Over at our British sister site, AccountingWEB UK, the following problem was put to the group:
We have an employee at the practice where I work who constantly makes a pretty horrible snorting sound with the back of her throat. It happens all year but is worse when she has a cold, which she does at the moment.
Several colleagues have asked me to have a word with the partners to ask them to say something to her about it because they find it so distracting and even nauseating. Incidentally it’s an open plan office so it’s not like people can avoid hearing it.
So my question is, if I did have a word with the partners, is there anything they could actually do about it? And if not, should I tell them anyway just to get it recorded and so that I can tell my colleagues that I have had a word? Nobody feels close enough to her to talk to her quietly themselves, which would have been my instinctive first suggestion.
Okay, so after getting over the weirdness of idea of “recording” of this conversation just to prove it to your co-workers, we admit that this is serious work environment issue. We’ve all been there. That certain someone who, for whatever reason, feels necessary to dig deep in the far ranges of their physiology to get some phlegm out but just can’t seem to EXCUSE THEMSELVES to do so. Or see a doctor, because you know, there might be something seriously wrong that COULD KILL YOU.
And it doesn’t stop with the throat clearing. What about the the co-worker that sounds like Tony Soprano when they eat?
What about the dude that’s obviously enjoying those four to six sodas a day because you can hear him slurping from three cubicles away? And then there’s the subsequent burping. And not like frat boy burping; we’re talking about the gas that he tries to internalize quietly but it’s actually more annoying and disgusting than if he belched the entire alphabet. YOU FEEL ME?
So what to do? Well, first off, despite your desire to FLIP OUT and scream at the offender(s) in question, they probably aren’t even aware that they are causing you to throw up in your mouth a little bit every day. But you certainly don’t want to embarrass the person (maybe some of you do) and buying noise-canceling headphones for the entire office isn’t really economically feasible, so what’s the solution? Here are some initial thoughts:
1. Slipping he or she some Emily Post.
2. Quit your job.
3. Humming at audible levels. (We realize the risks associated with this approach but desperate times, amiright?)
4. Hiring a “personnel monitor” whose sole task is to quietly address these issues with the offender and to issue written warnings, fines and punishments depending on the repulsion level, number of individual co-worker complaints and simultaneous offenses (e.g. slurping and burping).
Seems like a good start. Now it’s your turn.
Apparently! Health.com churned out “10 Careers With High Rates of Depression” and lo and behold, Financial Advisors and Accountants made the list of “fields […] in which full-time workers are most likely to report an episode of major depression in a given year.”
Stress. Stress. Stress. Most people don’t like dealing with their own retirement savings. So can you imagine handling thousands or millions of dollars for other people?
“There is so much responsibility for other people’s finances and no control of the market,” Legge says. “There is guilt involved, and when (clients) are losing money, they probably have people screaming at them with regularity.”
Over at CPA Success, Bill Sheridan writes, “That strikes me as a simplistic and overly dramatic conclusion, with no mention at all of the opportunities CPAs have to help their clients improve their personal and professional lives. But what do I know?” We agree with Bill, that the write-up doesn’t really portray accountants accurately, some might say, “bullshit” but stress is part of your job. Does that mean everyone feels like running into sick room and sobbing every day? Well…maybe some of you. There are plenty of people that thrive on the stress and then there are those that bottle it up until they finally quit with a melodramatic sendoff.
Everyone knows that working long hours for weeks on end can eventually get to even the toughest of white-collar warriors but your run-of-the-mill stressed out accountant typically has methods for dealing with the the busy season blues. Some people exercise; some people get their religion on; some people drink/smoke/snort themselves into oblivion. Do those things work? Sure, sometimes. But we’ve all worked with that person who you expect to suddenly not show up. Are there more of those people than there used to be? Hard to say. Maybe we should talk about it. Let it out; it will feel good. Plus, we’re cheaper than a therapist.
From the Twitbag:
For those not fluent in all things Internet, Atdhe and many other live sports streaming sites are being taken down like
Mubarak the Nixon Administration. The Department of Homeland Security is all over this, having seized ATDHE.net but apparently they’ve relocated here. All of this uncertainty has our reader concerned:
If you’re suffering from a similar malady, please advise below how you plan to deal or merely suggest an alternative prescription for making busy season more bearable.
The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.
During the tax season of 1995-1996, Norm Lorch was not feeling well. He had a sore throat, but told himself it would go away. In any case, he did not have time to go to a doctor.
Lorch is principal of Owings Mills, Maryland-based Norman J. Lorch, Chartered, a firm that assists contractors, accountants, and attorneys in areas unique to government contracts.
Eventually, he spoke with a doctor on the phone who prescribed antibiotics – two weeks on and off – but he still did not feel much better. At one point, Lorch passed out, but he told himself that he had tripped on something, picked himself up, and went back to work.
While attending an American Bar Association conference, Lorch met a friend who would be conducting the session he was planning to attend. The friend told him in “pretty clear English” how he looked and said he needed to see a doctor. Lorch said no, but the friend insisted, saying that if Lorch didn’t call a doctor, he would stop the session.
Lorch set up an appointment for the next day. The doctor’s diagnosis was strep throat and made an appointment with a cardiologist for the following Monday. At first Lorch said “No, I have to go to Chicago,” but eventually he acquiesced. The strep had settled in Lorch’s aortic valve and destroyed it, causing congestive heart failure. He was given three to five days to live if he did not have immediate surgery.
“This is a crazy profession. Accountants are nuts. We work ourselves to death. I had allowed my clients to be the most important thing in my life. I didn’t listen to anybody,” Lorch told AccountingWEB.
“Making a few bucks less won’t kill you. When you are tired, quit. When you don’t feel good, stop working. Yes, some clients may leave, but they are going to find someone else if you die,” he said.
“I made a lot of money that year and eventually earned a penalty for underpayment of estimated taxes. I called the Internal Revenue Service to explain, spoke with a supervisor, and she said, ‘if you receive another penalty notice have them contact me.’
“Now, my priorities are my health and my family. My daughter had to leave college during her exams because of my medical condition, and I nearly missed her graduation. My clients can wait, and those that can’t wait can go. When you remember what comes first, everything else will fall in line,” Lorch said.
“When I teach, I tell everybody about this and what stress can do to your health because if I can help one person, it is worth it. I persuaded the moderator at an AICPA tax conference to allow me to speak to a group of 50 or 60 people when I wasn’t scheduled. As we were leaving, one man said, ‘Thank you very much. I am going to the hospital,’ Lorch said.
Since his illness, Lorch has lost weight and is careful what he eats. He walks five to seven days a week for one and a half miles. When he doesn’t feel well, he calls his doctor.
A specialist in financial oversight, compensation, and administration of U.S. government prime contracts and subcontracts, Lorch travels at least 50 percent of his working hours, but now plans travel with his health in mind. “I try to extend the hours, spreading two days of work over three.”
BKD Partner Found Dead at His Office
Welcome to the National Hugging Day edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, someone is miserable at a Big 4 firm. AGAIN. Perhaps it’s been awhile since we’ve covered this, so we’ll make another run at it.
Need some advice on a busy season take-out routine? Worried that a client’s strange penchant for ginormous vehicles could be a Ponz? Having trouble coming up with a superhero name? Email u :[email protected]”>[email protected] and we’ll help you avoid something that involves a flying mammal.
Back to our accountant who really needs a hug:
I started with a Big Four firm a little over a year ago. When I accepted the offer pay was a HUGE concern for me. I took an over $20k/year pay cut to accept a “campus hire” position with a firm when I had six years of accounting experience under my belt (I worked my way up from clerk to manager in the years before joining the firm). At that time they weren’t even considering people with non-public accounting experience for experienced hire positions. I was wrapping up my 150 units (even though I am in a 120 unit state) and figured the experience would be worth it so I could get certified and bounce to somewhere that would pay me appropriately.
Unfortunately, I’m now a second year staffer who is expected to work more than my peers- because “I can handle it.” I haven’t had time to study or sit for a single CPA exam and no one seems to care aside from telling me I won’t get promoted until they’re all done. I requested a lighter workload during the summer so I could study but was turned down, sent on an extended out of town engagement with very long hours and then scheduled on another out of town engagement for the one week my boyfriend was supposed to be in town for work. I feel like I am giving up my entire life for a job that doesn’t even care about me.
I’ve tried multiple times to tell the firm about my concerns and am always shut down. It’s not like I hate the job- I actually like it- I just can’t stand feeling overlooked at best and mistreated at worst. I am burnt out and just wish that this job was more in line with my goals. I’m probably not going to quit during busy season because I cannot imagine doing that to the people I’ve come to care about- those whom I actually work with- but I probably won’t be there in the summer if something doesn’t dramatically change.
I feel lost, like I don’t know what else I can do and like I will go apeshit and quit the day the external binder for my client is turned in. I wish it weren’t the case and don’t know if you have any other suggestions for me at this point. Can you think of anything I can do to save my career and my sanity?
Dear I need a hug,
Your email was ridiculously long, so you’ll note we edited some things out that we found to be less important. We’ll channel a certain Irish talking head to any would-be advice seekers – keep it pithy. If not, expect your message to ignored or edited until it’s a manageable length. You want a full session? Get a therapist.
Now, then. You took a risk. A good risk in our opinion but a risk nonetheless and now it sounds like things haven’t panned out the way you hoped. It sounds like you’ve taken many different approaches to address the problem but ultimately it’s falling on deaf ears and now you feel like it’s affecting your life in an extremely negative way. We would suggest leaving ASAP for your own mental health but since quitting right this second (even though others are doing it) doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in doing, we suggest that you at the very least get the ball rolling. Call up some reputable recruiters in your city and explain your situation. They’ll take a look at your experience and will hopefully be able to give you an opinion on your experience to date and some good options for employment post busy season.
Honestly, you sounds miserable, so we encourage you to get out fast but be mindful to find a job that will meet your work-life needs and is “more in line with [your] goals,” to use your own words. It sounds like you’ve already made up your mind that you’ll quit after busy season but there are some things you can do now so that you’ll have something to look forward to rather than going apeshit. Hang in there and good luck.
While some of you are understandably
broken up CRUSHED that Natalie Gulbis is off the market, there are some who are emotionally exhausted from their experience in the Big 4 and aren’t looking forward to another busy season. That got one Green Dot to thinking:
The following email is making its way around the company, it’s a good bye email from a staff out of the NE region. At first I thought it was funny, but after reading it again, I found it quite troubling. As today marks the start of another busy season, I thought you might want to share this with your readers and stress the importance of mental health. The re end of the day, this is just a job. I think that staff, particularly staff straight out of school, have trouble understanding that. The email ends on a high note and it sounds like he is going to get the peace he really needs, but I hate to think about the hundreds of other people in this industry (this is not a uniquely Deloitte issue) who find themselves in similar situations.
Keep up the good work!
Concerned at Deloitte
Before we get to the farewell email, we aren’t making light of anyone’s personal situation and certainly not the importance of mental health but for crissakes people, your job is not life or death. If your job is weighing on you to the point of misery, talk to someone you trust. And if you need to take a mental health day, or take a leave of absence or just LEAVE, then do so. There’s no point in pushing yourself beyond your limits. We’ve seen it first-hand and it’s not pretty. Just because some people enjoy (and thrive) under the torture of 60-70 hour work weeks that doesn’t mean that you have to. And if you happen to observe a co-worker slowly losing it, take it upon yourself to ask how that person is doing.
ANYWAY, here it is:
Subject: One day I was sitting wondering to myself, why do people do things to intentionally cause themselves pain?
I’m sure some of you have forgotten who I am, and I’ve forgotten who some of you are too, not most but some. I’m sitting here in my old desk in the 2wfc on the 9th floor where I worked during the 2009 audit busy season. I’m writing to inform you that I have decided to part ways with the old uncle D.
I’m not sad and I hope you aren’t either, because this isn’t an end it’s just a new beginning. During my time at Deloitte I meet so many amazing people that I can’t even count them all, so many people have touched my life deeply. I wish I could spend more time with each one of you, and I can. I’m only an email away. During my time here I had a lot of fun, there was a lot of pain, more pain and sadness then I can even hope to describe in a single email. But more and more I’m choosing to only remember the good times, which is making me a better person, a happier person.
Which brings me back to the question I asked myself. Why do people do things to intentionally cause themselves pain? After coming back to the office and reflecting back on my time here I can start to understand. Sitting here in my cold dark cubical on the 9th floor, located in the furthest most isolated corner of the floor, overhead there is no office light as the other cubicles around which all have a single UV light positioned in the ceiling over head, so it’s the darkest cubical around.
Now coming back to all this I can finally see why, why I sacrificed my happiness to sit and stare at a computer monitor for 12 to 14 hours a day. You might be saying, it was because you had too, this was your job. But in our society, in modern America no one can make me or anyone else do anything. I could have just as easily not came in, I could have decided to just leave the firm. But day after day I kept coming. Why? Now looking back I see that it was two things. The first but not most important was my loyalty to the people I worked with, the second was my own fear.
The answer to my fear lies in a song I used to listen to several times every day during the 2009 audit busy season. The song “Drones” by Rise Against is a description of the modern office worker, the song helped me to feel that someone out there understood how I felt, that I wasn’t alone. It speaks office workers who keep coming back to work, to work their lives away. They come back to work every day in order to serve a faceless queen (aka: Money, C.R.E.A.M.). A god which can never love them back or help them attain love because it’s at the end of the day it’s only an object. Yet the people keep working to make that paper.
Well enough of my rant about money. I wanted to thank everyone, even the system which is Deloitte. I want to thank you all for everything you taught me, and all the fun and crazy experiences I had will never be forgotten.
To all the people whom I complained too, didn’t listen too, and got angry with. I am sorry, I want you to know I appreciate all of you dealing with my nonsense and being patient with me, and teaching me. I understand how difficult I can be to work with, and sometimes even be around. I’m sorry if I made your lives harder.
Please keep in touch.
P.S. Yes I am crazy, and no I don’t need help
P.S.S. My email is [redacted] Please feel free to write me any time.
Welcome to another MOANday edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a tax vet is looking to move into consulting with their current firm but in a new office. The current office wants this “star performer” to stick around for busy season but ultimately the decision lies with our hero, who is concerned about burning bridges if they jump before busy season starts. What’s a tax rockstar to do?