Punching above its weight. The underdog strikes back!
Having completed my articles in 2016 as a newly qualified Chartered Accountant (SA) and completing a further year as an Assistant Manager (AM) in the Assurance division at EY Johannesburg (South Africa) during 2017, I reached a point in my career where I repeatedly found myself questioning what I could do next in my career. Let’s call a spade a spade, “Assistant Manager” life in Johannesburg is not for the faint hearted. Granted it provides invaluable experience, it will also stretch you to the limits, and then some.
It has always been a dream to work abroad and gain international experience. Short of laying down the arrows to the door, the signs could not have been clearer that the time to make that dream a reality was now – it was the perfect opportunity. Having done extensive research over the next couple of months before our move, myself and my girlfriend (also a CA (SA)) knew exactly the place we wanted to take our career to next. Many late nights after work, speaking to people who have moved to Ireland from South Africa, countless hours of YouTube and searching the internet, provided a huge amount of knowledge gain that all pointed to one place, Ireland.
Anyone considering making a move abroad should know that making an international move is one of the most difficult things you can do in your life –The fear of the unknown is a real thing. Packing up your life into a couple of suit cases and boarding a plane to fly some 13,000km from home to start a “new” life is a scary proposition and something that made me uneasy on more than one occasion. I was constantly trying to think of and plan for every situation and wondering ‘What would we do with our apartment that we own? How will we handle not being with family? What if we don’t enjoy it?’
Fast forward 6 months and there are not enough words to describe the most wonderful unique experiences I have had the pleasure of enjoying. Without a doubt there are going to be challenges that will test your ability to adapt and overcome your fears and weaknesses, after all, nothing ever goes perfectly with this type of move; however if you are a person that sees a challenge as an opportunity rather than a set back then this is the type of move that will be filled with opportunities.
Moving from EY previously I thought I knew what to expect however I could not have been more wrong. From day one the culture, attitude and people within the firm were like a breath of fresh air to me. The reputation of the Irish people being some of the friendliest in the world is one that bears full truth. Senior members of staff and Partners take the time out of their very busy schedules to get to know you not only at a professional level but also a personal level. They coach you, they guide you and they know that if they invest time in you, so will you invest in them. It’s a mutual understanding that I was always trying to achieve but never got the opportunity to experience back home.
Moving to EY Ireland provides ample opportunity to gain exposure to significant international clients and big names in the tech space. It is a fantastic opportunity to develop not only your professional career but also to experience immense personal growth. I can confidently say that the past 6 months have provided far greater and more impactful work and life lessons than I have learnt in my entire career. Nothing valuable is ever learnt in life without being met with real challenge.
One thing that really took me by surprise and that can only be appreciated once you arrive is the absolute freedom that one has when living in Ireland. It is absolutely liberating to be able to walk the streets and suburbs late at night, or sit in the parks and enjoy life the way it should be done. I am now able to fully enjoy hobbies such as cycling which I previously put on hold due to safety concerns.
With a booming economy, an abundant array of ethnic and cultural diversity, access to the rest of Europe at your door step and the last English speaking country within the EU, post Brexit, it is not difficult to see why Ireland has become one of the most attractive places to broaden one’s career for a newly qualified Chartered Accountant. EY Ireland offers the perfect balance between, professional challenges, personal growth, international experience and quality of life.
If you are the type of person that wants that next challenge in life and if you are the type of person that wants the opportunity to gain a whole new type of experience, then Ireland can offer it all. Do I miss my family? Without a doubt! Has it all been smooth sailing since we arrived? Not always! With such a big decision to make you will never know if you have made the right one, until you actually make it. However, if you are up for a true adventure, don’t sit on your hands and regret it 20 years from now. I can say with full confidence that making this decision is one that you will not regret.
Interested in making the move? Find out more and how to apply here