I flew out from a different country, so I never did see the flight crew on my original flight to Europe. My dad met me at the airport, “How was your trip?”
“Fantastic, I have to go back. I didn’t have the time to see many places, and I never got to any places in southern Europe. You and Mom would have enjoyed it.”
“Maybe when I retire.” I just smiled. My dad will never retire.
Everything I told Dad I had to repeat for mom. I was okay with that. I loved to retell my exploits because, in a way, I relive them.
Before going to bed, I reviewed my interviews for the rest of the week. I had set up meetings with the four companies to discuss terms. I started with the lowest offer moving to the highest offer. Now I’ll see how my negotiation skills will pay off.
My first appointment was with the auditing firm. Their financial offer was at the same level of pay as my salary when I left the IRS before I passed the BAR. So they’ll need to sweeten the pot, so to speak.
“Good morning, I’m Thomas Richards. I have an appointment with Mr. Lionel.”
The receptionist picked up the phone, punched in three numbers, “Mr. Richards is here for his appointment. Yes, I’ll tell him. Mr. Lionel will be with you in a moment. Please have a seat.”
While I waited, a young man came out of the door behind the receptionist. I stood thinking that was Mr. Lionel, but I heard someone saying my name as I approached him. “Mr. Richards, Mr. Lionel, will see you now.”
I realized that the man leaving wasn’t who I thought he was. I almost made a fool of myself.
“Mr. Richards, I have all of your papers here if you are ready to sign on as one of our auditors.”
“I think we need to talk about salary first. The salary you’re offering does not consider my law degree and a member of the ABA. It also is the same salary I had at the IRS. I had expected my experience and law degree would have resulted in a higher starting salary.”
“We have considered that, but you have never been an auditor. Our starting salary for a CPA right out of school is lower than what we are offering. As for your law degree, we have a legal staff.”
“In that case, I see no reason to continue. Thank you. It was nice meeting you.” I got up and headed for the door.
“Mr. Richards, please wait a moment.”
I returned and sat down. He left the office, returned about 15 minutes later.
“Mr. Richards, I have spoken to the head of our legal department. If you sign with us, he has indicated that at his first opening, you will be offered a job in our legal department.”
“Mr. Lionel, I’ll give that some thought. I have three more interviews, I’ll give you my answer at the end of this week.”
“Mr. Richards, I was hoping to have your answer today.”
“I’m sorry Mr. Lionel, in that case my answer is no. I sincerely appreciate your efforts, but I find promises change based on circumstances at the time they are considered.”
I left his office, I was glad I had other offers and I had my savings, living at home,so I wasn’t desperate to find a job. I also realized that the longer I took, the more difficult it would be to find a job.
I kept to my interview schedule. On Thursday, I finished my last and most important interview. This was the company that lost the IRS case because they were unaware of a rule change in their favor. It was further complicated by an IRS agent who wasn’t up to date on the tax code changes.
When I got home, at dinner, my dad asked me how my interview went. He laughed when I told him the raucous I caused when I told them they should have never lost their case against the IRS and why. “They called the head of their legal department; I had to explain to him why I thought they didn’t have to lose the case. The man was angry and offered me the job on the spot with a higher salary than what they originally offered. I think the lawyer who gave them the wrong advice was discharged. I hope I’m wrong.”
For the next two years, I worked at the home office. My first assignment was to bring everyone up to date on IRS regulations pertaining to our business. I also got a chance to review audit reports looking for so-called hot spots.
During my third year, I traveled to our overseas facilities. This led to me studying various country’s tax laws, which resulted in being promoted to head up our offshore legal accounts.
On one of my trips, I met the country manager of our Italian operation. Over the course of a year, we became good friends. He was very instrumental in introducing me to Italy. One evening we were talking about some of the quaint villages in the south of Italy. He told me that he owned a small apartment in the village of Positano on the Amalfi Coast. “When you are ready to take a vacation, let me know, and you can use my apartment.”
I couldn’t resist such an offer. I told my mom and dad at dinner one evening. They thought it was a great idea, “You should take a break. Except for a few days here and there, you haven’t really taken any time off since you started with this company.”
“Yes, you’re right, but I have taken a few days off when I’m on a trip overseas.”
“Yes, a few days to see this or that, but not sufficient time to put your feet up and relax. Your mom and I always managed to take a couple of weeks every year. It gives us a chance to clear our minds, have a little fun together, and just enjoy each other without business worries. You need some time to clear your mind, take your friend up on his offer.”
“Maybe I will after tax season, May might be a good time.”
I spent the holidays with my family. I made a few trips to Europe to get ready for tax season. I wasn’t looking forward to May, but when I told my boss, he told me that he thought it was a good idea.
I contacted my friend, told him I was planning on taking him up on his invitation. He was delighted. He would meet me at the airport and drive us to Positano.