All in all, there are good people here, that want each other to succeed. They push each other to become involved, and the environment is far more intellectually challenging than any other firm in which I have worked. The Tax Practice Group is populated mostly with individuals who had to make a trade-off in premortality. While I cannot ascertain whether the decision was theirs or Heavenly Father’s (rather, it’s probably that their personalities already existed, and it was just this profession to which they naturally gravitated), but the mutually exclusive attributes are intelligence and personability. That’s not bad, it just makes those intelligent individuals … quirky.
Not all here are like that, just most of them. As I mentioned, it is very challenging. We went to lunch last week at a nicer restaraunt, and after the waiter noted the chef’s specials of the day, the two discussions that occupied our pre-appetizer conversation were whether in substituting yellowtail for snapper the dish could still be called snapper (which the chef had done), and under what scenarios they could be out of snapper and scallops when we were the first table there for lunch (which they were). Like I said, challenging. Sometimes stimulating also, but certainly challenging.
I am settling in to my practice area of employee benefits and deferred compensation with a helping of charitable orgainzations on the side. I’m finding that I like the charitable organizations aspect of tax practice, though not as a focus. Who knew? I like it. In both areas, I feel like I’m actually helping people. In the latter for obvious reasons, and in the benefits area, I help to ensure that workers receive benefits that they deserve and keep the money that they earn for later in life. I feel like I’m serving.
Some time ago, I wanted to go to medical school, after I became an attorney. This was because I thought that the work was more challenging and a more direct way to help people. As I tried it out in operating rooms and examined the prospect, I learned two things. First, that healthy people don’t go to doctors. Doctors see and smell death and disease constantly. Often, their patients don’t listen to them, or the doctor is powerless to help. Doctors certainly help on the whole, but I don’t know if I have the constitution to work with that on a regular basis. Second, I learned that the principles of medicine are based on God’s laws. They are eternal. Therefore, not much will change. The organs of the body will always be the same, and while knowledge and technology may evolve, it will not change.
In practicing tax, I have learned that I work within a structure that has been established by man – numerous men (and women) – over 200 years. Each has inserted their mark on this structure, and it continues to shift. Every single year is different. If you want a challenge, try working with Congress, the IRS, and the Department of Labor. I saw where Congress changed the tax code 4,428 times in ten years (2000 to 2010), and 579 times only in 2010. Very much unlike God, these three change more than is healthy for a country. Then, two out of the three (IRS and DOL) may or may not change entire policies every four years. Congress could change every two due to election cycles! I look back, and find that the Lord had my interests in mind in shepherding me to where I am today. I am challenged and I am helping.
If I could leave one counsel with my posterity, it would be to remember. Remember the great things that the Lord has done for His people and those who will follow His voice.