When I was a little girl, I really didn’t think I was going to become an accountant. In fact, I fully utilised the brilliant Hungarian selective educational system to prepare me to become a teacher.
My very first idea was to become an archaeologist (I loved my history teacher), and then perhaps a librarian (I loved books) and then came the idea of becoming a teacher.
Anyways, I decided to become a teacher then, and I was going to teach literature and languages, and so my selective education progressed in that vein. I was also a bloody good student – As and A*s all the way to my A levels. In Hungary universities did not offer places purely on A level grades, we also had to sit separate entrance exams, for which we were prepared for for about two years. Let’s just say that my teachers were not over the moon therefore when at the age of 18 and about two weeks before said entrance exams I decided that I no longer wanted to become a teacher after all. But I still had no clue what I really wanted to do.
I picked a 3 year course on Commerce, Tourism and Catering with my speciality eventually to become commerce. Why? I honestly don’t know. Maybe because my two foreign languages (rare at the time) guaranteed me a relatively easy way in, and maybe because it sounded all so mysterious with the country just finding its new ways with the fall of communism.
Imagine my surprise when I turned up only to find that the books on this new age were being written just at the time, with not a lot of practical experience for the tutors to draw on. I still have the book called “The Monetary System” to this day – it was so pathetic that I felt compelled to keep it as a reminder.
The truth is I switched off very early on, and my only full and wholehearted engagement with uni life consisted of the “leisure” bit – partying, drinking and boyfriends – all very important life lessons, but still no closer to finding my true calling. (Interestingly, I was privately tutoring a few kids who were struggling in middle school which I loved.)
And then I went off to the big wide world and deferred my studies. I got a few jobs, ranging from being an office administrator (I didn’t know why window envelopes had windows and for months I stuck a label over the window with the address neatly typed on the label), to a marketing assistant (I had no clue of marketing), to being a receptionist at a posh health club bowing to the elite of the country to being a PA / interpreter to an MD, and still with very little clue on what I was going to do with the rest of my life.
Eventually, it was well into my twenties when the pieces fell together and I strategically started working towards becoming a bloody good accountant. I figured that the parts I enjoyed most about my admin work was the target setting for the sales team, the analysis of actuals versus their targets, preparing financial presentations and so on.
So it was a little bit in reverse for me. I knew how to read numbers before I knew how to put them together from scratch. To this day, that is what gives me the most satisfaction – seeing behind the numbers and actively helping our clients with balancing their businesses to suit their lifestyles.
Would I have become a miserable archaeologist or librarian or teacher or administrator? I don’t know. But I do know that I am a happy accountant.
So that’s my story. What’s yours?