Busy season is not fun. If you pretend it's fun or if you expect me to pretend it's fun, you're an ass.
Now, I get it. Taxes are a big part of the reason I have a job, and I'm glad to have a job. So in a backdoor kind of way, I'm grateful for tax season. I'm also grateful for my older brother, Bob, but I’ve also punched him in the face because he can be kind of a dick.
At best tax season can make me feel like I'm working with my strengths, and a long day of productive hard work can be very satisfying. But if you tell me that I should love tax time, you can go straight to hell after I punch you in your face for being kind of a dick.
I'm looking at you, AICPA.
Last week, AICPA Insights posted an article called "Tax Season: Our Time to Shine," and I threw up a little bit on my dual monitors. The post is filled with Pollyanna, turn-that-frown-upside-down, rose-colored bullcrap like this
What if we all agree to tell a new story this tax season? Instead of framing it as a time to work your fingers to the bone, embrace the notion that tax season is your time to shine. Don't you owe it to yourself, your colleagues and your clients to let the world know that you love tax time?
No, I don't. I also don't owe it to the world to express my love of ice fishing, natural history museums, or Neil Diamond. Because I hate all those things.
The article gives five suggestions on how to get everyone in your firm excited about busy season, so if you want to have a super-fantastic tax season pay close attention.
Eliminate negative talk and thoughts of long hours and never-ending piles of work.
Denial is a great foundation for a healthy corporate culture.
Adopt a fun theme such as Tax Time: Our Season to Shine; We Live for Tax Season or We Love Tax Time. Display it throughout your office. Create and hang banners with this message in high traffic areas. Design snazzy t-shirts that sport the new message."
Yep. Nothing makes tax season better than an unavoidable banner that says the exact opposite of how you feel and a snazzy "We Love Tax Time" t-shirt that your wife can wear as a public display of passive aggression.
Hold a tax season launch party for your team. Celebrate the most anticipated time of year. Use this gathering to get your team pumped up about the upcoming season. [...] Fill the room with positive energy. Give out t-shirts, hats and buttons to mark the occasion.
Hopefully the hats and buttons will count toward your required pieces of flair.
Introduce the "We Did It" bell. Encourage your colleagues to ring it whenever they complete a milestone or difficult task. [...] From the receptionist to the folks in the corner office, encourage everyone to ring it when they have achieved something positive."
Seriously?!? The only way a "We Did It" bell could possibly be a good thing is if you hire Will Farrell to ring it. If there was a "We Did It" bell in my office, the only achievement worthy of ringing the bell would be getting rid of the fucking bell.
Bring real examples of hard work, dedication and success to life. [...] At your team meetings, tell anecdotes that your team can understand and relate to. Help them learn from their colleague's actions. Use recent tales to inspire and engage team members. Rather than worrying about leaving people out, help others to want to be the ones being highlighted in the next meeting."
Because if there's one thing every CPA needs during tax season, it's longer meetings. So pad those mofos with stories to really stretch that shit out. As an added bonus, these "examples of hard work, dedication and success" effectively communicate a profound subtext: "Alex put in seven 12-hour days last week. Let's all give him a hand for making the rest of us look like a bunch of assholes." It's also a good idea to sneak away from these meetings to make sure that your "We Live For Tax Season" banner is made of flame retardant materials.
While these techniques may effectively energize the key demographic of the Dora the Explorer show, for grown ups, you might want to take some advice from Daniel Pink who says the three keys to high performance and satisfaction are autonomy, mastery and purpose; not slogans, t-shirts and cowbells. Or take a cue from Jason Blumer, the founder of the THRIVEal + CPA Network, who says that you need to hire the right people, give them the right tools, and then get the hell out of their way. Ridiculous launch parties and unnecessary meetings are just roadblocks for productive people.
In summary, don't try to church-up tax season, but feel free to punch your dick brother in the face.