Friday, February 11, 2011

Letting the past come back to haunt me

There was a bright, shining moment where I thought I had a shot.

“It’s an IT job. In L.A. At Warner Brothers,” he said. “They’re looking for someone with 10 years of IT experience and accounting background, preferably a CPA.” I said, “Hunh. Interesting. Though I am not a CPA, and only mostly a CA,” and chewed it around in my head some more. “It’s in L.A.,” he repeated as I was about to leave. “At Warner Brothers. It may be worth putting in a resume, at least.” “Send me the link to my home IM and I’ll look at it tonight,” I said. I’m not actively in the market to move us back to SoCal, but it may be worth dusting off the resume and seeing how far I could get. If nothing else, it could be a small ego boost, something I could use right now in my career life. I left for work, starting to feel like maybe there was something else out there for me. Something at the home of Looney Tunes AND I’d be qualified to do. That I might be desirable to a company like that seemed a bit hard to fathom, but exciting and full of possibilities.

I came home that night and read the job posting, realizing that I should have left the casual conversation at the casual level. The posting was not for an IT manager with accounting background, but for an IT auditor. As I read through the qualifications, it hit me like a ton of bricks: they want the person I thought I was going to be. The girl who passed her CA and had been planning to go forward and get a CISA and be an IT auditor. Had things gone as I’d hoped back then, I’d be well established in that vein by now, and would likely have an excellent shot at attaining this job. Reading through this posting was like being in an alternate universe and going back in time all at once. My hopes fell, and I crashed back down to the ground. All the old feelings of hurt, failure, plans gone awry came rushing back like it was yesterday. “They want an IT Auditor,” I said. “And I am not an IT Auditor.”

I still have the same emotions surrounding it. Anger over not being able to pass the finals, twice, seemingly no matter what I do. Frustration over having put so much personal time into a 100% pass-fail career. Embarrassment over the realization that after spending 3+ years after university studying the subject, I still had no idea what I was talking about: a realization that came when I re-read my exam answers. How can a person who spent 16 years at or near the top of her class suddenly fail repeatedly? Aren’t you supposed to get what you want if you work hard enough? What that experience taught me is that no matter how hard you work, it does not guarantee success. I also learned that you can’t do whatever you want; some people are just not cut out for certain things. I saw many unworthy people pass, and many worthy people struggle.

I still have no regrets over quitting after 2 attempts. It was the right decision. I really didn’t belong there, I wasn’t good at it, and it was time to stop spinning my wheels. What I haven’t been able to overcome are the emotions attached to the process. The nerve is still very raw, as evidenced by my reaction to reading that job posting. I’m left with the reminder of failure, and of feeling dumb for the first time in my life. Simultaneously, I am also dealing with auditors at work. As I type this, one auditor emailed to request a conference call, and another is waiting on me to produce reports. These are the last people I really want to talk with right now.

There are comments I'd like to make about my current job/career, which is where I ran to when I escaped public accounting. I'm reluctant to post them here, though, because I suspect there may be people reading this who could use the information to their advantage and my disadvantage. I won't give them that satisfaction, nor myself the hassle.

It is a common statement that life is what happens while you're making plans. Things don't always turn out the way you hope or dream they will. I've come to the point where I'm ok with giving up that career path, not really being convinced it was truly "my" path. But that doesn't mean I'm over the feelings attached to my attempt. It may not be a constructive use of my time, but that's my prerogative. I don't focus on it very often anymore, but it does creep up now & then, as with this job posting. The longer time goes on, the more I'm able to let it go. As of right now, I still need more time.

1 comment:

Cyn said...

Ugh ugh ugh! Sorry for this painful reminder. At first when I started reading the post I was gasping with excitement for you. You! Sylvester! In the same office! In SoCal! /sigh I'm so sorry it wasn't what it could have been for you on first glance. I'm sorry you had this pain brought up again. And you're right that sometimes intelligence really has nothing to do with who gets ahead in the end. Often there is absolutely no logic to it even.