Archive for May 2016

There’s a season for everything

horse-in-a-stable1Since I’m a CPA, around tax season some things on my farm get a little overlooked. Now, don’t get me wrong—everyone gets fed. But some of the other jobs just don’t get done as often. The horses don’t get curried or brushed, and I can’t go out and trim their hair and give them treats and love on them like I normally do.

But recently as I was leaving for work, Penny, a shyer horse, walked right up to me. I had my hand on the fence and I started scratching on her neck with my other hand. She comes forward, and I scratch her neck a little more, and she comes closer, and soon enough her body is positioned so that she’s licking my left hand that’s on the fence.

At this point, I’m thinking I need to be careful, because horses lick and then they bite. And there’s nothing malicious about it—they’re just curious. They’re like toddlers, really. They’ll put anything in their mouth.

So she’s licking and licking my hand, for about two minutes. Horse tongues are freakishly large, and slobbery… but the neat part about this whole thing is that she was trying to comfort me in my stress.

That’s how I took it anyway! It seemed to me like Penny was telling me, it’s okay that I didn’t get everything done. She knows that soon, I’ll take out the brush and the treats. That’ll be great, but for now this is okay.

Here’s the thing: everyone has seasons. In every industry there’s usually a season of harvest and a season of famine. In the tax industry, my harvest season is about 90 days long. Every season has a beginning and an end.

This time of year, I’m busy, I’m hustling, and I feel guilty that I can’t give as much love to my cows and my horses as I normally would.

But I know this is just a season of harvest. There will be a slow time, and I will come back, and it will be okay. My wife knows the same. It’s important to know that these times aren’t permanent.

Think of Psalm 23. If I go through the valley of the shadow of death, that means I’m not staying there. I’m not buying a house there, I’m not settling. I’m not living there. But I can go through it because it has a beginning and an end.

Attitude is everything

frustrated-businesswoman1What’s your attitude when you’re upset about your work? What if it’s a situation you feel stuck in? I talk with a lot of clients who are dissatisfied with their work, because changing jobs will obviously affect their taxable income.

Often, though, I find that what needs changing isn’t always someone’s job, but their perspective on their job. A couple of clients come to mind.

Worthless job

One of my clients will be adopting a child with his wife soon. Recently, we talked about the adoption credit that comes along with the cost of adopting a child. I really enjoyed talking with them about the adoption because they are so excited.

A little bit later, the husband started talking about how he wants to be self-employed, and how he’s going to start it off as a side hustle. He hoped it would replace his full-time job soon.

He pulls out his W-2 and tells me how much he can’t stand his current job. He doesn’t like the way they talk or the way they do business. He told me they don’t appreciate him, even though he works hard, and he’s not getting any personal satisfaction out of it.

I asked him, “Can I lean into this for a bit?” I pointed to his W-2, and I said, “If you don’t have this W-2, you don’t have the money you need to pay the fees to adopt this baby boy. You won’t have the stability you’ll need, either, and the adoption agency won’t allow this baby to come into your home.”

“Now, does this change your perspective of your employment?” He told me that he’d never thought about it that way, and they both hugged me before they left my office.

I see a lot of clients frustrated by their jobs, but when I remind them about what that job does for them, it changes their whole perspective.

Job in jeopardy

Another time, I met with a woman about her taxes, and she told me her job was in jeopardy. She couldn’t stand her boss, she didn’t like her job, and it showed. Her direct supervisor told her, “I’m not sure we’ll have a place for you in the future.”

I talked to her about her attitude and we discussed some things that she could do to improve it, like communicating better with her boss.

Three months later, she came back to my office. She told me that not only did she still have her job, but she tried the things I suggested. She changed her attitude and found that that changed her supervisor’s attitude at well. She had gotten a raise in those three months, instead of losing her job.

It seems like a minor thing, but your attitude has a huge effect on your life. Sometimes we don’t realize how much a negative attitude can affect our lives and our jobs, so it’s a good idea to sit down and take stock every once in a while.

If you’re frustrated or irritated by a situation in your life, think about your attitude. Can you improve it? Are there things you can find in your situation to be grateful for? Having a grateful attitude can produce big changes in seemingly hopeless situations.