Payten Spencer recently joined Team World Domination as an apprentice. She has been an excellent addition that epitomizes the culture we seek to drive. We asked for her thoughts on why she chose to apprentice with a smaller firm, and her perspective helps to shine a light on how future accountants are looking at their options:
“Job hunting, the big and scary phrase that haunts all college students for at least four years, if not more. With that, job security has been a phrase familiarized in my head ever since I picked my major, accounting, with a lovely emphasis in public accounting. As I progressed throughout my major, I came to learn of the plentiful avenues that the field of accounting holds in store for me to choose from. With that comes a decision on what matters most to me with these positions: salary, time, location, job satisfaction, etc. Being a part of the wildly known Generation Z, I realized what I hold to the highest standard for my career: job satisfaction. Having conversations with my generational counterparts led me to realize this was a trend. We want to be internally fulfilled with our positions and the work we do. No longer is a job just a means to the end, but rather a conscious decision that it has to be more.
When the pandemic hit, there was no telling where my goals would end up, specifically my ambition to have first-hand experience within the workforce before I truly enter it post-graduation. To provide a bit of background, I am a current first-semester junior since I have sped up my graduation by a year. However, I was told countless times by people in various positions that no firm would hire a nineteen-year-old sophomore, enter High Rock Accounting. After internship hunting for a few weeks, I landed myself in the top internship I could ever have at my age. This being entirely based on preference, of course, as High Rock provides so much more for me than just an internship, and I have grown to love and adore my coworkers. The importance of culture within my future positions has only bloomed ever more so since I began here. I understand why some would say it is silly to seek a job that makes me happy if other positions provide more. However, while I know shooting for the top-paying job in one’s career path has its obvious positive, the enjoyment I feel coming to and leaving work is irreplaceable. The coworkers I confide in and the feeling of being a part of a work family are not worth exchanging any amount of salary, benefits, etc. We seek fulfillment in our lives through plenty of things. Yet, the workforce is where we spend most of our lives, so in my head, I think… why should I not make sure this time is used for something I become proud of and gain wholehearted positive relationships from? Why should I not want to be surrounded by all kinds of vibrant abstract characters that make up a whole other world in my life? Why should I not make these connections that speak to the depth of what we truly desire as humans, even in work settings?
Culture, let’s speak on this. Think about what this word means concerning your daily job. Do you surround yourself with people you thoroughly enjoy and care for throughout those eight hours a day? The whole forty hours a week? If not, then what is the point other than financial need, which there are countless ways around. What is intriguing about this viewpoint is that this is often a shared one of the older generations ahead of me in the workforce. They are there because they HAVE to be, and they “need the money,” whereas I am seeking out smaller, more tight-knit firms that can speak to not just my work abilities but also my character and hold me accountable as a human being. As I mentioned previously, a 9 to 5 job can be a big part of your income, but it will not be the entirety of it. I will use the knowledge I gain throughout my career to expand the quantity and quality of cash in-flows readily available at my hands. This way, I can seek out positions that meet my intrapersonal needs and provide a place where I can grow intellectually and individually.
However, this realization did not just come out of thin air; instead, it was poured over my head like a welcoming bucket of cold water on an unbearably hot day. It was startling nonetheless, but the realization was freeing because it entirely and utterly fits with the human I am and want to be. Within the first two weeks of my time with High Rock, I was able to get a feel for the different types of people I would be learning from, and I became ever so grateful. While there are pros to being a part of a big firm, the impersonality effect it has is something I will never desire. I want to know all of my coworkers, and a surface level, “hi” and “hello” is not nearly as wonderful as “did you do x this weekend like you were talking about” or “how’s X, Y, Z going?”. As the firm gets bigger, the personal touch of it all fades away. Then suddenly you are spending ten hours a day with people who feel like strangers because they are, ones that do not care for your well-being and rather only what you can provide them or how much competition you present to them. That is the difference. The care aspect that firms like High Rock introduce is not something that can be replicated at large corporations. I will be lucky to encounter a firm with the inside social culture as such, one that takes life into account and provides me with more than a job description.”