In November, 2018, I received a letter from an entity named Workplace Compliance Services, and the letter was in regards to filing a Colorado “Periodic Report” form. I initially thought the letter was from a government agency, but after research that ended up spanning many days, I learned that Workplace Compliance Services is a private business entity — not a government agency. After that, in an effort to save other people from having to spend the same time and energy to perform that research, I wrote about what I learned on the previous version of this web page.
I doubt that most people know it, but authors always enjoy receiving letters of “thanks” like this one. Writing is often a lonely, solitary business, and to hear that your work has helped other people is always satisfying. If there’s a book you’ve read that you really enjoyed, I encourage you to write the author a brief letter of thanks. They’ll appreciate it more than you’ll know.
On this day (May 16th) in 1990, Muppets creator Jim Henson died. He left this note for his children. (There’s a little more information at lettersofnote.com.)
“People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary.’”
~ Jeff Bezos, Amazon, in his 2017 (2018?) letter to shareholders
In a slightly related note I find that work is easier when you have the attitude that what you’re working on is constantly changing, constantly evolving. If one day you think, “There it is, Product 1.0, I’m done,” you’ll find it mentally hard to come into the office tomorrow to work on the same product. The only constant is change, and if you accept that your job is to be in that process of change, life and work are easier.
This is a page from my book, “How I Sold My Business: A Personal Diary”
I put the letter from the business broker in my computer bag, and kept glancing at it during the last few days. The conversation in my head was something like this: "Is it a form letter? Yes, it almost surely was, but he does state he has a potential buyer. He'd have to be a scumbag to send something like this out if he doesn't really have a potential buyer."
“I was very happy to hear from you, and that you have such a position in the Research Laboratories. Unfortunately your letter made me unhappy for you seem to be truly sad. It seems that the influence of your teacher has been to give you a false idea of what are worthwhile problems.”
“The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to. A problem is grand in science if it lies before us unsolved and we see some way for us to make some headway into it. I would advise you to take even simpler, or as you say, humbler, problems until you find some you can really solve easily, no matter how trivial. You will get the pleasure of success, and of helping your fellow man, even if it is only to answer a question in the mind of a colleague less able than you. You must not take away from yourself these pleasures because you have some erroneous idea of what is worthwhile.”
Here’s a link to Jeff Bezos’ letter to Amazon shareholders, circa April, 2017. Possibly one of the most important phrases to me personally is his concept of, “Disagree and commit.”
This is the letter that George Bush (Sr.) left for Bill Clinton when Clinton took office in 1993.
The letter from Baltimore Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh to his players is good. This image shows part of it. You can read the full letter here on espn.com.
Albert Einstein, Zen Master? A letter from Albert Einstein to a grieving parent.