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Goodbye To Office Manager #2

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After five years of stellar service, our office manager relocated out of state with her fiance. This was a big loss to us. We held a going away luncheon for her, and awarded her a scuba trip in Mexico. At the party I gave her thirteen red roses, and read the memo below. This was a memorable moment for all of us.

When I ran her job description online, candidates called to laugh at it. They said no one person could possible do everything included in the position.

Roses for Rachel

Each rose represents a quality Rachel has brought us:

  1. Talented — Your job description ran three pages, and you mastered it all and added new tasks to your job when things were slow.   You were bookkeeper, accountant, word processor, CFO, COO and cheerleader, all rolled into one.  (Sometimes even CEO.)
  2. Remarkable — You have a rare combination of superb people and technical skills.
  3. Honest — When clients overpaid, you refunded their money.  When our time sheets were inaccurate, you let us know.  You held us to the highest possible ethical standards. [At this point in the talk, I looked in our checkbook and noted, "We have enough to pay for this party!]
  4. Sacrificing — What can you say about someone who drove 40 miles each way in ice, snow, and blinding sunlight?  Many days you arrived at 7:00 or 7:30 a.m. before me, and I live just 5 minutes away.
  5. Energetic — Some high achievers give 110%.  You gave 150% every day, every week. Some go the extra mile—Rachel went the extra 3,000 miles.
  6. Caring — Your warm personality always exceeded the expectations of clients, customers, consultants and vendors. No week went by without unsolicited compliments for you. I often heard: "Rachel really helped me" Now that you're leaving I've heard: ". . . that's too bad  . . . big loss . . . hard to replace . . . you'll be out of business in three months . . ."
  7. Tenacious — Who else could have patiently collected a $20,000 bad debt?
  8. Creative — We could always count on you to give us a breakthrough idea about advertising, newsletters, resumes, conferences and conventions, legal issues—everything.  Plus, you refill the M&Ms in the front lobby.
  9. Persuasive — You sold books, tests, and consulting services.  Many clients said, "One of the main reasons I chose CareerLab was because of Rachel, your Office Manager."
  10. Tactful — You never said, "You can't," "you shouldn't," or "that's dumb."  Instead, you said things like, "Have you thought about . . . ?" and, "Are you sure you want to . . . ?"
  11. People-oriented — You were our corporate memory, remembering names and facts about clients when no one else could.  When I ask, "Who was the semiconductor engineer from UTMC . . .?"  You answer: "Hobart!" When I need the name of the hotel where we conducted a workshop two years ago, you remind me: "Westin!"
  12. Responsible — You patiently and thoroughly trained Andie Michaelson, your replacement, so we'd have a smooth transition—although it will be hard to fill your size 13-EEE shoes.
You believed in CareerLab's mission and created much of our success.  The last rose is to remind you that you're always welcome here, and we hope you'll come back often.


Bill Frank, President
November 3, 20—

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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.