• Career Center

    New Year’s Resolutions That Will Make Busy Season Less Awful

    By | January 5, 2016

    Happy New Year, y'all! I spent New Year's Eve watching my beloved Michigan State Spartans lose the Cotton Bowl and compiling a list of resolutions so we can kick off Busy Season 2016 right! You should be able to keep these going for at least a week or so.

    Learn something sweet in Excel –- If you already know v-lookup and concatenate and keyboard shortcuts, learn how (and why) to run a pivot table. If you already know how to do that, teach a n00b. If you're a n00b and have no idea how the senior's flipping back and forth between sheets so quickly or how to set quick buttons, ask. Always ask.

    Check out some of David Ringstrom's Excel posts, too. You don't get to look like a badass often in this profession, but learning even more about Excel will save you time and will most certainly make you look badass. In GC's eyes anyway.

    Brush your hair -– During busy season, I sometimes forget to brush my hair. I'll roll it all up into a tatty (unbrushed) bun and hope that nobody calls me out. Don't neglect your self-care; it's gross. Truly. One time my senior stopped wearing clean work shirts. He'd slog into the client-site wearing a wrinkled button-down, smelling like a feral cat and looking like he'd spent the night curled up behind a dumpster with a bottle of Hot Damn. (Maybe not so far from the truth.)

    Don't neglect yourself. The long hours suck, but so does spending fourteen hours jammed around a conference table between someone who smells like cat urine and another someone who hasn't brushed her hair for days. If you're five minutes late for work because you had to clip your fingernails, brush your hair, or dig around for a clean shirt, your coworkers can get over it. Self-care is key.

    Stop stealing co-workers' lunches –- Regardless of whether you give a fuck or not, going Janice on a work fridge is not at all becoming. You know who you are (Caleb Newquist). Maybe pack your own lunch once or twice a week if you can swing it (Caleb.)

    If you don't steal other people's shit and go out to eat instead, you can pack a lunch and put the $8-10 a day you'd be wasting on e.coli-infested Chipotle towards citrus fruits. You'll save money and help your body-fat percentage, too. One busy season, after just a few months of daily takeout lunches, I gained over thirty pounds and almost developed scurvy. Don't be me. Pack a lunch, or maybe just an apple or a clementine or some microwaveable edamame. Even if you pack something once a week, you'll save money and help fight the spread of the scurvy.

    Read more –- Reading is one of my favorite things to do, and I'm not alone. Even Mark Zuckerberg reads two books a month. (He also resolved to give away his fortune, learn Mandarin and program his own digital butler, but let's not go too far.) Reading, aside from entertainment, can help you professionally, too. A senior vice president once recommended the short book The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey to me; it changed my life and totally helped my productivity.

    If you're into fiction or want a challenge, check out the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. I'm personally working my way through the Man Booker Prize winners this year. Reading more is possible, even with the long hours! I “sneak” in more reading time during busy season listening to library audiobooks during my commute. It helps pass the time driving in bumper to bumper traffic during snowstorms and even soothes some of my innate road rage. Sometimes I even work in some audiobook time while I'm rolling forward work papers. For more sneaky ways to read more, check out this BookRiot article. I track my books on GoodReads because what good is reading all these books if you can't brag about it to your friends?

    Proofread -– Speaking of reading, time for real talk. Misspellings in your work papers make you look sloppy. And if your senior manager is like my senior manager, she'll leave a review note for every.single.typo you make. Just hit F7 and save everyone some time, mmmkay? Now please point the ones I made in this post (or more like, the ones Caleb missed).

    Submit to the will of the Millennials -– Caleb made me include this because as a Generation X-er, he thinks it's important to bridge the age gap between us and them. I personally HATE the word 'Millennial' even more than I hate the word 'Diversity.' (Ugh.) Instead of calling ourselves 'Millennials,' why not refer to ourselves as 'Those Born in the Golden Age of Spielberg'? That sounds much more full of win. We ARE full of win. If you want to get along along with your amazing Millenial “Those Born in the Golden Age of Spielberg' coworkers, check out this throwback handy-dandy guide Going Concern published.

    Watch “The Goonies” (Spielberg's finest story) — If you've already seen it, watch it again. If you haven't seen it, for the love of God, go watch it immediately. If you don't like “The Goonies,” we can't be friends. Not now. Not ever.

    So, seven glorious accounting resolutions to get you through busy season 2016. All totally doable.

    • liEYr


    • Jack

      Learn the difference between two,to, too, they’re, there, their, our, are (sad but true), accept, except, affect, effect, than, then, your, you’re, and my personal pet peeve – fewer and less.

      • Smack That

        Irregardless, I could care less.

        • Why Can’t I Post as a Guest?

          I could care fewer.

      • CeeKayCPA

        This is where those Oatmeal posters need to get posted in the office: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling

      • Caleb Newquist

        Nice to see you in the comments again, Stannis.

    • bunker

      Learn to code Regular Expressions in VBA for Excel (or any MS office product. Major kudos if you attempt in Outlook). That shit will blow your mind.

    • GAAP Wedge

      Fun “fact”: Those born from 1982-1984 are both Gen X and Millennials. Totally legit source – http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/03/here-is-when-each-generation-begins-and-ends-according-to-facts/359589/

      Can I point out grammar errors too? For example, the sentence “Now please point the ones I made in this post (or more like, the ones Caleb missed)” needs the word “out” or “to” after the word “point”.

      Also, good choice on the cover picture meme things. They spoke to me.

      • CeeKayCPA

        I’m 1983. So I’m both factions?! Oh shit, I’m divergent.

        • MWCPA

          And you just had to say it out loud. Now we have to kill you.

    • The Horniest Partner

      This busy season’s going to be good. The intern who got assigned to the cube outside my office is on her school’s dance team. Usually slooty right?

      • Chris

        Slooty yes, but unclean too

        • BasisPoints

          It’s ok! Like other interns, she keeps a condom in her wallet for the occasional 10pm conference room romp

          • The Horniest Partner

            She is worth the risk, she is pure smoke show. I think I might have to introduce her to my patented shoulder rub. Wonder if she’s into married guys twice her age?

            • BasisPoints

              Is your firm big enough to have comprehensive sexual harassment training? If not, then she won’t know any better when you inform her that there’s only 1 way to guarantee a job offer after the internship.

              And that 1 way = your penis

            • The Horniest Partner

              I think we have done sexual harassment training but it was years ago. Did I mention she is a smoke show?

    • Chris

      This article only serves to remind me everything I despise about public accounting.