Mark is a former accountant who now combines his passion for magic into his consultancy work to try and help everyone find the magic in their own career, life and find their loves/passion.
Whilst working as an accountant, Mark kept his love of magic a secret from his clients, worried that it would adversely affect his professional credibility. It was only after being made redundant that he decided to focus on his passion for speaking, writing, and mentoring and is now happy to reveal his passion for magic, believing that you need to reveal parts of yourself and be your authentic self.
During Mark’s career as an accountant, he did not openly discuss being a magician with his clients, for fear of their reactions and the perception that as a magician you are good at deceiving people. Looking back, he feels keeping it a secret was a mistake as he now believes it may have helped cement more client relationships. He now uses magic as an analogy in his talks, showing the audience different ways to stand out in a professional setting. The skills he uses within his speaking were gained from the magic shows he has taken part in.
It was only 25 years ago that women were able to join the magic circle in their own rights and Mark is passionate about making people aware of the breadth and depth of experience now available within the industry. We are no longer limited by the historical approach that was always adopted in the past of magicians typically being white middle-aged men. Mark is perhaps more aware of discrimination and stereotypes than others as a Jewish man, and says although he hasn’t suffered overt racism, he knows many that have. He explains his religion, an accident of birth has no bearing on who he is, what he does etc. A minority characteristic should not impact the way someone engages with you.
Stereotyping also exists within professions the most persistent of these within accountancy being the view that those doing the role are boring. This view is also around the job itself, that bookkeeping/numbers are not interesting so to want to do that as a job must make you boring by default. Mark would encourage people to ‘find the magic’ with their accountants and let them really use their expertise to assist you. Many people are not aware of the full extent of support they can offer, notably around broad business knowledge and context. Our biases and prejudices play a role within who we chose to use as an accountant, with people tending to choose someone they relate to, to work with. There has been an increase in the number of people using professional headshots on their CV, as a way to help them find clients, but also whittle out anyone that may not want to work with you based on any inbuilt prejudices.
Both Joanne and Mark agree that the only way to change our perceptions and inbuilt prejudices is by meeting and talking to lots of different people. As a society we tend to think of anyone that is not ‘typical’ as being someone we need to help or try and fix, with the belief that what we know is right. However, if we step out of our comfort zone and talk to people not obvious within our network, we can make new connections, develop, and grow.
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