The Authentic Fraudster

The Authentic Fraudster

Written by Ade

My first job interview after graduating law school in 1994 was for a role with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) as a Case Worker. I remember so well, the excitement as I opened the envelope containing the invitation to the interview and the joy on my face as I told my friends about my potential new job which was to be part of a team investigating ‘commercial crime and complex fraud cases’. You see, the SFO was an organization that I had followed all through university. The initial fascination came from the fact that it was set up the year I started university in 1988, for me there was therefore some affinity about the potential that we were both about to release to the world. I could not wait for my final year at university to study Company Law as one of my options, where I was to learn much more about this commercial fraud busting organisation.

Preparing for the interview was sheer delight, I had tons of notes from university and law school, along with newspaper cuttings that I had saved covering some of the high profile cases the SFO had been involved with. As part of my preparation I even did a dummy run to the interview location to ensure I had my timings right and would not be late for my big day – I was truly ready!

Day of the interview arrived, I got the morning paper on my way to the venue to ensure that I was up to speed on the big news stories of the day and planned how I could strategically display my current affairs knowledge during the interview.

The interview was going really well, I talked about my passion for the SFO, highlighted recent cases handled by the SFO, talked about my organisation and planning skills; you know, the usual stuff - In fact, I was confident that I was displaying all the competencies they were looking for in a Case Worker. And then the interview took a different turn, the chair of the panel asked, ‘so what attracted you to study law?’ I remember smiling with confidence and saying something along the lines ‘not sure really, could never really decide on a career choice…. felt my parents wanted me to be a professional…..I knew a few people who were studying law and thought, well that sounds like a good career’. The panel allowed me to ramble on about how I had no interest in law and how I felt I was stuck on this career conveyor belt where I had no choice but to stay on it. Went on to say I was not really sure what I wanted to do career wise and was simply looking for a role where I could use my law knowledge. A few days later, I heard I was not being offered the position.

To be honest, at the time I never really understood why I did not get the job. In my mind I was being authentic and was convinced that the SFO would overlook my lack of passion for my chosen career and would instead focus on the fact that I had drive and determination. At the time, the irony of the situation was lost on me. For here I was, about to embark on a job investigating fraud cases, whilst I myself was a fraud - I was about to go down a path that I really had no interest in. Although this experience happened in the early phase of my career, it was a turning point for me, it was the first time that I had had to explore and be honest about what I really wanted to do for a job and why.

Over the years, I have conversed with a number of people personally and professionally who have said they do not enjoy the work they do and have no idea why they are really doing it. Initial responses range from, ‘I have my mortgage to pay’, ‘I have a family to feed’, ‘I am doing what’s expected of me’ or ‘I am trapped by my lifestyle and cannot afford to leave’. Whilst the reality of life means that we all have responsibilities of some sort, there is a danger that by not showing up as ourselves for our work, we run the risk of being frauds of our lives – afterall whether we like it or not, work is part of life and life is part of work, and we therefore owe it to ourselves to show up fully for it!

Categorised Under: Inspiration, Work & Career, General Interest,


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by Judy on 12th January 2010

One of the best pieces of career advice I ever had was when I was just starting out as self-employed, and came from an adviser (wish I could remember his name) at Enfield Enterprise Agency. I had a number of different options I could pursue, wasn't certain which one to go for, but thought the way I "should" be deciding was on the basis of which would bring in the most profit. He said:

"No. Do what you love doing most. And the money to keep you doing it will follow."

He was right .....

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by Bosun on 4th May 2010

My uncle - I never knew u av an interesting website, I just visited the site and it changed my thinking abt life. I believe ur saying, that we should do what we love doing and d money 2 keep us doing it will follow. Moreso, I am really happy 4 ur chosen life time career. Am sorry abt ur 1st job. I believe d career u chose now is ur heart desire. Take care Uncle, I love u so much.

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by Nigel Girling on 26th July 2010

Well said Ade. I wonder what proportion of work hours are being 'authentically' delivered at every workplace today? It's so easy to 'coast' and never really be fully engaged in what you're doing. I believe passionately that true leadership helps people to find their authentic connection to the value of the work they do with their colleagues.

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