The first CPA firm she had worked for hadn't worked out for Mary Lou so well. The proprietor was an overbearing ass, he had expectations that were impossible to for her or anyone else to meet, and he lorded it over everybody, especially the women under his charge. Mary Lou worked hard there, though, anxious to be able to get a positive recommendation from the guy should she need it once she left and started looking for something else.
After six months, she had started looking for something else. When she found a new job through a recommendation of a friend and it looked like it would work out better than the job she had, she made application, and then received an offer to employ her for a third again as much a she had been making. She went back to the overbearing guy she had been working for and told him what the new firm was willing to pay her. "Well, good for you," he said, "but I won't pay that much. You'll probably never make that much working for me." So with him unwilling to match the amount offered she had the excuse she needed and left that first office with its ignorant proprietor and went on to the second job.
The next office worked out much better. Mary Lou stayed there for two years, gaining invaluable experience, but then there was a death in the firm --- its founder had died --- and the managing partners, who were all getting older, decided to downsize and shift some of their work to a neighboring city, where they had a much larger presence, anyway, and Mary Lou was let go. However, the managing partners recommended Mary Lou highly and that's how she got the job with Telford and McDonald.
It wasn't at all uncommon for Mary Lou to write down her thoughts to sort through them. She didn't keep a regular journal --- at least she didn't call it that --- but every few days, sometimes more and sometimes less, she would workthrough her thoughts and feelings on paper. She was an accountant, after all, and it seemed like putting things down in accounts, debits and credits. Doing so in black and white always worked for her. She would just let loose and free write what she was thinking. That exercise would prompt her to go to her computer, boot it up and then do research as she wrote. Anyway, it was all a means to derive some clarity in her thinking and feelings.
The nature of the process was to write down as fast as she could her main thoughts, the ones that had been running around in her mind, causing problems. Then she would analyze what had come out so fast and that she had written down. Then she would amplify upon it. When she didn't know something that she thought she should know, she would go look it up and read about it, at least enough to satisfy her understanding of it. It was an exercise that she had learned just before going off to college. She had continued the process while she had been away from home, and she had continued it on through all of the years.