Hi, my name is Alex Ozcan. You heard about me before on this website. I am proudly an auditor. This article is created in memory of a food safety professional who changed my life and inspired me to become one.
Join me as I recount her wisdom, which resonated deeply, and the insights she shared about auditing. As she stated once, this voyage is no mere walk in the park, especially when you’ve yet to challenge your capabilities fully. I can still vividly recall her narrative of that pivotal memoir – her first international auditing endeavor – that left an indelible mark on my understanding of this profession.
I frequently compare my initial experience working in an international audit team to staring in the mirror. I could easily identify the good and bad components, with my attention immediately drawn to the latter. Then I learned to evaluate the vision in front of me as a whole and to begin focusing on my areas for growth by utilizing my strengths.
I fondly recall my first day joining the audit team, brimming with excitement and optimism about the career opportunities that lay ahead. I envisioned the new places I would explore, the diverse individuals I would connect with, and the enriching exposure to various cultures. This experience also promised a significant enhancement of my technical knowledge, and I was confident that these changes would contribute to my personal growth. As anticipated, this journey did indeed prove to be a significant milestone in my life, though not solely due to becoming a successful auditor. Rather, it was a pivotal moment of self-discovery and growth.
Right from the outset of the team meeting, it was evident that I was the only member without prior international exposure. While I initially missed recognizing the chance to learn from my colleagues, I gradually realized I had inadvertently isolated myself. I suspect I had wrongly believed that this would protect my identity, but it was only later that I understood this approach left me more vulnerable. Instead of nurturing growth, I had unknowingly chosen to build barriers.
One significant mental hurdle was my own perception of the situation. Striving for perfection added unnecessary pressure. Over time, I came to realize that people value sincere effort and are willing to provide assistance when requested. The true challenge was not my skills but rather my distorted self-perception and unrealistic expectations. It was a journey in which every single step and effort mattered.
The audit profession, often shrouded in misconception and underappreciation, holds the potential to serve as a remarkable career that facilitates individuals in recognizing and fully embodying their unique potential. It is easier said than done, Alex. But if you embrace the challenges and see the opportunities next to those, and with the right effort, you become one of the great ones.
Let me tell you what I learned, each linked to one of the fantastic quotes from Maya Angelou.
“Stepping on to a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation which is not nurturing”:
Auditing is transformational. Starting the journey, accepting yourself, your strengths, and improvement areas is crucial. You may encounter difficult situations and/or people during every single audit. Embrace all while being prepared for the consequences. It will be fantastic to witness the growth.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
Auditing is full of surprises. Sometimes, the bad ones, too. Be open and candid about your struggles, seek assistance, and actively work towards the changes you desire. Things will be out of your control here and there during an audit, and sometimes, it could be harsh to accept. Do not take anything personally; maintain your self-confidence and polish your resilience. Use those occasions to become an agile and valuable partner.
“In diversity, there is beauty, and there is strength.”
Auditing is a colorful experience. Embracing new cultures is a rewarding endeavor that enriches your character like a vibrant rainbow. Don’t forego this opportunity just because you struggled the first time. Working in different cultures needs practice, the first experience is normally the worst. It will improve. It is a matter of time and effort. Who does not want more colors?
“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?”
Auditing is the art of giving and receiving feedback. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Approach self-evaluation with compassion, acknowledging your strengths and areas for growth. This mindset will make you more receptive to external feedback.
“In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
Auditing is learning. Never shy away from failure, no matter how painful it may be. Embrace the lessons it offers and channel them into personal growth. My struggles as an auditor revealed my deepest fears and true gifts.
By Tülay Kahraman
August 28, 2023