Appreciating Co-Workers

May the 16th isn’t, “Co-worker Appreciation Day”. Come to think of it I don’t know that there is such a day, although if there is I’m confident someone will point it out to me. Good thing actually in my opinion; I mean do we really need a day to remind us to appreciate the good in those we work alongside throughout the year?

Maybe the answer to that question is yes. I mean we have a day for Administrative Professionals called Secretaries’ day in some jurisdictions. That’s often when the various Supervisors in organizations get the Administrative team members out for lunch in our organization and an email goes out reminding us all to show some gratitude for the support we receive.

Seems to me that real gratitude should come from people without reminding or prompting, and it should come throughout the year not just on a specific day on a calendar. However, like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, it’s a day of celebration and I’m certainly not going to suggest we abolish any of these. Some people do need a reminder to say thanks, whether it’s for a parent or those in the workplace.

I wonder though if we do enough of a good job thanking those we work with for being the people they are; for making our own workplaces more enjoyable places to work. Our co-workers do make our places of employment more enjoyable don’t they? If you can’t think of anyone where you work who deserves a word of thanks, could be its high time you moved on. Good co-workers are first and foremost good people and good people are a treasure to surround yourself by.

It’s these people who ask how your day is going, who mean it when they say you seem different from your normal self and ask if there’s anything wrong or something they can do. These are the ones that celebrate your birthday, tell you to go easy on the days you’re not at your best, and cover for you as best they can when you’re away. If you’re lucky, you come back after vacations to find less work on your plate than you might have otherwise accumulated.

Your co-workers are the ones who support you and compliment you on the quality of work you do. Count yourself fortunate if you share your personal workspace with someone who you see as integral to influencing the kind of worker you’ve become. They might mentor you officially or not, but the way they go about their business surely rubs off on you to a lesser or greater degree. When it’s them on their holiday, doesn’t your work area miss them? Isn’t there a big part of you that truly hopes that they are really enjoying their time no matter what it is they are doing? You know how much they put in when at work and so you wish them sunshine, good weather, lots of reasons to smile and laugh. Most of all you hope they come back feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and you’re one of the first to ask how they enjoyed the time off.

If you haven’t really given much thought to the one who shares your space, just imagine walking in and learning they or you will be relocating to another part of the building. Even if you enjoy change and the idea of working in close proximity with someone new is appealing, hopefully part of you acknowledges the good times you’ve shared together and is grateful for those moments.

In my case, I’ve shared my two-person office with the same person for 10 years now. Wow! 10 years! I’m very appreciative of him and know the positive impact we have on each other’s performance. Even when we swing our chairs around and talk of our families, sports news, plans for the weekend or vacation plans, it’s all productive time. It might not seem productive of course to others, but building and nurturing a relationship with someone you spend this much time with has to improve your working relationship tremendously.

The time will eventually come when one or both of us moves on, either to another place in the office we work at or to another site completely. While the change will be good and the new office mate welcomed, the relationship we have together will never be truly replicated. I’m grateful in the here and now and I know he is too; and that’s significant to note.

The others I work with, be they on my team, at reception, my Supervisor, those on other teams of course are all important too. If I were building my, ‘dream team’, I’d count many of these people among those I want on board. Of course it’s not that every single person has to be a, ‘best buddy’ or a close working associate. I imagine I’m not on every single co-worker’s list if they assembled their dream team either. That would be unreasonable to expect. However, what is important is that each person get their due of credit for what they do contribute.

Consider thanking those you work with not just for a day but each day. What might you point out that you appreciate in your co-workers. Could be the word of thanks you pass on is just what they needed to hear. These people you work alongside make your workplace what it is.


We Have To Do More, People

2015 is going to be here in a couple of weeks. When it arrives, beyond the festivities of New Year’s Eve and the wee hours of New Years Day, it may not look on first glance to be much different from 2014 but it will be.

I’m an optimist and a realist and rarely if ever a pessimist. When I do catch myself be somewhat of a pessimist I do what I can to alter my attitude and check my thoughts. Looking into 2015 I see challenges which if we do what we’ve always done, we may not overcome and our communities will be less well off than they might be otherwise.

As Employment Counsellors, Career Advisors and Recruiters, we’ve got to raise our expectations of ourselves, do more to invest ourselves with our clients, be proactive and impactful. You and I might sometimes wonder how on earth that’s possible if we feel we are already overtaxed, but I suspect (and no arrogance intended) you and I, we have the capacity to dig deeper and give more.

The philanthropists out there this means you too. There are an increasing number of middle class people who are getting squeezed by employers on the one hand who can’t pay more wages, and governments on the other who are raising taxes to pay for infrastructure we need. Your past generosity to aid the poor, to heal the ill through the provision of medical devices, to feed the hungry and house the destitute have been sincerely appreciated. You know as do I however that the need remains, that children are still living in poverty, that more folks will be laid off and out of work in the year to come. Please step up and encourage others with the resources to make a difference.

Are you a politician? You’ve got our thanks and you’ve got our wallets. You’re to be thanked for putting yourself under such public scrutiny, but you and I both know you are capable of better. Stop the squabbling and the political bantering and posturing. Get on with making decisions regardless of party politics and get things done that improve all our lives. Create jobs not red tape by getting the transit expansion underway and approve more affordable housing.

If you are looking for work you too can do more. You have to recapture that enthusiasm for the job search and overcome all that frustration and bitterness that you’ve experienced. Yes it is tough and there are many setbacks and disappointments. Reach out and get the help you need and keep asking for help. Write cover letters if you haven’t, target your resume if you haven’t always done that, give it more effort not less and get in charge of your own job search again. Make it happen in 2015.

If you run a business remember it’s the people you employ who make or break your business. Invest more in them by positively reinforcing their effort. Train them to be better but do it with kindness not as punishment. Where you can, raise their wages and give them a better standard of life. Compliment good behaviour, thank them for helping put money in your own pocket. Treat your customers with respect because these people are YOUR livelihood.

If you’ve got a job that nobody seems to think is very important like running a gas station, picking up the trash, walking the kids safely across the street or bringing food to a table, perform it better. You know you can smile more, interact with the people with a more positive attitude, and serve them better. Work like your job is important because you are important; and you are. You’re needed and valued if not always appreciated; that’s most of us.

You who have positions of influence and power have a higher responsibility to use your positions for good. With your work you’ve got a daily opportunity to be self-indulgent or become the better person you wanted to be long ago when you resented and wanted to replace people who were greedy, lazy, self-absorbed and ignored the real challenges. Okay so you are in that position now and unlike most of us have the power and influence to make significant changes. Do what you can with a social conscience.

You who are volunteering and giving of your time I personally extend deep gratitude to. You make days brighter, lift burdens from those who would otherwise fall, clothe, feed and house people with your gifts of skill and time. You’re needed more than ever in the coming year and you’ll be counted on to do more in 2015 because givers do just that; they give.

And you and I whomever you are, we can do simple things to do more. We can smile on the street, complain less, appreciate others more, do our work with enthusiasm, use our manners, stop being so high maintenance ourselves and learn what being needy really means. Extend a hand in greeting, speak kinder of each other and be the better people that we all have the capacity to be and want to be viewed by others as being.

We all have to do more because waiting for someone else to do it is a fools game. There are threats to our standard of living around us, but there are opportunities in all places, and every day. Thanks for doing what you do on behalf of those who benefit from it. Now lets you and me get out there and give more of ourselves.