September 20, 2019

The Senior’s Guide To Being a Senior Forever

We focus a lot on the newbies and managers around here but what about that forgotten demographic: the senior? Lest you all feel ignored, we wanted to offer a few tips to those of you who have hung around at the senior level just a tad longer than you should. Don't think of it as uncool, think of it as awesome; you know, like the guy who got left behind two years in high school and could grow a bad ass enough beard that he never got carded for beer. That's cool! Don't you want to be that guy?

Since we imagine most of you are dragging your feet at the senior level on purpose (because who has time to bother with the CPA exam, amiright?) here are some tips on staying there in perpetuity. Note: the policy varies from firm-to-firm obviously so if you work for one of those rigid jerk firms that require you to have passed at least two parts of the exam or – gasp – all of it before being promoted to senior, feel free to substitute your title accordingly, the concept is still the same.

Let your haters be your motivators
When you first started studying for the exam, you probably told everyone about it all the time. But once it became clear you weren't going to get everything done in 4 months like you planned (partially because it took you a year after you graduated to get the application mailed in…damn the USPS for raising your stamp prices and you only had that ONE stamp and who has time to go to the Post Office for a single 2 cent stamp?!), you got really sick of people asking you how many parts you'd passed. Sure, it's been several years now and you lost credit for the one section you did barely pass but no one has to know that. Remember: anyone who criticizes you is just jealous of your awesome life. Yeah, that's it.

Overachievers are losers, don't even bother
You know that guy who passed the entire CPA exam in a weekend and won the Elijah Watt Sells award on top of it? That guy is a LOOOOOSER. Ain't nobody got time for all that. Sure, you've been casually aiming for a 75 for the last 5 years but hey, you'll get to it when you get to it. You, my friend, are a busy young professional (never mind so is everyone else who manages to pass the exam in under 2 years) and your character in Fallout: New Vegas isn't going to get to level 30 on his own for crying out loud. With a grueling work schedule that includes copious happy hours, free lunches, networking events and general screwing off, your calendar is FULL so stop comparing yourself to those loooooosers who manage to balance work, a personal life and the exam. They are probably paying some guy from Craigslist to take the exam for them because we all know it is totally impossible to pass the exam while working (again, disregard the thousands of people who do it every year, they are freaks of nature and clearly trying waaaaay too hard).

Blame everyone but yourself
It is absolutely NOT your fault you have taken the exam 17 times and not passed a single section yet. Blame your parents, blame your firm, hell, blame your dog if you want. It's cool, everyone knows that it isn't your fault. Just to make yourself feel better, make up a really good sob story about how you got mono and then your house got flooded in a really bad storm and your computer randomly caught on fire in the middle of doing MCQ drills. Post this story on every sympathetic CPA exam candidate forum you can find and sit back as the praise pours in. "Life happens, that's OK! Just stay motivated and you can do this!" "Oh you poor thing, that is horrible! I hope you're OK!"

It's not that you aren't studying, it's that what you're studying sucks
On the same page as blaming everyone but yourself, let's keep in mind that your problem is absolutely NOT a lack of motivation. You haven't passed because each and every review book and lecture and CD and e-book and bank of practice questions you have purchased HAVE FAILED YOU. Damn that loser Olinto, how is he still in a job? Keep your chin up and just keep buying materials, in a pinch a good BEC book is great for keeping your wobbly dining room table from wobbling and that counts for something. Because you cannot study on a wobbly table, damnit. While you're at it, maybe you should take a trip to Home Depot and pick up some drywall patch for that tiny nail hole in the wall. Oh, and a drink. And another drink. And maybe another because hey, you can, and if you end up stumbling out of the bar at 2 in the morning it's cool because you can always study tomorrow. Besides, you're waiting for your 6th review course to arrive in the mail. Just take your time. What's another few months anyway?

Failing all the above, request a summer off to study
OK that's it, you're done screwing around, you need 5 months to stick your head in the books and get this bad boy done! And work is just such a pain, man, so why not ask for some time off? Make sure you plan this time when the weather is nice and your friends are all asking you to hit the beach. It's cool, just bring your books with you. And a keg. And some hot girls. Yeah, that's the ticket! And since you don't have the distraction of work, set your alarm nice and early – like noon – and get to crackin'! For every 10 minutes of studying you get done, reward yourself with a few drinks to keep yourself nice and motivated. Oh, you've SO got this.

Take these few tips to heart and you, my friend, will enjoy the easy life at the senior level for as long as you want. Or, until your firm realizes you're about as useful as a paperweight and dumps you for some over-ambitious loser who managed to pass the exam in a year's time. Screw that guy (or gal).

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

Related articles