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A Conversation with Matthew Schatzel About Making A Positive Impact and Finding Your Drive

Matthew Schatzel is a Staff Accountant residing in St. Petersburg, Florida. Matthew has a diverse educational background beginning at the International Baccalaureate Program at St. Petersburg High School where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He then went on to the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree […]

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Matthew Schatzel
Matthew Schatzel

Matthew Schatzel is a Staff Accountant residing in St. Petersburg, Florida. Matthew has a diverse educational background beginning at the International Baccalaureate Program at St. Petersburg High School where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He then went on to the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism with an outside concentration in Computer Science. Finally, he has moved on to the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, Florida where he expects to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 2021.

He hopes to continue his education in pursuit of both a Master’s degree and CPA license. He currently works for a small accounting and consulting firm in St. Petersburg, and enjoys attending concerts and sporting events in his spare time.

Matthew has been working as an accountant since 2018. This role involves preparing individual, corporate, partnership, and estate/trust tax returns, audits for both government and non-profit entities, compiling financial statements and maintaining general ledgers for compilation clients. Previously, he worked as the Shift Manager for a wine and spirits retail business where he oversaw all daily retail responsibilities of running the establishment.

In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit, or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?

Working full-time, attending college classes online, and raising two young children can cause a lot of anxiety and stress, especially during a global pandemic. Although it feels as if there is always work to be done, or an obligation to address, the one habit I’ve instilled in myself that has had the greatest positive impact on my life is allowing myself to momentarily step away and allow myself to relax, if only for a brief amount of time. In the past I would force myself to keep working, keep reading, or keep studying, often to the point of exhaustion. This caused my productivity and effectiveness as an employee, a student, and a father to suffer. Now, when I begin to feel this exhaustion or frustration come on, I force myself to stop what I’m doing and take a little time for myself. Sometimes this entails going for a walk, watching a game on television, or simply going to bed early. Regardless of the activity, allowing myself to take a break every now and then has had a very positive impact on my overall outlook.

When you feel unfocused, what do you do?

As I previously mentioned, I feel as though I juggle a lot of responsibilities in my everyday life. At times I hit a wall, and begin to feel unmotivated or unfocused. In the past, I would try to force myself to push through those feelings and continue working. Often, my work suffered because of this. Even though it may have been completed, it certainly didn’t reflect my best efforts. Therefore, when I feel unfocused, I stop whatever task I am working on and find something mindless to do for five to ten minutes. Even though this may not seem like much of a break, I often find myself feeling recharged and able to refocus on the task at hand.

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

I cannot stress enough the importance of demonstrating good people skills. Someone with all the intelligence and ambition in the world may still find themselves unsuccessful if they are unable to positively interact with people. Creating relationships, both in one’s personal life and professional life, can lead to any number of opportunities. Therefore, I believe it is very important to approach new people and new situations with a positive outlook. One piece of advice I would encourage recent college graduates to ignore is the need to the suggestion that someone should begin their career immediately after graduation. If an opportunity presents itself, then that opportunity should certainly be seized. I do not, however, believe it is wise for someone to jump right into a job or career that doesn’t suit him or her simply because that’s “what you’re supposed to do” once you graduate. Take time to travel, reconnect with family, or explore new interests. Obviously, earning an income is important, but many of the opportunities you have right out of school will not be present later down the line once careers and marriage and parenthood come into play.

What is one lifestyle trend that excites you?

Recently, I’ve taken interest in meal plan services. I like to eat healthy, but with my busy schedule, I’ll often have to resort to heating something up in the microwave. Meal plan services (the type that ship you all of the fresh ingredients along with the recipes) drastically cut down on the amount of time it takes me to meal plan and grocery shop. And for what it’s worth, most of the meals I’ve tried are not only healthy, but very flavorful.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

My parents have, without a doubt, had the biggest influence on my life. They’re unwavering support, patience, and dedication to their family has had a tremendous impact on the kind of father I hope to be to my children. My parents always put their children first, and still do to this day. Because of them, I aspire to be a more selfless, patient, and compassionate person.

What’s one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned?

One of the biggest life lessons I’ve learned is that you can’t change the past. Everyone makes mistakes, some larger than others. Often times, the damage caused by exercising poor judgement or acting on questionable motives cannot be undone. I have found, though, that there is no sense in living in the past. You have to learn what you can from your mistakes, deal with the repercussions, and try to move forward.

What do you think it is that makes you/someone successful?

Any number of traits can factor into making someone successful. I believe some of the most important characteristics of a successful individual are being determined, self-aware, resilient, open to feedback or constructive criticism, and demonstrating confidence. Success can be measured by several different criteria, and often being successful can mean two completely different things to two different people. But I believe people that possess the aforementioned traits will find success more often than not in their endeavors.

How do you stay motivated?

I stay motivated by reminding myself of what’s most important to me: my children. Everything I do is for them. I’m attending school to hopefully become a CPA, which will allow me to earn a larger income with which I can support my kids. I work full-time so I can keep a roof over their heads and food on their plates and pay for their education (and a new toy here and there). When I’m feeling unmotivated, I remind myself that the things I am trying to achieve will make a better life for them.

What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

I hope to be remembered as a loving father, a caring friend, and a hard worker. I want to have the kind of impact on my children’s lives that my parents had on mine. I don’t the people who are close to me, both family and friends, to ever question my dedication or devotion to those relationships. Most importantly, I hope to be remembered as someone who, in spite of his flaws, always sought to be a better person.

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