Three years ago, when I was still doing co-op at my University, I got to know a really good friend at EY. At the time, I was a junior staff accountant and was working for a really cool intermediate. He was a very bright, talented individual who had a huge appetite for entrepreneurship.
I don’t really make “real” friends at work. But this was probably one of the only "real" friends that I met. The type of senior where you don’t care to screw up in front, because you know he’ll understand. We actually even went out to eat together a few times outside work. That’s something I call, “friendship in auditing.”
He was writing business plans and had all sorts of crazy ideas about how to “make” it in the real world.
I asked him why he was doing his CA. He told me, “I don’t really want to be a CA.” In fact, I hate it here. I want to be an entrepreneur. The CA is just a plug solution. I’m going to put in my 3 years and get out. Don’t worry about it. It’s 3 years and I’m gone. You’ll understand soon enough. Put in your time and leave."
Flash forward 3 years.
I see him again, and start talking about the good old times….
The man is completed changed.
Gone is the entrepreneurship. Gone is the ambition, the passion. Our hatred for our work bonded us together. Our entrepreneurial spirit. Our bond is broken.
He’s still a good guy and about to get married, and I’m sure dropping close to 80K. But he looks so defeated and miserable.
I yell at him, “You have your CA.” Why don’t you go out and start your business now? Your entrepreneurial dreams?
He responds, “I think I was just being foolish as a kid. Lets face reality. I wasn’t going to make it. It’s better to just accept it. If I’m not at EY, I’m out in industry elsewhere. I’m getting married now. I have new priorities. It’s just not worth the risk. It’s not too bad here. You get paid nice salary and I’m comfortable. You don’t have to like your work. You just have to do it, and get paid for it.
You’ll understand soon enough.”
I’m sorry, but WTF? Does Big 4 change a person like this in 3 years time?
So it really bothers me when people tell me now. “Get your CA and then leave.” You’d be stupid to not get your CA. You already put in so much investment.” It’s only 3 years. Just get it and get out. That would be the smart thing to do”
Sorry, You’re wrong, and you’re stupid if you tell other people this. In fact, if my friend didn’t listen to all the “industry BS advice” about how he “Must Get his CA”, I’m sure he’d be a lot better now. He wanted to start a business 3 years ago. He listened to other people. He didn’t leave when the time was right, and now what? He has his CA.
How exactly is his life so magical now that he has his CA?
The game changes. 3 years is a lot of time.
When I was 8, all I cared about was Candy. When I was 11, Candy was bad for you. I wanted video games. When I was 14, video games were a waste of time and I was after girls. When I was 17, girls were…., well, I was still interested in girls. I won’t lie. =P
But today, I want my own business. I don’t want my entrepreneurial drive to die. I don’t want to be my friend.
It is important to go after what you want. Go after it today. Do not let some silly “You must get the CA” rule dictate your life.
Because, in 3 years…
The game changes