New JobPosted: June 12, 2017
By now, many of you have figured out I moved to a new job as an Audit Director at AT&T. The first question I get asked when people find out I have a new job is did AT&T ask you to move or did you ask to move. My answer is always, “yes.” Moving to a new job provides me an opportunity to learn new skills, reacquaint myself with things I have done in the past and see parts of AT&T I didn’t get to see much of as the Accounting Policy Director. It also allows AT&T to develop skills in others – my replacement was a promotion from within my old group – and create a deeper bench of talent for the future. I spent seven years in the Accounting Policy job which was the longest I ever spent in a single job at AT&T. Twenty-five years, nine jobs (before my latest move) – you can do the math and see that my tenure in the policy job was three times the length of my average tenure in a job at AT&T.
That was really too long in a single job, but it happened for a variety of reasons including the release of significant new standards and the merger with DirecTV right when I would have looked to move. That meant it was better for AT&T for me to stay in the position; and because I enjoyed the work so much, who was I to argue? Now, we’ve worked through most of the technical accounting issues on the significant new standards, even if we haven’t fully implemented them yet; so it was as good a time as any to move on.
The next question I get is why would AT&T move you; you’re so good at accounting policy? I appreciate the compliment, but buried in that statement is also an implied comment that no one else can do the job as well as me. I don’t believe that for one second. No one is irreplaceable, and I never figured I was. In fact, I don’t want to be irreplaceable because that means I’m also unmovable. That means I can’t take that next great opportunity within the company when it comes along. I made sure that members of my team could replace me (there was more than one that could, which in a nice way made the decision on who to replace me with hard). In fact, the proudest part of my move to a new job was seeing someone I had worked with for seven years promoted to take over the leadership of the policy group at AT&T.
Replacing someone, however, does not mean you have to do everything the way that person did. The advice I gave my successor was don’t try to be me. I was not perfect; there were things I could have done better or differently. So I told her, be yourself and build on the organization you inherited in your own way. Your areas of focus may be in parts of the job that needed more attention that I could or was willing to give. That is the benefit of moving people around. It provides a fresh perspective on the work and hopefully makes the organization even better.
While I was never bored in dealing with all of the technical accounting issues – there was always another challenge – I was becoming jaded in some ways. My new job will let me look at new and different issues with a fresh set of eyes. Just the thought of that is invigorating. And that is what I love about working for a company like AT&T. When I move on to a new job, it’s not just the same job at a different company. It’s a new job with different challenges. And even better, I get to keep all my tenure.