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Ask Friends To Help Chart Your Course

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Your friends will help you chart your course, but you have to ask. Let them know what you need, and involve them-- make it clear how important their ideas and opinions are to you. Most people like to feel valued and needed, to be called upon for advice and information.
Give your friends the opportunity to help.

11726 San Vicente Blvd. | Los Angeles, CA 90049
O: (310) 207-1963 | H: (310) 207-2438 |  rvargas@msn.com

May 18, 20––

Carol Shannahan
655 Redwood Highway
Mill Valley, California 94941

Dear Carol,

My present position with the National Management Association is part-time, and I'm trying to define my career goals. I have a clear idea how I would like to proceed, but I'm not sure what position or department within a company that fits.

Enclosed is a scenario of how I want to spend the next five years. It is obviously idealistic. (The scenario was an exercise of envisioning what my future might look like if I "had a magic wand.") I seek your help to make it realistic.

Following the scenario are two lists--one telling what I've done, and one telling some of what I can do--as well as a letter describing how some people perceive me. I am asking you to respond to some or all of the following questions:

  1. How can I make this scenario more realistic?
  2. What beginning position in a company am I describing?
  3. Who, if not the CEO, is the logical person for me to report to?
  4. What is the career path to move to external and international areas?
  5. Is it appealing to a company to have me on retainer?
  6. Where are the holes in my logic?
  7. What training do I need to support these goals?
  8. Is there someone else you think might help me clarify these goals?
  9. Do you have suggestions as to what company/industry might have such a position, and/or at what level I should make contact to pursue such a position?
  10. Any other suggestions/direction?

I realize every organization is different, but I respect your insight and experience, and believe your suggestions would be applicable.

As with anyone in the job market, my internal time line is short, so a quick response would be greatly appreciated. A self-addressed envelope is enclosed for that purpose, or if it's more convenient for you to call me, please do.

You have my sincere gratitude for helping me to pursue my career goals, Carol.


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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.