I was never good at math.By some evil twist of fate, I am an accountant.

Posted on May 30, 2012


I suck at maths and no I can not find a better word to describe my mathematical incompetence. My parents (not legendary mathematicians either) tried to help (?!?) me by enrolling me in math tuition at one stage but soon realised it was an exercise in vain. On the other hand, I was cruising in English( literature, language, composition, grammar,spelling… you name it!) and at one stage, they probably considered the A’s in English a fair trade off against the C’s in Maths.  After all, my year 9 teacher couldn’t stop raving to them about my brilliant book reviews and report writing skills. Living in a close knit community/neighborhood back in the 90s, I am almost certain they felt a little surge of pride when the local paper started publishing my short stories regularly. I felt a bit like a mini celebrity. Yes you guessed it, the celeb tendencies were set in motion at a tender 14 and I knew then that I wanted to be a writer/journalist.

So I had the dream but it was never going to be easy to turn it into a reality. Let me take you into the past, to a Pakistan of the 90’s. The country where I was born and raised. In its volatile political climate then, journalism, that too a woman pursuing it, was not considered the choicest  nor safest of careers (and that is putting it mildly). If you are a Pakistani reading this, you are well aware of the stigma attached with women journalists in the 90s. As a woman  pursuing journalism, you were considered bold and your entire moral makeup was questionable. You were somewhat an outcast in the social mainstream because you know, girls from well respected families and good homes pursue safer professions such as teaching, medicine or even business. My family, being a common Pakistani family never encouraged my passion for writing as something that could be considered more than just a hobby. When I approached my father about studying a Bachelors in Communications from the University Of Karachi , I was knocked back because:

a.The University , a good hour long drive from our house was based in a Karachi suburb more prone to violence and ;

b.Journalism was not going to be a lucrative or sharp career choice.

Needless to say I felt hopeless and dejected. I even applied to a few universities in the US for creative writing courses but neither did we have the resources nor the means at the time to afford an overseas education. Eventually, I decided to ride the Information Technology wave in the late 90s and a career in journalism became a distant dream.

Life took over, I migrated to Australia and realized that my IT education would not get me a job straight away. Every job I applied for required someone with local experience in the Technology sector which I had none of and no one was willing to take a chance on a newbie. Desperate and frustrated, in a new country still finding my ground, I took up a finance data entry position at the UNSW Treasury in Sydney. This was also the time when I gave up what I loved most. I stopped writing altogether unaware that it would be a block that would last for over a decade. Fast forward a few years, 2 children and a city change, I returned to work.  I drew on my experience in Finance and rapidly rose through the ranks securing some excellent and very challenging roles. In an evil twist of fate and possible as karma for all that number hating and word loving I did in my teenage years, I am now an accountant. They say, being an accountant has nothing to do with math because we use calculators and excel spreadsheets but all said and done,you are still contsantly playing with numbers aren’t you?

As thankful as I am for a decent job, something shifted early last year. I am not sure what was the trigger but my dormant creativity has slowly come alive. Earlier this year, I started this beautiful blog, little did I know it would bring me to my happy place, finally. I am writing once again and so blessed to have a wonderful, engaged audience as yourselves. I also feel it is time to gracefully bow out of a great career in Finance ..how and when that will happen is a matter of finding the right thing at the right time as I am not in a position to quit what I am doing currently. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but gratitude for the opportunities I have found on my way to becoming an accountant but I find myself at a crossroads now.

For the first time in 10 years, I will be seeing a recruitment consultant tomorrow to discuss a possible career change geared towards communications.It will not be easy and needless to say, I am a bundle of nerves and excitement but I also know I have to start somewhere and I will not know where I can go unless I try. From where I stand, hopeful and optimistic, the possibilities are endless.

I leave you with a quote that resonates with me today ;

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

– T.S. Eliot

Wish me luck !

Over to you; Have you come to a crossroads and realised you were in the wrong job? What did you do about it?

Posted in: Musings