Bringing Fourth Thoughts
I firmly stand by the belief that you cannot throw yourself into only one aspect of life and be successful. It may appear that the best business people do nothing but spend time on their business, but I think the truth is a little more nuanced. I tend to find that those who are that successful take positive aspects from other areas of life and translate them into their business.
And who doesn’t love a little diversion, too? Like the fact that I read this week that driverless cars in Australia are having trouble with kangaroos. Those hoppy little buggers apparently just aren’t as easy to track and manage as other animals.
Now I clearly do not have any stake in that game: I don’t work in technology; I don’t live in Australia; and I don’t envision myself in a driverless care anytime soon. It is still interesting, though, and can lead to a little musing on unexpected trials and how one cannot let a single instance hold back something more monumental.
I think there is also some whimsy involved here, too, in this convergence of the natural and mechanical worlds that is enjoyable on a visceral level. And finding those moments of joy in the unexpected might also be a key to success, or at least in one’s ability to feel positive about it.
Now, I do not know if it is due to the height of summer, or coming off the extra-long holiday weekend that has me feeling this way, but that little bit of recharging and joy that lies outside of a strict work focus does seem to lead to some renewed vigor in many. Does that fact then not go to prove that a short step away from work can do some good?
And then take a giant like Google, a company that has experienced such success that it has altered our vocabulary. Its innovations have spearheaded a great deal of the technological advances of the last 20 years, and it continually reaches into new directions, as well. Yet, at the same time, its workplace culture is famous for being more laid-back and open.
That attitude does not only stay in the workplace, though, for I recently read this article from PC Magazine that goes through some of the best Easter eggs that Google’s developers have written into its search engine. Now none of these are huge, groundbreaking, or what the company will ever be most known for, but they are fun.
So during this time when hopefully you had a chance to feel some more fun and enjoyment in your life, remember that those feelings should not be too far removed from work. When we envision what we want to be when we grow up, it is with a vision of what will be fulfilling on many levels, not just what provides a paycheck. Hold onto those aspects of your work that can still provide that joy, and remain open to the fun things to which it can lead.
And just maybe that will increase the size of your paycheck too.
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The IRS Doesn't Trust Itself?
It is one thing to say that no one ever wants to really have personal dealings with the IRS. Most of us send in our tax returns every year with the hope to never hear about them again. After all, if you do hear from the IRS after that point, it is not because they were so impressed with your organizational skills that they want to refund some more money.
If you do hear from the IRS, however, and are sure that your taxes were correctly handled, at least you won’t have to worry THAT much and can have confidence that things will be decided in your favor. There is still the aggravation of jumping through the hoops until it has been handled, though. Not only that, but with recent and seemingly ever-increasing funding cuts for the IRS, it is more difficult than ever to actually talk to an actual person at the IRS to get the situation handled.
One would then think that going to irs.gov would make sense as a way to personally find your way through their maze. After all, getting information from the same organization would actually cut down on the work they have to do if it is up to date and accurate, right? The IRS must love if someone does this to get information and makes its job easier, no?
I clearly have had many dealings with the IRS, and I can say that it is an EXTREMELY rare case when it happens smoothly. It is difficult to actually talk to someone, and even then it is no guarantee that the person you talk to will have the knowledge necessary to help move the process along. Even with that experience, though, I had to shake my head through this recent article by Forbes.com’s Robert W. Wood.
In that article, Wood states that there was a recent memo sent to the IRS Field Examination Area Directors telling them the FAQs and other items posted on IRS.gov are not legal authority unless they also appear in the Internal Revenue Bulletin. Now I can’t disagree with the idea that the IRS should have a collection of official rules and regulations, but why would it publicly print something, under its own name, that does not hold the weight of authority?
If you have any answer to this that makes sense, I would love to hear it for crafting one is completely evading me.
And even if you can come up with a real reason, this is unfair. It is not a policy that I am saying is being misused, but it is clearly one that could be misused. Any authority that says it has the real rules and its public statements do not necessarily follow them comes off as potentially tyrannical. Thankfully we have enough checks in this country that the IRS is not doing that, but just what can a taxpayer do to navigate their waters then?
First, and thankfully most of you reading this are already doing this, use a tax professional to handle your taxes. If you want to be sure that you are not going to have serious IRS problems, have someone serious on your side before submitting any information to the IRS. Second, continue using that professional help during any communication with the IRS. You may not know all the answers needed when it comes to handling IRS issues, but some people do.
I can’t claim that this is really fair, but I still pride myself on being more fair and open with my clients than apparently some other organizations.
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