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Always Give Thanks

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Terry Welsh isn’t expecting a thank-you note from the moose that occasionally chomps on the foliage just outside his Anchorage office, but the big beast might want to think about it. Thank-you notes are powerful things, as Welsh can attest from an experience more than 20 years ago.

After favoring physical jobs like construction and commercial fishing for several years, Welsh decided he needed a job that gave his brain a workout instead. He tried a few computer seminars, then decided he wanted to be a financial planner. When he brought his resume to a local firm, the firm interviewed him, then politely said no.

Following some advice he gleaned from the classic job-hunting book What Color Is Your Parachute?, Welsh fired off a thank-you, expressing his gratefulness to the firm for taking the time to meet with him. To his surprise, the firm contacted him a few weeks later. “They said, ‘Hey, the thank-you letter was great, and we really like who you are and what you can offer,’” says Welsh. Citing Welsh’s computer experience (which was actually quite minimal), the firm hired him to oversee their computers. Soon he was the office manager, and then a broker, and within a few years, he’d gained enough experience to open his own advisory firm. Two decades later, he can’t help but laugh about the almost-fluke that launched his career: “To think it all started with a thank-you note!”