Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hopefully Employed

As in, "I'm employed and I'm hopeful."

Tools of my trade, such as they are.

There was a time, back when I was in college the first time in the 1970s, that the word "hopefully" was horribly overused, especially in the sense "It is to be hoped that" (or simply "I hope that"). Like many English major types, I was annoyed for years when I saw or heard sentences that started, "Hopefully we will...." But eventually I read in the Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage that the construction has a long history, and is not actually incorrect. So I'm using it here, both in the sense "I hope I'm still employed" and in the sense "employed and hopeful."

See, on Friday I was told there was a chance that the CPA firm would drop the location I'm working at, eliminating my job in the process. This was primarily because the company owners were concerned about the same situation I wrote about on Wednesday night, with some sort of security breach and the police being called to the premises. Both professional ethics and liability issues require that the firm and its employees avoid getting entangled with a company where something nefarious is going on. This week's events understandably raised such concerns.

But the end of the workday came, and I received no phone call relaying any further news. So today, Saturday, I went over to the location to make sure my desk is still there, to pick up my tax accounting textbook just in case, and to check in with the guy who does the Friday and Saturday shifts. He was very upbeat and reassuring, and gave me some much-needed perspective. It turns out that nobody else is far ahead of me in training for the job or doing any actual tax returns; most people don't have their W-2s and 1099s yet, and everyone, including the company, is still getting everything up and running.

It also appears that my employment situation strongly resembles that of other people hired by the company for seasonal tax work. I've now met two of them, and like me, they both had been looking for work since September. I'm the only one of the three with an actual accounting degree, but my two coworkers have more actual tax experience. B. today also told me that one of the other people at the brief training session had previously interviewed him for another position, before losing her own job as a company controller. It's a tough market out there right now!

My main disadvantage on the present job is that I don't have much experience with other people's taxes, but I have several safety nets to make up for this: the tax software, my determination to learn as much as possible about income, adjustments, deductions, credits and filing options, and the fact that each completed return is checked over by one of the owners before e-filing.

Aside from all the obvious advantages the latter offers in terms of quality control for the company and the clients, it protects the company from any dishonest practices a seasonal employee might attempt. My coworker today told me that as recently as February of last year, one Tucson location of a very well-known tax firm was shut down for fraud. I'm grateful that my employers are being diligent in preventing any similar occurrence.

As for the incident on Wednesday, my coworker had not heard about the police involvement, but he was aware that something had happened. The working theory that emerges from our discussion is that a disgruntled employee did something - stole from them, perhaps, and possibly did a little sabotage. Obviously that employee is gone, and everything seemed to be running smoothly when I stopped by today. If the CPA firm has no reason to believe there are lingering security or legal issues (e.g. any illegality on the part of the check cashing service itself), then there is no reason not to continue at the location.

This would appear to mean I still have a job. I may even learn to like it! I'm not put off by the relative solitude, and I've done customer service before - two decades ago, but still, I should be able to cope. I like everyone I've met from the CPA firm, and I'm certain I can learn what I need to know. I just need to train myself in a few areas, and get through a few actual returns. Once I do that, my diligence and confidence should see me through, all the way to April 15th. I hope!


1 comment:

barrettmanor said...

I saw your tweets yesterday - after you posted the "all clear." A tad worrying, that. But I'm glad to hear that all seems to be well on that front.