An Accountant’s Guide To Handling Stress

On Sunday night, my ex-boss, part time mentor, and semi business partner, called me with an urgent accounting job. I had planned to take it easy that evening. But when an important person in your life needs something done, you do it.

I ended up working a couple of hours on Sunday night. On Monday, it was back to the grindstone at 4:00am in the morning. Three more hours of work needed to be done before going to my regular job.

In the rush I made a small but important mistake. Monday night my partner called me back to inform me of the error. Three hours of work later, the job was finally done.

However, I had sick feeling in my stomach. The error that I originally committed was submitted to, and rejected by, the court. The new accounting would be submitted with amendments. But there was no guarantee that it would be accepted.

This accounting job was the culmination of a couple of years of work. Prior to relocating, I had spent over a year working on it. The thought that the whole thing might go up in smoke because of me was almost too much to bear.

Usually, I’m unflappable. Stress has never been a big problem for me. A few deep breaths, a splash of cold water on the face, and I’m on to the next thing.

But this time, it was different. I felt butterflies in my stomach the entire day. I had to dig down deep to find fake smiles for my co-workers and wife.

Today, three days later, I’m finally felling like I’m back to normal. It looks like the court will accept the work. My friend and partner doesn’t appear to be upset with me. Everything will be fine.

So, how was I able to get through a couple of emotionally tumultuous days without completely shutting down?

1. I said a prayer. Traditionally, I don’t resort to saying prayers. I’m not sure whether they work. It did make me fell better though. I made a promise to God that if he got through this thing, I’d do everything possible to make sure that my work is completely impeccable from now on.

2. I kept reminding myself that no matter how it played out, in just a few days it would all be over. Instead of focusing on the present, I kept my mind on a stress free future that was not too far off.

3. I immediately accepted the worse case scenario. If the whole thing fell apart, and it was my fault, I’d have to accept responsibility. There would be no other choice but to live with it. So be it.

These three steps helped me cope and now things are looking up. How do you deal with stress?

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