Monday, August 07, 2000


Perseverance, loyalty pay off in new job

By Michael A. Crom
Gannett News Service

        Question: I just graduated with my accounting degree and started working for a midsize public accounting firm. It was my dream job, but I've only been here two weeks, and I'm ready to quit.

        I'm completely overwhelmed by all the material being thrown at me. In addition, lots of people stop by my cubicle and start complaining about the company and our supervisor, and I don't know what to do.

        Sometimes I'll ask people for help and they'll refuse, even though I know they have the answers I need. I want to be successful, but I feel as though I'm on a foreign world.

        Answer: In many ways you have traveled to a new world. Every profession has its unique traditions and “politics.”

        Public accounting, for example, is noted for its “sink or swim” attitude toward new graduates. You may feel as though you're starting to sink, but chances are you're doing just fine. Here are some strategies to make sure you continue traveling in the right direction:

        1. Find a coach. Find a CPA outside your company who is willing to answer your questions. Go back to your college professors and ask for names. Look for someone who is honest, insightful and can guide you through sticky interpersonal problems when they come up.

        2. Concentrate on learning your job. You're not expected to know all the answers. You are expected to know how to find them, though. Ask your boss and associates for articles to read or Web sites to visit. Read all you can about your job and your clients in the company's files.

        Some people find you threatening. You're young, you're eager, and your knowledge is current. However, I'm sure there are people in your company willing to help you. There is usually a co-worker who will help you with overwhelming tasks.

        3. Stay clear of the malcontents. Just about every organization has a few employees who are never satisfied with anything. They take every opportunity to snipe at a supervisor or at company policies. They are always looking for recruits.

        If one of them tries to hook you with conversational curves such as, “What do you think of our supervisor,” answer with something like, “I'm too new here to have formed any opinions.” This is a tactful turnoff that lets the malcontent know you have no desire to become part of the group.

        4. Be a loyalist. Instead of trashing the company, emphasize everything good you can find. You've committed to the company, so you owe it a fair day's work as well as endorsement of their principles and objectives. If you are unhappy about something, discuss it in private with the appropriate person.

        5. Be a cooperator. There are some employees who will avoid any work over and above what is in their job description, and there are others who willingly take on special projects, give other workers a hand and ask for work when they have completed their assignments. By being a cooperator, you not only help others, but you will also be helping yourself — not only in spirit, but in the eyes of your supervisors.

        If you have a question or need advice on a certain topic, please send e-mail to or mail to Dale Carnegie Training, 780 Third Ave., New York, NY 10017.


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