Has your firm recently lost accountants to retirement?

Maybe it's time to tap into those firm alumni for extra help during busy season.

Think about it from their perspective. You retire and suddenly this economic upheaval happens and your piggy bank suddenly doesn't look so fat.

You start to worry. Maybe you retired too soon. Maybe you should have padded that account a little more. Maybe you shouldn't have invested in Lehman Brothers.

Then you get a call from your former employer. Would you be willing to pitch in a few hours a week when the firm is overloaded?

It's not like you can afford to sit on a tropical oasis somewhere sipping mojitos instead of crunching numbers.

So you say yes.

What's wonderful about this scenario is the firm is not taking a risk with a temp agency that may or may not provide a good fit for them. They are getting someone with decades of experience who already has a personal relationship with their clients who are looking for someone to help them through these times, too.

The holidays are a great time to do this. Spread good cheer. Call on folks to see how they're doing and throw out the offer. Read that again. Call them. Don't send a cheesy templated email to all of them. Pick up the phone.

You may just get what you wished for.