For many years, before my third child was born (three children being the point where daycare becomes financially ridiculous unless you are a CEO or Angelina Jolie), I toiled as a CPA. Toiled is a strong word, perhaps - CPA work isn't ditch digging I suppose. But ask any haggard, frazzled CPA on April 8 what they would rather be doing, and I can guarantee you they'd rather be digging a ditch. Preferably their own.
I worked with "high net worth individuals" (read: filthy rich) and their estate planning and gifting strategies. The work could be interesting, but it also meant a labor-intensive "busy season" with very highly complex tax returns in the months before April 15.
I would begin to dread the hours and work of busy season starting in November. Come March, I would be bordering on suicidal. And finally...the light at the end of the tunnel...April...and then! APRIL 15! The most glorious day in the calendar year, where CPAs everywhere, exhausted, wan, pale, dark roots exposed, would stumble out into the sunlight and head to the nearest bar. From which they would not emerge until they were falling down drunk. Or asleep.
My dear friend Karri, who still toils, reminded me of the April 15 I brought a box of Franzia into the office and set it up in my cube. My gosh, that was a bit ballsy, in retrospect! Couldn't that have really irked some stuffy old audit partner? I guess I was counting on the zombie-like trance that most CPAs are in April 15. And, indeed, no one seemed to care. I could have brought in some joints, too, to pass around.
I suppose I wasn't a bad CPA before I had children. But once I had children, I don't think you would want me doing your taxes if they involved much more than a W-2 and a couple of 1099s. When working through a particularly stinky return, I would always have half a brain on my two little boys, who I imagined were languishing in daycare, uncared for and unloved, despite all evidence to the contrary.
I do miss parts of my old job: I miss the camaraderie you felt with others at 10 pm at night while slugging over some awful tax conundrum; I miss the trust and friendship I formed with clients; I miss the carnival-like bacchanalia of April 15. Oh, and I miss those after-work happy hours. I had a special talent for those.
So, a toast to all my dear CPA friends (hi Karri, Cyndi, Drinda, Eric, Dan, Roy, Chris, et cetera...!) today! Go drink an inappropriate amount of booze. And then get laid - I know it's been awhile!
Or just go take a long nap. Whatever you prefer.