Going Concern – 3 weeks on

Businesses report to the world using financial statements. One assumption that underlies these statements is that the business has enough money to keep going without severely curtailing its operations for the foreseeable future. We call this a going concern. If management thinks the business will not last, the assumption is invalid, and the business should then be liquidated.

Businesses run out of money for a lot of reasons. They can make trade losses and not profits for several years. They can be denied loans, which means their monthly cash flows dry up –  debtors call in debts, and even though they are profitable yearly, they have to liquidate.

Most relevant to us today, and to us as lifters, is overtrading. A company tries to accommodate high demand, and produces so much that it needs more and more loans to meet this demand. But the interest on all these loans reduces net profit, which reduces the pool of money the company has to play with, which then requires further loans. So it’s a negative cycle. Eventually, they run out of cash and have to close shop. It’s a bit like overtraining -you exceed your ability to recover, and pick up injuries, until you total yourself/take a rest.

 

Where I’m at with the neck and back after 3 weeks off work: my ROM is better, but my pain is still hard to manage while studying and at a desk. I took a few days off the valium, using only as needed when exercise, heat and ibuprofen were ineffective, as I found my tolerance increasing quickly, and noticed myself going up to 10mg x3 daily. Also, the family doc, sister and med buddy said valium was very addictive, and had a lot of side effects. I substituted it for beers/vodka/whiskey, which has the same muscle relaxant effect. But 4-6 shots of vodka daily fine, right?

I also tried coming off the strong NSAIDs today, but the pain was not manageable with heat, exercise and ibuprofen. So back on the valium and strong NSAIDs, and I cut back on study. This makes me worry about going back into work next week. I’m not getting any income from work at the moment, and the physio/doc/MRI/Consultant fees are eating up my savings. I was thankful I got insurance instead of a PC/PS4/XBONE last year, so that has taken some of the financial pressure off. But long term, I need to get back to work at a sustainable level.

Going Concern

Having a career and getting qualified is important to me. But I definitely have to take it easy in work. I’m overtrading on my health, and having liquidity issues regarding my will to live. I’ve noticed that depression symptoms and suicidal thoughts have gone up in the three weeks I’ve been off. I’d say they are strongly related to the injury and pain, and reduced when medication was used to control pain. There’s been a lot of uncertainty about the speed of the injury healing, and managing work and my career, if I want to stick the remaining 3 years in big 4 audit.

The HR staff, partners, managers and seniors have been helpful and understanding (so far). But there are many poisonous things about the culture of long hours in audit. The partners themselves know, and while they are trying acknowledge that they are trying to change them, it takes time.

But I think the reason why long hours have become ingrained in big 4 audit ultimately makes sense: no one in management cares that much about retention or burnout at the staff level. They know there are marginal returns on the overtime you work, and they want you to work long overtime for months in your because the jobs are understaffed intentionally. That way they can save money to drive efficiency in the business, as staff are not paid overtime. When people get sick, quit, or leave for elsewhere, there are more to replace them. The company I am in has total staff of 1300 in the country, but needs to recruit 200+ on training contracts a year to balance losses and keep growing.

That doesn’t include the experienced hires from outside the business. The Pakistanis, Philipinos and Indians in the higher staff levels love it – they are used to working to 3 AM for much less money. Here their experience is recognised and rewarded. They beat thousands of others to get where they are now. They make up about 10-15% of our business unit in funds at this point, and they are not hired in greater numbers due to the difficulty in getting them into the country if they are from outside the EU.

I guess I’ll see how I manage in work as a valium zombie, and look for other work once my first set of exams are done in May. Until then, let’s hope this gets better, as I don’t want to wind up life operations due to a lack of will to live liquidity.

Standing Desk

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It’s great when your work gets you an adjustable standing desk because your low back is in agony after 10-12 hours of sitting daily. I’ve had a standing desk for about 2 months now. First 6 weeks were very positive – my lower back pain was reduced markedly, and rarely went past a 2 even on a bad day. I dropped two belt holes, and appeared quite lean, and was about 75kg at 6′.

I stood for most of the day, and an electric motor let me adjust it to standing/sitting height. I took K-Starr’s recommendations of glutes tight, and put your foot up on a box in the “captain morgan” pose to make a neutral spine easier to hold with the strong extention forces of standing all day.

My thoracic spine was much less tight, and for the first time in about a year, I could third world squat without pain or tightness. I will be using an adjustable standing desk for the duration of my career as it helps manage my chronic pain.

But once I had the desk, I was standing 10-12 hours daily doing the same repetitive tasks. The standing desk didn’t solve the problems of jobs that were understaffed, with underqualified accountants compared with similar sized jobs, so the partner running them could make more profit. It didn’t solve the poor project management skills of the seniors on the jobs who were so overloaded, that all they could do was fight fires to hit deadlines. It didn’t help that the deadlines given to us to audit 7 funds, each with several subfunds, and 32 brokers to investigate were unrealistic. Most of all, though the size of the job was medium sized, at 5-6 trillion dollars, the riskier financial instruments used to move all that dough around, and relationships between the funds made the work take three times as long as the deadlines in some case.

 

In one sentence in a meeting, I was thrown under the bus, and given two weeks to do something that had previously taken a team of 3 people, who had a combined experience of 8 years, 3 weeks. I was assigned an offshore team of 2 Indian staff for 20 hours a week and told to do it in 2. The Indian team overran its billing hours by 40 hours. At the same time, while working 55 hour weeks, I was studying for mock examinations for the CPA exams.

 

At this pressure, and the hours put on, along with the physio work I needed to do to keep healthy eventually took it’s toll. I sprained my neck the Friday evening before 7 hours of exams, and dragged myself walking like Robocop into the exam hall. I got a massage and a kinesiotaping off the girlfriend’s father after, which helped a lot, but I was still in bad shape Monday.

 

Turns out it wasn’t a sprain, and I’ve been out of work for the guts of two weeks with inflamed discs in my neck. Doc has given me difene (NSAIDS) for pain and inflammation. I’ve been tolerating it well so far, it hasn’t ripped the stomach out of me. I’ve only had one case of black shits from it, but have been eating it with big meals. They also prescribed 5mg Valium x3 daily as a muscle relaxant, which has been a great help in stopping my neck and shoulders tensing up. It’s also taken the edge off the mope. Doctor recommended I drink more to relax the muscles, so a bit of whiskey and a few beers have helped, naturally going valium or booze, and not excess of the other at the same time.

I went back into work for 9 hours the Monday just past, and I was fine up until 2pm. After which I had to take breaks every 5 minutes, and skipped out to the fire escape to lie on the floor and choke back tears as the pain was that bad.

I guess I’m through with ignoring pain. I know what I’m suffering at 23 isn’t normal, and I have to take drastic steps now to have a quality of life and work that I can sustain for 60 years. Physio and doctor have said the neck is just a flare-up caused by stress and repetitive strain, but I’m going to be aggressive with treatment, see consultants, and get second opinions on pain of this quality and intensity.

I went for a few drinks with my dad, and he said as much, He said I was fucked and will be fucked for the rest of my life because of this, and to quit the job if they won’t accommodate your illness.  Which is a shame, because there is fuck all else out there in terms of jobs. I’m going to see what else I can get, but I’m taking it day-by-day at the moment. brb valium kicking in