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Departing Consultant

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Darren Trent, M.D., hired me as his consultant when he left his clinical practice as an orthopedic surgeon. Along the way, he became a consultant at CareerLab, and we co-founded "The PhysicianCareerNetwork,"™ just for physicians seeking non-clinical or non-traditional jobs.

When Darren left CareerLab to return to academic medicine, I wrote this letter of reference, and he received the job offer. Later in his career, Darren's love of surgery re-emerged, he recredentialed in the U.S. and returned to clinical practice. The PhysicianCareerNetwork™ is still a lively part of our consulting business.

October 13, 20—

Rebecca Widdison
Faculty Director
Saint Bartholomew College of Medicine
Christopher Robin House
32 Sulley Park Promenade
Newbury, Cambridgeshire NG44 7CB
United Kingdom

RE: Darren Trent, M.D.

Dear Ms. Widdison:

I am the founder of CareerLab, a 25-year-old career management company focusing on executive coaching, leadership development, testing and assessment, and outplacement.  I met Dr. Darren Trent in the fall of 1998, when he decided to leave his orthopedic surgery practice after 17 years in clinical medicine.  Darren became a CareerLab® client, and during my career assessment, it became obvious that his skills were easily transferable to career development.  He was a healer, a natural teacher and very bright man.

Recognizing that Dr. Trent's frustration with the business of clinical practice was not at all uncommon, we launched the PhysicianCareerNetwork.™ During Darren's tenure we gained national recognition as the "go-to" authority for physicians who want to improve their careers. We've had clients in all practice specialties—from anesthesiology to urology—and in all 50 states.  At any time, there are about 25 MDs in our programs.

Darren made a smooth transition from clinical medicine to consulting. In the process, he identified a long-standing dream to return to medical teaching.  We supported him completely in this direction. Darren is a "people person," the best I've ever seen.  Everyone, staff and clients alike, love him and enjoy the professionalism and dedication he brings to his work.  I've often told others, "Darren is the nicest person on the planet," and I have meant it sincerely. You'd be hard-pressed to find a kinder, more helpful addition to your team at St. Bartholomew.

We will miss him, but we know he will strongly affect the future of many young physicians in his new assignment as Dean of Basic Sciences at Saint Bartholomew College of Medicine.

With best wishes,

William S. Frank

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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.