The upside to long hours, part two
Last time we discussed the joy of empty roads and the ability to find a
seat on a subway train when commuting home from work. I of course
glossed over the fact that you can also avoid the rush by leaving before
5 pm, but that crazy notion should seem absolutely foreign to anyone
living in AuditLand so why bring it up?
Sure, an auditor could come in at 7 am instead of 8:30 or 9. Would it
mean they would leave one or two hours earlier? If you think the answer
is yes don't let an actual auditor know that. The bitterness of their
laugh, while epic, may cause permanent scarring. On your soul.
Anyway, long hours. Why bother subjecting yourself to that sort of torture?
You must learn.
Unless you're some mad prodigy who picks up everything on the first shot
perfectly, you need to practice if you are going to have any hope of
getting good at something. And auditors are constantly being bombarded
by new "somethings". An average clerk may spend days or weeks becoming
proficient at a task. Compare that to a CA student, possibly months or
mere weeks out of university, who is tasked with understanding that
clerk's entire job in a few hours. Sure, there are lovely things like
"prior year working papers" which simplify matters. But if the job's
expected to be "easier" because you've been lucky enough to get assigned to an "old" client for which you have
that lovely prior year file, that simply means you'll be expected to
learn things even faster with less guidance.
Tough it out. After a few years this becomes second nature, and that's why an
experienced CA who toughed it out in AuditLand is still considered a
prized employee. They'll figure things out, and do it quickly.
But it's a long road to get there. Not unlike training for a major sport. And you're not keeping to a standard 9 to 5 day in the process either. Practice and all its associated cliched phrases still matter. Stick to it, but be smart about it. A hard working team will learn a great deal. Of course, an exhausted
team quickly becomes useless. Maintain some kind of balance.
When the entire team is zoning out, however, then perhaps it's best to call it a day before the subway shuts down for the night. Be realistic, you may learn a lot during the extra three hours, but after 9 or 10 pm you're more likely to spin your wheels. After midnight you really shouldn't be in the office unless there's a fire to deal with, and you're only going to do it that "one time" before things go back to normal.
Hopefully whoever's in charge of your team knows that. And if they don't, leave this page open on their screen when their computer is foolishly left unattended. This only works if there's more than two people in the room, of course. Otherwise consider leaving print-outs strategically in their mail slot. And leave out the last paragraph: it's the perfect plan.