possibly a great future in the banking industry for a lower pay, non-accounting related, career advancement prospects uncertained job.

I know, am i crazy, stupid, bodoh, gila or what.

I do not regret quitting the banking industry, I know I am not happy there (despite the lucrative pay and benefits- whyyyyyy!!!), but would things have been different if I took my parents' advice of joining the Big 4? Would I have lasted longer in this field? Would I have 4 months of experience now, instead of 1 month there, 1 month unemployed and 2 months neither here nor there? There are just so many question marks. When I quitted, should I have just looked into other industries but doing an accounting job instead of a totally irrelevant industry with a totally irrelevant job scope?

p/s- Please don't mistaken that I don't like my current job. In fact, I am pretty happy to have the opportunity to go out and meet people, deal with products that I can relate to, and the opportunity to travel (even if it's work-related). I am just doubtful of my career advancement prospects. AND don't get me wrong, I am not going to quit my present job anytime soon.

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Wasted degree or still maybe probably mungkin can be useful?

Am I a disappointment to my parents, to my family and my educators who thought I could go far in this field? They who put so much faith and hope on me, they who supported me financially, and they who advised me, I did nothing but disappoint them.

Now, what got me into thinking all these is a conversation in the car with my sister. She told me I could have gotten far with such impressive credentials, that I should continue to pursue my professional qualifications, slave and survive for a few years, but the sacrifice will be worth it as those in the accounting field can earn up to RM5k or more in a mere few years compared to those in the marketing line. And in the end, I could still go back to the marketing line and climb the corporate ladder with such qualifications and accounting experience (p/s- FYI, 11 out of 10 CEOs have accounting background).

Of course, it's always easier said than done. But should I do a U-turn and be back at square one again?

*Please leave your comments if you have any advise for me. Would really love to hear your opinions especially if you're in the accounting field too. Also, which professional course is better- ACCA, CIMA, CPA, ICAEW? Thanks!


Khian said...

The thing is, I'm not in a position to say anything lah, since I'm still studying. The thing is, IMHO, you should've stayed in Public Bank a lil longer, maybe you wouldn't like it during the first few months, but who knows what's gonna happen later right? But is there a possiblity for you to go back to the banking industry now? If there is, and you are not happy with your current position, I would say, why not?
But remember this, life is not perfect, you can't possibly have everything. You get the high pay, but you may not like the job. You get a good job, but you get a mere decent wage..That's life!
Talk to your dad, lim baba, he seems wise!
and take care dear..:) Whatever you do, hopefully I will be able to see you in KL, during my internship..

Anonymous said...

Actually i'm not in accouting line but i have a cousin who's working in PWC for the past 8 yrs( 4 yrs audit(before she got her CPA) & 4 yrs as a tax manager(after she got her CPA) but her salary is only 6k (tax manager)after working for so long.
SHe told me her life in PWC .. not easy .. everyday busy, if she wans to on leave, she has to fill up the form a mth earlier ... everyday reach home after 10pm .. sometimes till 1am ...
She told me no life at all ..
Now she has resigned .. but she got a better offer fr other company .. it's not related to her previous job at all ..

May i know what you actually do in public bank? I mean in position? I have another cousin working as a management trainee with public bank too ... but hez in unit trust .. hez got his degree IT. He joined bcos of the salary RM2.8k ..

Frankly u hv to ask urself wat u reli look into ur career? salary or interest?

ziling said...

Why do you always have to listen to others? Do what you like and what your heart tells you to. 4 years ago, u were to take a degree in which u did not like. 4 years later are u gonna continue doing what your parents asked u to?

Come on.. it's your life! I hate my job and certain sickening people working in my company but if I were to listen to Mom to quit my job long time ago, what would I have achieved this day? Mom always wanted me to go back to this industry for my next job.

But is it in my interest to go back to this industry? My answer is NO! Do and say what she wants but I will lead my life MY WAY.

R3d 0r Gr3en @pPLe ??? said...

life is not perfect, but we live to achieve what we want in life. we only live once, do what interest u the most and who knows what opportunity might arise for u later. trust urself and go ahead to do what u have passion in.

-eiling- said...

You can do the job you like and in the end if the pay doesn't meet your lifestyle, what's the use? Everyone works for money. In the real world, everyone is competing to make the most money and sadly, accountants are highly in demand. I've been working for a few years and I know accountants are highly positioned in a company. You can make your own choice but sometimes you have to listen to those who have gone through the experience. You've got an advantage which is your 1st class degree. What's the use of 1st class if you don't utilise it to the fullest and to your advantage?

Michelle Lee said...

Just do what you like and do best, be it something related to your qualifications or not! :) Be happy, Yiling.

nuraainaa said...

hi yiling!

i'm not too sure about this either, as in what we should do after our degree. But as Mr Frankie said to me, "you could jump here and there for a few years and settle down at a certain age, say, 25."

It's a pretty good advise, i think, because we're still young. We're only 21. twenty one. most malaysians are still in college/university at this age.

So maybe you could take his advise, or not. Don't worry so much kay..(actually i'm telling myself as well) Life is full of options.

Take care! :D

one more thing.."11 out of 10 CEOs have accounting background" <-- terbalik ke?

oh, and i'm linking you. :)

KY said...

Whoa...sounds like you took a leaf out of my book on depression and uncertainty. Lol.

90% of the population have a job they hate, but hey, it pays the mortgage. 9% have a job they love, but not the kind of life they would want. The remaining one percent are the lucky buggers who get the best of both worlds. These are my own personal statistics, btw, but it does sound rather realistic, don't you think?

What I'm trying to say's your life. Find your priority, make a choice and stick with it. People who tell you what to do are probably right, but you might not be wrong either. Just live with the consequences and snub the "I told you so-s". Who says you can't excel in marketing?

Follow your heart life to the fullest! I'm sure you'll succeed somehow, and then I can claim my many many free meals from you. =p

YilingL said...

To everyone: Thanks for your valuable advise. Before the year ends, I will think carefully what I want to do and how to lead my life :D

Coketai said...

I just come across your blog and I would to drop few words. I am in the accounting profession field, well! I should say I am in the Finance field, Hmm!! no! I am in the operating finance field!!! You see, even I am a qualify professional accountant but really what I do on daily basis do not always involve the profession I am in.

The best combination was : Finance background + anything!!! becasue if do want to climb the corporate ladder you need to have operation/ industrial experience.

Since I got my professional qualification may decade ago, I start to read a lot of non accounting book and I search deep into other field. I am in the FMCG line therefore I get myself involved in the marketing line, sales operation to understand how the business run, then using my financial background to help them to make decision!! I always not in my office and wandering around Sales and Marketing department, Supply Chain and other department try to understand what is going on in the business.

By doing so, I am not first of all "a bean counter" I am a bussiness partner and a decision maker in the company.

By the way, to get up in the corporate ladder, you need more skill than that....Soft sill is very important!! of course this a another topic to discuss.

I hope my little comment can help!!!


YilingL said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. Did you went on to become a Chartered Accountant?

Coketai said...

I am the Fellow member of the CIMA body

YilingL said...

Oh. Yeah then can I ask if ACCA or CIMA is better? Or CPA/ICAEW/etc? And where did you pursue your CIMA? Cos I've researched about CIMA and the institutions that offer it is not really well known, unlike ACCA and Sunway College.

Coketai said...

Frankly speaking CIMA nowday have lost it glory day, I still remember when I attended the course in TARC, we are the most number of student among ACCA and ICSA, MACPA but I knew now days I don't why CIMA have become less popular.

Which to Choose: ACCA/CIMA/ICEAW/CPA, well it all depand on what line do you want to go in, if you thinking of going to commercial, doing more field work decision making, less practising accounting then CIMA is more suitable but if you need to use more accounting technique in your work then ACCA/ICEAW/CPA is more suitabl.

If I am not mistaken you are now working in duty free marketing job then I will said CIMA can be useful. For me that I like to go to business front line and be a business partner, I found CIMA is more helpful.

Anyway, this just my side of story, you have to find out more opnion from others.

Hope this is helpful.


YilingL said...

I think you're right. Spot on! I have also thought about whether financial accounting or management accounting suits me more, but I know that I don't really like financial reporting etc. Even during my uni days, I fared better and prefer the management accounting subject. Anyway, just another additional question.

For CIMA, what kind of jobs can I start with? For eg. ACCA = Auditor.

And, do you have any idea how much the tuition fees will be like?

Thanks so much!

Coketai said...

Since you have already obtained Uni degree in Accounting, you can apply from exemption from CIMA. For more information visit their web site or go the KL division office, you will know more.

The good thing of all this professional course you can study on your own, furthermore you already trained in this field. Therefore I think it will not cause you a lot!!

You can start with finance position in either manufacturing line or commercial line, even you can start with service or banking line.

Finance profession in Malaysia normally have to been start with basic work and work the way up and when you reach certain level in your career you will find yourself doing less and less accounting job and more and more decison support function. This is the area where CIMA come in handy!!

I will advise you to pay a visit to CIMA KL division to find out more!!!

I agree with your sister that you don't waste any more time on loittering around and it is time to make up your mind.

It does not mean you need to stick to what you have choosen in UNI but the faster you make decision, the earlier you are in the right track to success.

It is not easy to have the first move and sometime you find yourself end up doing something you don;t like but it is choice you have made. From the story you put in the blog, you are a bright student in the field you have choosen and there is a leadership quality in you why focus on your profession and make up you mind, capitalize the strenght you have and go for it...I believe you will be somebody one day, just need to be patient and focus!!!

Time will reward you!! nothing come easy!


Anonymous said...

Your IC number is on the Picture, you should black it out, because someone cannot steal your number

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