The best thing I did was throw out the blue suit…
When I worked with big 2 accounting firm, KPMG, in my twenties, everyone wore a blue suit.
No exaggeration necessary; literally everyone and their brother was dressed in navy blue (sometimes with pin stripes).
Looking back, I’m amazed at my own audacity, but amongst the blue suit brigade that was KPMG, I made my own way. I had long hair, an always-loosened tie, and never wore blue.
Was I a rebel…
Was I just a nonconformist…?
Did I just hate blue?
Even now I can’t answer that question – after all, who knows what someone in their 20s actually thinks? Right?
But here’s how I made my way:
- I learned that working smart was better than working hard.
- I learned that fairly valuing my contribution was more important than selling my skills for pennies.
- I learned that asking for what you want is the only way to get it
- I learned that I always have a choice.
My clients were a diverse range of public and private clients. Some were interesting … most were not.
And London was awash with “wannabe” businessmen, pursuing their dreams in an endless army of blue suits.
My stint in the London office allowed me to pursue my passion for travel while honing my skills in M&A, corporate divestitures, and forensic accounting.
Upon returning to Australia, the allure professional accounting had once held was now wearing thin.
But I was able to hone my analytical thinking.
I began to step into my career as a change agent when the blue suits tired of me, and I tired of the suits.
What had been a fast-flowing river at KPMG literally dried up, and it was time to move on. I will be forever thankful for that day, as it was the beginning of parlaying my education and experience into a career that has built businesses, driven success, and in some ways, created entire new industries.
My early work experience gave me the technical skills on which to build a career, but personal style, fearlessness and self-belief are what have made my career great.
In looking back to my post-disco years with KPMG, I realize that there are a few strong themes here.
Let’s call them life lessons:
- You need a bag of skills, knowledge and experience in order to find your own way.
- Conformity is never the way to go.
- Opportunity is what you find when things don’t seem to be going right; you find a way.
What do I suggest now?
Throw away your blue suit.
It could be the start of a greater journey than you ever imagined!