Jon is an Ace with coworker relationships
Jon Chudy did something he had always dreamed about since he was a kid — play professional baseball. While his pro pitching career was short-lived, those skills he developed from years of playing baseball have translated directly to his accounting career. Not only that, but the fact he played baseball even helped him land the job!
In this episode, we talk about being a teammate, managing a rigorous schedule and mental toughness all helped him get through his first Busy Season. It helps that Jon feels comfortable where he works, which means he’s able to communicate with everyone and makes the bonds between coworkers even stronger.
Jon Chuddy works as an Accountant for Keith Boyer, CPA LLC. Prior to that he was a Professional Baseball Player for the Fargo Moorhead RedHawks.
He graduated from Pace University – Lubin School of Business with Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting/Finance.
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This week’s guest, Jon Chudy, is a Tax Accountant with Keith Boyer, CPA, in Tarrytown, New York. And Jon, I’m so excited to get to your passion but first maybe give everyone a little bit of how you got to where you are in your accounting career.
Jon: Well, I’m one year in.
John: Oh, nice!
Jon: Yeah. I started full-time January 4th of last year so I’m just past the one year mark. I’m just starting my second tax season, I’m in a tax accounting firm. So last year was the first one and I started right in the beginning of it.
John: Right, you jumped right into the deep end, man.
Jon: I jumped right into it, I guess.
John: And you stayed! That’s amazing.
Jon: And I stayed and I made it, yeah. I’m ready to go. My boss asked me after the first one, “So how did you first tax season go?” I said, “Well, I didn’t work here not in tax season yet so I don’t know.”
John: That’s a great point. It’s like a medicine ball.
Jon: I don’t know how easy it is or how much different it is over the summer other than what I’ve been told but…
John: Yeah, exactly. And then all of a sudden when the summer hits you’re like “What? I could have half-day off on Friday? This is weird.”
Jon: Right. “I could leave now?”
John: Yeah, exactly. The sun is up, guys, look!
Jon: Yeah. Step out, there’s still light out.
John: That’s awesome, that’s very cool, man. One thing that I love to ask everybody is just how did you get into accounting?
Jon: Well, I’ve been asked that. I always found it tough or interesting that when you’re in high school where you’re a junior or senior and you’re 17, 18 years old and they say “What do you want to do for the rest of your life, decide now.” So you’re 18 years old and you’re deciding what you’re supposed to do for the rest of your life, that’s tough.
John: Right. I’d like to beat this video game, that’s what I’d like to do right now.
Jon: And you don’t even know at that age what’s out there. In my opinion there’s a ton of majors that are fairly useless but there’s so many options and you don’t even know. My mom, she was a CPA, she stopped when my older brother was born but my dad is still. So both my parents were so it’s all pretty much what I… you know. I asked them, I said “What do you do” and that’s the only answer I got. And I’m always good in all, my Math courses were always my best courses, that’s why I told my dad “Yeah, I’m good at Math” and he said “Forget about that.” So yeah, there’s numbers but you don’t need to be able to add in your head, there’s much more to it which I found out.
John: Yeah, there’s computers now, son.
John: It’s funny though when accounting people think “Oh, well I’m good at Math, I’ll go into Accounting.”
Jon: Yeah, I know. And then after, it was like my senior year in college, one of my buddies switched majors to Accounting and I said why did you do it, he said “Oh, because I’m good at Math.” Then I told him, I said yeah, everyone’s good at Math, you got a calculator, you’ll be able to do the math.
John: That’s so great. And your dad didn’t talk you out of it, or tried to?
Jon: I don’t have any regrets, or at least, not yet, but honestly I was always big into like drawing when I was younger so I was kind of attracted to architecture and for some reason it just never took off, I don’t know why. But the one thing that I always wanted to do is, the way I wanted to go is I wanted to be an attorney. I don’t know why.
John: Yeah, you just like exams a lot.
Jon: I guess I liked a lot of reading and arguing with people, I don’t know, that just always seemed… and my mother always told me I should be a lawyer.
John: I’m not sure that’s a compliment though, Jon, I’m not going to lie to you.
Jon: Well, that’s right. But I don’t know, when it came down to making the decision I went to what I knew or thought I knew the most about.
John: Right. No, that’s great, man, that’s so cool. And yeah, you’re one year in, I think that’s great and just starting your next busy season shortly. So what kind of hobbies and passions do you enjoy doing when you do have that free time, maybe in the summers?
Jon: I went to Pace University and I played baseball there and that’s what I always did year-round, no matter what month of the year. That took up every hour of every day so that was my hobby. Then once I stopped and I started working and then I started studying for the CPA exam then I realized I really have no hobbies anymore, there’s just not a lot of time. But when I do I love and enjoy playing golf. For some reason, I don’t know why, because I usually am pretty aggravated for about four, five hours.
John: Right, right. And you bring that baseball sling to the tee box.
Jon: Yeah. And I bring two dozen balls and end up having to buy some. But I don’t know. There’s just something about to be going out with a couple of your buddies just having a couple cold ones and hitting balls into the woods.
John: Right, right, just letting it rip, right?
Jon: That I love doing. Other than that, you got to find some time to just relax and watch All Sports and everything when I have the time to just relax.
John: Right, right. I hear you, man, I hear you. And I think it’s so cool that not only did you play baseball at Pace but you played a season minor league ball too which is pretty awesome. I mean you don’t come across that every day.
Jon: No, no, that was probably the best experience of my life. It was independent ball so it wasn’t minor league ball. I finished school in 2015 and after the last game that day I got a call from a coach in one of the teams up in Canada but that ended up falling through.
And I was waiting for the regular draft to see if I would be drafted, I was just waiting, I went home because the season was over and I was still working out and I was still seeing my pitching coach and acting and doing everything as if I was still playing even though I knew something still had to come. I was kind of in contact with one of my former coaches, get my hopes up saying “Oh, I got this coming, we’ll see” and then like I won’t hear for a moment and then it came back. But this all happened within two weeks but it felt like a long time. And the GM of the team was a Fargo-RedHawks out in North Dakota.
John: There you go.
Jon: Yes. The GM called me at 4:00, I forgot what day of the week it was, and they told me that I was on a 7:00 or 8:00 flight the next morning.
John: Oh, my goodness! Look at that.
Jon: So that second I had to pack up, I went to my training facility with my pitching coach, got one more workout, one more lesson, and the next morning I was at that game that night.
John: Wow, that’s crazy, man.
Jon: It happens quick. I was up there for three months and you learn so much that no one can ever teach in a textbook, you’ll never learn how to be a teammate or work well together, hard work, time management. You can’t read that in textbooks.
John: Yeah. And I think that that’s great how you just brought up like some things that you’ve been able to bring to the office, those skill sets that only you have because you played independently baseball, like you threw out being a teammate, time management as a professional athlete. Are there some other things maybe you feel like you’re able to bring? I would imagine some mental toughness as a pitcher, goodness.
Jon: The one thing you don’t stop when the time hits a certain time. I’ve never had a coach, what I mean by that is I didn’t have a coach that said “All right, we’re going to practice for two hours and then we’re done.” And we have a terrible practice and he says “Oh, the two hours is up, therefore we’re done.”
John: No, it’s wind sprints. You’re running wind sprints in the office.
Jon: Yeah, you’re having a bad practice, yeah, we’d be running laps. I’m not going to be working sometimes like whatever time it is we can leave and I just stay. My boss once told me time to go. Personally, I like to work until I accomplish what I wanted to accomplish not when a certain time hits.
So it’s just that kind of mentality, you have to because you’re competing… While in college sometimes you think you’re competing against the other teams you play against but when you’re looking at the big picture like if you want to play at the next level you’re really competing against everyone in the country.
John: Right, and Cuba.
Jon: No, no, no, Venezuela, they’ll send some good players. It’s funny though those players that come from those areas I remember my pitching coach telling me, he goes you have like Plan B or something like that where I’ll probably get released what are you going to do. He goes “Johnny, you’re just going to go home, you’ll have a bed, you’ll have dinner, your parents will be there you could live with. You have that.” Where some of these other guys don’t have that, they come here to play and if they get released they get sent back home and they don’t want to go there.
John: Right, they’re playing hard.
Jon: So that’s what you’re competing against. You can’t say, “My arm hurts, I’m sore, I can’t play.” Then they’re like, “All right, we’ll find someone who can.”
John: Exactly. “You’re on the plane at 7:00 AM back home now.”
Jon: That’s exactly how it was. We had a 26-man roster and we had 33 transactions in the year I was there. We went through a team-and-a-half. Now, when I went there, the team wasn’t doing so well. Was it the last third of the season, we were the best team in the league I think or in the division. We ended up figuring out a little bit too late but that was an experience because every day I’ll come to the locker room and I’ll be like “Where’s so and so” and like “Oh, he’s gone.” And then so a new one will show up and they’ll be from some other part of the country that they flew in the night before. And it’s can you play well and you got to be consistent because as soon as you start slumping or you have a couple bad outings in a row they can get rid of you and get someone else.
John: There’s no contracts really, that’s for sure.
Jon: So you have to work.
John: Right, right. Well luckily in the accounting world it’s not that way. You can have a Monday and be like “Well, I’m just going to kind of not put my all into this one.” They’re not going to mail you out.
Jon: Yeah, you won’t get fired right away.
John: Right. But when you were playing baseball out there were there any like cool experiences or even in college that you remember, something that really stands out as “Wow, this was really cool” or something that you did that was really, really great?
Jon: I think probably the coolest moment was when we were playing in Saint Paul and they just built a brand new stadium. We played there on July 4th and they sold out a couple weeks before, this was over the summer. They set like a record, there was like over 17,000 people there and this is a full big-sized stadium. And they were the best team in the league, we were the worst but we were winning, we were winning like1-0. I came in the 8th we were 1-0 with like I think it was two outs and like a runner on second and third. You run in from the bullpen from center field, you give a little look and you see how many people are there and it’s just crazy to think that they paid to see you play.
So it’s like they enjoy it, that was like I didn’t think about during obviously but it was after I was like “Wow”, to hear, to have all those people watching you. And it was an away game so they’re all hoping for me to fail which is always good. But then I got to strike out and then all of a sudden you hear the crowd once it’s over and then you hear them get quiet.
John: Yeah, which is equally satisfying, if you ask me.
Jon: That’s a great feeling when you know that you won. And we ended up winning the game so…
John: That’s so cool, man.
Jon: Yeah. That was the biggest stadium or crowd I’ve played at, yeah.
John: Right, biggest moment, and you brought it, man, that’s so great. I think your office needs to bring in some people around your cubicle and just like “Jon! Jon! Jon!”, partners throwing down the sides.
Jon: That’s how we communicate around the office.
John: You’re shaking them off, that’s great, man. But what a cool moment where you’re out there, you’re on the mount, you got second and third. That’s intense, man, to go to busy season, that’s nothing.
Jon: The hours don’t bother me, that’s the one thing I was prepared for, working the long hours is not brand new.
John: Yeah, yeah. Then the IRS calls you up because you did some wrong, you’re like “I got this, I got this.” So is baseball something that you talk about at work?
Jon: Yeah, absolutely. It was actually a really good fit, I think that’s how that helped me. Because I never had internship experience because I was playing baseball in the fall and in the season at school which there’s no time and then over the summer, depending on how well we did on the spring or what time I got, what day of the month I got home after the season, I maybe got a week or so and I got shipped off to go play summer ball where I lived wherever I played for three months and then I come home after that and then I’d be home for a week and then I’d go back to school and play again. So I never had time for internships.
I guess it seemed to be my weakness. When they asked you what’s your weakness I told them that I just don’t have the internship experience but I don’t feel like I’m at a disadvantage because I have these skills that the ones not born in my situation that they don’t have.
John: And trust me, when you’re an intern you’re not really doing anything anyway. I mean anyone that acts like that’s an important experience is off their rocker.
Jon: Yeah, when they’re like “We need the experience” and I’m like “The only experience I had is the course that I was taking.” But I’m just at a small family firm and my boss is a big Yankee fan. I met his son, his son was at the Pace Career Fair and he saw my resume and I had the baseball on it and starts talking about baseball and he was saying how he played and everything. We ended up, we played for the same summer team in high school which was out in New York City, the Bayside Yankees in New York City. So we both played for that team so that was just the connection. Then I went in for an interview, I see Yankee stadium seats like in the office and this big Derek Jeter painting and I’m like “All right, all right, this is my spot.”
John: Yeah, this is my guy right here.
Jon: “This can’t be too bad.”
John: Yeah! I think it’s so great that you put that played baseball on your resume. So what were the reactions that people gave you in other interviews and what have you?
Jon: Mixed. Some people wanted to know more about it, they probably are sports fans themselves or have kids that play sports or kind of know their commitment it is, versus some they’ll just skip right over and I just assume they’re just the ones they never played, they don’t think of it as an asset. They maybe think of it more negatively which I guess some people do.
John: To each their own, right?
Jon: Yeah. For the most part, people ask about it, they ask what kind of time and the commitment, what it was like. So where I am now it just seemed to fit perfectly.
John: Right, I think that’s so great, man.
Jon: Yeah. We talk baseball and football, we talk sports.
John: Right. Is that a big thing in the office, would you say in most of the people there?
Jon: Yeah. There’s only like seven or eight of us, plus an intern. So every Monday after Sunday football there’s a little football talk. And I’m a big Buffalo Bills fan so my Mondays are usually pretty rough.
John: You shouldn’t say that out loud, man. Even the Jets fans are like “Oh, finally somebody–“
Jon: Oh, my gosh, that might be worse, I don’t even know, but at least they’ve seen a playoff game recently.
John: Right, exactly, we have the shirts anyway.
Jon: Yeah, right, right. I’m still waiting to see a playoff game.
John: That’s funny, that’s really funny. And I think that’s great that you found a place that you really fit with and that culture that’s there. Would you say that there’s things that they do there in the office that encourage people to open up and be willing to share or is it just kind of how it is?
Jon: It’s not a huge firm, there’s only seven of us so everyone knows each other very well. You talk to everybody every day and we work with everybody every day. Everyone’s still pretty loose and we all get along. It’s great actually, was it last May after tax season, we all went to a Yankee game. So that was pretty cool.
John: Were they asking you all kinds of annoying questions?
Jon: Not annoying questions but yeah, there’s —
John: Why is the right fielder in so it’s shallow. Shut up and watch the game, can you guys give me some nachos? That’s funny, that’s really funny. That’s great, man, I think that’s really, really cool.
And so when you look at organizations and I know you’re only a year in but I guess just in your mind and in some experience that you’ve had, how much do you feel like it’s on the firm to create that culture or how much is it on you as an individual to be willing to open up and share?
Jon: I think the firm can only promote it so much, I think it comes down to the individual being able to just feel comfortable. If you’re comfortable and you’re loose, it will be a good place. You can’t be too reserved, I think you got to be able to communicate with everybody and be able to work with everybody. Even if you might not like someone or whatever the case may be, when you step in between the lines, when you walk into the office you’ve got to be able to work together.
John: I think that’s great, I also love the step between the lines and all the analogies. It’s just in you, you’ve been doing it for 20 years, man, you can’t stop.
Jon: Yes, reading between the lines. Not step into the office door.
John: Exactly. Same thing, man, it’s all good. Well, this has been so much fun but until I make the trip up a little bit to Upstate New York and play catch with you or some pickle or something, a Wiffle ball I guess would probably be more my speed but you would strike me on a heartbeat. But I do have my 17 rapid fire questions to see if we should really hang out so let me fire this thing up here and we’ll have a little bit of fun.
So the first one I’ll ask you, easy one, what’s your favorite color?
Jon: My favorite color, blue.
John: Blue, there you go. Least favorite color?
Jon: I don’t know, brown.
John: Brown, yeah, it’s a solid answer. That’s a pretty popular answer too on that one. Do you have a favorite cereal?
Jon: Rice Krispies.
John: All right. Do you have a favorite TV show of all time?
Jon: My favorite TV show is the greatest TV show that was ever created and that is South Park. Classic.
John: How about Star Wars or Star Trek?
Jon: Star Wars by default, never got into Star Trek.
John: Sure. I’m in the same boat as you, man. Just didn’t seem like my kind of crowd. When it comes to computers are you more PC or Mac?
John: And when it comes to a mouse are you right click or left click?
Jon: Left click. That seems decisive. That seems to get you the way to go.
John: Do you prefer pens or pencils?
Jon: Now I use more pencils than pens so I can erase, but yeah, I guess pencils now.
John: Do you prefer Sudoku or crossword puzzle?
Jon: Sudoku. I like numbers better than words.
John: When it comes to financials and you’re a tax guy, what’s your favorite tax form?
Jon: My favorite tax form, oh boy. We’ll go with the 1120, corporate.
John: 1120, which one’s that one, I don’t even know.
Jon: The corporates.
John: Yeah, that’s where the money’s at. Do you have a favorite sports team?
Jon: Buffalo Bills if not the Yankees.
John: Do you have a favorite number?
Jon: 26 or 47, those are my numbers.
John: Those are your numbers? Depending on which day it was or…?
Jon: I was number 26 through my four years in college and then 47 when I played afterwards. Other than that, that’s the only reason.
John: That’s all the reason you need, man. How about cats or dogs?
Jon: Oh, dogs, no brainer.
John: We got four more. Do you have a favorite adult beverage?
Jon: Some ice cold Heineken.
John: Nice. How about a favorite comedian?
Jon: Wow, I only feel like there’s a few. That’s a thing that’s so hard to be good at but I love Louis C.K.
John: Oh, yeah, Louis’ great, man. Two more. Early bird or night owl?
Jon: Jeez, I feel like I’m up late and up early.
John: Oh, goodness, we got to work on that, man.
Jon: I’m more of a night owl.
John: And the last one, the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?
Jon: Probably be my sports memorabilia. I love sports memorabilia. I like that stuff. We have a game used first base from a Yankee game that we went to and we got it signed by Jeter, so that’s a pretty cool thing with a memory behind it.
John: Yeah, totally, man, that’s as good as it gets right there. Well, thank you so much, Jon, for talking with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.
Jon: Thank you.
John: That was so, so good. I really liked how Jon said that it was his passion of baseball that helped him land the job. Even early in his career he’s realizing that the skills he developed as a professional athlete will help him in the office. Go to greenapplepodcast.com, you could see some pictures of Jon on the mount, and thank you so much for listening and helping spread the words so others can go out and be a green apple.