What’s in a name? The PKF Texas Cubester® group has noticed a trend among young professionals – an emphasis of job titles and chasing them in order to advance careers and life. Of course, other factors influence these young professionals to move jobs – benefits, “perks,” life changes and more – but recently there seems to be an added emphasis on an elevated title.

It’s a topic which has inspired in depth discussions driven by personal experiences, so some of our cubesters wrote an article published on the Houston Business Journal website. They offer insight – their own and other sources – and analyze this trend from various perspectives:

  • Young professional employees
  • Job recruiters
  • Employers

Motivations vary across the board, but it’s an interesting conversation piece trying to understand the mindset and priorities of young professionals (or “millennials”), as well as providing insight for employers who can maintain retention.

For the full article, visit the Houston Business Journal website.

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook, I’m Jen Lemanski, this week’s guest host and today we’re telling the stories of what PKF Texas means to our people. Emily Smikal is a tax manager here and she’s gonna share her story with us. Emily, welcome to The Playbook.

Emily: Thanks for having me Jen.

Jen: You know, recruits have told us that our people are really our greatest strength and it allows them to get to know PKF Texas, and kind of prove that we are who we say we are. So you know with that, how did you get to PKF Texas?

Emily: Well I was recruited directly off campus, I came in through the internship program here my last summer before I graduated and then was offered a full-time job so came back in the fall of ’09 and have come up the ranks ever since.

Jen: So what’s your role with PKF Texas?

Emily: I’m a manager in the tax department.

Jen: Okay, cool, now what made you choose PKF Texas?

Emily: I think a lot of things but one of the big ones is I connected with the people but you’ll hear that a lot and then I was excited about the variety of work that I would get here. I think most importantly was really just that I felt I could really contribute and make a difference. PKF uses its people really well to do a lot of different trainings and recruiting and I knew I could contribute in that area.

Jen: And have you done any of those special kind of things?

Emily: Yes, I’m very involved in training and recruiting and a lot of things we call task forces here to make decisions.

Jen: Oh cool, cool, now so what advice would you give a recruit going through the recruiting process?

Emily: You know I think you should look for a place that you want to have a career and not just a job, you know look for things that will fit for you and not just follow the trends of everyone else and you know you might not be the happiest person on earth every day at work but you want to have joy in doing it. So I think look for those things.

Jen: Perfect, perfect, well thanks so much for being here today, we really appreciate it.

Emily: Thanks for having me.

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, this week’s guest host, and today we’re telling the stories of what PKF Texas means to our people. Alicia Welshimer is a tax Senior here at PKF Texas; Alicia, welcome to the Playbook.

Alicia: Good to be here Jen.

Jen: So Alicia, how did you get here?

Alicia: Well I interned with PKF in the spring of 2011 after being recruited on campus at Baylor. Then after the internship I finished my Masters and came back full time the next summer in 2012; been here since then.

Jen: That’s awesome. Now what made you choose PKF Texas?

Alicia: Well a couple of things; the first one was the people. When I came to the office visit everyone was so warm and everyone was laughing and talking to each other even though it was, you know, tax and audit. And so it was really exciting and really welcoming and really felt like a place that I wanted to be. The other thing was the flexibility; I was planning my wedding the semester of my internship which of course had a bunch of different appointments during the day, but I was able to leave and go to those appointments even as an intern, so that was pretty nice and I really appreciated that.

Jen: That’s awesome. Now you came here as an intern, what advice would you give to candidates that are going through the recruiting process like you did?

Alicia: I would say to trust your instincts; firms are going to be different all across the board and all the people are different so I know sometimes you can get pressure from your friends or your family or depending on where a lot of people are going in school. And I would just say find a place that fits for you and a place that you feel comfortable because you’re going to be the one working that job, not anyone else.

Jen: Perfect, thanks so much for being here, we really appreciate it.

Alicia: Thanks, it was good to be here.


Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, this week’s guest host, and today we’re telling the stories of what PKF Texas means to our people. Jake Morris is an audit manager, and he’s here to tell his story. Welcome to the Playbook Jake.

Jake: Hi, thanks Jen. I’m glad to be here.

Jen: Now recruits tell us that people are really one of our biggest strengths, and that you know that’s how they get to know PKF Texas, that’s how that we prove we are who we say we are. Tell us how did you get to PKF Texas?

Jake: I came from Baylor, and I interned here, and then started a couple of years after I interned. I think the first big thing coming out of college when you go through the recruiting process is to decide if you want to go big four, or middle market. It’s a pretty big decision. A lot of the professors in universities push a little bit harder towards big four, and it’s a great option for some people, but I decided that I was more interested in the middle market just based on some of the experience; life/work balance, some of the other differences between big four. Once I was geared towards middle market, I started looking around, and just tried to find a fit culturally, and going out to the dinners, and some of the social events, and everything I really felt that I connected with PKF’s people the best. Just doing auditing, doing accounting in general you look at numbers all day, so it’s really important to enjoy the people that you work with, and work around. It really makes for a good experience to come to work every day, because we’re going to spend as much or more time with these people than our family at home.

Jen: So was there anything in particular that made you choose PKF Texas over a different middle market firm, or was it –

Jake: Really just my connection with the people that I interviewed with, and talked to at the socials, and everything. I really just felt that we are a cultural fit. They really seem to enjoy themselves, and we just kind of connected personally.

Jen: Now so beyond choosing between big four, middle markets, what other advice would you give to a candidate going through the recruiting process?

Jake: Like I was pointing to, just the people are really important. So I would just say go in with an open mind, and get to know the people as well as you can. It’s a difficult process, and I’m sure it’s a little nerve racking going through everything, but really just try to be yourself, and get to know the firms, and go with a clear mind, and just figure out the firm that fits culturally with you the best.

Jen: Perfect, well thank you so much for being here today. We really appreciate it.

Jake: Sure.

“At the end of the day you have to be in the driver’s seat of your career. Don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibilities or expand your role.” – Alex W. Obregon

It can be easy to sit back and let others steer your career, but not taking charge can lead to career apathy. Be ready to ask for work that interests you so that you can experience career growth.

Stay tuned for our full article discussing rejuvenating your career in the New Year.

“Find the real issue. Is it because not enough responsibilities? Is it your superiors? The career? Location? Once you can pinpoint the issue, decide what the best course of action will be.” – Bryce Chastain

When things aren’t going our way, we tend to see every problem as its own separate issue; however, most problems usually stem from one particular issue. Take a step back, breathe, and try to pinpoint the root to all of your issues.

Stay tuned for our full article discussing rejuvenating your career in the New Year.

In honor of the coming New Year, the Cubesters surveyed professionals over the causes of career apathy and solutions to make your old job feel new again. Look for more blog posts in the coming weeks and for the Cubester Chat article appearing in the January 2014 edition of the Leading Edge magazine.

“Look for other things outside of your professional life, and make sure that your life outside of work is in good shape. It’s hard to excel professionally if you can’t get your personal life out of your head.” – Anonymous