When I talk to very successful business people, I notice one thing they almost always tell me…. I love what I do!
What a joy it is to not dread going to the office (or workplace) every day. I have to admit, all the years I worked in a CPA firm, I never dreaded going to work – I did love my job and my firm. I was never bored. New and exciting things were always on the horizon.
However…. not everyone loves working in accounting. That’s why this true story has always made me smile.
Mexico City — Carlos Barrios Orta squeezed himself into his rubber diving suit, pulled on an 18-pound helmet that made him look like an astronaut, then lowered himself into the sewer. He disappeared into the filthy water, which looked like some cauldron of rancid beef stew, until the only sign of him was air bubbles breaking the surface.
“It’s very, very cold,” Barrios, 48, said into the radio microphone in his diving helmet.
Above ground his partner, Julio Cesar Cu, monitored his radio transmissions and urged him to keep talking. As long as Barrios was still chattering away, it meant that he was okay, that his air hose was working properly and that he hadn’t been swept away to his death by an unexpected rush of waste — as happened to another diver some years ago.
It was 11 a.m. in a massive drain underneath Mexico City, where the smell of human waste and rotting trash was so strong it was hard for a visitor not to vomit. But it didn’t seem to bother Barrios, one of four divers who maintain the 600 miles of sewers and pipes beneath the biggest city in North America. He was just doing his job: keeping pumps and sewers clear.
“I feel plastic bottles, wires, glass,” said Barrios, his every breath exaggerated on the radio.
In the darkness of the sewer, Barrios could see nothing. He doesn’t bother to carry a light, because it would be of no use in the thick waters. He inched forward in his bright red suit, an airtight model that sealed away the disease all around him, feeling his way with his rubber gloves, listening in the darkness. He could hear the powerful, whirring pump that pushed the flow through a six-foot-wide pipe. His mission was to clear away the debris around it so it wouldn’t back up into city streets. Thousands of homes have been flooded in the past by dammed-up wastewater.
“I’ve got it!” Barrios said as he pushed away bottles, plastic bags and other junk he could not identify by touch. At least there were no human bodies today, like the two he found floating by recently.
Now Barrios was singing. “I live in the water, lah-deh-dah-dum.” It was a popular children’s song, “The Pretty Little Fish,” and Barrios sang it like he couldn’t possibly have been happier. He loves his job. Two years ago, he gave up a career in accounting for this — which, he noted, says something about accounting.
During March, the numerical athletes that prepare your taxes, I’m talking about your all-star CPA, experiences a March madness of their own.
First, there is the March 15th due date (business tax returns). It’s a crazy time hitting that deadline – long hours and hard work. It is immediately followed by the countdown until April 15th when individual income tax returns are due. Those of us who have worked through those busy times, year after year, often call it March Madness.
However, the actual March Madness (NCAA basketball tournament) is somewhat of a relief for accountants because it diverts their attention to something more fun and exciting. When I was working full time in a firm, we always had a bracket contest. A local law firm had a two-day open house during the first Thursday and Friday of the tournament and business people could stop by for refreshments and viewing of the games – plus the camaraderie.
The original March Madness started in 1908 with a boys’ high school tournament in Illinois.
Before our current madness, a handful of teams from Kentucky high schools call the “Sweet Sixteen” drew sold out crowds.
A former Illinois high school coach, Henry V. Porter, first coined the term in a 1939 essay, “March Madness.” Quote: “A little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel.”
This year, American Gaming Association projects that 40 million Americans will fill out more than 70 million brackets.
Now, to make you smile and lighten up for sure: Urologists reported a national increase of up to 50% in the number of vasectomies scheduled on the days preceding the tournament. (So, they can stay home and watch the games.)
I think you will enjoy the article – be sure to click it above (and lighten-up).
By the way…… I live in Dayton!!
Anything that I felt good about, my mom and dad felt better about. Everything that I did was supported. I think this type of sustenance had a lot to do with me being confident as an adult.
Accountants work hard. They have amazing skills. They help business owners become more successful, However, if you are working inside a busy CPA firm, maybe you sometimes day dream about doing something more exciting.
Lighten-up, it’s the weekend….. picture yourself doing this…..
Oh to speed where there is space enough and air enough at last!
As noted in the Washington Post this week, the 113th Congress (the group that departed in December, 2014) was pretty notorious for being bad at a lot of things. But now we can add another to the list: biggest slobs. Visit the Post site and you can see the ranking of the most sloppily dressed Congresses of the 21st century.
Now the 114th Congress is in place and John Boehner, on Wednesday, scolded them to stop bustling around the chamber during speeches, stop taking photos during House business, and stop being late to votes. He also reminded members of the importance of wearing “appropriate business attire during all sittings of the House, however brief their appearance on the floor might be.” You can watch his message here on the CBS news site. Boehner noted, “You know who you are” and everyone chuckled.
It has become necessary to frequently lecture Congress on how to act and how to dress. It is done rather routinely.
Sound familiar? Now, those of you who have more longevity in the CPA profession, don’t need to feel so alone. It is my observation that professional, business attire for CPAs has almost entirely disappeared. Times are changing and that’s okay. But, here’s one of my true stories:
I was guest speaker at a state society women’s award luncheon a couple of years ago. The female honorees were dressed in business attire (although it is more difficult to tell with women!). Many male supporters, colleagues, peers and bosses of the females were also in attendance.
I just observed the people (I love to do that… just watch and listen) as they entered the room, chatted and took their seats.
One gentleman who entered caught my eye immediately. He was of average height, weight and features but he was immaculately groomed. Expensive suit (you could just tell by looking), great tie, pressed shirt, polished shoes, good haircut and wonderful posture. I knew the names of the firms that were represented by the award winners. One of the firms was a very high-profile, successful, rapidly growing, large firm. I thought to myself, “I bet he’s with XXXXXX.” I did not know him but, as it turned out, he was the managing partner of the firm I described. He looked successful. Self-confidence shows.
I hope you take all of this lightly – times really are changing. So smile, but remember if you are a leader at your firm, your people watch you so they can judge how to behave (and dress).
Passing thought: I was going to blog about the Llamas but I think that has been very adequately covered! Have a great weekend!
The only rule is don't be boring and dress cute wherever you go. Life is too short to blend in.
Most people will admit that listening to music is an enjoyable, stress-relieving activity in their life.
During this time of year for CPAs and their team members they may need some relief from deadlines, busyness, long hours, heavy workloads and perhaps even some grumpy co-workers and bosses.
I love all types of music, bluegrass to classical, and was delighted with this performance by Chris Thile, mandolinist, and member of the Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek. A bluegrass guy playing Bach on a mandolin.
Music touches us emotionally, when words alone can't.
I hope to see lots of men and women at my session at Winning is Everything this afternoon. It is all about how male allies can foster gender balance in accounting firm leadership.
In honor of this topic, I thought I would share a little male – female communication humor – so lighten-up!
An English professor wrote the words:
woman without her man is nothing
on the board and directed the students to punctuate it correctly.
The men wrote:
Woman, without her man, is nothing.
The women wrote:
Woman! Without her, man is nothing.
Don’t groan…. there’s more:
A husband read an article to his wife about how many words women use a day – – 8,000 to a man’s 4,000. The wife replied, “the reason has to be because a woman has to say everything twice”. The husband then turned to his wife and asked, “What?”
“….it goes to show you, it’s always something – – if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.” – – Roseanne Roseannadana (Gilda Radner).
Maybe this famous line, often used years ago by Roseanne Roseannadana on Saturday Night Live, applies to how you feel about the frustrating changes from the IRS this year and the implications of the ACA. When I hear CPAs complain about some NEW process, procedure, guideline or whatever… I usually think to myself…. “It’s always something!” (I hear Roseanne’s voice in my head and it makes me smile to myself.)
Maybe the next time you are about open your mouth to complain pause, then count your blessings, and simply say, “It’s always something!” Continually show your positive side to your team and to your peers. Keep in mind those around you are counting on your positive attitude and enthusiastic support. Often, it is simply easier to whine and complain – don’t do it.
Here’s Roseanne’s description of what happened after she opens with …. Last Thursday, I quit smokin’ now….
It’s only 16 seconds long but maybe it’s how you feel after you have an encounter with the IRS. Have a great weekend.