A day in the life of a virtual PRO - Part Two
March 17, 2022 •SAPRO
I’ve almost completed my second offshore secondment and finding the words to express what an incredible adventure this has been, is rather challenging. My first assignment was with an Australia based client and my second has been a client based in the USA.
Now, I’m a night time person so the USA assignment hours have been absolutely ideal for me. Australia was interesting as I really got to test my early morning skills, but the amount I learnt and grew during that assignment has helped me face all sorts of opportunities and challenges with the enthusiasm and energy to learn and develop my skill set. And that’s what life at SAPRO is really all about for me – growing, learning, understanding the way each country approaches their different audit practices and having that global exposure. My US based client has clients in China, so I'm not only learning about the US audit practices but also getting to explore and understand China auditing processes.
One tip that has worked really well for me is that whenever I begin a new section, I have a quick call with my manager and run them through how I am going to approach the section, based on how I was taught during my articles. This often gives the client the opportunity to advise where their practice or approach is different, I can then adjust at the onset and ultimately deliver my work according to their expectations. I love expanding my horizons and understanding the different perspectives has been a value add to my career growth and skillset.
On to a typical day in my life...
I love sleeping late! I surface at about 09h30 where I get in a good workout, do a meditation session and have a swim. This helps me mentally prepare for the day and exercising is just as important for your overall health and well-being. I’ve adjusted to the different time zones by eating my meals as though I was in the US, so I have breakfast at around 11h00 and get straight into work zone mode. I take a quick break for lunch around 16h00, during my break I will watch a series, go for a walk, listen to music – I always make sure I switch off for that time though. I have a rule of not thinking about work at all during my break time. I’m then energized and ready to tackle my next challenge, I’ll work until about 22h00 and break again for dinner. At first it felt strange to eat my meals at “weird times”, but I found the adjustment to be very quick, your body clock adapts, and it helped me accommodate the time zone differences. After dinner, I get back to work and have even found myself in a meeting or two at 1am. I’m usually in bed by 2am and get some good rest and sleep and am psychologically rearing to go for the next day.
This may sound strange, and you may question when I have time for friends and family? It’s incredible how it’s like pieces of a puzzle that fit together and it’s all about embracing that radical flexibility and adjusting to what suits you best. I spend lots of time with friends and family over weekends or in the mornings, and during my breaks. My clients have also been incredible at allowing me to be flexible as long as I communicate my movements and progress. It’s very helpful to have friends that work at SAPRO too, as we can align our schedules to have some fun time together.
I have so much appreciation for being able to choose my hours, choose when I have a break and being able to take the time I need, when I need it. I am my own boss and it's nice to feel that level of responsibility and trust is given to me by my seniors. Everyone is so caring – from my clients, to my success manager, to my peer groups and everyone I interact with. The attention to ensuring you are taken care of emotionally makes this experience unique and enormously fulfilling.
It’s also important to have the support of those close to you, my boyfriend is my sanity check and is so supportive of the journey and adventure I am on. He understands and is supportive of me when I need to work and we maximize the hours we do have together, exploring various hobbies. The moment I feel I've had enough at work, and I just need a bit of time off, I do something that is completely different. I can re-energize and I’m ready to then deliver the best I can.
I was so used to my little South African bubble and even though I've been working remotely, I've been exposed to so many cultures, so many new environments, and ways of work, and people. I can expand into the world all from the comfort of my own home. There is more meaning behind the work I do, and the appreciation I've been given for going the extra mile and putting effort into my working papers, ensuring they are in the format and have the detail that is needed has made this journey extra special.
SAPRO is able to think of everything that you need to be successful, they go the extra mile to support you, it’s all quite effortless, and you actually feel spoiled. I cannot express enough how grateful I am. I've learned so many new skills – both professionally and personally. SAPRO is the best company to work for and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
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