Quit your job. Seriously. And, while you’re at it, cash out your 401K and blow it on whichever of the seven deadly sins you enjoy most.

None of that is going to matter when you’re done reading the next few paragraphs because we’re about to give readers some life-changing career advice. All you have to do is a get a job at Berkshire Hathaway.

The NCAA Tournament is back and Warren Buffett is offering a $1 million every year for life to any employee who correctly picks the Sweet 16 teams correctly. We’re not talking about a perfect bracket, where at best your odds are one in a couple hundred billion and at worst one in several quintillion (if that’s not a made up number). You don’t even have to pick those nasty 8 vs. 9-seed games or sweat over whether picking every 12-seed to advance was a wise choice. All that stands between you and easy living is picking the right 16 teams.

How hard can that be?

Aside from providing an easy retirement, the NCAA Tournament is one of the best sporting events in the world. While every college town in America is buzzing this month, there are a few keys to maximizing your tourney experience.

Fill 'em out

Whether you’re a die-hard fan, a basketball connoisseur or you think basketball is the one with the round metal thingies with the nets hanging off, don’t miss the madness. Even if you’re not willing to make a career change for the NCAA Tournament, find a few bracket challenges to enter. Get together with friends or start one around the office. Part of what makes the NCAA Tournament one of the most amazing -- and unique -- sporting events in the world is the sheer number of college campuses and fans going bonkers over the prospect of making some magic. Filling out a bracket is the best way to have a vested interest in what’s going on.

Am I telling you that because I don’t want you miss out on the tourney fun?

Absolutely not. While everyone can enjoy following the tournament and going bat-guano crazy over that Cinderella you picked based on their road uniforms, I really just want you to know the pain the rest of us feel when Directional Delaware State beats one of our Final Four teams on the first day of the tournament.

Fill out a bracket. Give somebody $10. Consider it a penance.

Pacing yourself is for pansies

There’s a lot of basketball in March. From Championship Week to Selection Sunday to cutting down the nets and crowning a national champion, you might worry about burning out before the finale. Don’t.

Screw the Final Four.

Sure, the Final Four features amazing basketball with the highest stakes and pageantry. It’s also for the blue bloods.

Basketball’s biggest secret is that nobody hates programs like Duke because of their success (or even coach Mike Shuchefski -- fine, Krzyzewski -- or Christian Laettner or their uncanny resemblance to rodents). You hate programs like Duke because of that snobby coworker alum who drones on about rowing crew during undergrad and when playing for a national championship was actually exciting.

That guy or gal is probably more likable than the intern from Utah State who jumps up and down screaming “I believe that we will win” at the conclusion of every staff meeting, but a little part of you dies with every Blue Devils win providing just a little more fuel for their not-quite-but-almost Ivy League arrogance.

Unfortunately, that’s who the Final Four belongs to. For every Butler, Wichita State or George Mason who breaks through for the little guys, there are dozens of big money, tradition-rich programs in contention every year. That means dealing with their fans.

Come to think of it, statistically speaking, you probably root for or went to one of those schools. If that’s the case, don’t worry, I wasn’t talking about you (I was).

In all seriousness, the Final Four is great. That said, opening weekend is still the best of the entire month. The first and second rounds are literally four straight days of basketball. All 64 teams are in action and playing like the fate of the world depends on the outcome. Opening weekend features the best upsets and the most hope and excitement.

If you’re going to pick a time to binge watch, sooner is better than later.

Pick the proper environment

The NCAA Tournament is just as much about quantity as it is about quality. We’re talking 63 games in less than a month and you don’t want to miss a second.

Wherever you choose to watch, the priority is making sure you have enough screens to catch all the action. Access to two televisions is highly recommended for the stay-at-home crowd and all the games are available to stream on laptops and mobile devices. If you’re team is dancing, you best be going nuts with all your buddies, so consider throwing a viewing party.

For those who prefer a more social environment, the options are aplenty. Sports books are great places to watch. Several casinos around town are running special promotions for the opening weekend, some with borderline irresponsibly (see also awesomely) priced all-you-can-drink badges. Alternatively, pick your favorite sports bar, arrive early enough to stake out some prime seating and then camp out for the day and enjoy the carnage.

Finally, most of us have to consider the work day workarounds. Fortunately, every game from the Sweet 16 on is either in prime time or on the weekend, but those opening two days can be problematic for the basketball fans who enjoy steady paychecks.

Employees, remember all the games are available online. Just leave the body paint home and try not to yell anything obscene. Supervisors, either stay in your office or make sure you’re really loud before venturing into anyone’s office.

Let’s keep it professional.

Read or Share this story: