Monday, 4 April 2011

At a crossroads..

I know of no one who has been faced with the situation that I am currently faced with and am therefore not able to draw from any other person's experiences in the very important choices that I am soon going to have to make.

The background to this is from a few years ago when intervention action was taken by my professional regulatory body into a firm at which I was a partner. The practice was closed down and all of the firm's partners were suspended from further practise. I have previously written about this on this blog here. Following the intervention, I alone of all the firm's former partners applied for the reinstatement of my practising certificate. My certificate was reinstated, but with the condition that I could not practise as a partner and was allowed to practise only in employment as an assistant, and in an employment for which the regulatory body had given prior approval, as there were supervisory and support requirements to be met by the prospective employer.

I was able to return to practise even while the regulatory body's investigations into the affairs of the now defunct firm were still in progress. Perhaps it was quite clear to the regulatory body that none of the factors which gave rise to the intervention into that firm were attributable to me personally, but instead to my former partners. And I enjoyed the staunch backing of my former boss, who stood by me and supported my application to return to practise.

The problem now is that I left the employ of my former boss, having entered into a fee-sharing arrangement with a different firm. By that arrangement, the firm purported to be satisfying the requirement for support and supervision imposed on my practising certificate, when in fact I was doing my own work. Suffice it to say that after a couple of months, the relationship with that firm too broke down. I found them crude, onerous and overbearing and thought of them as being undeserving of my competence.

I cannot now return to my former boss, because he too has since run into difficulties with the regulatory body. So I am left high and dry, as I find that not many firms will accept me with such a cumbersome condition attached to my practising certificate. The reason is simple: the partners at those firms render themselves liable to disciplinary action for failure to supervise, in the event that something goes wrong; and this is not to mention the certain increase in their professional indemnity insurance premium, as soon as the insurers become aware of my professional history. It is not surprising then that I have received the cold shoulder at the doors on which I have knocked.

So what are the choices? Well, I can either wait on the unemployment line until September when the disciplinary proceedings will be finalised, without an inkling as to the likely outcome of those proceedings; or I can consider making a clean break from the profession altogether and move in a completely different direction. The new academic session begins in September, so one must act promptly if one is to take advantage of it..

The fact of the matter is that whatever the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings, the intervention into my former firm (and the reasons thereof), will always be recorded against me. It is sufficient merely to state in one's application that one was a partner at a firm that was intervened, for professional indemnity insurance premiums to quadruple. And it is professional misconduct not to disclose this in your insurance application. It is irrelevant that I was not directly responsible.

Even if the conditions are removed from my practising certificate after the disciplinary proceedings, I shall be totally unable to afford to pay all of the regulatory body's costs for bringing those disciplinary proceedings against me, pay the likely financial penalty to be imposed by the disciplinary tribunal and then thereafter, also pay for the insurance needed to enter into practice on my own. Any prospective employers too will be wary of the potential increase in their insurance liability if they were to employ me.

All in all, forging ahead in the same direction portends a very rough time ahead, which makes the case for a career change. I am now considering going back to college or university to retrain. This seems drastic, I know, but my view is that some situations require radical action, and this is one of those situations. I am not sure that I am willing to spend the remainder of my career encumbered with responsibility for the acts of others, my former partners, who in any event are themselves no longer interested in practising. Incidentally, one of them, the major culprit, fled the jurisdiction with the proceeds of his deeds, and the latest I heard of him is that he lost his bid to be elected to the Nigerian Senate..


AfroGay said...

"My view is that some situations require radical action"

This is the clearest indication that you have the answer to this problem. Good luck.

Ghana_Hall_of_Shame said...

Going back to school would be a step forward.
If I were in your shoes, I'd register for school. Come September, I'd have that as an additional option.
All the best.

Mimi said...

Wow. A whole big career change huh? On April Fools day I sent an email to my family and friends telling them I was quitting my job to become a full time actress in Paris. Most were horrified but a few free spirits were really happy for me, that I found my "purpose". I can't say without knowing your circumstances what you have to gain or lose as a whole, but the fact that you are considering a whole reinvention certainly means there is something inside of you is willing to take the plunge. I can offer no sound advice... only my prayers and good vibes.

Anengiyefa said...

Hello AfroGay, yes, I agree. However, it does seem so different from the course that I'd expected my life to take..

Greetings Mike, thanks for the advice. It is indeed the sensible thing to do given the circumstances..

Hey Mimi, you made me laugh, LOL, but this though is dead serious and isn't an April Fools gag..

Thanks guys. What has surprised me slightly in all of this is the support and encouragement that I've received since I started putting out feelers about my plans, checking to see what people had to say..

First, it was my brother, and he was enthusiastic in his support. Then I spoke to my nephew, and he too said that he didn't think it unusual for people to make a career change later in life.

I thought long and hard about this and I came to the same conclusion as Mike did in his comment. Indeed, I have already registered for a course commencing in September.

However, the thing that worries me a little is having to sit in a classroom full of people who are 20 years younger than me. I first entered into higher education at age 16 and got my first degree at age 20. As an undergraduate, I was definitely the youngest person in my year at uni, so having to become the grandad of the class seems like such an unfair reversal of roles, Lol.

CodLiverOil said...

It is always best to keep your options open.

You can either try living in another jurisdiction like Scotland or overseas,


Enroll, to study something different, which it seems you have done.

About being the oldest, just forget about it. That is relatively trivial considering the other obstacles you are facing.

What course did you have in mind? Will you receive funding for it? Or do you plan on a scholarship?

PS, I sent you an e-mail yesterday.

Good luck

Dushuma said...

It all works out in the end, whatever you try out, as long as you are still in control of your destiny. Come what may, I have a feeling you will persevere, you seem solid!

Anengiyefa said...

@CodLiverOil, moving to a different jurisdiction is not an option I will consider. Having to start a new career afresh where I am is already bad enough. Well, the age thing doesn't bother me that much, as I wouldn't be considering going back to school if it did. I think of it as still having a good 30 years of my working life ahead of me. By the way, I've responded to your email, thanks.

@Dushuma, well, I'm glad someone has such faith in me, thanks.. :)

Mama Shujaa said...

You will succeed. How about pursuing your writing too? And can you imagine the wealth of life experience you will have to offer the young'uns? :-) I know a former managing partner who was a CPA for umpteen years before becoming a lawyer, and rising to Managing Partner status. The sky is the limit.

Nawa-o for shady, opportunist, corrupt politicians. No wonder the Nobel Laureat Wole Soyinka gave up on political campaigning. Good to hear that fellow who did not deserve to be a representative of the people lost his bid for election!

Anengiyefa said...

Hello Mama Shujaa, its nice to see you again after a while.

You're right, the writing is also another direction in which one could look, although if I'm to be honest, creative writing is something that I'd rather just do as a hobby, rather than subject the product of my creative impulses to vicious editors and publishers' deadlines, etc..

Yes, I do see the potential for making a success out of the retraining that I'm thinking of doing. I suppose being a mature student will be another of life's experiences, something to ruminate about later on..

Well, the fact that this individual was put forward for election only illustrates the calibre of those who venture into politics in a place like Nigeria. Its about how much money they can put up, even if its stolen money. Also, the fact that he lost too is telling about his proficiency (or lack thereof), although I've also heard that his political godfathers compensated him with some political appointment or other. On the whole, politics in Nigeria is in my view, a shameful mess..

Mama Shujaa said...

"Vicious editors?" I've heard them often described as such, and more. I am glad to hear you will pursue writing even as a hobby. Because your voice needs to be heard. Your stories must be told in your classy beyond measure voice. :-)

Waffarian said...

Hello Anengiyefa!

Even though my situation is different in many ways (work, career, location) it is also similar in many ways.

I have had to start all over three times in my life. Yep, you heard right! The first two times I even had to learn a new language! But then I was young and everything seemed possible.

This third "start", I began just two years ago and like you, I was very worried about my age and if I was gonna be able to deal with the fact that I would be the oldest in my course, etc.

I know you are older than me but the fears are the same...the kind of feelings that one has when one is about to embark on something new and maybe life changing is the same for everybody.

I am very happy that I chose a new path and I do not regret it for one second. I have made many new friends, young and old (and funny enough, you might actually not be the oldest in class! There are always some pensioners that are bored at home or divorced women taking up classes they have always dreamed about, I promise! in my last class, the over sabi student was actually one old guy over 70 who just takes courses cos he wants to learn about stuff. He was very inspiring. He sends stuff by post...ha ha...when you borrow a book from him, you have to post it back!)

Anyway, I don't think you should worry so much about that part. It will turn out okay. You will make new friends and it will not matter if they were young or old.

What you should concentrate on instead, is actually choosing something that you want to spend the rest of your life doing. That's the tough part I think. Everything else, works out. Time goes by really fast and before you know it, you are done.

The only thing that will be tough is being poor again and not having so much money but that is only for a period of time, anyway.

If you are done with this, then I think you should do something else. Sometimes somethings are just too rotten to save. If its not worth it, fuck it. Let it go.

I know many people that have started all over. I have a friend that is 43 with two kids. She had been working all her life and had never even got her secondary school degree when I knew her, so first, she had to sort that out and then, uni. Imagine how long that took! and now, she is almost done.

Just do it.

and remember you are not alone.

Lots of love and good luck at uni! I think you will find very interesting observations! lol

Anengiyefa said...

Hi Waffarian,

Thanks for your thoughts of kindness and encouragement. Let me begin by clarifying that I am older than you, yes, but I'm thankfully nowhere near 70, Lol. So as you said, it could turn out to be a surprise that there might be others of a similar age, or even older in my class when I do go back to school.

I take the point about having less money, and that is one thing that has weighed on my mind somewhat, but I'm doing what I can now to prepare for that time , even if this means playing the system somewhat by taking advantage of my independent adult status, as opposed to if I was a young student, who presumably would still enjoy the support of parents or other sponsors.

I am strengthened knowing that others, including you, have undergone similar circumstances. I don't feel alone now in the way that I did before and as the days go by, my resolve is strengthening more and more. And even if I am not talking about it directly to my professional friends/colleagues, they seem to have noticed a distinct detachment in my attitude; I'm not as keen as I used to be about new cases that come up, leaving them wondering. Well, maybe they too should start reading this blog and things should become clearer to them..

I had visions recently of a rowdy bash in my living room, having invited some of my young classmates over, them raising hell and throwing things around, as I myself was guilty of doing many years ago, disturbing the neighbours in the process. And I cringed! Lol.

But we shall see how things pan out, although all in all I'd say that at this point, I am fairly determined to go ahead with the plan..