Thursday, 21 June 2012


It is weird to read my correspondences from the late August/early September period, being the time of transition between my old function in life to my new one. I am surprised at how much my attitudes have changed. Gone is the brutal, doctrinaire self-reliance, absurd sense of commitment and childish anxiety. These have been replaced by a more casual, comfortable, competent approach and a realisation that solitary ambitions (that is, ambitions focusing solely around personal achievement in specific areas, or status in general) are not all that sustainable and often bear little relation to the nuances of reality. In short, I feel more human and have never been more certain as to the general pointlessness of existence (something from which I draw only strength).

Most of this change actually came about during the recent exam season. One always goes in with the expectation, or indeed assumption, that with enough hard work and clarity of thought the learning materials can be mastered, even in the short space of time provided. I won't find out the results till the 20th July. In the end, everything ends up a messy scrap. One can not master the equivalent of three university modules' worth of material in six weeks - one simply has to hope that one has done enough to pass.

Another realisation (albeit one which came to fruition in January) is that one can not simply live life as a series of journies from one node of contentness and certainty to another, whatever these nodes may be. You must have the self-discipline to enjoy the journey itself. And it does take self-discipline. Any fool can fret and worry or give way to superstition. I use the term superstition in the broadest sense - trying to detect patterns in reality where there are none and forming false expectations of destiny as a result. It's familar but true - there are only so many months we have, and a month fretting is a month altogether wasted.

Success is not over-rated, and I think the thing I am doing at the moment is very much the right thing. What I do post-qualification is anybody's guess, but the rigid reliance on 'ambition' and 'hard work' as a means of personal salvation has run its course. I think one may be perfectly 'succesful' without set aims or goals simply by doing whatever it is in front of you well. But, generally, I have no idea what to do. I have never had any strong ambitions, only affectations - and I am beginning to think that the aforementioned reliance on ambition and hard work was in itself little more than an affectation, albeit one which was more practically benefitial than others.

Sometimes I wonder why I write this at all. It's all perfectly obvious.

Meanwhile I am enjoying the fruits of an 8-and-a-half day holiday. Tomorrow I am back to work, if only for one day before the weekend starts. Thus I will have had a week of Sundays followed by a Friday!

Saturday, 12 May 2012


Am back in Brighton. I do tend to come back around once per month. Nothing ever seems to change here, which frankly I find more frustrating than reassuring, but it is good to see the family now and then.

My last visit was three weeks ago, but though I was here I saw nothing of Brighton itself, busy as I was doing pre-reading for my exams, not leaving the house. Thirteen days I have been back at college now, having completed the Financial Accounting and Audit & Assurance tuition and halfway through Taxation.

They are a mixed bunch of papers. A&A is nice in so far as it is essentially what I actually do day to day, and nothing in the (surprisingly short) syllabus is at all alien to me, although like all essay-based exams the subtleties of 'answering the question' become as important as the knowledge itself. FA is a bit more mechancial and will, in essence, be more about bashing out pro-formas than thinking too critically. Tax, so far, I have enjoyed, and whilst the syllabus is huge the questions themselves are more like mathematical puzzles than essaylus or tables. I do feel most at home in Tax too.

The exams themselves are in four weeks time although in practice I want to have some sort of mastery by this time next week as I shall be taking three mocks in three days come Monday 21st.

As for the rest of my life... that concept does not really matter. I still sometimes labour under the misapprehension that everybody out there (including fellow ACA's) live their life on a subtle, down-to-earth plane than I do and that almost every goal I have is intensely self-absorbed and has pretty much no impact or benefit on the thing that perhaps most of all conspires towards happiness - meaningful and honest conversations and friendships with other humans.

That said, I intend to smash these exams.

Monday, 9 April 2012


I don't think it's a coincidence that this blog materialized shortly after leaving one institution (University) and withered away shortly before joining another (Audit Firm). Now that I have a daily function I feel more at ease with life and thus less compelled to write, as well as the obvious fact that I don't have as much spare time as before and have a greater taste for 'doing things' i.e. I would rather blog in person, as it were, through conversation and the suchlike.

But tonight I do have a time. I have just enjoyed my first full week's holiday since starting my employment and do not believe I have packed so much genuine fun into such a short space of time in a while. The last four nights were spent in Manchester with 'that lot' (my Warwick non-housemate friends) for a classic long-weekend of scriptwriting, eating, playing boardgames and the occasional physical activity (in this case 'urban cricket') from which I returned today.

Seven months (nearly) have passed and I have completed my induction training, six exams and a busy season (to name but the highlights). This time last year was pretty much the low-point of applications, and it is satisfying to see how far I have come in a year.

But I do not know what to expect really over the next six months. Well, I know what to *literally* expect: six more exams, a couple more clients, a few more weeks of holiday (I have about three of'em saved up!). The one thing I've realised is that the intensity and difficulty of the actual work varies quite a bit. January was a 'character builder', February a sort of flourishing and March... I was pretty exhausted by March, as we all were. But I do think though that even the busiest part of busy season was far less intense than study was, or will be.

At least study has the benefit of beign compartmentalized. You know exactly what the 'nature of the beast is' - you just need to study very hard to slay said beast. In audits you can be doing different things from one day to the next and do not get the satisfying 'pass or fail' all-or-nothing drama of exams, and seldom the same sense of urgency.

The next six papers are 2.5 hour written affairs and legitimately difficult and I want to perform unambigiously brilliantly in them, and I believe I have every chance of doing so. I am sufficiently bright, enjoy studying and still have a chip on my shoulder about being lazy at school and university giving me a petty desire to 'prove myself'. Furthermore, I think I more than anyone else in my intake is willing to make myself a hermit for six weeks. Better yet, I shall have the opportunity to do this twice, once for the June papers and once for the September papers!