As your chargeable hours begin the steady uptick, it is naïve to think that you can take the the same mental and physical approach to busy season that you took to the interim months. Baseball players don’t use the same training methods in September that they did in spring training, and neither should you.
“Busy season resolutions” is a loose category of work/life balance techniques that either individuals or entire teams can adopt. Silly and pointless they may seem, but resolutions, however subconscious, can benefit everyone. Before beginning the discussion, let me share of few of my experiences.
I once worked on an engagement team that instituted a “6:00pm rule.” Every member of the team had the chance to go home at 6:00pm every Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Management worked with senior staff members to ensure a balance was reached, and the early departure was enforced. Granted, the rest of the week included nights until 10:00pm or later, but it was nice to know that I had one night during the week to run errands, have a meal that didn’t arrive in a plastic bag, and mentally unwind.
Another busy season client I had was led by a partner who organized one lunch a week that the team ate together in a boardroom. The only requirement: Minimal shop talk. Talk about your families, the March Madness tourney, anything – anything but work.
As we all know, it’s easy to accept the demanding schedule of busy season and forget about the importance of keeping the scale even remotely tipped a few degrees away from work and towards the life side. So I ask you – are you or your firm doing anything to make busy season more bearable?
Share your ideas – how is morale on your team? How does the season change your gym habits? What are you doing to prepare yourself for the always-improving job market in the months following busy season?
Do leave your comments, and as always continue to send us your tips.
I’m looking forward to the conversation. Look for a re-cap later this week.
Daniel Braddock, your friendly Human Resources Professional could very well be considered the hypothetical love child of Suze Orman and Toby Flenderson. Following his varsity jacket wearing college days, he entered the consumer markets as an auditor for a Big 4 firm in New York City. He spent three brisk years as an auditor before taking the reins of stirring the HR kool-aid. He currently resides in Manhattan. Daily routines include coffee breakfasts and scotch dinners. You can follow him on Twitter @DWBraddock.
Editor’s note: This is the latest post from Daniel Braddock, your friendly Human Resources Professional. He could very well be considered a hypothetical love child of Suze Orman and Toby Flenderson. Following his varsity jacket wearing college days, he entered the consumer markets as an auditor for a Big 4 firm in New York City. He spent three brisk years as an auditor before taking the reins of stirring the HR kool-aid. He currently resides in Manhattan. Daily routines include coffee breakfasts and scotch dinners. You can follow him on Twitter @DWBraddock.
You might agree with the sentiment that now would be a fantastic time to have an extra set of hands ticking and tying through the night. Where are those lovable interns when you could actually put them to good use?
I’ll tell you where they are. They’re sitting in class or – depending when this is published – already at the bar for Tuesday’s dollar beer night. They’re getting their McStudy on, prepping for what promises to be one of the best summer internships in the job market today.
As Francine McKenna mentioned, the Big 4’s intern programs are regarded as some of the strongest. Why? It’s certainly not because the programs offer rigorous, reality-driven experiences. The bulk of interns experience your firms during the summer months; nothing like busy season. Many of you were interns yourselves, spending 8-12 weeks basking in the attractive glow of the 10-year partner track and abundance of work/life initiatives.
The fundamental purpose of an internship was – for a long time – a simple machine: offer students the ability to “test” a career in public accounting while providing H.R. with a fulltime hire “pre-screening” process. Programs have elaborated to the points of gross extreme (more about this on Thursday), but the general principle remains.
This is why I disagree with Francine’s comment that, “hiring more interns instead has big pitfalls, for both the employee and the firm.” Personally, I’d rather my firm hire its entire new fulltime class from the previous intern pool, and why the hell not? As light and fluffy as the experience is, the internship program can weed out the few incompetents that snuck through partner interviews. Of course, that’s assuming management gives half a damn and spends more than 1.7 seconds completing the H.R. performance reviews for each intern.
The root of the problem is that the “best” internship programs have lost touch with the core values of the past. Ten years ago interns were local students working part-time in order to save money for a car payment or next semester’s books. The experience was elementary but worthy nonetheless. Now, the current state of the Big 4’s programs are a product of keeping up with the Joneses. Summer months set the competitive stage for training sessions, mentorships, ball games and beers. Stir in a high paying salary (with the possibility for overtime!) and H.R. wonders where the Millennial Generation’s sense of entitlement originates. The Kool-aid is spiked with the fruits of privilege.
Don’t expect things to change anytime soon.