Advice to my younger self: Jay Chander CA
After more than three decades in Australia, Jay Chander CA, Partner, Business Advisory & Enhancement with Barker Henley, looks back at what he might have done differently in his career.
It’s been 31 years since my move to Australia, and there have been various career opportunities over that time. Looking back now, I recognise that much of these were spurred by a desire to follow certain personal goals and professional ethics and morals.
I’ve had great opportunities to work with some excellent people and to make a significant contribution to many organisations.
As a younger man, I was an idealist, keen to embrace the ethics of my chosen profession, which were embedded in the training I received at ICAS. On my career pathway, there were certain things I felt were right or wrong, but on many occasions, I was a singular voice.
Although it was painful at the time, I’m glad I held on to these important values. In fact, there is a lot that I’m glad about.
This is the advice I would give to my younger self.
Negatives can be positives
If you are truly passionate about a specific issue, particularly one that involves ethics and morals, always hold your ground. It may leave you temporarily out in the cold, but it builds a positive and powerful reputation.
At the same time, it’s important to realise that it’s just a job and you shouldn’t expect to change the world when you’re a young CA. Hold on to your values and change what you can rather than always shooting for the stars. You don’t have to change everything at once – it can be done in small steps.
Rest assured that you have chosen the right career
The choice of career and my ICAS qualification has been a source of great pride to me. I tried to gain experience across several industries such as retail, manufacturing, banking, insurance etc., and the skills I developed can now be applied in any industry. But that route can be stressful.
I could have remained in one industry for my entire career to become an industry expert, as a lot of people do. It would have been a different path for me, but perhaps not as enjoyable as it’s turned out.
Smaller firms and organisations will teach you just as much and will often give you a whole lot more in terms of options and flexibility.
Put family at the core of everything
There's one thing I am very happy to have done – I made my family the focus of my life. I turned down several overseas postings to stay in Sydney with my family. My wife Linda and my twins Ronan and Caitlin, have always been at the core of my life and my happiness. Looking back today, I wouldn't change a thing.
Don’t be blinded by big-name corporates
I would tell my younger self now, don’t be blinded by the glitz and reputation of large firms because they don't suit everyone. Smaller firms and organisations will teach you just as much and will often give you a whole lot more in terms of options and flexibility.
Sydney is a very good choice
Life is good in Sydney. We came to Australia for a reason; we love the culture here. I travelled a great deal with my work, but that was short-term travel and I always came back home. Sydney has been my base for the last 30-odd years and it has exceeded expectations. I still get emotional when I return from overseas – I just love being back in Australia.
It's important to get out and integrate and enjoy the lifestyle on offer.
I dearly would have loved to have taken up golf, but taking five hours out of each weekend when the kids were young was too much to sacrifice. Instead, I made sure I stayed fit. I'd go to the gym and work out regularly. In hindsight, I would have joined my friends for organised team sports more often – playing with a team regularly is a great social outlet and networking opportunity.
Embrace the community
You don't develop a support network just from the expat crowd. Involve yourself in the community, your neighbours and the people around you. It's important to get out and integrate and enjoy the lifestyle on offer. Be present. Be engaged.