New Year’s Letter to My Boss

Dear Charlie,

After having worked for you for 22 years, I can attest, you’re a great guy and a great friend. I appreciate the times you were there for me when I was having personal hardship; it truly means a lot.

Charlie, you’re one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. As a producer working for you, I’ve built a $275,000 book of business over these past 22 years. In a way, that’s a lot to be proud of. With our 40 percent payout, I make $110,000. That’s more than most people in America. It’s enabled me to take care of my family and provide them a good place to live.

Charlie, you leave us alone as producers. You’ve never made me go to any sales training. You’ve never made me use any prospecting systems. You’ve never made me pick a specialty or develop an expertise. Your sales meetings are like marshmallow sessions; you always take it easy on us. Charlie, you’re the nicest guy.

Charlie, you have some innate talents the rest of us don’t seem to have. I’ve been impressed with how you’ve been able to build a book of business much larger than mine. I never could figure out how you did it.

While I’m making $110,000, you’re making $400,000. You drive a very nice car, I drive a car. You belong to a great country club, I go to public courses to play golf.

I’m not envious of you, I’m envious of a producer I met from a different firm.

I admit, he doesn’t have it as good as I do. He said his boss is a slave driver and makes him come to sales meetings. They put their guys on a hot-seat and make them defend their reason for working on an account. Heck, you let us quote on anything.

His boss makes him manage a pipeline of prospects. You don’t. You said we’re all adults and you treat us that way.

His boss makes him do in-depth goal setting for his life not just for current year new business. All you ask is for us to give you a new business number; then you never say anything when we don’t hit it.

His boss makes him get competitor proposals to learn about the competition. You told us, don’t worry about the competition; just to sell ourselves.

His boss virtually makes him be more successful. You don’t make us into anything and that’s why I’m writing you this letter.

His boss makes him work on larger accounts. You’ve always said you like small business.

Charlie, I always thought I could be a better producer. But, you’re my head coach, and it seems that you don’t believe in me enough to push me, train me or coach me. I know the producer I met at the other firm; his boss believes in him. That’s why he expects so much. I’ve started to wonder recently… just how big would my book be if I worked for him? If I had his coaching and guidance?

Charlie, I know what you’re going to say: “Give it some time and things will be better.” Charlie, it’s been 22 years and this guy I met is only three years into the business and his book is bigger than mine already.

Charlie, if I could ask you to do one thing, here it is: Expect more of your producers. They deserve it. Treat them like men and women who have big financial responsibilities at work and at home.

Charlie, I hope you’ll accept my resignation in a respectful way.


Robert “Don’t Want to Be Average Anymore” Belldinger

P.S. – Charlie, I know that having everyone like you is more important to you than anything. When you raise your expectations, don’t expect everyone to be cheering. On the inside I think they all want to be better too, but on the outside, they won’t show it.

We’re all a little afraid of the idea that maybe we can’t measure up to expectations. They will probably push back, moan and groan. But, please Charlie, don’t give up. It’s their future that’s at stake here. It will impact where kids go to college. It will impact how much fun they can have when they retire. And it impacts how they see themselves today.

Charlie, please, help them be more of who they can be.

Dear Reader, this is a fake letter, but a real situation.

Just recently, a producer came to my workshop. I asked him why he was there, and what he wanted to accomplish. He told me he’d read some of my information about increasing your savings capability by 10 times, and specifically the part that most producers should be saving between $45,000 and $65,000 per year.

He wasn’t close to that after 22 years in the business. He asked his boss if he would pay for him to go to the workshop, and his boss said he didn’t feel it would be useful.

So, he decided to pay his own way to the workshop. After getting to know him and what he wanted to do for himself and his family, I introduced him to a young guy who was about 26 years old, who’d been in the business for three years.

Once he compared his old-world agency to a new-world agency, he decided it was time to make a move.

We’re coming upon a New Year. Some people will make excuses for why things are the way they are, and others will make decisions to change it.

If you’re not happy with your current situation, change it. It’s the most fair thing you can do for your family and yourself.