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A recommendation letter for Steve Ransom

March 17th, 2005 by Admi

This is a letter regarding Steve Ransom and his employment with your company.

I have a recommendation to make. Don’t hire him. I’m serious.

I hired Steve Ransom and it nearly ruined me. Where will I now find a single person with his breadth of skills? What hope do I have of finding a single individual who can run the office, maintain the bookkeeping, troubleshoot the computer network, improve the Web site, copy edit, problem-solve, refine office procedures. Just replacing this one man will require me to buy two additional desks, rent more space, and learn more names of the cadre of people it’ll take to do what Steve did.

Steve worries about this very thing and he’s quite open about it. He immediately set out to automate and streamline procedures in the office, documenting the “best practices” in more than one location, cross-training other staffers, and reminding me over and over that his goal was to make everything run so perfectly that there’ll be no more trouble to shoot. He did a fine job at all of this, and when he was satisfied with his work — and tired of the ruts he had carved for himself here — he told me he would be leaving. It was five months of notice, as I recall, but still.

Since he left, we have done more with less, a trend he started and maintained. But he failed in his stated goal of making himself completely replaceable. We miss his good humor and his quick mind. We miss his eye for efficiencies on one hand and ironies on the other. We just miss having him around.

Will he improve your company? Absolutely yes. Will he deliver on his promises? I’m certain of it. Will you have any hope of hiring another person to replace or match him? No way. Steve sets the bar too high. Don’t make the mistake I made. Settle for less. After Steve has worked for you for three months, your life will never be the same. Better, sure, but not the same. Believe me.


Don Kahle
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