The new professionals
By Natalite Trabucco
Staff Accountant I | Audit and Advisory
Pro ∙ fess ∙ ion ∙ al adj. having or showing the skill appropriate to a professional person; competent or skillful.
When my great-grandfather immigrated to Canada at the height of the Great Depression, he competed against hundreds of starving workers to dig out a trench now known as the Welland Canal. He went on to become the successful owner of a hardware store. The day his son, my grandfather, graduated from high school, my great-grandfather retired, leaving his 18-year-old son to manage the store.
Years later, my father took over a business which his father had started. He has taken the business to a new level, bringing it into the digital age and setting up an export network. Each generation worked hard and was true to the definition of the word “professional”.
Now it is my turn to enter the workforce. The majority of our generation are lucky enough to get a shot at a university degree, yet none of this guarantees immediate work. My accounting class included 119, like-minded, bright individuals, many vying for the very position at Deloitte than I am now fortunate enough to hold. Upon graduation, 40 of my classmates still had not found work in their field of choice.
Luckily, I got my dream job. I am one of 100 first-year staff accountants who joined the firm in September 2014. On paper we are all alike; we all worked hard to get here and not one of us wants to perform poorly. But we’re not alike. One of my co-workers spent 10 years teaching special needs children before deciding to become an auditor. Another studied biology for four years and applied to medical school. A third has his own collection of guitars and is a self-taught musician. Half of the group is from Toronto; the other half, like me, moved in from smaller towns and cities. We’re all individuals but we all ask ourselves the same question: how can I prove myself to be a true professional?
But I think we’re missing something fundamental. How will we stand out as a generation? How will our generation of texters and over-zealous amateur photographers shape the future? Do I have to become the brief-case swinging suit in stilettos marching down Bay Street? I now realize that none of us need to fit this mold. Nor should my feet be that constricted.
Since starting my employment, I realize I am not a professional. Not yet. I am a newly graduated, first-year staff accountant, learning more and more each day about auditing and about what it means to join the real world. I have found myself among co-workers who are neither intimidating nor pretentious, but rather who are equally hard-working and just as eager to do their best.
We are the new professionals. We don’t know for sure what that means yet, but we do know that a great adventure is about to begin as we work tirelessly to write the chapter of our generation.
Natalie is a recent graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business majoring in an Honours Business Administration. She is currently a Staff Accountant at our Toronto practice.