Career advice

Evening all.

First point I should probably address before anything is why I’m seeking out career advice on this forum of all places. Well, without letting it go to your heads, you all seem relatively smart and successful but nontheless, down-to-earth and fairly friendly for the most part. On the other side of the coin you’re pretty straight-talking and direct, and that suits me just fine.

So, for the most part I suck at life pretty badly.

I’ve just turned 26, I’m living at home with parents, and earning a measly £21k in London, which amounts to about £1400 per month (which after ~700 for rent + bill and another -146 for a zone 1-3 travelcard leaves about 550 quid p/m before even the essentials of food/shavers & shower stuff/phone and whatnot) - so I think it’s fair to say that I can’t even afford my own independence at this stage.

Anyway, quick backstory - I graduated from Southampton in 2012 with a 2:1 in Philosophy - since then my CV has looked like this:

Jul 12- Sep 12: Languages teacher/tour guide (summer job I did between years at uni and for one more summer after)

Jan 13 - Mar 13: Short stint as a content editor for a very small construction conference company (literally like 4-5 people) (£18k pro-rata)

Apr 13- Nov 13: Call-centre work & a bit of building/roofing on the side for a family friend (about £9p/h)

Feb 14 - Aug 15: Journalist/Newsletter editor for a crummy company that has since fired & outsourced all its staff (£17k)

Aug 15 - present: Financial journalist for media company in London (£20k rising to £21k after 6 months)

Essentially I quickly got into the no-job-because-no-experience cycle after university. Ended up getting too comfortable living at home and working for pocket money in the call-centre and needed to get a decent stint at what looked like a ‘proper company’ on my CV for a significant amont of time before I could move on - which I did so last year. Unfortunately the company that I’m at pays very poorly (although journalism in general is a bit of a dying industry) and I don’t really see much of a future for me (it goes up to £22.5k after a year, then £23.5k after 18 months and finally £25k after 2 years if you hit your hard-ish to attain targets).

Now happily enough, the work experience that I have got under my belt (plus the exposure to the world of financial services), coupled with the fact that I know what I want to do career-wise (get an accountancy qualification - either CIMA or ACA) has put me in a slightly better position than I have been previously. I’ve applied to PwC’s graduate scheme and after the initial application, the online tests and finally the telephone interview, I’m through to the assessment day. However, there is obviously a very decent chance that I won’t make it through. (If I did get the PwC job then literally all my woes and problems are basically instantly solved - would happily go into the ring with Conor McGregor for 3 minutes and fellate a crocodile if it would guarantee me an offer)

Anyway, should I fail, I’ll nevertheless keep applying to similar positions/graduate schemes because, hey, that’s my aim. I really am not hugely fussed about how much I earn, how hard I have to work or how exciting the work is - I just want to earn enough to build some kind of a life for myself and y’know, not be a total screw-up.

Anyway, a little opportunity has come up at a company that I applied for as a bit of a backup called Preqin, unfortunately, as you can see from the glassdoor reviews, it sounds like it sucks pretty bad. However, the pay is £24k (with a £2k bonus) and as I say, I don’t see a future at my current employer. Nevertheless, Preqin would be just as much of a stepping stone and I’d literally be coming home to apply for jobs on day 1 anyway.

So I guess my question is whether I should go for it, or stick with my current employer given that wherever I’m working will represent a stepping stone either way.

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If you don’t like your current job, go for it. Similar stepping-stones, one pays better, another name(experience) on your c.v, possibly learn something new, you might enjoy the environment more and the people. Good luck either way.


Are you fighting conor mcgregor and fellating the crocodile at the same time? Would you not better prove your determination to get this post if you let the crocodile fellate you?

These are the type of cross examination questions that might come up at the interview and I want you to be prepared for them.

Also what SOS said.

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Mate - glass door is generally full of negative comments about companies - but I know from talking to people in my industry sector that (most) of the comments have more than a grain of truth.

Personally I’d stick with the devil you know and look for a better job rather than go for something that pays a little extra, but has shit reviews and from the little you’ve told us, will work your balls off for a shit bonus that’ll be worth diddly squit after tax and NI

Alternatively - as per the advice to Super Mikey - get on the game and sell your ass.

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Don’t rely too much on what glass door says. It is used by disgruntled ex employees or has been gerrymandered by the management.

I would recommend you do an accountancy course at a local college and pay to put yourself through your first couple of exams (so that you can apply for part-qualified Accountancy jobs), or just apply to anywhere taking on graduate Accountants - it really doesn’t have to be a blue chip company, just anywhere that will pay for you to do your qualification. It’s then a case of working your way up whilst doing exams…there’s no quick fix, but you can get to be very high up, quite quickly.

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Before you go, oh shit that twat is back to give me shit… Hear me out…

First up think about how you define success and happiness.

Most folks seem to equate success with money/position and happiness with what they can afford

At 46 in a what many might classify as success in position and monetary terms - I can ‘afford to be happy’… But it’s taken me 23 years and a lot of misery and shit to get here - having made sarifices missing important family milestones as a result.

The reason I was perhaps hard on you last time was because you seemed so preoccupied with earnings. And it really should not be about that as a driver or motivator

My advice is quite simple- as someone who is whoring myself to a global company albeit for a decent wedge, it’s no compensation for having missed so many important family milestones - my daughters first words, steps and day at school, birthdays - she may love me loads, but she will always see me as the dad who was never at home- and too busy… So fuck that and do what you love, and put those things ahead of driving ambition if you want to be really happy…

Live becomes easier with more money. It brings more plastic shit - but it will never compensate for the time you have missed with family and loved ones in the efforts to earn it.

Good luck with your plans, but in my experience there is kowt wrong in following your heart instead of head with all this.


Might want to edit one of those family milestones Chuts.

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'Kin auto correct on bastard iPhone Init

I missed it… What was it? First family jacuzzi?

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Haha - was a good one from the twisted / sick world of Apple

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I hope Chutters doesn’t mind me saying I found it hilarious, but I couldn’t in all good conscience let him leave it there. And by that token I can’t repeat it either.

This makes sense. I’ve got an old uni mate of mine who busted out of PwC (‘bad failed’ one of his exams) - joined Mazars (obviously not such a good company in general but nonetheless one where you can work while studying for your ACA) but nonetheless is on his way to qualifying as an accountant.

As far as I’m aware - once you’re there, you simply are a qualified account and can more-or-less earn £40k minimum. So sounds like a good fall back plan if I don’t make PwC/KPMG etc.

I’ll still give the blue-chip companies a crack though. I know several people working at Deloitte/PwC and they all react with the same shrug of ‘pssh - god yeah - you’d be fine’ in answering the question of whether they think I could do the job. The issue is simply the competition and weight of numbers.

That’s it, but smaller companies will tend to be less pressure, better working environments and generally more pay (at least initially).

In relation to earning £40k when qualified then yeah, should do easily, my missus was on that part qualified 7 years ago, in Basingstoke, so in London should be no problem.

I would recommend CIMA over ACA as it tends to give you a wider scope for finance areas to go into BTW.

I’d absolutely love to have the opportunity to have a daughter who’s first words I get to miss out on.

At the moment I feel like I’m staring straight down the barrel of being an utterly dependent failure and an adult child who can’t afford to get married, have a house, have a family or indeed, have any sort of an independent life - and that’s entirely down to the fact that I’m not earning enough to facilitate anything else.

I realise thats a very mechanical way of looking at things, but it’s simply the reality.

Wow, what’s your wife’s career path been?

Can you elaborate re. CIMA? I’m actually applying to Virgin Media’s finance/CIMA graduate scheme funnily enough.

I think getting a professional qualification is definitely the way for me to go.

Some general career advice, for anyone…

  1. Work your bollocks off for the first year, anywhere you work. Arrive early and stay late if required. First impressions count, and it’ll do you good anyway. Decent times thereafter

  2. Always be able to do stuff. There are people that say stuff, and people that do stuff. People that do stuff have a longer shelf life.

  3. Do as you’re told. Sounds obvious, but it took me long enough to fucking learn. We all accumulate a shitload of additional tasks that we didn’t have to do last year and you’ll be tempted to say “wah!” or resist. Don’t. Doing as you’re told will keep you your job.

  4. Pick and prepare for your battles. There are some times you can’t do as you’re told. It could be a really shit idea, based on crap info, conflicts massively with other business objectives or create damaging PR. Keep it detached and specific. Best to go in with both problem and solution, but there’s value in just stopping your boss from making a colossal fuck-up. You’ll fare a lot better in these scenarios if largely, you’ve done as you were told.

  5. Stay for at least a year.

  6. But don’t be afraid to get the fuck out immediately if it’s awful.

As for the OP, classic case of better the devil you know vs leap of faith. If you’re not happy jump. You can jump somewhere else later on.


Assistant Finance Manager - Large electronics company

Finance Manager - same company

Head of FP&A - magazine

Head of FP&A - payroll company

CFO - payroll company (promoted in July)

That’s between the ages of 23 and 33.

CIMA is the business side of accounting, rather than the chartered side and enables you to move around anywhere. ACA is just auditing (and it’s harder).

Thanks Pap - good advice.

Part of the problem with the current company I’m working at is that because I’ve been looking to leave (or at least, planning on leaving for a good few months now) I’ve definitely been slacking if I’m honest. Having said that, the pay increases are so low that it feels like it’s barely worth it - and that actually, I am literally better off expending my extra energy on things like practicing maths tests and jobhunting.

The main thing I’m looking for is a career. I wouldn’t mind slumming it and working every hour that God sends if I knew that there was some kind of a reward at the end of it, but when the reward is a 1-1.5k (<1k increase after tax) that doesn’t actually afford any change to what’s still a dependent lifestyle, it really feels like its as worthless a pursuit as ‘going the extra mile’ if I were behind the counter at Tesco.

If I got a job at PwC/KPMG etc. however, I’d absolutely work my fingers to the bone.

Essentially, all I want is a job where I know that if I’m a good lad at work, then my life is at least independent, secure and stable.

I literally don’t give a flying fuck about luxuries. (As it happens, my perfect job would be as a London tube driver. £50k - about 45-50 days a year on holiday - must be 'effing lovely.)

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Aside from anything else Tramp’ it is really quite sad that you define yourself as a ‘screw up’ because you don’t earn enough money.

I imagine (and I clearly have no idea other than as a parent myself…) that your family don’t consider you a ‘screw up’.

Money means fuck all at the end of the day.

More pragmatically, Pap’s advice about ‘first in, last out’ is good.