Back when I was about 12, I played this educational game called "Oregon Trail" where you get to set the pace at which your wagon train travels west. I invariably chose "grueling" for the pace and chuckled as most of my family died of dysentery on the journey. Now I'm learning that even as an adult, I still
tend to set a grueling pace for myself when I've set a goal. It's just not as amusing as I remember. (But at least there's less dysentery!)
I just finished a grueling pace of self-study to become an Enrolled Agent (EA)--an IRS certification that basically says you know tax law forward and backwards and grants you authority to have power of attorney in tax-related matters.Why
do this? The usual way to climb the corporate ladder is work experience, but I've only got 2 years down, and I don't want to suffer through years of bad management and menial work when I'm ambitious and hard-working enough to have a good job now
. So I keep gulping down education at a miserable pace, hoping that I can compensate for my lack of experience with an overabundance of certifications.
When I learned that the CPA firm where I want to work insists on a year of tax experience, I thought, "Crap! Too late for that this year." So I signed up for the 3 exams I've gotta pass to become an EA, each a month apart so I could be sure to finish all 3 by the end of the year--in time for tax season. Maybe they'll consider hiring me if I've got this valuable certification instead of experience. (There aren't many EAs in the whole country, so it's a pretty rare and valuable notch on one's belt.)
I can say without exaggeration that this was the hardest thing I've ever done. People usually become EAs after they've already done tax preparation for a few years and they're ready to take their career to the next level. So I'm learning every nitpicky detail of the law from scratch instead of supplementing prior knowledge. They also recommend studying 12 weeks for each exam, so of course [sarcasm]this genius[/sarcasm] decides to only give himself 4 weeks for each. I knew it was going to be hard when I signed myself up, but I figured, "Hey, I'm pretty smart and I'm good at taking tests. I've got this." Then I cracked the text book and it was SOOOO much harder than my worst-case scenario. Then I sat for the actual exam and it was SOOO much harder than I'd imagined that
would be, either. Oh, gawwww that was awful. ~_~
And the punchline is that the CPA firm where I wanted to work was
very impressed I was able to pull it off so fast, but they're not hiring any new staff this year after all. Ah, well. After a few months of 60-hour weeks (working full time, taking a night class, AND studying for the next beast of an exam), I'm kind of happy just to y'know... not
be working all the damn time.
Right now I'm still working full-time, but it feels like I'm on vacation just because I'm not whipping myself over tax law books every night. @_@ Feels pretty awesome to have some margins in my life again. I really missed having a sex life, and time to blog. <3
Mom's not doing too great. She broke her hip a few months back, and I guess the repair job they did wasn't ideal. A bolt was still sticking out and digging into her flesh, so they'd have to re-do the surgery. In the meantime, she took another fall and broke the other hip. ~_~ So she's had double-hip replacement surgery. She's doing surprisingly well, and able to walk (with the aid of a walker). My folks are still hoping to be able to visit for Christmas, but we're playing it by ear.
How have you all been holding up this holiday season? Any new developments?