Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Gratitude: Not a Thanksgiving leftover

Lots of us are probably polishing off the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers -- and here's one more. The idea of "thankfulness" at work. As someone who writes a lot about unemployment, of course I am thankful that I have my job. Because I meet so many unemployed people, I know a job is something you can't take for granted. At the same time, I don't mean the kind of thanks that is groveling -- I mean a genuine appreciation for those around me.

Gratitude: Not a Thanksgiving leftover

Lots of us are probably polishing off the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers -- and here's one more. The idea of "thankfulness" at work. As someone who writes a lot about unemployment, of course I am thankful that I have my job. Because I meet so many unemployed people, I know a job is something you can't take for granted. At the same time, I don't mean the kind of thanks that is groveling -- I mean a genuine appreciation for those around me. 

My personal philosophy has to do with appreciation -- and it turns out that there is an author who agrees. The author is Liz Jazwiec and the book is called "Eat that Cookie! Make Workplace Positivity Pay Off... For Individuals, Teams and Organizations." Ordinarily a book with this kind of title awakens my inner retching, but I'm going to go with the idea.

In general, I think that the days go better when we appreciate those around us -- whether they are customers, co-workers, bosses or underlings. The cynical part says that gratitude increases production and it probably does. But I'm strictly being selfish. I prefer to have a pleasant day. Not that I don't get angry or disappointed at stuff that happens I work. Lord knows I do. But, I prefer, if possible, to combat all the nonsense at work and from some people I encounter with pleasantness and gratitude. It's like creating a "niceness" shield to keep annoyances and downright meanness from splattering my spirit.

So here are some of Jazwiec's points:

1. A boss who doesn't appreciate his workers creates a negative attitude that feeds on itself.

2. Don't forget to say "thanks" to your boss, when it is genuine and when it does not smack of kissing up. And don't make a big deal. Just say thanks

3. Do be specific. In our line of business, it seems so phony when someone says, "Great story," but then you realize they read the first two paragraphs. This shouldn't be hard to do. Look for something really good and comment. If you can't find it, don't comment.

4. When someone thanks you, say, "You are welcome. I'm glad it was helpful." Keep it short. (And enjoy it!)

5. Don't forget to thank clients and vendors.

In that spirit, I'd like to thank the people that I interview for helping me get the understanding I need in order to write. I especially want to thank the laid off people I meet for sharing their lives with me and our readers. And, in that spirit, I'd also like to say thank you to the readers of this blog and to the readers of our Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Hope you had a great holiday and are still enjoying those leftovers.  

About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
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