The great thing about sending a holiday message to clients, colleagues, friends and family is hearing something back from them. It keeps you connected and is a sign you may have made a difference in their lives.

I want to share an update I received from someone who asked for some advice this past summer. A little about him here. When I first began reading his note I was thinking, this is not going to be good.

“Christmas came a little early for me. I was laid off in September, had a few good prospects that like so many times before got vaporized by the economy. Either they get pushed out 6-9 months or there are dozens of internal candidates from lay-offs.”

Then it changed dramatically.

“But 2 weeks ago everything changed quickly. A “networking” call turned into a job offer on the spot…back in my old field. My role is Director, Marketing and Business Development for Y. You may not recognize their name but you knew them 12 years ago.”

I did.

“This is the former Company Y whom I helped set up in business with the Joint Venture. Small world. Never thought I would be working for my competitor.”

Sometimes these things happen. Competitors like to woo talent that they have had experience with in business. He goes on to explain his new job responsibilities to me and concludes:

“It’ll be fun. I did this very well at Company X – 20 years ago. I’m happy to be back among the living …er, employed.”

The good news kept coming.

“BTW, I don’t know if I told you but I did start that MBA program we discussed last summer. I’m doing very well and found it very helpful during my time of unemployment (kept me busy on something other than job searching).”

No, you did not but that is OK. We all get busy.

Keeping your brain active with learning is a good way to relieve stress, in addition to regular exercise. Active learning can be through new concepts and reflecting on what worked or did not work in your past. His excitement is obvious as he shares:

“The first class was Law and Ethics and the last class was in Leadership Management. So much of the material I recognized from good examples from a previous boss – searching for the “And” and not the “But” and from things I experienced and did myself. That is not to say I have not learned a great deal from it all.”

J – Thank you for a great Christmas present.

Is it time for you to write someone or pick up the phone?