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Holiday Praise to Exceptional Employee

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A part of employee retention is giving them praise and recognition they can't get elsewhere. If employees, vendors, or partners are making a difference in your life and in your business, let them know it—especially during the holidays.

December 8, 20—  

Sarah J. Parker
Office Manager
10475 Park Meadows Drive, STE 600
Lone Tree, CO 80124

Dear Sarah,

I can't thank you enough for your recent contributions to our company.  This has been a difficult year for me personally, because of my mother's death in January, and because of the office move.  You have carried the ball and run the office better than I ever could have hoped.  Here are just a few examples of your contributions.

  • You partnered with me to manage a very difficult, complex move, and everything on our end went beautifully.  The day of the move, you were working harder than anyone else in the suite, including the consultants, vendors, and professional movers.  
  • During slow times, you find important things to do to keep productively busy.  I'm often pleasantly surprised to see that you've done something without my having asked.  
  • You do numbers.   
  • You are able to balance a lot of detailed projects simultaneously and bring all to successful conclusion, all the while keeping a relaxed, friendly temperament, and never seeming rushed or difficult to work with.  
  • You take interruptions in stride—and I interrupt you a lot.  So does everyone else.
    Sarah J. Parker, Page Two
  • You turn things around quickly—sometimes instantly—so I don't have to keep asking for results repeatedly.  
  • You serve as a sounding board and give me a second perspective and lots of good ideas when I'm confronted with multiple choices, or with a problem.  
  • You're a nice person, and fun to be around—everyone thinks so.  
  • You look out for me and catch my mistakes without my having to ask you to do so; you do the same for the clients and the other consultants.  
  • You keep problems and details out of my hair so I can concentrate on my pet projects, like reading cartoons in The New Yorker.  
  • When it's important, you show up early and stay late without being asked.  
  • Last of all, and most important, you bring me lunch from Boston Market.
This is the largest year end bonus ever awarded to an office manager at CareerLab, and you deserve it, Sarah, because you have made the largest contribution. You make every day at CareerLab a great day for me, for our clients, and for the other consultants and vendors.  

If I were rating your performance, I would score it A++.  You're doing a terrific job, and I really appreciate your contribution.

With Christmas thanks,

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.