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Help From Distant Contacts For Senior Management

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Don't ignore the past. A contact is anyone who might remember you. It's better to write to someone who vaguely remembers you than to a total stranger. One senior executive client recently found a job through someone he had barely known in high school! In an earlier letter, Michael wrote to fellow-classmates he had never even met. (He got a lot of good responses, too.)

This letter's appeal is akin to that of the FEI letter: "We're all members of the same elite group." And most groups do think they're elite.

Two Thousand Oaks Towers | 2000 W. Federal St | Boston, MA 02110
C: (617) 765-9898 | H: (617) 795-2785 | mburns@hotmail.com

January 2, 20––

Mr. Fred Morris
Occidental Petroleum, Inc.
9900 West 95th Avenue
Los Angeles, California 92715

Dear Fred:

It's been quite a while since we've been in touch, and I hope this letter finds things going well for you.

As for me, these years have been filled with change and I've never been bored. The enclosed resume plus the excerpt from Fortune magazine will give you a snapshot of what I've been doing until recently when I left the investment advisory business to start marketing myself for re-entry into the corporate world.

Since leaving Amoco, I have found that I really enjoy working in smaller, more entrepreneurial businesses and that's what I'm looking for now. My job target is a position with a high management content, either in operations or financial areas. It would ideally be with a company that is perhaps two to ten years old and has sales of $5 to $50 million. Although I am not looking for investment opportunities, I might consider a limited investment in the right situation. Geographic location is not a major consideration.

I am focusing my attention outside oil and hardrock mining, and although a current favorite industry of mine is hazardous waste, I am open to any opportunity that has growth potential.

Should you become aware of any of your business associates, friends, etc., that might be interested in my abilities, I would appreciate your sending them a copy of my resume, or letting me have their names so I can contact them personally.

Fred, any assistance or advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated, but regardless of whether you are aware of anything, I'd like to get a note from you to hear how you are. Or better yet, a phone call.

Best regards,

Michael D. Burns


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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.