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CEO In Waiting April 5, 2015

Posted by Audit Monkey in The Joy & Pain of Internal Audit, Working Life in Britain.
Tags: , , , ,

In the London Evening Standard magazine, ‘ES’ published on 06/03/15 there was an article on work related stress suffered by those in the City. It featured individuals who have been affected by work related and detail on a London clinic which helps mentally ill patients.

Usually these articles don’t affect the average Internal Auditor as let’s face it, we find a problem, it’s someone else’s problem to fix and we don’t have the stress of putting it right. However, two items caught my eye.

The first item featured Rosie Paterson, an Equities Analyst for a Bank. She had reached breaking point due to the pressue of work (12 hour days, networking in the evening, etc), but was fortunate to be made redundant so could obtain professional help away from the office. For one of her appraisals, she was told she was not up to scratch but was told that “there were no specifics. I was just told to I needed to work harder”.

What’s that all about? If you have a performance review, if there any weaknesses, these should be specifically identified and discussed. You can’t be told to ‘work harder’ and hope for the best. That’s a complete shambles. Of course, Rosie was in probably in her early twenties at the time and wouldn’t have had experience of the appraisal process and was probably a ‘little defenceless’ and thought her peers knew best. The fact of the matter is, they often don’t.

As an aside, where Internal Auditors are concerned, in my experience, an appraisal provided by an Audit Manager is an unpleasant experience as they usually ‘nit pick’ and say you ‘should have done this’. This is rather ironic as the audit to which these comments often relate has been wrapped up and put to bed.

Where appraisals are concerned, to succeed or deflect the criticism, you have to turn the tables on the Appraiser, i.e. argue your corner, otherwise, you are going to be a perennial doormat. Rosie should have said when told to work harder is “are there any specific areas where I can improve?” rather than meeky accepting the criticism. Of course, hindsight is a beautiful thing and when faced with a barrage of criticism, it is hard to fight back.

The second item was a comment from Uzair Patel who was training as an accountant at a Bank and became suicidal. His comments were “I wanted to impress – the stakes are high: you want to be the next CEO”. While I admire the ambition, alot of water, time and experience will flow under the bridge before one reaches the lofty heights of the Senior Management Team or C-suite unless you are that good.

I have noticed that many people, especially when they hit their 40’s, question why they are pursuing their choosen career or get distracted by raising a family. People change, feelings change, circumstances change. What was relevant yesterday may not be relevant today or tomorrow. Sadly alot of companies don’t really care about their employees, especially Big 4, but be aware if you buy into the ‘work hard, achieve’ thing you may not necessarily ripe the rewards.


1. Audit Monkey - April 9, 2015

I thought this post would generate a fair few comments but alas no!

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