Accounting and loving kindness in Cambodia
By Ol Sokhem
I started working with Jesuit Service Cambodia (JSC) in August 1999; it’s been 17 years already! I began as an intern in JSC’s finance office, but soon after there was a vacancy for an accountant. I applied and was accepted. In 2006, a lay missionary from Hong Kong recommended me for a scholarship to study for a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. It went well and I graduated in 2009. More recently, I was able to get my master’s degree in Financial Management.
A number of things have changed at JSC over my years here. For example, there have been improvements to our personnel policy, accounting system and staff capacity building program. These developments are important because they help to improve the quality of our work, including our professionalism and accountability.
Working at JSC has taught me a lot: not only about technical skills but also about relationships and communication. I enjoy working closely with my colleagues and solving important problems. One of my biggest challenges was learning to speak in public. I also had to get used to speaking English with visitors and expatriates, including those from the Korean Jesuit Province who oversee our work.
For me, working at JSC isn’t just about earning a salary. It’s also about working with love and kindness. I’m learning more about this through the fourfold Cambodian ideals of Metta (loving kindness), Karuna (compassion), Mudita (sympathetic joy) and Upekkha (equanimity). At JSC we have a strong desire to accompany and serve communities, to recognize people’s abilities, diversity and creativity, and to respond to their needs, including education.
This article first appeared in the 2017 Winter issue of CJI’s Mission News. Ol Sokhem is Finance Manager for Jesuit Service Cambodia.