Source | LinkedIn : By Cindy Fornelli
Why I’m Passionate About Something I’ve Never Done
As I’ve written on LinkedIn, I’m passionate about being near the water: beachcombing and paddle boarding in particular. I’m also passionate about public company auditing, which is the focus of the organization that I lead, the Center for Audit Quality.
The water stuff is easy enough to understand. It’s a passion I share with literally millions of people.
But why am I passionate about public company auditing?
Am I a CPA who has spent her career auditing public companies? No. I’m actually a lawyer by training.
Does my heart flutter at the thought of testing management’s information supporting account balances or observing physical inventory counts? Nope. Never done either of those things, which are both part of an auditor’s day-to-day job.
Still, auditing is definitely one of my passions, and, for anyone wondering about careers and passions, it’s worth explaining how and why.
Some Passions Need Cultivation
Some people discover career passions early and suddenly. Think of the musician who says something like, “Man, back when I was 11 and saw [insert legendary pop star here] in concert, I knew right then and there that’s what I wanted to do with my life.”
I salute people who discover a passion from an early age like that. In fact, I found my love of water and the ocean early on, somewhat ironically, given that I grew up in landlocked Kansas.
But I’ll also observe that being thunderstruck early by (and then chasing) a particular career passion certainly doesn’t apply to everyone. In fact, there’s a school of thought out there that finding work-related passion is quite the opposite of sudden.
“Passion is a derivative, not a driver,” career coach Peter Caven once wrote. In other words, as he explained, passions develop and emerge over the course of a career. Under this way of thinking, telling a young person to “chase your passion” is probably bad career advice. After all, it’s hard for a person to chase something that they’re more than likely not even aware of yet.
My Path to Passion
My passion for auditing certainly emerged over years. Here’s the quick and dirty on my career:
- I spent eight years as a securities lawyer, helping companies to structure deals, to issue securities, and to interact with the financial regulators that oversee the capital markets.
- I then spent six years as one of those regulators at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, an agency whose thousands of employees work tirelessly to protect investors, to maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and to facilitate capital formation.
- After public service, I spent two years in Bank of America’s compliance department, where I oversaw the bank’s adherence to regulations designed to protect savers and investors.