The Art of Career Change

In the years since I began high school, I’ve pursued four distinct career paths, each so very different from the last that most people conclude that I’m insane when I list them.

I began high school set on a career in architecture, and I even took numerous courses that taught hand and computer-aided drafting, architecture terminology, and so on. By the beginning of my senior year, however, it was clear that architecture was the wrong career path for me. For one, I despised the tediousness of creating elevations, and I always seemed to struggle with floor plan layout. I would inevitably end up with some odd space that didn’t quite fit into any of the surrounding rooms, forcing me to call upon a classmate to assist me as I reworked the design. At the same time, thankfully, a hobby had developed into a full-time obsession and thus seemed like a logical career path.

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No, Really, The Procrastination Must End!

I was laid off in June 2009, and a typical response to what I planned to do with my newfound free time was, “I’ll study and sit for the CPA exam.” It’s now the end of January, and I’ve done neither.

To be honest, money was always a problem. The exam isn’t exactly inexpensive to take, comprising of four parts that each cost roughly $200 to register for. Then there’s the initial registration fee exacted simply to find out whether my education qualifies me. That second part always made me nervous, since my Bachelors degree is in Audio Engineering Technology. But, earlier this month, I finally sent my application and a check equivalent to my monthly car payment to the processing center in Tennessee.

On Saturday, I received an email from NTS Notification Service1 that I was too afraid to open. After all, as an organizer for WordCamp Boston, I was too preoccupied to concern myself with the notice, and if the message was a rejection, I didn’t want to distract myself with that nightmare.

Thankfully, when I finally opened the email this morning, my apprehension was met with the following relief:

CPA Examination Candidate:

Your state board has found you eligible to take the Uniform CPA Examination.

So, having received my Notice to Schedule, I now have until late July to sit for the first section of the exam. That gives me 18 months from now to complete all four parts. Clearly, my procrastination (a skill that could likely earn me a doctorate, at least an honorary one) must end.

How ironic that the notice comes just as I’ve involved myself in myriad other engagements ranging from freelance web design and programming to audio engineering.

  1. NTS stands for Notice to Schedule, the official clearance that permits me to schedule a particular section of the exam.

Preparing For the CPA Exam

The procrastination is over.

After six months of relaxing, I’ve mailed the registration forms and made the financial commitment to sit for the CPA exam.

Over the course of 2010, look for periodic updates on my progress as I study for the four parts that comprise the exam. For those taking the exam in the future, I’ll include my study methods, how I’m keeping motivated, and any other useful tips I can provide.

Hopefully, by the end of February, I’ll have taken the Auditing & Attestation portion of the exam.

With any luck, I’ll have more success this time around than I did with my last attempt.

And So It Begins

This week, I start the process of becoming a CPA. So begins what will likely be a yearlong process of studying and taking exams while maintaining some semblance of a normal life. I’m excited, really, but the procrastinator in me is looking for ways to screw this up. Look for future posts on the process and my experience with it, along with any tips I might come across during my studies. For those future CPAs in the audience, I’ll try to pass on anything I find useful for the process. I’d also welcome your input, in comment form, on your experiences with the exam.

I’ve opted for the self-study route, hoping to use my excessive downtime at work to further my study. So far, I’ve procrastinated on that one. But I’m hopeful…

Stay tuned…