A Huge Thank You … To You!

So today’s blog might not, on the surface, appear to help you get a job or keep a job. However, if you take a moment to pause and think, the behaviours I’m going to applaud and recognize are of the kind that will help you in your own workplaces.

And so it is today that I want to use my blog to express my sincere gratitude to those who have in the past taken the time necessary to post a comment after reading a blog entry. I have to say, the impact of your thoughtfulness and kindness is significant and extremely appreciated.

You see I know that as I strive for 900 words in each piece, that represents a commitment of time to get through the article. I’m not sure why I initially hit on 900 words as a daily goal; it just seemed in those first early blogs that it took that long to convey the messages intended. 900 words for the reader was enough to get in to a topic without being overly time consuming. So yes, to read my blog takes time, and I am grateful for all my readers; exceptionally so. I’ve found with bytes and brevity abounding around us in these times, not everyone has the attention spans they used to. Maybe for many 900 is actually too long?

Hence it is that after having read a piece of my thoughts, you can see that those who take a few moments and leave a comment leave me a tremendous gift; a gift I recognize as such and truly appreciate. I don’t necessarily envy the celebrities who have thousands of replies and comments whenever they post something, but I have had spikes where my daily readership increases, and where the comments are more plentiful than other days. I will admit while it’s not jealously or envy, I do love those days when there’s more activity than usual. I think this is to be expected.

So this one is for you the readers. Whenever you take the time to read my blog and if you so choose to go further and rate the piece or leave a comment, you also say something about yourself as much as you do the piece. You demonstrate appreciation and with your input you participate. How disheartening it would be to write day after day and have no ratings, no comments, no indication that anyone was listening or had any appreciation for what I was sharing! This is not only true for me of course, but for others you follow or pieces of theirs you read; maybe for yourself if you’re a writer, a blogger, a novelist.

There are those such as James, Gayle and Dave who are in my audience daily. There are those like Rochelle and Rhiannon who don’t comment frequently but when they do it’s significant and from the heart. There are those who are new followers, some who were with me right from the start back in February of 2012, and of course many who are attracted through LinkedIn posts in addition to my personal blog.

I have to stress how grateful I am to all of those – to you as well (yes you reading these words here and now) who make up my readership. One of the nicest things many of you do is gift me your time in reading a piece, leaving a short comment and then there are those who pass on the blog to someone in their audience. When I learn that the thoughts for a day have been shared beyond my own sites, it’s another moment of gratitude at my end. To be deemed worthy enough of sharing with your own readers in your own circles is a very great privilege I recognize.

And so you see it’s important for me to practice my own gratitude; the behaviour which I so often suggest to others is highly desirable. When you and I express our gratitude for the kindness of others, we say a lot about ourselves. Think about your recent past and recall if you can the moments when you personally thanked someone. Now, how did they receive and respond to your thoughtful words of appreciation? It’s my hope they in turn expressed their thanks. Unfortunate indeed if they brushed it off as nothing. They likely didn’t mean it by the way if they did.

Whether a co-worker, someone in management, a customer or client, a resident or patient, a child or a student; whomever you come into contact with, everyone is potentially someone we could thank for something given. Are you grateful for the student who appreciates your guidance, the patient who’s trust you’ve earned in treating them, perhaps the co-worker who backs you up every so often. Maybe you’re grateful for the customers that keep your doors open and spread the news about your services and products.

When you think about it, there’s so many people to not only be grateful for, but who are worthy of actually being told how they’d touched you. I know that it’s a busy world and social media has added one more thing when we have so many things vying for our time and attention. It’s precisely because of these demands on our time – on your time – that it’s important that I express my thanks to let you know how truly I appreciate you my readers.




Happiness In Appreciating Small Things

If your workplace is a hectic, physically demanding or mentally exhausting place to work; if the volume of your workload has increased and you’re barely treading water, you might find that heading into work on Monday morning, you’re already living for Friday quitting time.

While weekends and days off are satisfying and something to look forward to for most, it’s not a good sign if you go into work just for the money, focused on getting out. This kind of mentality in the workplace can make it a toxic place to be if that attitude is spread among the majority. You could end up losing an appreciation for the work you do, think and talk poorly about your employer, your job, the environment and soon enough you become viewed as negative in general. If this happens, you might find fewer people want to hang out with you both at work and on their personal time; simply because most people would rather hang out with positive people.

Having said all this, you might be in agreement but wonder what you can do about it as there’s no way to change what you do for a living. The environment is intense, dusty, staff work in isolation or people bark to be heard over noisy machinery all day, etc. You might enjoy your job itself but just find nothing to look forward to except that weekend on the far horizon. Problem with this thinking is that if that’s all you look forward to in a day, even when the weekend is here, your thoughts of the upcoming return to work on Monday ruin your full enjoyment of Sundays.

One possible thing to try is to identify other things throughout the week that you look forward to and will enjoy. These can be things both at work and when you’re away from the job. I’m talking small things here; not major events. String together enough small things that you find pleasure, happiness or gratitude for in a day and your mood can shift slightly when they come to mind at work.

One small thing I personally look forward to each morning and have immense gratitude for is having a shower. It’s no simple feat from an engineering standpoint I suppose to get hot water readily available in every household in our community, but to me, it’s a simple thing I look forward to upon waking. Were my water to go cold or have to be shut off for even a day, I’d really come to appreciate what I’d lost even more and rather quick! It’s not that their long, but how I feel rejuvenated and invigorated gets me off to a great start each day.

I also look forward to the clothes I wear; that favourite pair of shoes, that shirt that usually draws a few compliments, maybe the colourful socks that I wear just often enough to be noticed and have a few laughs about.

Yesterday at work I was extremely focused at one point, working away on my computer and suddenly I thought of two things I was looking forward to once I got home. Those two activities each brought a physical smile to my face as I thought of them, and I could predict a pleasant evening ahead. What were they? Well, not everyone will share my view, but I looked forward to cutting the grass and watching my favourite football team play a game on television. Sure it’s only an exhibition game, but it was a first glimpse at the team after a long winter and early Spring.

You can view cutting the lawn as just another chore if you like, or you can view that same activity as one of the privileges of home ownership. I love the view of the backyard when the grass is freshly cut; the smell of the cut blades mixing with the lilac blossoms and everything at this time of year is lush and a mixture of intense greens. The tulips are in full blossom, the trees have their full canopy of leaves back, the hosta plants are healthy and spreading; it’s everything you strive for as an amateur gardener. It was so nice, I laid out supper on the back patio and it was just nice to sit back and take in the view.

Maybe your day gets a little brighter when you think of some facetime with a loved one far away; a grandson and daughter in my case, or perhaps a brother, mother, sister or father in yours.

Another thing I’ve come to appreciate and look forward to over many years of long commutes is the actual commute itself. Mine is an hour commute to work and another hour home. Being a mix of city and country driving, I realized a long time ago that I want to appreciate the changing scenery and the ride itself. The goal isn’t to drive fast and get to work or home as soon as possible, but rather sit back, take in the sights of rolling fields, rising suns and the odd wildlife here and there. Having a vehicle you enjoy driving might, as in my case, make the actual drive fun too.

My point is to appreciate the small, daily things that take up a lot of your time. Living consciously in the moment. having gratitude, looking forward to things might do for you what they do for me. Good for our mental health!

Regretting The Words Left Unspoken

Remember that special person you never told how you really felt? Of course you do because after all this time you just can’t get them out of your head for very long. You wish now you could go back and tell them how much they had an impact on you, how much you loved them perhaps, and you wonder if/how things might have worked out differently if you had.

It’s wondering, ‘what if’ that tantalizes; because it ignites possibilities of what might have happened had shared your thoughts openly. Ah, but you were scared, nervous and afraid of blurting something out you’d come to later regret. Ironically, after all these years, here you are now regretting the words you left unspoken.

It’s very much like that in other situations too; although the people we neglect to say what’s on our mind to aren’t just potential sweethearts. No, sometimes we find we lose job opportunities to others and later wish we had said a few more things at the job interview. This is often especially the case if we sincerely wanted a job bad. It would have been perfect and you have wanted a job like that in a long time, so when the news came that they went with someone else, it hit like a truck. If only you had said what you were feeling, things might have worked out differently.

Or perhaps there was someone you really valued in your past; that person who made a big impact on you. Perhaps it was their influence that set you on the path you later took or are taking now. A teacher, a father or mother, a mentor or some person who inspired you to think differently, perceive things in a new light. You never said how much you appreciated them and now their gone. Whether they passed on, moved away, have dementia and don’t recognize you, or you moved away yourself, the opportunity to tell them how you feel is lost.

Now the only thing worse would be finding yourself in this situation here in the present. You know, feeling so strongly about someone you see in the here and now daily, but feeling timid, awkward, embarrassed or anxious about sharing how you feel. You’re so worried about ruining things or spoiling your chances that you go on being around them in silence. You wonder, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just open my mouth, pour out how I feel? Tell them?” Of course in your mind you worry about creating a wide divide, making things weird, learning that your feelings aren’t reciprocated and as long as you don’t do anything…you’ll at least have what you have now – which is something.

Opportunities to step up and voice your true feelings pop up every day; but not forever. Take your work environment. You really value the support of a co-worker; they’ve passed on knowledge to you, covered for you when you weren’t at your best, listened to you share your frustrations, applauded your accomplishments and even motivated you when you needed it. There they are beside you every day, and having a real heart-to-heart with genuine sincerity, telling them how much they mean to you sounds both the right thing to do but maybe the weird thing to do.

Really though, what’s so weird? How long have you worked together? All those years and the hours you’ve spent in each other’s company? Why should it be weird to shut the door and say, “Hey listen, I want to tell you how much you mean to me, and I’m being serious.” You’ll likely catch them off guard, and they might use humour to deflect their real feelings, but they’ll likely also be grateful. What they feel in any event is up to them. You’ll feel better knowing you expressed your feelings and took that chance instead of regretting saying nothing. Then they retire, take another job, move or have an unexpected long-term medical leave etc. and you lose touch; opportunity lost.

I mentioned the job interview earlier. How many times have you walked out of an interview and suddenly said in your mind, “Oh, why didn’t I just say _____?Should I walk back in? Should I follow-up with an email or phone call? I really want that job! I’d LOVE working there so why did I find it so hard to tell them how bad I really want it!

Sometimes its convention and decorum that gets in the way. It seems somehow inappropriate to tell someone how we really feel. On the other hand we also hear that employers want people who are passionate about the work they do. So when you do find something you’re passionate about; a job or company you’re sincerely excited to work for and will invest yourself with fully, why not just open your mouth and express that.

Just like that mentor, potential love interest, teacher, co-worker etc., you’ve got a limited window to risk expressing how you feel. They won’t stick around forever, and the time will never be any better than it is now – today. If you’ve waited for a sign, this is it.

Look, hearing someone tell you how much they appreciate your support, your love, your encouragement, the opportunity to work with them etc.; it’s all good. We need to get better at telling others just how much they mean to us. Few things are better.


Who Doesn’t Like Being Appreciated?

“I really enjoy working with you. Thanks for that.”

“You’re doing a great job; well done.”

“Thanks for your help. I appreciate your support.”

If you’re not saying these things, or comments similar to them to those around you, may I suggest you consider doing so. After all, who doesn’t like hearing a few words of appreciation for the things they do? Personally, I can’t think of a single person.

Showing gratitude for others; the work they do or just their presence is something you probably don’t want to take for granted. You know those sayings about not appreciating something until it’s taken away from you? Well, there’s a good reason people say those things, because eventually, you might find you miss that person more than you’d have guessed.

I’ll let you in on something I’ve come to realize. Words of thanks and appreciation are welcomed at any time, but when they have the most impact is when they come when least expected. Sure a person is likely to hear words of thanks and appreciation when they’ve won some award or reached some big milestone, but at those times, it seems everyone is in congratulatory mode. So, add your voice at these times, but all I’m saying is your words come at a time when many join them.

Ah, but it’s in those everyday moments when a person is busy doing the regular stuff that comes with no fanfare and no particular achievement that a sincere expression of appreciation for someone may catch them off guard and have a bigger impact. And while your words of appreciation should be intended to make someone else feel good about themselves, noting the good works of others and expressing thanks can put some goodwill in their minds about you too. Getting a reputation for being appreciative of others first and secondly for the work they do is a good thing.

Often your appreciation can be for small things that make your own day better, easier or more enjoyable. So you might thank a your clerical support for anticipating supply shortages and always taking steps to reorder things so you never run out. You see while you take for granted that they’ll always be staples and paperclips to be had, they don’t just magically appear. That person who stays on top of these things so you and your teammates always have them when you need them might appreciate the fact that you actually took a moment to recognize their diligence.

There’s a lot of these little things too; it just requires us to look around for such things and then ask ourselves who the people are that do all these little things that improve our working conditions. Maybe your workplace is a little brighter because of the person who heads your social committee, or the person who regularly fills the photocopiers and ink cartridges on the colour printers.

Maybe you can express appreciation to the Receptionist who does his or her best to diffuse the anger or frustration of clients on a regular basis before they meet you. After all, they are the first point-of-contact and take the brunt often for things they have little or no control over. If they weren’t there or didn’t diffuse things well, your job might be a little less enjoyable.

Could be too that you’re in a position of authority and power. While yearly appraisals are one way to let someone know how much they are appreciated for the work they do, it can be powerfully effective to stop by unexpected, sit down for a 4 or 5 minute personal chat and just let someone know how much you appreciate their overall work ethic, their reliability, how they encouraged a co-worker going through something recently, or just the positivity they bring daily.

Books, movies and songs are full of instances where someone regrets not having said words of appreciation and thanks. Then what happens is someone dies, moves away, dates or marries somebody else – well, you get the picture; opportunities missed. Be it, “I love you”, “Thanks for everything you do”, or a thank you for something specific, you don’t want to be the person lamenting, “I never got to tell him/her how much I appreciated them.” Well sure you did, you just didn’t.

Now it might not come naturally to you to say words of appreciation. While some of us can’t understand why it’s so difficult, believe me, for some it just is. I tell you though, if you’re in a place where you should be regularly appreciating the work of subordinates and you don’t, I sure hope you aren’t surprised if over time those same people lose some of their momentum. Good people do good works generally because it’s ingrained in them to act in such ways. However, everybody without exception likes to hear that their good work is noted and appreciated.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank you my readers. While I write to inform and help support people looking for employment, finding the right career etc., I can tell you the comments I get from time-to-time and the ‘likes’ I get are greatly appreciated. Sure we might not always agree, but like anyone else, I am grateful for those who write a few words of thanks, for they are treasured.

Try a few words of thanks today for the good works of others.



A Simple Act Of Gratitude

Yesterday I was in the middle of facilitating a résumé workshop when I heard the Receptionist over the intercom say, “Kelly Mitchell if you’re in the building would you contact Reception.” Fortunately for me, I was in view of a co-worker who, seeing me look at him and throw up my hands in a helpless gesture, picked up his phone and told them I was not available. I continued on.

It was only a few moments later that I saw standing off to my left the smiling face of a man I’d worked with a couple of month’s back. He’d been one of 12 people who’d accepted an invitation to work with me on an intensive basis over 10 days in the hopes of landing interviews that would lead to employment. He’d been successful too; getting and accepting an invitation to work despite a couple of employment barriers that had previously turned off employers from giving him the chance.

So there he was, a respectable 10 feet outside the area I was in, grinning like a little child, intent on seeing me. There I was too, obviously in the middle of a presentation and fully aware that he wasn’t going without a brief word. Hmm…

Well, I acknowledged him by first apologizing to the group and waved hello, telling him I was just in the middle of a presentation. To me he said, “I know, I just stopped by to thank you again for your help.” “Things are going well then?” I asked. At this point he said that things were going great and that the resume and job search tips had paid off. It was at this point that I realized there was a real win-win-win situation here to take advantage of.

Yes, you guessed it. I waved him in for a moment and now in full view of the people in the workshop, I asked him to repeat what he’d just said. Well it was a real endorsement of my skills and the information I was sharing with the participants that I couldn’t have planned any better had I tried. With his grin and kind words, he told us assembled that not only was the job going well, he had since accepting that first job, a total of 6 companies contact him for job interviews, and he was very close to getting an extremely good job; one that he’d been hoping for as a long-term goal I’d previously known of. “The résumé works! I change it for the jobs I’m going for and it’s really made a difference.” Then with a handshake and some last good wishes, he was gone.

If you believe I’m sharing this with you for the purpose of saying how great I am, you’re missing the point; completely and utterly. His generous act of gratitude and thanks says more of him than it does for me. That same information you see that I shared with him, I’d shared with others, and continue to share. I am so happy for him but also so proud of him, for not only his success but in how he’s going about things now. Dropping in for the sole purpose of expressing his gratitude, feeling that he wanted to say thanks in person and knowing the impact it would have on me.

Of course, I brought him in largely to show to the group that the ideas I was sharing really do work. I mean, here before them was a bona-fide success story that they could replicate for themselves if they applied the same ideas and concepts in their own situations. Oh and believe me, the room lit up, the energy shot up in the room and everyone was smiling. When I said after he left that I hoped they didn’t mind the interruption, that it was so good to see him so happy, they simultaneously and to a person indicated it was more than okay.

In attendance I also had a co-worker who was sitting in to improve her own confidence helping people with their resumes. A long-time Employment Consultant, she wanted to both see and hear my presentation and from there use the same resources I made to help others. So you can imagine how wonderful it was for me to have this unexpected visit and expression of both gratitude and success in front of her.

So I felt great, the participants and my co-worker had proof before them the ideas work, and the gentleman himself left feeling good in having accomplished what he wanted to do; see me and extend a heartfelt thank you.

No matter how hard we work, how many successes we have, how many people we see, we all need those moments when others acknowledge what we do and express their appreciation. His act of kindness and the impact on me will last some time.

I urge you to do likewise when the opportunities present themselves. Genuine gratitude is always welcomed and could come exactly when needed most for some people. We all like to think we make a difference in this field of social work, that we’re having a real positive impact on the lives of others. Sincere acts of gratitude like I’ve described here reinforce that belief and give us encouragement to do more, give more and strive for more. He couldn’t have given me a more precious gift than his thanks.

A Nod Of Thanks To The Invisible Ones

Jobs; there are good ones and bad ones. Then again, what I think is a good job might be one you’d rather not do or absolutely run away from. You have no doubt jobs and occupations you believe to be menial or stimulating, worthwhile or nothing but a waste of your time, excellent all the way to terrible.

Thankfully, there’s enough diversity in the world to go around. There are people who will not only do the jobs you and I might find disagreeable, but they’ll do it with enthusiasm, put in the required investment of energy and commitment to be successful at. These don’t have to be dangerous, dirty, low-paying positions to qualify. In fact many jobs you and I might find unsuited to our particular tastes are good paying and prestigious. Some might not come with fancy titles or be high on the most desired jobs list but we’re still extremely grateful that there are people who do them.

As you go about your day today, how many ‘invisible’ people do you see working? These are the people you benefit from as they go about doing their jobs either directly or indirectly. Take the road crew involved in repairing potholes, widening a road or building a bridge overpass. As your vehicle slows down and eventually stops in front of the Flag Person who stops traffic to let a dump truck turn onto the road in front of you, it’s typical that we think, “Oh great! If I could just have been the last car let through ahead of this truck, not the first car stopped and now behind it!”

But that crew working on the roads makes our drive so much better in the long-run. The Dump Truck Drivers, Flag Person, Coffee Truck guy, Surveyor’s Architects, General Labourers, Pavers etc. they all have their jobs to do. They’re out there in the inclement weather,  sometimes working 24/7 do get work done with the least inconvenience to the throngs of daytime motorists. But do we typically roll down the window of the car and say thanks or give them the thumbs up as we pass? Not likely.

What of the Crossing Guard who holds us up so our kids can get to and from school safely? Who’s the women and men who designed, built and installed our traffic lights, laid our sidewalks, built and service the cars and trucks we drive? We rely on these people to do top-notch work on a daily basis but rarely give them much thought until that moment when our vehicles have a problem, the lights malfunction, the sidewalks crack. Then they are foremost in our minds and we appreciate their expertise in what they do – jobs which we have little to zero interest in doing ourselves.

There’s the teachers who instruct and train our children, role-modelling the love for learning we hope our kids embrace. While we appreciate for the most part the role these people play in our societies and generally elevate the stature of the people in these instructing roles, not everybody would comfortably and confidently want to stand in front of 30 children and be responsible for their education.

Many more people we rely on each day don’t work in the kinds of jobs we typically place a lot of value in. Take the people who brew and serve your morning beverage at a drive-thru. Minimum wage earners, all expected to smile and be friendly with each customer, doing repetitive work for 6 or 7 hours at a time. How many coffee’s and teas do they pour in an hour, a shift, a week, a year? Too many to bear thinking of no doubt. We appreciate that steaming cup of ‘get up and start your day’ but you might not be enamoured with doing their job on a long-term basis; you might need more stimulation.

There’s the people who build our homes, erect the light standards we see by, build the tunnels for the trains we ride, drive the buses we take, print the materials we read – and yes create the tablets, laptops and phones we’ve come to rely on so much. Those jobs might not be high on our list of desired jobs, but we all benefit from the work of those people in them.

So first here’s a nod to them – to you – if you’re in a job where you don’t get a lot of praise or thanks from end-users. You might not get the customers standing in front of you watching how you go about your business and complimenting your good work but it’s appreciated.

Whether you’re an employee in a variety store, a Salesperson in a retail operation, or the people who collect, clean and stack those food trays in food courts of large malls, I thank you for doing what you do each day.

What one person finds menial or hard work is meaningful and a joy to do for someone else. So maybe that could be your goal today – our goal today. You know, thank two people who are seemingly invisible but vital to making the day run smoothly. A quick nod of thanks, a raised cup in salute, a friendly smile or a mouthed, “Thanks”.

What if it started with you? We might make someone feel a little prouder; a little more appreciated. So there’s your challenge. Oh and here’s to YOU for all you do!




Hired: A Renewed Appreciation For Work

It’s not as easy for many people to get a job these days as it was in the past.

Headlines are full of company closures, layoffs,  line reductions, shifts being eliminated or company relocations. Despite all these stories however, there are always a number of people who quit anyway expecting to buck the trend and find their next job in short order.

It’s not hard to imagine why some people in job-hungry times still gamble with their financial independence and quit their jobs. Essentially, those who do think back to their personal history and make a decision to go job searching based on how they experienced the hunt for new employment in the past. They believe if they didn’t take too long to secure a new job in the past, it is unlikely they’ll have much of a problem getting one now in the present.

When the economic climate changes however, companies find it necessary to cut back on their workforce, take measures to reduce their expenditures and hold off on previously planned expansion initiatives. Were we talking of a single company or two in this situation, not much impact would be felt. Yet when you consider this is the story for many, the impact on job seekers as a whole makes finding work harder. The reality of the times has changed from what the job seeker previously experienced.

All of a sudden the individual who quit their job finds it  harder to find new job leads and get hired than in the past. Their unemployment stretches out longer, the pressure to find income rises and the prolonged unemployment is a new experience. Many don’t know how to respond effectively; be it budgeting or how technology has impacted the way job searching is done.

Often during an extended search for new employment, a job seeker will think back on the job they quit with some regret. In retrospect, they often feel that if they could do it again, they would have held on to that job while they looked for a new one instead of just quitting outright. At the time however, they never thought for a second that their inability to find their next job would take so long.

This change in attitude has one clear benefit; the appreciation for the next job if and when it does come around. This new-found appreciation in some makes them a better employee to work with, perhaps a little less confrontational, a bit more team-oriented and more inclined to act in  ways that will keep them employed – i.e.. their production levels rise.

Don’t think that I’m describing everyone in that previous paragraph. No there are many who don’t really change much once they are employed again. These folks will revert back as soon as they are hired, or just after their probation to the person they have always been; thinking and acting pretty much the same. The impact of their unemployment seems to make them bitter, jaded and hardened instead of appreciative. Now they  look out for number one – themselves; an employer drops to a distant number two.

I interact on a daily basis with a large population of the unemployed. Generally speaking, older job seekers are looking for that one break – that once last chance to demonstrate how appreciative they’ll be and how hard they’ll work. They see the window of opportunity closing quickly because they have a finite number of years to work left, and with a prolonged job search, that window is getting smaller.

Younger unemployed people on the other hand don’t feel the finite period of employment to the same degree. They may be in their 30’s and have another 30 years to go and believe they’ll have 4 or 5 more jobs so the pressure is felt less when talking of the sheer number of years remaining to work.

If you have ever been out of work for longer than you would have liked, you can probably mentally and emotionally re-visit that unemployed period relatively easily if you allow yourself to remember what it felt like. Many don’t want to recall those feelings for obvious reasons; it was a period of low self-esteem, struggle and increased frustration. Recalling the emotional and financial turmoil can however remind us of how appreciative we should be for the work we do now, and for the income and sense of purpose we have. This recall can also help us feel increased empathy for others who are experiencing now what we felt in the past.

Ask yourself however if you have slid somewhat back into a sense of entitlement; have you’ve abandoned that sense of appreciation for the job you have now in some respects because you’ve managed to hold on to this job for a period of time? Would  you go about your work with more enthusiasm, productively and appreciation than you currently do were you just recently hired? If the answer you give yourself is, ‘yes’, maybe you might consider working in such a way that you keep that previously held sense of appreciation front and center in your mind.

Appreciating our jobs comes when we realize it isn’t just the job we are appreciating but how we feel overall. Work provides income, stability, purpose, a daily routine, security and keeps us engaged with others among other benefits. Work combats isolation, desperation, low self-worth, dependency, stress and loss of purpose.

You may not love your job, but appreciate its benefits.

Thank The Cleaners? Why?

Has it ever dawned on you to thank the person who empties your trash and cleans your office during the night when you are at home with your family? Where I work, I hear people complain from time-to-time that their garbage can or recycling bin wasn’t emptied the night before, but I can honestly say I’ve never heard them talk about what a good job the cleaners did the previous evening.

This past week we were fortunate at my work to have our cleaning staff do one of their extensive cleaning jobs; the kind where we get an email to move everything off the floor so they can easily do more than just vacuum the carpets but really go at them. They also cleaned our chairs and washed our windows the night before the carpets. I for one and thankful for this service.

What I find interesting though is the complaining from some in having to move all their stuff off the floor and then have to do it a second night in a row. Wow. Two nights in a row that happens maybe twice a year when the cleaners do a thorough cleaning job and that’s inconvenient? I don’t understand that. Seems to me it is far better to show gratitude for this service both to the cleaner and to Management for paying for this additional service.

Every so often I leave a note for the cleaner on my desk thanking the cleaner and expressing my gratitude. I’ve never met this person, don’t know if they are male or female, tall or short, black or white, happy or frustrated, single or married, but I do know they are human. Humans I have found like to be acknowledged and thanked every so often for what it is they do, especially when what they do is seldom acknowledged because then it means more.

So why thank the cleaner? Selfishly I could tell you that it might mean they do a better job in my office than in other ones. Maybe that’s true I can’t really say. But I do know that it takes about ten seconds to take a blank piece of paper and with a pen print, “Thank you for cleaning my office. Much appreciated!” Those 8 words found every so often by a cleaner going about their business after hours when the place is deserted might come as a welcomed item, letting them know what they do is actually appreciated by the person who occupies that space. And maybe it even puts a smile on their face. 10 seconds = a smile; I like that equation.

Unfortunately, I imagine in many workplaces the only time the cleaner gets talked about, (or talked to) is when they have someone not performed up to expectations. “Ah the cleaner didn’t do a very good job last night! What do they actually do? Anything?” Yes that might be the more popular refrain. And when they do their job to their best ability it largely goes unnoticed and taken for granted. So some will see an empty waste bin with a new bag in it, a clean carpet, shrug and go about their day.

Don’t we however like our colleagues and those we serve to every now and then say something nice about the service we’ve provided? Sure we do. When a client says, “Thanks Kelly, I really appreciate what you’ve done for me”, I know that makes me feel good about what I’ve done. Why then not extend the same kindness on to the invisible cleaner who likewise does their job which I in turn appreciate?

This also extends to the landlord of your building. The person who replaces your light bulbs when they go out, the maintenance staff who check the duct work when your too cold or too hot. And have you ever put a ticket into your IT department that just logs your appreciation for the work they do or do you just reserve your tickets for, “here’s another mess for you guys to solve.”

What am I talking about really? Relationship building. Go home and tell your spouse you’re having a relationship with your cleaner and the IT department. On second thought, don’t. They won’t understand. Have one anyway. Not only do I leave a note every so often for the cleaner, I’ve also been known to leave a candy on that note. Something unexpected but hopefully welcomed that doesn’t slow them down but might be accepted as a, “Hey I’m acknowledging that you exist and I appreciate what it is you do that lets me go about my job daily in a good environment.”

There are other people you could similarly thank including the bus driver who gets you to and from work. Maybe even a police officer you pass on the street. “Thanks for doing what you do” is all it takes. What about the minimum wage earning employee who makes your lunch? The person who picks up your dirty mats at work and lays down clean ones? The person who fixes the photocopiers or tests your fire extinguishers? There are all kinds of people going about their jobs who make your day better (or not) in how they go about their own job. Why not say thank you?

Keep your eyes open today for opportunities to acknowledge others for what it is they do. Even the person picking up cigarette butts in your parking lot could use a, “Thank you”.

Thanks To…

Some people say thanks because it makes them appear to be appreciative. Others give thanks because they genuinely mean it. While there are many people who get thanked often, I thought I’d pass on my thanks to a few who you might have missed. Why not take a second and find a way to express your appreciation for some of the folks on this list.

1. The Night Cleaner

After you’ve gone home for the day and meet up with your family or friends, the Night Cleaner is just arriving at your workplace. When you return to work the following day, your trash basket is empty, your carpet clean, your desk disinfected, your floor swept, and not only does your area feel clean, their actions help keep down any potential bug problem. Instead of complaining about the few things a Cleaner might not have dusted, look at how much they have done for you. Leave a handwritten note saying you appreciate their cleaning. Do it twice a year.

2. The Receptionist

Here you’ll find someone with people skills, who if you treat them with respect, will chat up your clients when you’re running behind, apologize on your behalf even when they aren’t to blame, and who will often take a tongue-lashing for things they don’t deserve. Your Receptionist is the face of the organization to people for their first visit. They also deal with whoever walks in and with whatever chip they may or may not have on their shoulder. They also have work of their own to do.  Good Receptionists are hard to find. Be sure to thank yours often.

3. The Client

The whole reason you continue to be employed is due to this person. Treat them like they are the only client you have, no matter whether you are in the retail, manufacturing, service, health, government or in fact for any sector. If you ever wish your clients would just go away, I remind you to be careful. You just might get your wish. My car dealership has the salesperson send me a card on my birthday wishing me the best. A single sale resulting from the contact that card brings justifies sending out thousands in the mail. Thank your clients for their business and their trust in you.

4. Security Personnel

If you have a Security Guard or detachment at your workplace, they can often have a very lonely job, patrolling the area to keep company stock and staff secure. Don’t take these people for granted. While it may appear they go for long periods doing not much of anything important, that’s just your ignorance speaking up. These folks monitor so much behind the scenes that you aren’t even aware of. The fact you aren’t aware of them should tell you just how good they are doing their job. Shake the hand of a Security Guard and look them in the eye as you say, “Thanks for keeping me safe.”

5. Administrative Support staff

Okay so they have one day a year that celebrates their contribution to your workplace. That’s no reason to look down on them the rest of the year. They file, type reports, prepare your paperwork, organize your day, schedule, re-schedule and appease your clients. They call your customers, order your supplies, sometimes do personal things for you that aren’t in their job descriptions. How much does it cost to say, “Thanks for everything” and mean it?

6. IT Staff

IT staff keep your computer running, ensure the latest virus doesn’t attack you, fix Server problems, and allow you to electronically keep in touch with your customers, clients, distributors, manufacturers, suppliers etc. When something goes wrong, they are the first person you call right? When did you last call them to just say, “Everything is fine, just calling to say thanks for doing what you do.”

7. The Maintenance Team

In the middle of the day when a bulb goes out, the fridge leaks, somebody needs to mop up vomit in the hall, the floors need polishing, the water fountain isn’t working, the sidewalk needs shoveling, who gets called? Yep, the Maintenance Man or Woman. Most staff want a problem fixed with minimal disruption and the want it done immediately so they can continue without interruption. Who got interrupted though to fix your problem? You got it. Would a sincere, “Thanks for coming right away!” be out of line?

8. Cooks, Hostesses, Servers

Oh sure you’re in a hurry and need to get in, fed and out in a timely matter. After all you’ve only got 30 minutes! “Jump people jump! What is taking that girl so long? Are they killing the cow out back?” The world doesn’t revolve around you. It’s a good bet that the people preparing, cooking and serving you the food you eat are not making what you make in salary. There are fewer and fewer career Servers, and many are in the job because they can’t get hired in their field of training. Have a touch of gratitude. A smile and a thank you go a long way.

9. The Office Equipment Guy

You’ve seen him or her. They arrive only when you’ve jammed the photocopier and can’t fix it yourself despite your trying. Some thing-a-ma-jicky seems cracked in an impossibly hard place to reach; why you’ve even tried unsuccessfully to reach it with your scissors. Right beyond the, “Do not attempt to extract items beyond this point” label. Hmmmm….and the Office Equipment Guy isn’t allowed to say what’s really on their mind now are they? Okay so a decent, “Thanks I appreciate the quick service” might go a long way here.

10. Window Cleaners

It doesn’t matter if your office is on the first floor or the Penthouse, you probably appreciate looking out a clean window every so often. Maybe that’s because if you stand at just the right angle, you can see your own reflection when everyone else thinks your enamoured with the view? And you look so much better with a clean reflection too! Yep, thank the window cleaner too. Tape a piece of paper to the window saying, “Thanks for cleaning the window – here’s looking at you!” They’ll get a kick out of it, and it will remind them that the job they do is appreciated.

No matter who you think should be on this list of unappreciated people in your work day, go beyond just reading the blog and chuckling. Get up and thank somebody. Yes I’m referring to you. Oh I know you did it just last week but, well, does it really mean you don’t NEED to do it again? When did saying, “Thanks” become a chore to be done?

If you’re interested in other blogs centered around a job advice theme, check out https://myjobadvice.wordpress.com/

I know, I know, shameless self promotion. But honestly, it’s free, it’s meant to be helpful, and I don’t get any monetary gain from it, just a good feeling from sharing tidbits of experience and knowledge with an aim to help others who are job searching or employed along the way.

All the best!

Moving On

All of us have at some time or other been surprised to learn about the departure of someone we’ve worked closely with or perhaps a family member or friend has announced they are relocating to another town or city. Sooner or later however, it’s going to be your turn to be the one making the announcement.

If you are fortunate, you’ll receive well wishes from your co-workers, and they’ll tell you things like how much you’ll be missed. Maybe they’ll even throw you a farewell party. On the other hand, if you were somewhat invisible, or not well thought of, you might just get the, “Well good luck” from people in passing and leave with very little fanfare. Quite frankly they’ll be quietly glad to see the back of you maybe, perhaps in part because it opens a door for them, or they believe that the chemistry in the workplace will be better.

Most people get thrown a little out of their routine when someone makes an announcement. The reason is that we come to depend on seeing those other people everyday as an ordered part of our day. When someone makes that announcement that they are leaving, they have of course have taken the time to consider leaving, then taken the actual steps of applying, interviewing, mulling over an offer and then making a decision and then notifying Management. When that decision is announced to co-workers, the co-workers haven’t the luxury of all the thought processes going on, they just get an announcement to react to.

If we’re honest, we’ll all probably admit to perhaps being happy for the person moving on, but within a very short period of time, we turn our thoughts to the impact on ourselves. This is what we find shocking. Does it mean a position we can apply to? A new co-worker to get to know? More work if nobody is hired to replace them? Yep; it’s all about us in some respects.

Really the theme is about change on several different levels. If you are fortunate to be working, look around you and see every single person you are working with today as someone you will eventually part with. Some will leave for advancement, some for reasons of relocation of a spouse, retirement, some will quit, some fired, some perhaps laid off. If you live consciously, you’ll appreciate them now while you have the chance. If you’re considerate and wise, you might even go so far as to tell them now how much you appreciate working with them. Sure you’ll get a funny look, and they might ask if you have some medical condition that means you’ll be checking out in the near future! The other day I myself told one of the people in my organization how much I really appreciated working with them. I got the look. Then they said, “Thanks”. I could have left somewhat disappointed that they didn’t immediately gush over how great I am too. It wasn’t a statement designed to get a return compliment however but a sincere statement of appreciation for what they bring to the workplace. If you are only hoping to get fussed over by complimenting others, do a re-think. That’s poor motivation that’s self-serving.

Moving on to other challenges and projects can be an exciting time, and even with the excitement you probably will experience stress – albeit positive stress. What to wear the first day in a new job? How easily will I fit in? How long until I actually become productive and know what I’m doing? Where is the washroom?! What if it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

I’m not building up to some surprise announcement of my own in this blog. I am most happy in my current position and value the people I work with on a daily basis. The work is gratifying, the salary sufficient and the stimulation remains high. Will I move on to some other position one day myself? Perhaps. After all, I’ve held many different positions in life to get to this point. It’s very possible that it’ll happen again. However, I suspect others around me will depart sooner than myself. Some are younger and hungry for advancing their careers, some are older and near retirement, and some have personal issues that will eventually cause them to leave this employer and start down other roads in life. Change is inevitable. Best to appreciate those around us now and see change as a positive when it comes for all concerned.

When your time comes to move on, I hope they value you enough to throw you a party!