It’s early morning April 20; the end of tax season was just 3 days prior. As I wipe the sleep from my eyes and stare out at the ocean from the balcony of our room on the 4th floor of The Breakers Hotel in Ocean City MD, Sue is still asleep. The warmth of the sun and the breaking of the waves add a peacefulness to the setting as early risers start enjoying the boardwalk, whether it be walking, biking or just sitting on a bench people watching. If someone had told me a few years back that I’d find it relaxing to stay in downtown OC after working 105 straight days, I would have told them that they were crazy. But remarkably, for this moment in time in a relatively short 4-day getaway, I have more wealth than Donald Trump himself. It’s all perspective, and as I see it, I am the luckiest guy in the world.
Frankly, I must tell you that I feel truly blessed. Blessings do not necessarily show up in a bank account, possessions, net worth or anything related to the natural sense. Rather, one must look beyond to the super natural to truly understand and appreciate the gift of life. It is a gift in the very sense of the word and that why it’s called the “present”. While we have memories of the past, a future that lies ahead, we all, regardless of our circumstances, find ourselves in the present. As I look up at the sky, I see the creation of God that is simply overwhelming. If you haven’t done so recently – try it!!! Family, loyal friends, hardworking staff dedicated to our mission as well as clients who have become like family, have filled my life in a way I could never have imagined. While one can focus on problems, frustrations, disappointments or all the hatred sprinkled throughout pockets of society and in the world in which we live, we are fortunately free to change our perspective at any point and see the good things that surround us all. Growing up, Pop constantly referred to what he deemed as a universal law which simply the held that “Whatever we cast out in life, comes back to us in return.” He always emphasized that the return back will usually not come from the same person, but that it would ultimately reappear. The universal law applies to kindness, generosity and goodwill or on the flip side hatred, selfishness and malice. As a young boy I quite frankly had trouble grasping the concept, but now it not only makes sense, I see it repeatedly in my own life. When it comes right down to it, we can all make our world a better place by just being nice to others; it’s amazingly as simple as that. Look around, that person you notice that may seem cool and aloof, or grumpy and mean spirited, or even distant and reserved; in a strange way, they could actually be screaming out for love and attention from another human being.
Yes, you read it right – 105 straight days doing what I love, and perhaps even more importantly, loving what I do. Every Tax Season evolves into a life of its own taking no prisoners and leaving its imprint for all that passed through. For all intensive purposes, life as WE (mentioned 7 times in our Firm’s MISSION STATEMENT while interestingly enough you will not find the noun “I”) knew it was put on hold while our team did our best to help others, sacrificing time, and at the core, oneself. Working with someone (clients as well as staff) who enthusiastically joins together with you towards a goal is incredibly rewarding. Just when you’re having a bad day, it always seems to work out that you talk to someone who lifts your spirits in a magical way they could never imagine. Again one ounce of niceness in the world seems to dilute any unpleasantries we all face from time to time. When Tax Season first starts out you instinctively know you can make it, but as the filing deadline approaches you can’t help but feel like “you’re in the streets of Spain and the bulls are chasing you” – as they gain ground you look to jump the fence to safe haven. Tax season is in many ways similar to driving somewhere in rush hour traffic – you know where you’re going and you know how far you have to go – It just takes longer to get to where you’re going as the bottleneck just has to work its way through. All you can do is do your best then put your faith and trust in God. Most times the outcome is a good one with “Mission Accomplished” but occasionally things don’t go as planned. Government intervention with tax filing seems to be more commonplace as agencies are reluctant to release refunds over a certain dollar limit. Other times an e-filed return is rejected and the only way to remedy the situation is to subsequently paper file the same return which adds an extra layer of administration with, in the final analysis, the same end results. In taking a step back its clear to me that the whole tax return preparation process just takes longer and the change 2 years ago allowing brokerage houses an additional 15 days to issue Form 1099’s without extending the due date of Form 1040’s has raised the bar even higher to get to the finish line. Throw in the weather, which fortunately wasn’t an issue this year, mix in sick days (common for the winter) and then round it out with our families who never stopped needing us and you have all the ingredients for a tax season. Bottom line – it’s more, actually much more than you can ever imagine. When it’s over you truly need to kick back and recharge your batteries which is easier said than done as pressures continue to file extended returns, especially if refunds are due. As much as you wanted to make everyone happy, it’s nearly impossible and one can’t help but feel bad if it ever comes to letting a client down, any client. Expectations from clients range from very reasonable to mission impossible. While tired, with stress levels running on the high side, you must nevertheless keep your focus and perspective – being busy in an economic downturn is one great problem. Your clients are depending on you and you rise to the occasion. Perhaps WE do things a little different than most – WE practice with our hearts and souls in addition to our minds, our experience and our knowledge – as it says in our mission statement, WE are more than just number crunchers – that doesn’t come easy, but the rewards are definitely worth it.
Fast forward and it’s now May 14th and has been since the start of the last paragraph; Sue and I are vacationing in Myrtle Beach SC sitting down by the ocean with our toes in the water, albeit, a little cold, the pain of Tax Season has since subsided. The sun is shining brightly and the blue sky as beautiful as it could be. Day by day as we replay Tax Season 2012 in our minds, we continue to count our blessings; I still have the upper hand on Donald Trump but our focus is now geared towards how we can do our job better next year. As my friends Jake and Scout (www.lifeisgood.com) have said many times over – “Life is Good” – going through adversity with a staff second to none who share a passion to win giving their best for our team and its clients brings it all into perspective. Together with a family that brings love that overflows, loyal friends who bring unexpected happiness without even knowing it and loyal clients who have become like family, the luckiest guy in the world is so thankful, overwhelmed by God’s creations and loving every minute of the gift of the present. And so until we meet again, I wish you all the same and more, much, much more.
Have a great day!!!!! May God Bless You!!!!
Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)