Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happiness Deferrers

This post is compliments of one of old University professors in Accounting who has over 10 years of experience lecturing students. He also worked in Deloitte for several years, and enjoyed a very prestigious career in accounting.

The problem is not the CA designation. The problem is not the Big 4. The problem is not CA marketing.

The problem is you.

The problem with too many students is they are “happiness deferrers.” They try to defer what they really want in life, by thinking, that once they reach a certain goal, they will be happy.

Life is too dynamic for a certain goal to bring happiness. People often feel disappointed when their magical moment comes and it is not what they expected.

I had one friend, who worked as an investment banker his whole life, thinking that after 65, his life would be bliss. He worked probably 60-80 hours/week for his whole life in a prestigious banking firm. By the time he retired, I would imagine he had well over 10 million dollars in savings.

One week into retirement, he is bored and angry.

“This is it?”

He chased the Freedom 65 dream, only to find out that his most physically capable years were behind him.

The reason why too many people stay in jobs they don’t like, is that they are afraid of uncertainty. They prefer unhappiness over uncertainty.

There is never a best time to quit a job you don’t like. Life is never a straight path, and you will never get a sign where all the arrows point in the right direction.

“I don’t like working at Deloitte. But I’m only 16 months away from my CA designation, so I might as well finish it.”

“I finally have my CA, but I should stay until manager. Then I will leave, cause I will have more experience.”

“Well.. I’ll be up for promotion soon, and will hit the 6 figure mark. I might as well stay”

These are all excuses. The economic recession is this year’s excuse.

Deep down, I think people try to fool themselves. Being Unhappy but occupied means you don’t have to answer the question of what you truly want out of life. Career progression is not progression if you are in the wrong career.

The best is yet to come is the most foolish saying in the world.

Don’t be a happiness deferrer.


  1. This seems to be very good advice. As they say, there's always a million excuses not to do something. And it's very easy to see how one would be tempted to stay on to reach the "next level" before leaving. Pretty soon they just become indifferent and complacent where they are and decide it's not worth quitting and heading down another road.

    I think this is a great post, as I am an accounting undergrad right now, and have yet to figure out what kind of "career" I want to pursue after graduation.

  2. These are the posts that I really enjoy from you.

    I'm in one of the top business programs in Canada, and all I see is people bitching about their work, in person, on Facebook, where ever. I mean why are you here?!

    I was studying with a friend and I kid you not he got so frustrated he starting cursing pretty loudly.

    A lot of people aren't happy in the program I'm in but they've already spent two years and don't want to make a drastic change because they just need two more years and then they are done.

    So what? After 2 years, you need a job and then you'll be like 30 years and then I can retire. It just goes on and on.

    I've learned the hard way, where you can only fake it so much until you can't take it anymore but I'm hoping the next few years will be a road more greener and happier then I've been the past few years. We will see.

    Just a little something to end the post, I don't know if you take the TTC or the GO The Accountant but how many sad and defeated looking faces do you see on the trains or waiting for them. I bet you there's a lot more happiness deferrers then you can count.

  3. I take the gotrain/gobus and I see so many depressing things. managers working or reviewing variance analysis on the go train.

    i'm sorry but if you need to work on the go train, thats not much of a job

  4. Getting work done on the bus/train is awesome if it means you get to go home early on Friday.

    Sad if you're doing it simply because you must.

  5. Sadder if you are doing it on the way TO work.

    Whether we like it or not, we are all happiness deferrers. Think about it, we all have our goals that we think will make us extremely happy. Think about all the goals you have already accomplished, did they really live up to their expectations?

  6. Ingest happiness in whatever way you find appropriate. Don't confuse "delayed gratification" with depriving yourself needlessly, though. As odd as it is to cite Mark Cuban as a good source of career advice, I liked how he once wrote it's a good idea to find someone willing to pay you to learn, which is the upside of working in CA firms.

    I bike to the office so I feel glee all the way in as I zip through traffic.

  7. If you lack personality, require financial security, like learning and are a patient person... CA is perfect for you.

    For everyone else don't bother it's simply a nightmare.