Life And Taxes

Tax Day, for all of the pain it represents, is also a worthwhile time to reflect on the previous year in your professional life. This is especially true for an independent communications firm still in its early days. The important meetings, the big client wins and the bets you placed on your future are boiled down to receipts and 1099s, making it all look almost orderly and almost inevitable three and a half months removed from the fray.

It also puts a final tally on your achievements. Was the value in more than the value out? Taken in the aggregate, it’s plain that we had a good year. We provided services to clients that, we hope they agree, were profitable for everyone. It’s what successful businesses do.

But there are particular interactions over the past two years that stand out as enormously one-sided. We are indebted to a much appreciated handful of people who provided encouragement, advice, help and connections — the food that sustains a hatchling of a business until it can fly on its own.

I’ll be thanking some of those people individually, but I also understand the need to pay it forward. The chances I’ve had to help or encourage people following this path are a welcome window into the reasons why others made themselves available to us. It’s the only way to reasonably pay off that debt we all owe, because none of us succeeded on our own.

I also fully acknowledge that we still need support. Privileged people that don’t appreciate the advantage of their fortune are said to be born on third, taking credit for the triple. (It feels good to be making in-season baseball references.) No player scores all of his runs himself, and while we put substantial effort into getting on base, we recognize the people who put us in scoring position and drive us home. We will always work hard to live up to the recommendations and make good use of the help we receive from people who invest their time and trust in us.

I will grant Benjamin Franklin’s point that death and taxes are certain, but let’s not forget that life, for the living, is also certain. And, in addition to being the price of civilized society, taxes are a measure of the events in our life for which we should be thankful. This Tax Day is undoubtedly expensive, but is also very valuable to me, as I hope it is to you.

Happy Tax Day, everyone.