Coffee Talk: Your Tax Return Diary

by Sandy L on February 8, 2012

Have you ever really thought about what your tax return says about you?  I know a person who used to work at a tax office for the government and although illegal, this person would look up people’s tax returns because they were nosy. You’ll be happy to know they no longer work there, but it also gave me the inspiration for this week’s coffee talk.

What if I person made a decision about you based solely on your tax return?  I’ve asked some fellow bloggers to participate with me. I hope you enjoy the stories that come out of this tale.

Here’s the backstory:

You are on vacation and like it happens so often in new places, you meet a deliciously interesting person in your travels. As you learn more about him/her, you find out that not only is this person a bit of an eccentric but a billionaire entrepreneur. You two hit it off immediately and in your chit chat, you discover that (s)he has been looking for someone to fill an open position. As luck would have it, this job is not only your dream job but it’s also in your dream location and at a salary that would allow you to take along your spouse or any other important loved ones if needed.

But here’s the catch.  This eccentric entrepreneur thinks (s)he can learn more about someone from their tax return than they can ever learn from any resume.  You decide this jig is too good to pass up, so you pull out your 2010 tax return, make a copy in it’s entirety and send it over.  What will your new billionaire friend learn about you and does any of it relate to your dream job? Why or why not? Ponder the thought and life change if appropriate.

Dream Job

I’d love to say I had a dream job in mind, but I really don’t have one ideal that I’m striving for. If I met a wacky entrepreneur, my idea of a dream job would be something I’d never done before.  You see, in my career, I’ve loved learning new things and getting out of my comfort zone, so I’ve worked in a variety of business functions. I just love knowing about how all aspects of a business works. I’ve worked in manufacturing, sales, marketing, supply chain, purchasing, process development, tech service and product management just to name a few of the more interesting functions.   I think for me, my dream job would be to have the opportunity to do something wildly different from the tech sector I’m in today.  An example would be something in entertainment industry, although parts of that are very techy too.  I’d definitely want to be out of my comfort zone and be around brilliant people. Just working for the billionaire eccentric would be enough of an incentive to me. I’m sure I’d learn a ton.

My 1040 Resume

Now for the interview part.  Now, in most interviews, the interviewer has a copy of a resume in hand and asks questions about the specifics of the contents.  It’s a way to learn more about the person.  So I’m assuming during the interview I’d be asked about the specifics of my 1040 and allowed to elaborate on it.   So, first, the obvious stuff.  I’m well paid for my profession and I save the max I can for my 401K.  This shows I’m fiscally responsible and have done a good job selling my value to my current employer. If I’m asked how I got to the salary I am at, I can talk to the fact that I’m a quick learner and for many years was promoted every couple of years.  I could discuss the specific job functions I worked in and how those are translatable to my dream job in the entertainment industry.

This year, I’ll also have some blog income to deduct.  Not only does my tax return tell my new prospective employer that I have two children, and live in a dual career situation (where both partners make about the same), but I also manage to squeak out a little side business on top of it all.  This shows entrepreneurial spirit and the fact that I’m hard working.  I think any little side business that manages to turn a profit is a good one. Rental properties would show similar initiative, but thankfully I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Lastly, what do my itemized deductions say about me?  Well first off, it says we have two homes and no mortgage deductions.  Another check box for fiscally responsible. It also shows our charitable contributions.  If asked about those, I can also speak to the specific things I do on the volunteer boards I’m on that directly impacts those non-profits.  I could use this as a way of showing I’m not just a techy geek but have worked with artists and other creative people.  At this point in the interview, I could talk about my theory of how closely art and technology are linked.   I firmly believe that innovation and technology advancement requires the same kind of out of the box thinking that artists and media people need to create that next blockbuster.  I’m the perfect fit because not only do I have a proven history of managing projects well, but I also can help guide the process of creation.  I’m positive that solving a technical problem where the answer is not known and requires invention and/or innovation is translatable to the creative process.

But it’s not all peaches and cream is it?  Entrepreneurs are risk takers and the other thing that my 1040 screams about me is that I’m unbelievably financially conservative.  I think this would be a big ding on my qualifications.  I would readily admit that this is an area I’d need to develop further in my dream job but I think it’s an area I can develop too.

Would you place a bet on hiring me in a different industry than the one I’m from?  What about you?  What is your dream job and does your tax return reflect those goals in any way? Do you have a little side business in one your passions? If not, why?

Below I’ll list links to other blogs who’ve participated in this month’s coffee talk.   Happy Reading!

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff:  My tax return and me

Dog at My Wallet:   What does your Tax Return Say about you?

Growing my Girls: My taxes my mom

Invest it Wisely: 3 things my tax return says about me

Retire by 40: Tax Return ResumCHECK BACK LATER FOR MORE ENTRIES..

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Money Beagle February 8, 2012 at 10:56 AM

I’ve seen a few articles along these lines today. Somehow I missed the original announcement but I will have to keep an eye on this to participate in future talks 🙂


Sandy L February 8, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Money Beagle – I’d love to have you participate in the next one.


Invest It Wisely February 8, 2012 at 11:05 AM

I had a scheduled post go live, but I didn’t forget about the coffee talk! You’ll see my Canadian perspective soon. 😉


Invest It Wisely February 8, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Invest It Wisely February 8, 2012 at 11:44 AM

“But it’s not all peaches and cream is it? Entrepreneurs are risk takers and the other thing that my 1040 screams about me is that I’m unbelievably financially conservative. I think this would be a big ding on my qualifications. I would readily admit that this is an area I’d need to develop further in my dream job but I think it’s an area I can develop too.”

No way. I think that financial conservatism is a great thing. Be bold and take some risks, but if you do it with a safety net in place that’s all the better, right? I don’t look more highly on a person if they choose to drive without a seatbelt. It’s just an unnecessary risk for nothing.


Sandy L February 8, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Good Point Invest it..but I still think I need to take more risks. I definitely like my safety net. Hopefully now that I have one, I can take more risks.


growingmygirls February 8, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Well, I’d hire you in a second! Just a hang on a little while, I’m sure I can make myself into a billionaire entertainment magnate in a few days or so! Thanks for this Sandy — very enjoyable


Sandy L February 8, 2012 at 5:56 PM

GrowingMG- Funny, yeah, entertainment was just an example. there are so many interesting things that are yet to be explored. Thanks for your entry.


Molly (Mike and Molly's House) February 8, 2012 at 4:35 PM

This produced some great stories. I keep seeing them pop up on FB and Twitter.
I hit a writer wall (is that even correct) on this one. Maybe that’s saying a lot! Any-hoo! I bow to you the great Coffee Talk hostess!
Keep em’ going people!


Sandy L February 8, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Molly – let me know if I missed any


The Happy Homeowner February 9, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Great topic; I’ve enjoyed reading all of these entries! Do you mind if I join in for this or the next one??


Kevin Mzansi February 10, 2012 at 3:33 AM

Very thought-provoking post. Amazing how you can figure out someone’s temperament from their tax return!


Savvy Scot February 11, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Great post – and nice responses there. They might prove to be very valuable at some point!


Andrew @ 101 Centavos February 12, 2012 at 7:49 AM

Echoing Molly’s comments. I had good intentions of joining this Coffee Talk, but the writing well was running dry.

I too don’t believe that being financially conservative is a resume negative. A clear-thinking entrepreneur might reason that there’s room for only one insane risk-taker on the ship, and that a prudent planner might be required to balance the team out…………………


Kris @ Everyday Tips February 12, 2012 at 3:49 PM

I wish I could have participated in this coffee talk, but I just didn’t have time to go through my tax return and put the good thought into it that a post would deserve!

I would hire you in any industry because you work so hard and are smart and creative. Of course, that might not all come through in a tax return, but just through personal history.


Super Frugalette February 18, 2012 at 4:54 AM

I would look extremely typical this year. However, if you saw the last 5 years in a row, you would learn more about my life.


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