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The Green Apple Podcast: there's life beyond the cubicle

“Recovering CPA” John Garrett talks with professionals who are shattering the stereotype by being known at work for a hobby or passion. Accountants, consultants, lawyers and other professionals are doing some really cool things after they leave the office -- things that impact their careers in surprising ways.
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The Green Apple Podcast: there's life beyond the cubicle
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Sep 21, 2015

John Garrett introduces you to The Green Apple Podcast

“Recovering CPA” John Garrett introduces you to The Green Apple Podcast. He shares his vision for the podcast and shares a little bit about himself.

After graduating from Notre Dame, John started at PwC in St. Louis. He worked hard to pass the CPA Exam, get promoted to Senior Associate and even be selected to work on the firm’s largest Financial Services client. Out of all of those resume-building things, wait until you hear what a PwC Partner remembered about John over ten years after he had left the firm.

 

Every Wednesday, John will be interviewing accountants that have hobbies and passions outside of work — ranging from something simple like watching movies to something crazy like skydiving.

He is doing this in hopes that as a profession, we begin to open up a little more to see each other as multi-dimensional and embrace the unique skill set that each of us has developed outside of work.

 

Other pictures of John

(click to enlarge)

 

One of my first times on stage at The Funny Bone Comedy Club.

 

With Tom Griswold after being a guest on The Bob & Tom Show.

 

On stage at Caroline’s Comedy Club in New York City.

 

Interview links

 

Sponsors

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Transcript

  • Hey there! I’m John Garrett and this is the first ever episode of The Green Apple Podcast! I’m so excited to share my vision for this podcast and a little bit about myself.

    Episode 2 will kick off my interviews with some awesome accountants who stand out at work by being unique — like a green apple in a red apple world. Why apples? Well since I’ve got the time, I looked up the characteristics of apples and they are very similar to those of accountants — durable, long shelf life, and grow round over time. Ok, that one might’ve cut a little too close to the bone for some of us.

    And before I forget, I wanted to let everyone know you can see show notes and listen to all the episodes at GreenApplePodcast.com. You can also participate in my research survey — it’d be super cool if you did, it seriously takes less than two minutes — and contact me if you’d like to be a featured guest. I’d love to have you — yes, you — on my show — even if you work in tax!
    That’s right, because every Wednesday, I’ll be interviewing accountants that have hobbies and passions outside of work — ranging from something simple like watching movies to something crazy like skydiving. I’m doing this in hopes that as a profession, we begin to open up a little more to see each other as multi-dimensional and embrace the unique skill set that each of us has developed outside of work.

    When I first started at PwC after graduating from Notre Dame, I realized quickly that on paper, we were all the same. We all went to college and have an accounting degree. Most of us, including me, have even passed the CPA exam. We all park in the same parking lot and walk the same path to work carrying our identical logo’d computer bags. But what makes you stand out has nothing to do with any of that. While we’ve been taught to believe that it’s completely unrelated to your job, your hobbies or passions are actually what makes you stand out and we all need to recognize the unique skills you’re bringing to the table.

    Each episode will cover my guest’s story and how it has impacted their career. And I’ll be bringing one to you every Wednesday morning so your commute on that day just got a little better. You’re welcome!

    I’ll have my guest introduce their episode so you’ll know who I’m talking with and what we’ll be talking about — just like I did for this one. Then I’ll ask them how they got into accounting because I’m always curious to hear that story. If you’re like me, I didn’t always want to be an accountant. I started college wanting to be an engineer. But a D in Physics and my birthday on April 15th, so it was pretty obvious accounting was for me! Besides, engineers are nerds. Am I right or what?

    Then next we’ll dig deeper into their hobby. How did they get into it? What does it involve? What skills have you developed by doing this hobby? Now for me, that was standup comedy. I first went to a comedy club when I was at a training for PwC in Los Angeles. A few of us rented a car and went to the Improv Comedy Club in Hollywood. As it happens sometimes, most of the comedians were very, very funny but a few — were not. And that’s when I realized, “I could be as not funny as that guy.” My confidence was boosted when I got back to my home office and thought, “I am the funniest person in this department!” What I didn’t realize is being the funniest accountant is kind of like… driving the fastest minivan. So knowing I wouldn’t be the worst person that ever tried standup, decided to go up at the Funny Bone in St. Louis. For several years, I used to work all day and then go to the comedy club to perform at night. Eventually, I was good enough to be actually get paid and then take vacation days to fly and perform across the country. I’ve been a repeat guest on The Bob & Tom Show and my CD is in regular rotation on SiriusXM Radio. It’s pretty cool. And now look, I’ve got my own podcast!

    The next thing we’ll discuss is whether they talk about their hobby at work. And if so, did they do this on purpose or did it just happen? We’ll talk about how this has benefited their career. Whether it’s stronger friendships with co-workers or stronger relationships with clients, you’re going to hear some inspiring stories.

    And most importantly, I ask each of my guests — what are some barriers that keep people from sharing their hobby at work? This is meant to encourage all of us to find a way to quit acting like what you think an accountant should be and to open up and create deeper relationships based on what you enjoy doing.

    The last segment, which is my favorite part, is where I’ll ask 17 quick questions to truly get to know my guest. Pressing questions like, “Star Wars or Star Trek?” or “Boxers or Briefs?” or “Movie that makes you cry?”. You know, the real questions that determine whether or not we can be friends — and if you say Rudy, you get some serious bonus points.

    So to close out this episode, let me share with you why I started The Green Apple Podcast. As I travel the country speaking at firm all staff meetings and accounting conferences, I meet some really cool accountants. And this might be hard to believe but the thing that makes them really cool has absolutely nothing to do with accounting. And I’m sad when I hear that many of them are reluctant to share with their co-workers or clients for a variety of reasons — and I’ve heard them all. Personal talk isn’t billable or I’m scared of being different or my coworkers don’t care what I’m passionate about or I’m not going to bring it up since no one else does the same hobby as me. Hey, I did comedy. Do you think anyone else in my office did the same thing I did? We’ve all been there and I know many of you are thinking this right now.

    That’s why this podcast exists. I want to keep generating valuable content to share with you the stories of many of our peers, accountants who have shared their hobbies and passions at work and the impact it’s had on their career — starting with me.

    I never thought much of it at the time but this can have a profound impact on your career. You see, ten years after I left PwC, I was invited to speak at a Town Hall all staff meeting. A Partner who I had never worked for. A Partner who I didn’t even recognize his name, noticed the list of speakers and pointed me out, telling the meeting planner “I know John Garrett. He’s the guy who did comedy at night.” Ten years later. I had worked so hard to pass the CPA Exam. I was placed on the largest financial services client PwC had. I was promoted one of the first in my start class. Trying so hard to build my resume. And all this guy remembered was my hobby — telling jokes at night?

    Was I the best one in my start class? Obviously not, now I tell jokes for a living. But who does he remember ten years later? Me. Therefore, what you doing now so coworkers and clients will remember you ten years from today?

    But don’t just listen to my story. Like I said, each week, we’ll have a new accountant sharing their stories with you. All the way from Partners to CFOs to Interns and everyone in-between. Some of them might even work for the same firm or company as you or have the same hobby. I sincerely hope that these episodes encourage you to not be afraid to be unique — to be that green apple.
    I really appreciate you subscribing to The Green Apple Podcast! If you find value in this podcast and the message we’re trying to spread here, please share it with your friends — and co-workers — because I realize those aren’t always the same group of people. If you’re listening on iTunes or Stitcher, please subscribe, rate and leave a review. If you’re generous enough to help me out with that, I’ll send you a free digital download of my comedy album currently in rotation on SiriusXM Radio. Just copy and paste your review into an email and send it to me. You’re welcome number two. Man, I’m such a giver.

    And, more importantly, if you or someone you work with is known for their hobby or passion — no matter how simple or crazy it might seem, let me know by visiting GreenApplePodcast.com. I truly enjoy hearing from each of you and I’d love to have you on as a guest.

    I’m so excited for you to listen and then go out and be… a green apple.

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