Changing jobs and starting afresh always takes a leap of faith. And although the pandemic has complicated almost every aspect of our lives, if your gut’s telling you it’s time for a move, right now could be the opportune moment.
But don’t take our word for it. Tom Collington joined our Audit team in December 2020, so, we caught up with him to ask what changing jobs during COVID-19 was really like.
Oh, and if you’d like to join Tom at The Sunday Times’ 8th Best Company to Work For in the UK, why didn’t you ask? Check out our roles here.
Hey Tom, tell us a little bit about yourself. When did you join us here at Cooper Parry?
“Hi, I’m Tom and I’m an Assistant Manager (Senior) here in the Audit team. I joined in December 2020 from a Big 4 firm and my key roles are senioring some of our Audit engagements.”
Ah, so you joined us from one of the bigger firms out there. What made you decide it was time for a change?
“I qualified within the Big 4 and it had been a real struggle to find the work-life balance that I wanted up to that point and during my training. So, that was an important factor for me in starting to look externally.
“I also wanted to get more experience with a variety of clients, in terms of both size and industries, that I wasn’t getting as much of at my old firm. So again, that was a big draw.
“Also, I wanted to get the chance to take on more responsibilities in my role, managing the jobs and playing a bigger part in them.”
What made you choose CP?
“I would say it was how different it was. The marketing and the website / LinkedIn really stood out and caught my eye initially. They really seemed to approach things like their culture, ways of working and the look and feel of the company differently. So that was really exciting when you are looking at that from the outside.
“They push a lot on the people focus, the culture and the values, so that aligned closely to me and what I was looking for. Then, alongside that, they were growing so quickly and expanding so much that it seemed like an exciting time to join.”
Did you ever consider working in industry?
“Well, the thing I like about Audit is working with different people and different clients and not always being sat stationary in the same office. I’ve always enjoyed that side of it.
“I think the main reason people tend not to like Audit in some firms is the workload and the work-life balance, not actually the core part of what they do.
“I wanted to keep all that in place while working in a more positive culture and environment.”
How did you find joining us? What was the experience like?
“It was really good. I joined remotely so that was new for me.
“One of the good things about working here is there are so many people from so many different firms and backgrounds prior to joining Cooper Parry. Somebody who used to work at my old firm actually helped me through the onboarding and the initial starting phases, so it was really easy to relate everything back to what I had seen in my old role.
“Then, I had loads of contact with my manager and the rest of the team virtually, so even though I couldn’t meet them “properly”, I never felt like I wasn’t part of the team.
“Overall, it’s been great. Everyone here has been really helpful and friendly. Even when I had to ask the typical new starter “basic” questions, everyone has been really nice about it and supportive.”
How has your time been at CP so far?
“I think the pressure side of work hasn’t felt nearly as big. Generally, you feel very well supported on the jobs, whether that’s more involvement with managers or more resource across the team. That’s been beneficial compared to what I have experienced previously.
“I’m looking forward to getting more involved in the social side of things when everyone can be face-to-face again as well, as I know there’s so much of a social focus here that being at CP will be even better in person.”
What about in your personal life?
“Well, I joined during lockdown so there hasn’t been a lot to do these days in terms of hobbies or going out, but what I would say is that the workload is certainly a lot more manageable so I can see the balance that you get with that.
“Also, you tend to think about work less when you are not in work, like on a weekend or the evening as well, so that’s been really great and means you actually properly switch off, which can be hard in other firms.
“I’m a big rugby fan (I’ll literally watch any game). I enjoy going to the gym too and previously it had been really hard to find a structure around my time outside of work, so it will be nice to have that now (when things open up again).”
Changing jobs during COVID – was that a bit scary? How did you find moving with all that going on?
“I wasn’t too worried about the job security side of things as I knew that Cooper Parry were doing really well.
“I was a bit nervous about not getting to meet people in those first weeks and months. But people put aside a lot of time to actually meet me (virtually) and my line manager has been amazing, always there for me when I need her.
“Honestly, everyone has been amazing. There was always that worry when you are joining somewhere but it’s gone so well. It’s been great.”
If you’re ready for a change like Tom and want to be a part of the future here at Cooper Parry, we’re always looking for electrifying people to welcome along for the ride.
Check out all our active roles here: https://cooperparry.com/careers-our-roles/