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Puzzled and perplexed

(11 Posts)
JKB1 Sun 18-Nov-12 10:20:49

DH is an accountant, and ever since I've known him he's been in and out of jobs. He always manages to get a job, but I'm finding the constant instability a real strain, especially as we're got kids now. He is mostly on temporary contracts (6 months to 1yr) and on the couple of occasions he managed to get permanent posts, he was made redundant a few years down the line (one company relocated and another moved the work overseas). On several other occasions he's been let go for taking posts he wasn't suited to. He's always looking for work, or in the early stages of a new job, so it's difficult to plan holidays, or for him to take time off during the school hols. Even our honeymoon was spoiled by his impending dismissal from a job he was unsuited to, and my Dad brought me home from hospital after a c-section for our 2nd child as he was at an interview. He seems to have no idea of his own limitations - although accepts that communication skills are a weakness. I have often mentioned how unhappy this instability makes me, and that I would support him to change careers if he wished, but he says he doesn't want to change. He is a good father, but as he's now working all the hours God sends to try to keep a job that is either making unreasonable demands of him or he's unsuited to, I don't know how much more I can take. I work part time since the kids. Does anyone else know if it's normal for accountancy to be such an unstable profession? I'd say he's had several jobs he's been happy in and done well - it's not always a complete disaster. You never know, it seems impossible to predict from the interview. AIBU to find this way of life stressful?

Pourquoimoi Sun 18-Nov-12 10:27:21

As an accountant, I'm sorry to say that it's not usually an unstable job. I'm on my third job in 17years, one I left by choice after having children, one I got made redundant from and I am still in the 3rd (well I work for myself now so I can't see that changing!)

What sort of accountant is he? Qualified, if so which? What sort of jobs is he going for? I must admit in my experience if you're good at the job it is generally wry table although also very pressured and long hours are expected.

Pourquoimoi Sun 18-Nov-12 10:27:56

Very table not wry table!!

Pourquoimoi Sun 18-Nov-12 10:28:10

Try again - very stable!!

Schlock Sun 18-Nov-12 10:31:49


I'm married to an animator/illustrator, after many years of short contracts and instability I insisted he got a permanent contract job because I couldn't cope with the 'resting' periods anymore. The downside is that he's not very happy in his job but he can go back to chasing his dream when the kids no longer need food and clothes. It's all about taking responsibility and providing for your family.

WaitingForMe Sun 18-Nov-12 10:34:18

DH is an accountant and our life has been a bit like this although he hasn't been dismissed in the time we've been together (just redundancy, end of contract and us deciding he should leave a job). He's never really been out of work but lots of moving and changing.

It doesn't bother me as long as he's happy and shorter term gigs seem to suit him. We're actually looking into him registering with an umbrella company and only doing contracting as then he could claim back his travel expenses.

JKB1 Sun 18-Nov-12 10:46:02

Thanks all - very helpful. Pourquoimoi, he's ACA with ~20 years experience, at the level just below senior management - probably stalled here due to communication skill deficit. He is successful when working in a large company with well established procedures. Public sector posts have been a distaster. Also, he finds open plan offices EXTREMELY distracting and difficult to work in. He does well when he has his own office or shares with say one other. He is hard working and responsible, which is why this whole thing is so perplexing.

Pourquoimoi Sun 18-Nov-12 10:54:21

First things, he should apply to be an FCA. It's open to ACAs past 10yrs qualification as long as you meet CPD an experience criteria. I found it fairly easy to apply for. It doesn't cost extra but does add a bit of kudos.

Does he always work in companies as an internal accountant or has he ever worked in practice (apart from when qualifying)?

Does he usually take maternity cover type roles then or project specific ones which naturally come to an end? Does he know why he's being let go, if so can he work on that aspect or make sure that he is honest about that in interviews?
Would he want a longer term role? Or is it that he doesn't like them? If so, what doesn't he like about them?

Sorry, lots more questions!!

JKB1 Sun 18-Nov-12 11:08:18

Thanks pourquoimoi. He's always worked in larger companies, at least that's his preference. At the mo, mostly maternity covers. He found the inefficient and chaotic nature of the public and voluntary sectors unbearable. He enjoys preparing company monthly accounts, doesn't enjoy audit (or auditors!). He has never worked in practice. He has generally been let go for taking posts beyonds his ability - ie involving managing a team, or a project without a clearly defined role. So, he does have ambition to progress his career, but isn't cut out for managing a team - multi tasking is not a strong point. He would prefer a longer term role - has enjoyed them in the past.

Pourquoimoi Sun 18-Nov-12 11:59:52

Sounds to me like he's after a management accountant / financial controller type of role without the team. Or an analyst role. He likes the processing side of things but the problem is that going too senior means that gets taken from the role.

I have similar length of experience but was a senior manager in a big 4 firm on having DS1 nearly 12. years ago, the pressure was immense though (though o be fair so was the salarygrin) and it got to the stage where I was managing people but not actually getting to 'do' stuff myself. I took a big salary drop to be Finance Manager of a £2m turnover company, but it was great as I got to do things and see the whole of the situation not just a tiny bit of it.

Does he understand his strengths and where he is going wrong in applying for roles outside his capabilities? To be honest I think after the length of experience he has now and the level he is at, he will not be seen as very dynamic and it is possible he won't progress that far further up the ladder. That is not a bad thing necessarily (obviously apart from money) but he needs to think about what he really wants from a job, what he really likes and is good at.

JKB1 Mon 19-Nov-12 10:06:09

Pourquoimoi, you're spot on. He "works to live" rather than "lives to work". Basically, there aren't that many idea roles available where we live. 50% of the workforce is employed in the public sector, so he's taken less ideal roles in the past basically to avoid a c.v. gap. Plus, he can't bear being out of work, so perhaps rushed into things sometimes. Thanks for taking the time to offer advice, it's been very helpful talking to you!

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