Friday, January 2, 2009

The GMAT exam and career (dirt) path.

I took the GMAT exam this past Monday. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, the GMAT exam "was designed by business schools to measure the skills shown to help graduate business student exceed..." According to Sarah and me, the GMAT exam is just another money-making scheme!

My career path has certainly not been straight or forward-moving, thus the blog title - "my career dirt path". I have worked with, and worked for countless accountants who have made up to 25-40% more than me just because they had three letters (CPA, MBA, etc.). I can sometimes get quite bitter about where I am compared to them. I've always felt I don't need three letters to prove myself. The problem is that employers want those three letters!

The following is a summary of my career, peppered with some life events:

I attended a local state university while working about 25-30 hours per week for a well known package delivery company. Due to my excessive drinking, it took 5 and 1/2 years to complete the 4 year program. I barely graduated in 1989. My GPA was embarrassing. I got sober in the last semester of school and, shortly thereafter I pursued a career in accounting.

My first accounting job was for a real estate company. That job lasted less than a year before I was laid off because of the ailing real estate market. I collected unemployment and worked temp jobs before accepting a position for a small software company in Boston. This position ended up being short-term also. My job there was very narrow and I had also zero opportunities to advance so I left for a better opportunity.

The next five years (1992 - 1996) were spent at a wholesale distributor of fabric paint as an accountant. Great people, good company and I learned a great deal. My wife at the time (we married in March 1992) and I filed for a divorce in 1995. Then, the company I worked for, filed for bankruptcy in 1996. I was looking for work again. I then started at a conservative, established, small, but successful investment management company in Boston.

I had considered career changes in the past. During the early 90's, before the divorce, I took an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course, passed the exam, and almost went to work as an EMT. I cannot recall exactly why that didn't pan out.

It wasn't until late 90s that I again seriously considered a new career path. After spending Tuesday evenings, and my entire Saturdays, for two years attending a great massage school in Cambridge, I became eligible to practice massage therapy in the summer of 2000. The plan was to do double duty: work part-time as a massage therapist MT) and part-time as an accountant. Classic right-brain, left brain balance! So, in 2001, I left the security of being employed at a financially solid, secure, workplace to practice massage and consult as an accountant.

Being single and healthy, I enjoyed this time in my life - I made my own schedule, made money and had a fun social life. But, after a couple of physical issues forced me to miss work (thus not get paid), the conservative side of me won out and I decided I needed employment with steady income, health and retirement benefits. I was back on the market for full-time employment.

Meanwhile, Sarah had taken a position in the tax department of the investment management company for which I had previously worked.

See where this is going? I ended up consulting full time for that same company! Sarah and Rich get "set-up", they fall in love, get engaged, buy a house, and get married in October 2004. Most of our spare time in 2004, 2005 and some of 2006 is spent doing major work on our house. Not much time for anything else. I did, however, start a new full time job as an Accounting Manager in September 2004. After about two months, I HATED my boss so I resigned with the intention of spending my time between a job search and fixing up the house.

My sixth employer was in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment for another financial services company in Boston. I am hired as an Accounting Manager and the compensation is good, considering I do not have a CPA designation or an MBA. Sarah and I could never, ever predict what was going to occur in our lives over the next two years.

We are expecting our first child. We decide to make the baby's sex a surprise. But, if it is a girl, her name will be Abigail. On Sunday, June 4th, 2006 I have to leave a message with my boss telling him our daughter passed away. It was the worst day of my life.

After about 1 1/2 years of employment at that company, it is announced that a HUGE financial services company, also based in Boston, is acquiring us. I will be laid off, but not for another 8 months. A few months previous to the acquisition announcement, Sarah and I heard four words we will never forget from an ultrasound technician (sorry tech, I do not remember your name): "...I see three babies...".

Our girls are born, I continue to do my lame-duck time at the office while I await my termination and severance.

In July 2008 I accept an offer from my current employer, who offers some tuition reimbursement.

This past Monday I took the GMAT. Unless we hit the lottery, I will start graduate school in the Fall so that I can make a salary that I believe I deserve.

Post Script - this blog ended up being much longer than planned!


Kris said...

Was the fabric paint company ~ah... named after a flower..One of my sil's worked there too.
(I know the name, but notice that you and Sarah don't like to post that type of info.)
Marji was in sales I believe.

Rich said...

You got it correct! Marji doesn't ring a bell but that was over ten years ago...sales, eh?

Kris said...

Sales, marketing ...??? I know I got free paint!! You two must have been there at the same time as she was there for a number of years before they closed.
Just another one of those small world things. I will show you a picture the next time you come over to shovel out your tenents ... oh that right, they do it themselves ..;p~