As it turns out, very few people are excited about handing over their books to someone inexperienced. I had the degree that I had determined was absolutely necessary based on all of the job requirements I was seeing for every position I wanted. But when I got the degree, it didn’t seem to matter without the experience to go with it. It’s the ole, “How do you get the experience if nobody will give you a chance?” conundrum.
Well, for me and many others I know, it comes down to who you know. The problem with this is, as mentioned in the previous post, bookkeepers tend to be introverts. You will never see me walk right up to someone and introduce myself enthusiastically and carry on a conversation. I am not scared. Just uncomfortable. I have what is known as RBF. And I can’t do anything about it. Plus, it deters the small talk in which I would rather not engage. I promise it’s not a mean thing, just a “not my thing” type of dealio.
I would rather be introduced to someone new by someone I already know as they can be the buffer should the convo become awkward. And so this is how it happened for me.
I was a stay at home mom until my daughter finished 3rd grade (10 years). But I volunteered a ton at her school every single day. During her 3rd grade year, her teacher and I became fast friends, and it turned out the teacher’s boyfriend (now husband) was trying to get his landscaping business off the ground. He didn’t know bookkeeping and he didn’t have the budget to pay for an experienced bookkeeper or accountant. Enter Coryne. The teacher told him about me, and he let me do his books. Now, this was not complicated at all. I simply had to input checks and reconcile. Twas all! But it got me in the QuickBooks experience door.
From there, I got a job as an office manager a few months later. Actually, I didn’t get the job and I cried. I was a sobbing mess thinking nobody would ever give me a chance even after I was able to put QB experience on my resume! But then a week later, I got a call from that company stating the person they had hired was not working out (after only a week!) so they called me in. It wasn’t the best thing in the world, but it definitely had more QuickBooks transactions to do and more accounting items to perform and it had payroll! I was excited.
Six months after that, I was pretty miserable because the company never had money (ahhh, business owner’s sometimes!*) due to the owner constantly spending all money that was taken in on personal items (see: beer, fishing, and hunting). So, I made sure there was always enough for payroll and had to keep the bill collectors on pins and needles. It was not the ideal situation. And I had to stop doing the books for the landscaper because my new job had me working full-time and then ballet for my daughter took up the rest of our days.
So, I met with a recruiter and dropped off my resume and hoped for the best. I landed an interview with a school district for accounts payable. I went to the interview so overly excited. And I left in tears. As they were asking me questions, I got the feeling that it was more for an event planning position instead of bookkeeping and/or accounting. I was absolutely confused. So, I asked, and they looked at me like I was nutso and said that I was not interviewing for anything in their accounting department. Fun times! It was so humiliating, and they would not back down from their statement that I applied for this. Luckily for me, not so luckily for them, I had my email confirmation of what I had applied for. But that interview was a sign that I was not meant to be there.
I left that interview and called my husband crying and telling him how embarrassed I was. Then. THEN. I got a call from the recruiters stating they had an opening for an interview with an office equipment company for a Controller and I needed to be there in an hour. WHAT!?!?! A controller?? I wasn’t qualified! I panicked! They said I had what they were looking for and the lady retiring was happy to train me. I flew, flew, to Kohl’s to find a blazer. I ripped those tags off, put it on and redid my makeup. I walked into that interview with zero confidence after what had just happened, but I killed it. I walked out of there knowing I got the job. And I did! Bless the lady who retired and trained me. She was the most organized human being I had ever seen, and I picked up everything she taught me immediately.
After a year and a half of being the Controller/HR Manager, I was in the safe zone of experience when applying for jobs. And now? One of my clients is that same landscaping guy I met through my daughter’s teacher. Only now they are married, and they have three landscaping businesses and a much more structured set of books. They hired me as a bookkeeper, and it has all come full circle. Amazing how life works!
The lesson here is you never know how things will end up so keep in contact with people even if you think they won’t hire you to do their bookkeeping. They might know someone who does need one! And the time between my first rodeo with QuickBooks to that same person hiring my company now? 10 years! Ask your friends if they know someone that needs bookkeeping or accounting services. Chances are, they do!
And someone out there is willing to give you a chance. A CPA firm might be looking for fresh out of college bookkeepers. A small company might need a cleanup of their books. But also, know your limitations. Don’t take on a bookkeeping job thinking you’ll wing it. It very rarely works out. I know, believe me I know, it seems like it will take forever and you’ll never get the chance, but you will. Everyone who is now a bookkeeper or accountant got that chance somehow!
*I am not disparaging all business owners by any means. But sometimes, they need a lot of guidance and advice to get them to go the way they need to go.