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A little kid’s first culture shock

February 12, 2009

I remember when I was a little kid, I didn’t really think there was all that much about the church. It was just a church. Mormons were the norm, right?

It never hit me — not even for a second — that the church wasn’t the majority church of the world. I guess I should’ve caught on when most of my friends were nonmembers.

I remember when I came to the realization that I was mormon (haha, my sister hasn’t even gotten to that point — she’s like 9 now). I remember when I came to the realization that not only was my church not the biggest in the world or even in the top 5…in fact, it was a church that people always highlighted as one of those “kooky” churches. It was a church that many have considered to be a cult.

I had at least one major…I dunno…maybe ‘breakdown’ (not a real one, of course) over this realization. But for the most part, it just wasn’t that big of a deal. I’ve just always been wary of thought processes that try to equate quick growth or numbers with truth or falsity. I mean, really, the church can’t say it has the most people (that just doesn’t fly however you count it), but the church also shouldn’t try to bank on any statistics that suggest it is the fastest growing church.

Why not?

Well, there’s the fact that the church isn’t the fastest growing. Now, depending on who you look at, some people might point out that it just has slower growth, while others might say that the church is baptizing new members quite rapidly while it loses other members. Some might say that it’s in decline. And you know what, I don’t really care about all of that.

But what I do care about is that this is an unrealistic benchmark to base the truthfulness of something. FIRST of all, having the most or fastest growth says nothing about the truthfulness of a belief. But secondly, in an organizational strategy kind of sense, benchmarking based on rapid growth and basing worth on that places unrealistic demands on things. If the church bases its truthfulness (even if just a small percent) on this idea that it’s the fastest growing church, then really, it loses the potato to competitors as soon as it doesn’t post #1 numbers. But beyond that, in the race to be #1 in this dimension, the church will inevitably degrade in factors that could be more important. What is more important, for example: grabbing new members frequently or keeping the old people staying longer?

Anyway, outside of that…it’s interesting…now I’m about to start recruiting for accounting internships. Everyone is swarming around campus, of course, trying to wine and dine us in attempts to convince us that their firm is the best. For the most part, we’ve all seen the most from the Big 4. And that’s to be expected really — the Big 4, in size, revenue, etc., tower over the other firms in a big way.

It’s like saying, “let’s join Catholicism or a mainstream protestant denomination” or “let’s be Muslim” or something.

The middle market firms don’t just die, though. They point out that their smaller environments are more fulfilling than the big 4 (you’re not just a cog in the wheel, so to speak), but their trump card is that…they are faster growing! And the fastest growing should be the one you join, right?

…I dunno. “Let’s join Mormonism.” Oh wait, now that’s “Let’s become pentecostal.” Or whatever the next fast one will be.

I don’t know if my outlook in this process can tell me much about my outlook in religion. Businesses and jobs are different than religion, I guess. But what seems to be my gut feeling is that I should go to a Big 4. After all, they are the Big 4. At the same time, I am enamored of Middle Market firms that know they are small and stick with that as a strength. These guys are enchanting for knowing where they are.

The Middle Market firms that try to advertise that they are just ‘growing fastest’ aren’t quite doing it for me. Some seem like they are selling their soul to try to keep up with the Big 4s. And in the process, they can’t become a Big 4, but they begin to lose what Middle Market uniqueness they had.

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One Comment
  1. In tech at least I think there are advantages in working for a small company. For one thing, they’re less likely to set you up on one project — never to migrate to anything else — just because they have fewer people to do all of the things that need to get done. I can’t speak for accounting, though…

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