If you could send a letter to yourself on the first day on the job in credit or collections, what would you write in it?

This is a variation on the book, “Dear Me,” with the question “If you could send yourself a letter aged 16, what would you write?” An interesting question and the book is a collection of just such letters written by 75 of the world’s best-loved personalities. There is a forward by JK Rowling and some of the contributors include Rowling, Hugh Jackman, Kathleen Turner, Stan Lee, Seth Green and Stephen King.

We can’t change the past, some of us might think…so why bother? Maybe, but with some reflection, I believe we can adjust the present as well as the future. There is value in self-awareness, described by some as the work before the work.

In this fast paced life of ours, at least in Canada and the U.S., naps are for kindergarten and siestas and meditation for wussies. We end up having to make decisions in a climate of stress where we have not had the chance to reflect and to recharge. When results are not immediately tangible they are not valued by others. We are not likely to be given or scheduled ‘reflection time’ by others. You have to fight for it, be stubborn, a white lie if necessary and get yourself some time. Seize the day? Perhaps that is asking too much, but how about thirty minutes. Any of us can seize a half hour!

Carpe dimidium hora

The following is the result of the half hour I seized and if you would like to share some advice you might give to yourself, please do so

Dear Rookie Tim,
It’s interesting that in a few years, you’ll attend a seminar where the instructor advises against ever using ‘dear’ in a letter for the rest of your life! He will have a lot of advice, most of it very good, some ‘so-so’ and one or two items you should avoid. Use your head; you’ll know what they are when you hear them. You will meet a lot of ‘experts’ – follow the same advice.

You are a quick learner but not quite as clever as you may think. Steady and sustained effort will be rewarded. Start taking some courses right now and read more – become an expert. I know, you’re not long out of school and don’t want to study much – suck it up and get it done.

In time, you will become a good talker (don’t want to tell you too much), but you will always need to focus on your listening skills. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that hearing and listening is the same thing.

Your Future Self,

P.S. Always start work at least ten minutes early and leave fifteen minutes after quitting time. Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking it’s “for the company”…it’s for you!