Bandile Booi discovers the true worth of global secondment
Bandile Booi joined SAPRO in December 2020 in the role of Senior Audit Consultant. He has completed six secondments in the US and the UK, all fully remote and all during busy season. What he has enjoyed the most about these experiences is working with supportive people.
“It has truly given me a sense of belonging to be surrounded by supportive colleagues who have become part of my community,” Bandile says. “I lost my mother last year and that was a low point in my life that affected me deeply. The SAPRO team was incredibly supportive, encouraging me to take time off and checking up on me to make sure I was OK. They made me focus on my mental health which was an entirely new experience for me, and it was what I needed during this traumatic period.”
Bandile has also enjoyed working with people who communicate their expectations clearly and professionally, but are also able to be human, relatable and empathetic.
Because he is also studying full-time towards an LLB, working with his client’s team in New York was relatively easy, despite the time difference, as he is only too used to working in the early hours of the morning.
The UK experience was a little different as the firm has set working hours and because manual authentication was required for him to be able to login to the system, he could only be online at the same time as the rest of the team.
Like many SAPRO PROs, Bandile found that the experience of secondment can open an entirely new world of potential opportunities, thought processes, and skill sets, all contributing to greater career advancement. When it comes to developing your professional network there really is no substitute for working alongside people – even virtually – and getting to know them. The contacts Bandile has made may prove an invaluable resource further down the line.
“My secondments have had a profound impact on my career as I have so many opportunities to upskill and learn new ways of doing things. During my secondments in the UK, I was introduced to several different software solutions that I was able to master. When you peel away the uncertainty of what to expect and step out of your comfort zone, it’s potentially the most exciting experience of your career.”
Post busy season, he has learnt to mitigate the effects of long work hours by resting and taking time to recharge with his loved ones. Bandile says it’s important to do, as is doing something completely different to auditing. This includes networking, which he does by attending popular SAPRO events.
“I’m a musician as well so I like to play during my time off, and I also enjoy going to church to take care of my spiritual growth, and gym to keep me grounded,” he says. “You have to be intentional about taking care of your mental health – the work does not come to an end, and you can never say you have it all figured out. I find that I have to do activities that help me maintain a healthy mind. I’ve also participated in the Global Community Outreach Programme, collecting non-perishable food and clothing for communities in need. This opened my eyes to what many people are going through out there and has also helped to keep me mindful.”