With unemployment stubbornly high and economic indicators looking ill, it can seem as though there isn’t much to be thankful for when it comes to the workplace. But career coach Karen Litzinger thinks a little thanks could go a long way at the water cooler.
Gratitude in the workplace is “greatly needed more than ever because people are doing more work with less staff because of the shrinking workforce,” Litzinger said.
Compounding the problem, she said, is the introduction to the workplace of so-called millennials who grew up in a world where every Little League player received a trophy.
But incorporating some gratitude into your life isn’t just one big group rendition of “Kumbaya” (see how well that goes at your next big meeting).
True gratitude in the office goes beyond a simple “thank-you” card — it personalizes thanks and focuses on what you specifically value about that colleague.
Timeliness is important in thanking colleagues for a job well done, Litzinger said. Grouping all recognition to an awards banquet or company picnic can “isolate gratitude and make it appear like a duty,” she said.
An appreciation for gratitude can help those out of work, as well.
Focusing on the positive during a job search isn’t easy, but it will help attract possible employers who have little patience with a “poor me” attitude, Litzinger said.
And, of course, a thank-you note always leaves a good impression after a job interview. Consider sending one even if you don’t get the job, she said. A quick note thanking the interviewers for their time can keep you in the running for any future openings.
To help with overall feelings of gratitude, Litzinger suggests writing five things you’re thankful for each day in a gratitude journal. It’s a way to personally grow that will have positive effects in the workplace.
The five items can be big (“my spouse”) to small (“my funny key chain”). After some time of keeping the journal, you start to look for items to include in each day’s entry, and focus on positive things rather than “the negative gossip around the water cooler,” Litzinger.
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