Date posted: 10/06/2020 4 min read

Framing challenges as opportunities for growth and building resilience

Shaye Thyer CA, Director of Sales Australia & New Zealand at MindBridge, shares how career challenges can be opportunities for growth.

In Brief

  • Recognising your skills and values are important in helping you review your career goals and plan for the future
  • Career challenges are essential to helping you learn and grow as a professional
  • Building resilience can help you navigate change and obstacles in your career

In 2019, the Australia Pay Experience Report released by Ceridian revealed that nearly half (44%) of Australian workers are actively looking for a new job, with another 29% saying that while they are not actively looking, they are open to new opportunities.1

In New Zealand, the 2018 New Zealand Survey of Working Life reported a similar trend in terms of skill mismatch and job satisfaction with 35% of New Zealand workers revealing that they felt that they were overskilled for the job.2

With close to half of Australia and New Zealand's workers feeling like their jobs no longer challenge them, how can they find opportunities to learn and grow as a professional, and become more resilient in the face of change?

Having built a diverse and notably non-traditional accounting career to date, Director of Sales at MindBridge, Shaye Thyer CA believes that career planning is essential to helping professionals make informed decisions for the benefit of their own future.

We speak to Thyer to discover how professionals can create a career plan that's well aligned with their skills, and become more resilient to the challenges of our ever-changing environment.

Beliefs, skills and goals

As a Chartered Accountant and mother of two young daughters, Thyer believes it's important for accounting and finance professionals to take time to recognise their value as a professional, what motivates them to achieve their goals, and plan out how they can make a difference in the world through their work.

"I know that what I do for my clients is important, but at the same time my values and commitment to my family now really govern what I do equally," Thyer says.

"Whether you're incredibly passionate about growing resilient young humans or want to work your way up to chair the board of a massive company with thousands of shareholders - or some combination of both - it is important to be true to the things that are important to you, and not care what the person next to you may think."

Discovering that the traditional accountant role did not satisfy her desire to create a real impact, Thyer made the move to invest her time into understanding the value of cloud-based accounting. She has been able to reinvent her role into one that aligns with her love for technology, and her belief that tech enriches us as humans.

Shaye Thyer CA
Shaye Thyer CA, Director of Sales at MindBridgeAI.

"I was spending so much time in my role doing, and not feeling like I was actually creating value. I felt in my bones that something was missing, and I knew that there had to be a better way to manage reports beyond the binders," Thyer says.

"When I was introduced to cloud accounting, I suddenly had the capacity to truly help clients understand the financial and non-financial levers across their business to deliver outcomes. In my role as an Chartered Accountant, I was able to spend less time pushing buttons and filling out forms, and more time adding real value; I was able to go back to the basics and connect with my clients by talking and listening - all of those beautiful things a robot can't replicate or replace."

Shaye recognises the power of self-discovery on both a personal and professional level in shaping one's career path. She encourages accounting and finance professionals to define what success and happiness looks like in their work, and create a career roadmap that plays to their greatest strengths.

Stepping up to the challenge of change

If you are looking for your next big adventure in the world of business, or are - like Thyer has at various points in her career- feeling stuck and trying to work out what you can do next that will make you feel that your contribution is truly valuable, Thyer says it is important to step up to the challenge of embracing change.

Career changes, whether planned or not, can be daunting. The fear that comes with transitioning from one job can be rooted in the challenges of having to work with new people, assuming new responsibilities in a very short span of time and other variables - both known and unknown.

To find a role that helps you put your current skills and knowledge into practice, or a job that better aligns with your values and passions, Thyer recommends mentally framing change as an opportunity to develop, learn and grow in your career. Having worked in a number of different roles including financial controller and virtual CFO, Thyer says recognising the value of change in your career can help you to find enjoyment and excitement in opportunities and challenges.

"The only constant in our lives is change. Things are going to continue to change, and although it can be overwhelming, I do stand by the idea that there's no such thing as change fatigue if the change is positive. Become aware of how you cope with change and develop your own toolbox to help you deal with it," she says.

Thyer suggests viewing career planning as more about embracing opportunities than grand design. She encourages accounting and finance professionals to actively discover what challenges excite them, and then devise a strategy that includes actionable steps towards achieving specific goals.

"Deciding to leave my last role was an important career move for me to discover what excited me, but I quickly started to fall into the trap of my old way of thinking – always worrying about 'perception' - which was finding the perfect role to impress my network," Thyer says.

"Once I took a breath and realised that I wanted to learn and grow in my career, I only had two criteria: my next role needed to be different, and it needed to scare me. I am a firm believer in the idea that 'if you're not scared, you don't grow'."

Finding the lesson in every situation

While planning a career path based on tradition and prediction may work for some, for others, acknowledging that there are always going to be obstacles that get in the way can be helpful.

Thyer says that although she followed a more traditional accounting path in her early career, it has been the challenges of learning how to disrupt traditional accounting industry norms from which she has grown the most. She has learnt that it is only human to make mistakes, and to use these as opportunities to learn and grow.

"If I was ever to dwell on the negatives and think, 'epic fail, what a huge failure,' that would just suck the life out of me. If we think of change or 'mistakes' as career pivots, we can reframe failure into an opportunity to shift direction."
Shaye Thyer CA, Director of Sales at MindBridgeAI.

Whether you have run into a bump on the road towards reaching your goals, or things have not turned out the way you anticipated, Thyer's advice is to do your best to bounce back fast and remind yourself of your value as a finance and accounting professional.

"As Chartered Accountants, we are trusted advisors striving to create value for our clients. I'd just love for accountants to cut themselves some slack, give themselves a pat on the back and say, "we're really important in the world and making a difference," because I honestly believe that."

1. https://www.ceridian.com

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