Grow Your Firm

Is It Time to Fire Yourself?

Caleb Newquist Editor-at-Large, Gusto 
remote work

January 9, 2020

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Not everyone’s into making resolutions, but here’s one from Ed Mendlowitz in Accounting Today that might just be provocative enough to get your attention:

Start 2020 by firing yourself as the boss, CEO or managing partner.

I’d make one small change to this: You don’t have to be a boss, CEO, or managing partner to fire yourself. Anyone working in a job or role where they’re feeling unfulfilled should fire themselves.

Yes, it will be a difficult conversation, and maybe you’ll be very surprised by the development, but you’ll have to remind yourself: This isn’t personal. It’s just that you haven’t been living up to your potential, and it seems like you’ve been coasting (everyone has noticed, even your clients), so you’ve decided to go in a different direction. But don’t worry, you’re very talented and there’s a role out there for you; you just have to decide what you want to do.

Now, even if you haven’t engaged in a sort of Fight Club-esque physical altercation with yourself, or chucked your furniture, there may be some regret about how you chose to do some things, maybe some self-reflection, and who knows, even different ideas about what you would do if you had to do it over.

Fortunately, that’s the second part of this meta-exercise:

Then rehire yourself. As the new CEO, what would you do to justify the confidence you had in you?


This is great! You’ve given you a second chance! But, yeah, you’ll have some questions for you to answer, including: What made you think you were so great? What got you excited about this job or business in the first place? Why has that excitement worn off? Can you get it back? What’s missing? Can you fill this void with something other than doughnuts?

You will need to answer these questions honestly. You’ll need to recognize what you can change and what you can’t. “I will feel happy if I am rich and successful RIGHT NOW,” is probably not the attitude you want for long-term fulfillment. You’ll have to work on it. And who knows, if you do the work necessary, you may just break you out of the professional funk you’re in.

Of course, there’s always the risk that you self-examine to the point of second guessing yourself. And hoo boy, I don’t know if this newsletter really needs to discuss dealing with both heavy introspection and imposter syndrome right out of the gate. We have a whole decade to work on these things.

Fresh from Gusto

ICYMI: Here are some of our top posts for accountants from 2019:

And as a special bonus, check out the new step-by-step guide I wrote on preparing the new W-4.

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Updated: March 16, 2021

Caleb Newquist
Caleb Newquist Caleb is Editor-at-Large at Gusto. In 2009, he became the founding editor of Going Concern, the one-of-a-kind voice on the accounting profession, serving in the role for 9 years. Prior to Going Concern, Caleb worked as a CPA for nearly 6 years in New York and Denver. He lives in Denver with his wife, two daughters, and two cats.

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