Six months ago, I had put in my two weeks at the accounting firm I work at. I transitioned from a tax accountant to a campus recruiter at a different tax firm!
I spent about a month job-hunting, mainly for internal accountant positions at real estate investment companies and at other, smaller public accounting firms. I found that most of them did not really line up with my preferences. I essentially did not want to do busy season hours anymore. I could barely get myself out of bed because of how much dread was in me in regards to all the work that had to be done. It was so frustrating, how disenchanted I had become. I used to think that being a tax accountant was IT, the career for the rest of my working lifetime. It was extremely disappointing, internally, when I realized I could not really stomach this type of work much longer. I had been struggling a lot with self-confidence in tax accounting, especially when I realized I was not nearly as passionate about it as my coworkers are.
I would not call it a personality thing, per se. There are plenty of accountants like me, who are bubbly, outgoing, and social, that actually do love this profession and can talk about it constantly. While any working career I choose is something I would not want to talk about all the time, it is something that I would want to enjoy talking about rather than feel so self-conscious.
I mulled over so many different careers in my head. Private accounting, freelancing, photography, maybe even trying to become a full-time Rover pet sitter/walker. I just knew my heart wasn’t in public accounting anymore and I was beginning to feel desperate to make a change.
Depression was hitting me at an all-time low. I felt so useless. This was supposed to be my identity, public accounting. I did not want to let my family down, who had invested on my college career and supported me through those four years. I did not want all the mean people I encountered in college to think, “ha, she couldn’t do it – what a waste of time.” I was already feeling like a major waste of space, like I was taking up someone else’s spot who worked harder and deserved it more. I let these inner demons beat me out momentarily, and I feel so much shame sometimes when I think about how low I let myself sink with this personal struggle.
I knew a change-up was needed, and I had previously attempted a pursuit in campus recruiting at my accounting firm about a year ago. I unfortunately lost out to candidates who had experience in campus recruiting, which was more desirable than an internal person from a different department. Timing with recruiting’s busy season made it difficult to want to throw someone to the wolves, if you will. So I applied for a new campus recruiting position from LinkedIn, and I was so excited to report that I got it!
My experience with switching careers is not at all uncommon, but it really can feel isolating and shameful. Career switching itself isn’t really isn’t shameful, but I still felt so down in the dumps about it. I felt so… stupid. So worthless and useless. Like I gave up. It’s all because of internal comparison, really. But even still. I was so accustomed to being at the top of my class, and being able to coast by. Now, I know better. I’m okay with not being the top of the top, but I also know what suits me best too. I’m changing careers again this week, but I feel so much lighter this time around.
All photography by Zoë Burchard Studios, LLC.