By Rob Starr, Content Manager Big4.com
Stephen P. Konstans leads the accounting and finance practice and is the Vice President at Pearson Partners International, a global retained executive search firm, specializing in securing top talent for some of the most challenging positions, from CEOs and CFOs to CAOs, board members and senior executives. He has spent more than 25 years helping companies secure candidates for critical executive roles and he took some time to talk with us recently about career development in the Big4.
“Very often I interview people that have allowed their careers to happen to them rather than them being intentional about their careers,” he said adding if you let someone else manage your career, you’ll likely get put on things that other people just don’t want to do in industries where you can let time elapse. Konstans explains one of the traps you can fall into.
“You can wind up in a situation where a year becomes two years and then two years becomes five years and suddenly you’re a specialist in that industry that it’s hard to get out of.”
He goes on to stress the importance of being intentional early on in your career and directing it as much as you can. It’s important to still be a team player in the organization you’re working for, while at the same time avoiding getting pegged into working for an industry you don’t like. He also says understanding your opportunities is important.
“Assuming you’re in a Big4 firm, there are three other firms that might be a better fit for you if one is trying to move you into a direction you don’t want to go in.”
Konstans furthers the current Millennial trend toward using the Big4 firms as stepping stones to develop a reputation before moving on isn’t new.
“I can speak to this because I’ve spent twenty five plus years in and around the Big4 industry. Many people have always viewed the Big4 as a place to go to get some experience and training to make yourself more marketable,” he says. “What I have seen from a generational difference is today there is more emphasis on the quality of one’s life which I don’t think is a bad thing.”
On the other hand, Konstans also points out there is a danger you can become so quality of life focused, you don’t recognize the importance of sacrifice and doing things that better the team and not just yourself.
“I think the pendulum has swung where in the past it was a lot more about the team and you were a cog in the wheel to now where it’s certainly a lot more individualistic in terms of people’s attitudes,” he says adding he feels the right answer to the question of work/life balance lies somewhere in between.