Two weeks in Costa Rica? Goodbye dress shoes!
I get to say goodbye to my polished shoes for two weeks while I'm assignment in Costa Rica, where a team of co-workers from around the world will join together to support an Earthwatch project involving a coffee farrming cooperative.
"Getting ready" meant finishing the work I might've otherwise been doing next week, which led to elss posts around here since I had some days with long hours. It's absolutely worth it, though, since my costs for visiting a cloud forest and volunteering to help with a sustainable research project for a week are covered in exchange for me using up a week of vacation days. Fair trade!
Freshest possible pineapples perhaps? Yes please
Before I can lace up my hiking boots, however, I need to close off Earth Day by updating my self-review. The review may sound like a foreign concept to people who work in companies with haphazard performance review processes, or students who are used to either getting a good or bad mark on tests and essays rather than engaging in some serious introspection.
In AuditLand, each employee
is subject to a performance review process, typically with a major
review performed once a year, and with progress checks throughout the
year, either after a major project, or after a quarterly or bi-annual
While your managers and supervisors are responsible for reviewing your "regular" work, the more interesting firms give you the chance to go above and beyond the requirements stated in your job description - and your self-review is the place to list those wonderful accomplishments, especially if they're in some way relevant to your company or show your commmittment and evolution. Not everyone can be on a big audit project where they manage or interact with a large team - but you can always sign up for a volunteer activity at work where you do just that, developing and demonstrating leadership skills that otherwise would not be obvious to people you work with on smaller projects.
I've often thought, "gee this would make for an interesting example of a "Day in the Life of a CA"," but I never got around to writing about those adventures since those interesting days are typically the busiest too!
Instead of boring you with my formally worded review, here's a few highlights from a Year in the Life of a CA, which should give CA students an idea about the kind of things they can do at virtually any firm:
- Save lives. There's many ways to do this. Setup a charity ride team. Or participate in one. Or literally save some lives by organizing blood drives at work. If you treat each unit of blood donated as a life saved, that's a couple of hundred lives right there.
- Save the world, bit by bit. Taking part in the local grassroots environmental group in the office, prepare an Earth Day event, set up an internal store to promote reusable bottles and cutlery, and ultimately try to get selected for that aforementioned Earthwatch mission to Costa Rica.
- Build your firm by helping with recruiting. There are many ways to take part in recruiting, whether it be helping with resume screening, teaching people inside the firm about the different career options they have internally, assisting with or performing job candidate interviews, attending recruiting events. It's good to specify exactly what you did!
- Share the wealth, by taking part in ICAO low income tax clinics. If someone is trying to survive on $10,000 or less per year, paying a private company $50 or more to get a refund of $200 or so is an expensive way to spend their money. CA students and their CA supervisors help get that entire refund back without deducting any fees. It's also a great way to practice your tax knowledge, see another side of the world you may not be exposed to in your office and simply help others!
- Keep people out of trouble, financially speaking. Big firms' professionals are in demand to teach financial literacy classes, so people from all walks of life can better understand how to manage their money, stay out of ruinous debt and simply understand how easy it is to handle your personal finances when you have some guidance.
- Work at the next level: the best way to show you're ready for more responsibility is by acting like you already have it, which allows you to show that that you can handle the associated challenges.
- Join other groups and teams in your office, be they sports teams or special project groups. You'll spend time with people you wouldn't typically work with, and you'll be surprised by how many useful things you can learn about that can help you in your job or in life in general.
That's just a sample of the possibilities. Each person's year and their self-review is unique - or it should be otherwise you likely have an evil twin that's mocking you.
Unless you're the evil twin.