When I graduated from college, my goal was to join a company where I would work for the rest of my life. It wasn’t exactly the Millennial mentality that I was told I should have, but it was what I grew up knowing, since my father worked for the same company for as long as I can remember.
In October 2004 I stumbled upon a flyer at Temple University’s Ambler campus advertising an extern program in which students could spend two weeks with a company learning about the career path and the company’s culture. After applying and being accepted to spend time at Kreischer Miller, I was on my way.
Upon starting my externship, it was apparent that I was in a special place. My externship saw me out in the field with audit teams, performing inventory counts and meeting with as many people as I could, specifically directors who all stressed to me that they had an open door policy. When I went through my wrap-up interviews, I stressed my desire to work for the firm. That wasn’t just because I wanted a job as an auditor; the people I had met made me feel like I was a part of a family.
I began my career at Kreischer Miller in July 2005 as a staff auditor. Right away I could tell I had made a great decision. I could see the firm invested heavily in training its employees and made it easy for new employees to feel like they were a part of the Kreischer Miller family.
While I loved my job, the learning opportunities it presented, and the comradery and team environment that I experienced on various engagements, it wasn’t just about that. It was also about friendships I developed and the mentors who took me under their wing and demonstrated a serious interest in my career. For example, one of my mentors let me know that he wasn’t just there for career guidance but to help me out with anything I wanted to bounce off of him. That is a tremendous opportunity for a young professional with many looming career and life decisions.
With everything that was going right for me at Kreischer Miller, why would I ever leave?
I was a little over two years into my career when I began getting phone calls from recruiters with promises of greener grass and greater opportunities. Thoughts began to creep into my head about whether I should consider what the corporate world had to offer. After much thought, I made the decision to leave Kreischer Miller to work in internal audit.
The first thing I noticed with my new job was that the work load seemed really light. On a daily basis I found myself clamoring for work and the eight hour days felt like an eternity. The second thing I noticed was that the culture wasn't the same. It wasn’t as welcoming, and there didn't seem to be much emphasis on my career path. Work began to feel more like a competition to see who could outdo each other, rather than the team environment I was accustomed to.
During this time I stayed in constant contact with some of my mentors at Kreischer Miller and talked to them about the unusual culture and unfulfilling work at my new job. It was these discussions that led me to realize that after spending nine months in internal audit, I had made a mistake.
Kreischer Miller welcomed me back with open arms and things felt normal again. I was happy in my role and felt like I was learning and progressing in my career. During the next 4-5 years, I was given a lot of opportunities. I was running large jobs, participating in the proposal process for prospective clients, and presenting at Board of Director meetings. But eventually I seemed to reach another crossroads in my career. I made the very difficult decision to leave Kreischer Miller once again, this time to work at another public accounting firm.
Originally, I thought that moving to another public accounting firm would still give me the same fulfilling work I had at Kreischer Miller and allow me to continue to grow as a professional. The culture couldn’t be that different, right?
I was wrong. While the work was similar, the people at my new firm were just different. I didn’t feel like I was a part of a family anymore—I just felt like a cog in a wheel. Co-workers weren’t asking about my family or even my weekend. I consider myself pretty personable and it just seemed like I couldn’t find my place there. This was not to say anyone at my new firm was a bad person, but simply that they weren’t Kreischer Miller.
Knowing this wasn’t the best fit for me, I was faced with the difficult task of looking for a new job. I had tried the corporate world and another public accounting firm and neither was a perfect fit. I began to go on interviews and received some offers that, again, didn’t feel right. Like before, I spoke with some of my mentors at Kreischer Miller, who discussed the possibility of rejoining the firm. While I thought that would be impossible, I knew it was worth a shot because it was where I felt like I belonged.
When I rejoined the firm (again), there was no “I told you so.” Rather, everyone once again welcomed me back. While I don’t think there is a better place to learn and build your professional skills, Kreischer Miller also offers more. They care about their employees on both a professional and a personal level, and truly exhibit why they are one of the best places to work.
Tom Yankanich is a Director in Kreischer Miller's Audit and Accounting group and is a member of the Government Contracting Industry Group as well as the firm's Training Committee. Tom joined Kreischer Miller in 2005 upon his graduation from college. Contact him at Email.