Busy season is like war. Okay maybe not, but it's hell anyway. There are no rules on how you survive it, but you MUST survive it. And if that means taking that last slice of pizza and hiding it in your drawer for later then by God, YOU MUST TAKE THAT SLICE OF PIZZA. Oh, Pete was late getting to the team lunch and didn't get to eat? TOO BAD. You're going to want that cured meat and refined flour in about 3 hours when you'll need your 4th wind.
Day 1 of GCMMBSSF&BvsT is underway
and there is still time to vote if you were too busy skipping work yesterday to get around to it. But the rest of us need to keep things moving, so let's do that now.
I love #6 vs. #11 because there is always the expectation of an upset and then the #6 seed comes along and DESTROYS the #11. There's nothing like a bunch of people's expectations being shattered.
Food & Beverage
Bagels vs. Donuts is a classic match-up. Back in my Klynveld days, I had a client that had a decent cafeteria with above-average bagels. Whenever I felt like I couldn't make it another day, I'd start my morning with an Everything bagel with lox cream cheese because that is the best bagel/cream cheese combination in the history of the world and I don't give a damn if you disagree. On the other hand, have you ever had the chocolate old fashioned donuts from Starbucks? If not, drop what you're doing and go get one. I will not fault you if you prefer Dunkin' or KrispyKreme or Lamars. They're all incredible. Just go get a donut and it will make your Friday infinitely better. Just finish voting first.
TechnologyScience — Science! — says that surfing the web is good for productivity. But some "professionals" simply don't understand the importance of cruising the Internet for a few minutes every hour so you can continue kicking ass and taking names. In order to avoid having to explain science to these rubes, the privacy screen comes in quite handy. Unless people are in the habit of sitting in your lap to check up on you, the privacy screen proves quite useful especially when you're staying up-to-date on the most important happenings in the accounting industry. Yes, sometimes a little scan of Going Concern is just the thing you need to remember how NOT to survive busy season or how to say goodbye to everyone prior to busy season so you don't have to survive it at all. Plus, Greg is good for a laugh.
#3 vs. #14 is always exciting because it's the first real chance at an upset. Usually those #3 seeds don't deserve the spot in the first place and the scrappy #14 proves it. Also — Harvard can suck it.
Food & Beverage
There are nights during busy season when you're working away and then you stand up to stretch and realize that you've managed to stay later than everyone. The cleaning crew has been gone for hours. There's not another SOUL to be found. It's like some bad post-apocalyptic movie. And just like any awful "Am I the only one left on Earth?" movie, you are forced to eat things that don't closely resemble food. The epitome of late-night crap at the office is undoubtedly the Hot Pocket. During some of those long nights I would reach points of such hopeless frustration that I would march into the kitchen and grab the first thing in the freezer that my hand touched, throw it in the microwave and consume posthaste. The whole process — from freezer grab to final swallow — usually took less than 90 seconds. BUT! Did I grab my Hot Pocket? Hahahaha. No! I don't actually purchase Hot Pockets; I just eat other people's Hot Pockets out of emotional need. For some of you Hot Pockets are how you survive busy season; for the rest of us, Hot Pockets are how we hate busy season. Either way, it's so bad it's good.
Email. 10-key calculators. It wasn't so long ago that these were two of the most exciting tools in the accounting business. While 10-keys have come a long way in technological advancement, email has just gotten worse. 10-keys are just as reliable as your nimble fingers punching out the numbers. And the USB version is the best because then you don't have to try and strain your fingers in odd directions on your keyboard. I'm looking at you, stupid zero key. Email, meanwhile, has gotten overwhelming. Amongst all the shit that floods your inbox, there are important messages in there somewhere and if you don't respond to it, you'll inevitably get an annoyed person calling you — "DID YOU GET MY EMAIL?" Oh, sure! It's right here in between my 25 Living Social and Groupon offers. And somehow Outlook, Thunderbird, Lotus Notus, or whatever the hell you're using doesn't improve it AT ALL. Email is awful. But yet it remains a key to your communication during busy season. To hell with you, email.
The #7/#10 match-up is really forgettable. So much so that I don't remember what I wanted to say about it.
Food & Beverage
When I first started in public accounting, I worked for this manager who drank Dr. Pepper. Lots of it. During the throes of busy season I think he drank six of them a day. How his teeth never fell out is beyond me. Anyway, that was his thing. He hated coffee. He wasn't a smoker. He drank soda. God, did he ever. Nowadays, soda has plenty of competition for people who want caffeine but wouldn't allow coffee in their toilets. This competition is mostly in the form of energy drinks and, as we've seen
, sometimes one energy drink isn't enough when it's crunch time.
These days, everything begins with the Internet. Time was though, that we were forced to stick ethernet cords into our computers to access the series of tubes. Thank God those days are over. WiFi allows you to get work done in places you never dreamed of. Even if Mother Nature forces you to leave your desks for a safer environment
, WiFi is there to make sure you can stay billable. And while WiFi is great and all, sometimes only pleasant musical sounds in your ears provide the focus you need to power through. Sure, we get a lot of music from the Internet these days, but if the web imploded on itself tomorrow, you'd ask your parents to dig out their Walkmans and Hall & Oates cassettes so you could get some work done. YES YOU WOULD.
In the #2 vs. #15 you're expecting a blowout. But…yeah, it's usually a blowout.
Food & Beverage
Booze. Whatever form you take it in — two cold beers on the train ride home, a bottle of red with the wino outside the office, or the Prohibition whiskey from your desk drawer, few things get you through busy season like a little hooch to take the edge off when you've had a rough day. Alternatively, if you are still young at hear — that is, you follow all of Mom and Dad's rules — Pop Tarts from the vending machine are probably more your speed.
Smartphones are taking over our lives. It's like having a child. If it goes missing, our world starts to crumble. Search parties are assembled. Frantic "what if I never find it" scenarios fill your brain. We depend on these stupid smartphones for everything including work, of course. "I wonder if the client has tried emailing or calling me! They'll think I'm blowing them off! GAHHHHH!" Plus, how else are you supposed to act disinterested in the person you're currently in the presence of? Equally annoying is the Facebook. Look, if posting pictures of your baby or pet or fancy dessert or your engagement ring or a sunset that you made look old-timey using absolutely no skill whatsoever or sharing an inspirational quote you didn't hear before today or the airport codes of your departure and arrival cities or a comment about the state of the weather is what gets you through the day…then, sigh, fine. It's busy season. Whatever you gotta do.
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