Weekend Assignment # 352: Winter Work
Now that the new year has begun, most of us are back at work, with only a few holidays to look forward to over the next several months. Most of us in the Northern Hemisphere wake now to cold, dark mornings, and may see little or no daylight on our morning and evening commutes. What is this time of year like for you? Are you more productive in the bleak midwinter, less so, or neither? What is the weather like where you are, and do you enjoy it?
Extra Credit: Are you still working on unfinished business from last year?
I’m an accountant, and I work for an organization whose fiscal year ends on December 31. The first few months of any year are defined by “working on unfinished business,”until we get through dealing with the auditors. Our year-end tends to drag on for a few months.
It could be worse, though. I work for a nonprofit, and while our audits do tend to get very nitpicky, we don’t face the time pressure to get the numbers out that most for-profit companies do, particularly if they answer to stockholders. The audits of my agency’s various programs, which can crop up at any time during the year and frequently review time periods other than our company fiscal year (most of our contracts don’t span January-December), are often quite a bit more stressful – not to mention nitpicky – than the year-end audit by the CPAs. In fact, we conduct most of our audit business with the CPA firm online, sending documents and e-mails back and forth; there’s very little of the customary field work, and we barely even see them in person. That’s reduced the stress level of audit time significantly.
Or I could be a tax accountant. That would definitely worse, at least till mid-April. One of the many pluses to working in my sector is that I don’t have to know much about taxes (and I do my own with TurboTax anyway).
I do seem to feel pretty productive at this time of year – perhaps because I’ve had a bit of a break over the holidays, or perhaps because I’ve managed to psych myself up, knowing that I have a lot that needs to be done. This year I seem to be unusually focused, though; with my shoulder surgery less than two weeks away and about to make me a lot less productive for several weeks afterward, I’m trying to get done with as much as I can before it happens. I suspect living in Southern California helps. It’s the rainiest time of year, but for the most part we’re able to get out and about and conduct our lives normally – no snow days or cabin fever here! I have lived in more wintry places, and by February, the weather has gotten to me and made it hard to find much motivation. That’s really not a big problem here – and since I have a lot to get done, I really have to appreciate that!