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You've Given 110%

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This letter thanks a key consultant for his contribution to our business and encourages him to enjoy a well-deserved vacation. I enclosed a surprise bonus check in the envelope. [E-mail is great, but it's hard to enclose a check in an e-mail.]

February 12, 20—

Mr. Ryan G. O'Keefe
Vice President
10475 Park Meadows Drive, STE 600
Lone Tree, CO 80124

Dear Ryan,

This has been an especially difficult year for me.  Besides recovering from my mother's death, I've been taking care of my father and his finances, and coping with major changes in our family.  In the meantime, our office move has been all consuming.

I appreciate that during this difficult time for me and for our company, you have stayed focused and concentrated on your work.  You have remained stable, upbeat and easy to live with.  You've given me support, and psychological and emotional space, which helped me.  You have given 110% to developing business and serving clients, and you have done a fantastic job in your role as President of the Human Resources Planning Society.  By being such an effective leader you make us, and yourself, look very good.

As far as the office move goes, you were co operative and helpful, giving some really valuable suggestions when asked.  I felt that if I concentrated on the move, you and Richard could concentrate on productivity—and that seems to have worked pretty well.

The new office is magnificent.  It's not perfect; there are things about it I don't like, as I'm sure there are things you would change; but I believe these will be the most successful years of our careers, partly because of the design of the physical environment.

You and Maureen deserve this vacation you are taking, and you should not feel apprehensive or guilty about being away from the office.  In fact, just the opposite:  You should recognize that down time is absolutely mandatory in a high demand business such as ours.  Big chunks of time are especially restorative.  The problems will still be here when you return—as will the opportunities.

Although it has been a difficult year, it has also been a good one, thanks in large part to you.  Thank you for your efforts for CareerLab, Ryan, and thank you for your friendship.

With best regards,

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.