So, my stint at illumin8 has come to an end.
A few weeks ago, I made one of the hardest decisions of my life (not just career) and chose to move on from illumin8. From a couple of purely-networking chats, an opportunity presented itself to work for a firm that focuses mostly on client’s in the music industry – which has always been a passion of mine. Even still, the choice was in no way an easy one.
Funnily enough, it's now almost 2 years to the day when my previous employer made me redundant. Although I like to think nothing phases me, with a little girl who'd just turned 1, I must admit to being slightly nervous as to where the next pay cheque would come from!
Not too far into my first real job search, I spotted illumin8’s job ad. If you’ve seen our recent ad’s, the vibe and style of the ad was very similar, and completely different to what any other accounting firm would write. I applied straight away and although I'd a few interviews with some of your typical boring, try-hard Big 4 firms, illumin8 was the only one I desperately wanted.
Luckily enough, Andrew saw past the stupid Lloyd Christmas haircut I was rocking at the time and gave me a chance. To this day, I can’t thank him enough.
After two years, what do I love about illumin8?
Besides saving me from homelessness – illumin8 practice what they preach.
Illumin8 is all about relationships. Coming from a firm where you were effectively a glorified sweatshop worker, the opportunity to meet with clients and build relationships was few and far between. It may take some time to realise, but when all you’re doing is punching out work for people you never see, eventually it will get old.
At illumin8, building personal relationships with clients isn’t just encouraged, it’s one of our core values. It’s amazing what this does for both motivation and job satisfaction. Without really realising, you’re now doing the work because you want to for the client, and not just because you have to.
Fun - not typically a word you’d associate with accountants, but at illumin8 it’s also a core value. Being able to be myself and have a bit of fun at work has been amazing and restored my faith in accounting. One of the greatest compliments I tend to get is “you don’t look like an accountant” which I’ve also heard from client’s when referring to illumin8. I’ve enjoyed challenging the typical accountant stereotype and questioning: does an accountant really need to look or act a certain way to deliver value to clients?
Also, how many accounting firms wouldn’t care about tattoos? Although I’m yet to rock a tee to work, the fact that everyone knows I have them and I no longer hide it has been weirdly liberating. Hopefully though, the team will remember me for the odd time I did bust them out and lose my shirt at a Christmas party. Possibly after a couple of CC and Dry’s. But hey, I like to have a bit of FUN.
Lastly, and probably the best thing about illumin8, is the family culture. A lot of people will tell you that a great culture is a beer together on a Friday. But it’s about having like-minded individuals with common interests and friendship that exist outside the 9-5. At illumin8, it really is a little family where everyone gets along and truly cares about what they do. From the beginning, there hasn’t been a day where I’ve dreaded coming to work.
I’ll miss the smell of chicken shop in the air and the days where my 80’s hard rock playlist made it to midday without anyone changing it. Although, probably not as much as anyone selling Pepsi Max in The Village is going to miss me!
But, most of all, I’m going to miss my work buddies and I’m sure we will stay great friends for life. Illumin8 has been an incredible place to call home the past few years, and a kick-ass experience that will stay with me for a long, long time. To all the clients I’ve worked with, I’ve enjoyed every second and thanks for putting up with me. Hopefully I’ll see you all again one day.