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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

70

Grateful for Coworkers, Even Eric

Only 10% of adults say thanks to a colleague every day, and just 7% express gratitude daily to a boss, according to a survey this year of 2,007 people for the John Templeton Foundation of West Conshohocken, Pa., a nonprofit organization that sponsors research on creativity, gratitude, freedom and other topics.

"And other topics."

Earlier: Eric.



70 Comments / Post A Comment

area@twitter

"Thanks? You should feel lucky we don't fire you. Now get back to work on those Twinkies!"

carolinaclay

Thank you so much for such a great blog.@y

Mike Dang

Edith, I am always thankful for you.

Edith Zimmerman

@Mike Dang And I am thankful for you, Mike!!

glitterary

What? Where do these people work? My day's involved about six thank yous already, and it's only 2pm. Is it like that bit in Kate Fox's Watching The English where she counted the number of pleases and thank yous in the average supermarket checkout interaction and it was four or five of each? Is this a British thing?

chnellociraptor

@glitterary No, I feel the same as you, but I'm also one of those uber polite Canadians. Is it a direct result of having a queen? I don't get it.

Lily Rowan

I'm American, and say thanks at work constantly! I say it at the end of a meeting with my boss so reflexively that I once thanked a boss for letting me go.

Megan@twitter

@glitterary Also American, and every interaction in my workplace ends with formal thank yous.

olivebee

@glitterary I'm American, and my company is all about the "love your co-worker" vibe. Every Friday, one of the managers puts together an email that she sends out to the whole company that is full of "kudos" to each other that we all submit. So it's just one long email list full of stuff like: Kudos to Bob for your great design presentation! Kudos to Sally for helping me with the site content! etc etc.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@glitterary American, and I'm an obsessive thanker - I firmly believe that not only does it make other people feel good, it sort of reverse civilizes me when I'm in a bad mood; like it reminds me that, even when I want to punch a stranger in the face, saying "thank you" means I can be better than my bad mood. I find it calming.

Bittersweet

@Lily Rowan When I was laid off in early June, my boss called me right before I turned in my laptop (we worked in different cities) and told me how sorry he was that this was happening, and much he appreciated all my hard work over the past 8 years. I thanked him for everything he'd taught me. What else were we gonna do, when all the layoffs were out of our control?

Lily Rowan

@Bittersweet THAT is legit. My boss was saying, "You're fired." And I said, "OK, thanks."

Yeah, no.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@Lily Rowan My dream is to say "Fuck you very much" and have them hear it as "thank you." Dream big!

area@twitter

@MoxyCrimeFighter I really like this angle, and I think it's very true for me as well. When I worked at Starbucks- not the most relaxing of jobs- it made such a difference when the person I was serving smiled and said "thank you". I always try to remember that when I'm being served. (Particularly when I'm grumpy.)

Bittersweet

@Lily Rowan Ugh, ugh, ugh. Reflexive politeness can be a real pain in the butt.

Blushingflwr

@area@twitter Yes, I am very big on "please" and "thank you" to anyone who is doing something for me (I am also a generous tipper). I also always say "thanks" or "have a great day" to the bus driver when I get off the bus (assuming I exit via the front door).

olivebee

@Blushingflwr Same here. A waiter would basically have to throw the food at my face for me to not tip at least 20%, and I always say thank you to bus drivers, as well. I have had so many people ask me why I thank them when that is their job (i.e. they are not doing me a favor), but who ever said that people shouldn't be thanked for doing their job?

When I worked retail, it drove me nuts when customers didn't say thanks after I rang them up and said "have a nice day" to them. It is seriously so rude. How hard is it to muster up a freaking thank you?

Blushingflwr

@olivebee Yeah, they're just doing their jobs, but they showed up to work and did it well. I already have a 15-minute walk to the Metro, the bus means I don't have an additional 20-minute walk to the office; they may not be doing me a personal favor, but they are providing me with a valuable service that I appreciate. I know they didn't show up to work just for me, but that's not the point. I've had plenty of customer service jobs, and it always made me feel good when someone would praise me and express gratitude for doing what was just my job and completely within company policy.

the roughest toughest frail

@olivebee I was always genuinely surprised when people responded with "and you?" after I asked how their day was going when I was working retail. I just became conditioned to not expect customers to be polite, I guess.

That said, I have had to ask my coworkers not to send thank you reply-emails every freaking time I send a message out. I get it, you're being super-nice, but my inbox is 90% thank you emails!

Elsajeni

@glitterary I'm American and thank people a lot at work, but I also work retail, so 1) a smiley "Thank you!" is a scripted part of my day and bleeds into my interactions with coworkers and 2) my day involves a lot of people doing things that really directly help me, like coming to open another register or relieving me so I can go on break. I can imagine that working in an office, especially if you work on your own for most of the day, would be less thanks-inducing.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@area@twitter Oh, man, absolutely I do it for people in counter-service, especially coffee places where they're inundated with special, fussy orders and jerky people. And I tend to frequent the same venues, so not only am I doing it just to be a decent human being, I want to be remembered as a nice person!

sarah girl

What if you work with people who all sign off on emails with "Thanks"? Does that count?

TheclaAndTheSeals

@Sarah H. My emails all begin with thanks- "Thanks for your quick response!" "Thanks for letting me know XYZ." "Thanks for working with So-and-so on this." Some are more sincere than others...

So does saying thanks meaning literally just the words "thanks," or does it mean "Thanks + something meaningful," eg "Thanks for helping me with this task"?

werewolfbarmitzvah

@Sarah H. Every email I send or receive at work is just a parade of "THANKS THANKS THANKS THANKS THANKS THANKS THANKS THANKS THANKS."

Scandyhoovian

@Sarah H. I DO THAT. Everything ends in "Thanks," for some reason. It's kind of just turned into a habit. I mean, USUALLY I'm asking someone to do something, so it makes some sense, but it's become a thing.

Bittersweet

@werewolfbarmitzvah It starts to look funny when you write it out a bunch of times, doesn't it?

KatieBarTheDoor

@Bittersweet Sometimes I'll sign off an email with "Thanks" just out of habit, and then realize later that it didn't make sense... like, telling someone something does not require thanks on my part, but I'm so conditioned to be polite that I write it anyway? Or something.

teaandcakeordeath

@all
This is what I always do. Thanks for the validation.

Thanks.

z(oo)mm

@teaandcakeordeath I got an email last week that ended with "Please comply" which must be the opposite of "thanks," right?

sarah girl

@z(oo)mm Are you communicating with a Dalek?

Blushingflwr

@Sarah H. I was wondering the same thing!

teaandcakeordeath

@z(oo)mm
I like how that sounds as polite as it does ominous.

whateverlolawants

@z(oo)mm Oh lord, do I want to start saying that all the time.

SarahP

I thanked my boss first thing this morning! ...because yesterday he dropped off a roaster oven on my front porch.

Also, I wonder how this reflects on how often people say thanks in general? I thank people for small things all the time, like when the lady next to me on the bus shifted a little in her seat so I could squeeze past her to get out. So I end up thanking my boss and coworkers for things fairly often.

Mira

@SarahP Yep, I'm a compulsive thanker. It puts me in a good (better) mood, plus sometimes I get free stuff from startled service-sector workers. (Saying thank you to airport employees often results in mysterious upgrades!)

My workplace is compulsive thank yous, all the time. Sometimes it's pretty passive-aggressive, but still.

Decca

Completely off-topic but I am very impatient to see @Verity in a comment thread because I have something very bizarre and exciting to tell her. @VERITY WHERE ARE YOOOOO?

Verity

@Decca I am here! Tell me all.

leonstj

THAT'S WHAT THE MONEY'S FOR (And also, the lack of bees. The lack of bees are my way of thanking my team.)

Lily Rowan

@leon s That is seriously my favorite line of television, definitely about work, maybe of all time.

rimy

I feel like thank yous would be superfluous and weird in my place of employment.

I mean, if I ask someone a question and they help me, I say thank you and vice versa... What kind of thanks are we talking about, here, anyway?

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@rimy "Good morning, thank you for being at work. Also, thank you for sitting at your desk. And thank you thank you thank you for not refilling the coffee pot after you took the last cup! *wink!*"

yeah-elle

@rimy At one of my workplaces, we say thanks mostly when things/projects/files exchange hands. Like someone will drop something off at my desk, I'll say thanks, then I'll finish my part and hand it off to someone else, and they'll say thanks, so on and so forth.

Lily Rowan

Also, that's not really how I'd characterize the work of the Templeton Foundation.

Emby

@Lily Rowan Right? Disingenuous just a little bit.

Lily Rowan

@Emby What about the Big Questions, man??

Emby

@Lily Rowan Big Questions equals we'll pay you to find and or/make up evidence that God Did It.

(Bizarrely, having the equals sign in there totally messed up the formatting an deleted words!)

Emby

Honestly, I'd get a little creeped out if one of my coworkers was just always thanking me for things.

-"Thanks, Emby, for getting me that story on deadline."
"Oh, sure. No problem."

-"And thank you for including a headline and a using appropriate fonts."
"Uh, yeah. OK. You're welcome."

"Thanks for making your sentences have proper subject-verb agreement."
"..no probs. I'm going to—"

-"Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sending it to me via our company's electronic mail system. It meant so much to me that it arrived in my inbox."
"—to go get my coffee now. Talk to you later."

-"Thank you for telling me your plans and bidding me farewell. Means the world. Really. Thank you."

datalass

@Emby Truly, there is a guy in my current office who does exactly this.

Me: I'm sending you this early because I'll be out tomorrow.
Him: Thank you so much for having the consideration to send this earlier than the deadline. I sincerely appreciate it. Also, thank you for telling me your plans. Because of the possibility that, tomorrow someone will inquire about you, it helps me to know that you will not be here. Thank you>

I'm very serious about this conversation.

TARDIStime

@datalass I actually relate to "Him".
As the receptionist in my office, it is amazing how many people go on leave/just leave the office for a meeting without telling me. When someone actually does take the time to let me know the day before, I am WAY more appreciative than is probably necessary, and if they actually submitted work to me BEFORE deadline? HOLY SHIT. :-O
But really, this is such an important thing for me to know and it's so frustrating for everyone involved when I'm not told!

That email's phrasing is pretty special, though!

Heat Signature

Who thanks their boss on a DAILY basis, though? Kiss asses, that's who.

Blushingflwr

@Heat Signature I don't think I even TALK to my boss on a daily basis

MilesofMountains

@Heat Signature I talk to my boss once a week, when he calls to ask me what I'm working on. I don't even think I thank him once a week.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Heat Signature My boss just filled the office fridge with four cases of beer to celebrate at the end of the day. He was heartily thanked. I think we might have hoisted him on our shoulders and paraded him down the street.

Barry Grant

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Are there any openings there for graphics people? Seriously, I fantasize about punching my boss on a daily basis.

My coworkers get thanked all the time because they are nice and actual humans.

fondue with cheddar

I will thank my boss if he ever starts giving us annual raises again.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

Last week, I helped one of my coworkers with something - extremely simple, that took maybe 5 seconds, but she'd never done it before and was swamped and didn't have time to figure it out - and she brought me flowers the next day to say thanks (in addition to actually saying thanks)! It was very sweet and unexpected.

area@twitter

@sudden but inevitable betrayal That's wonderful. :D I started a new job recently, and I put together a spreadsheet for a coworker to help do some slightly complicated tracking. It was reasonably simple for me, but she was so obviously delighted by it and mentioned to a number of our coworkers how great it was. Made me feel pretty good.

KatieBarTheDoor

I cannot tolerate my boss as a human being and interact with him as little as possible (which is made easier by the fact that he is never around and doesn't really do anything ever), so it is rare that I thank him for anything.

thisisunclear

I love my boss and I love my interns and I fear in the case of the latter I tell them they're special TOO much and will get big intern heads.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@thisisunclear
time for intern bobbleheads!

thisisunclear

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll ohmahgah that would be amazing, both of my interns have awesome and distinctive spectacles.

MilesofMountains

I thank our editors and graphics people anytime they do something for me, but most of my coworkers and I are pretty autonomous at work, so I doubt I thank them every day. I thanked my coworker yesterday for his unprompted performance of Snoopy vs. the Red Baron. Does that count?

TARDIStime

I thanked both my bosses today for giving me permission to leave early on Friday to sign my rental lease.
I greet them warmly in the mornings and depart with a wave and a friendly "bye!" in the evenings.
I think I do enough to express gratitude by doing my job properly, as well as the above, as well as just general courtesy.

whateverlolawants

I thank my boss and coworkers all the time (retail environment), but we also text each other about silly non-work-related things a lot. My boss texted me a pro-Obama RuPaul meme photo-thing on election night and then told me he was drunk, so that's how my work environment goes.

Today I told my boss that I felt it was time for him to take a break. (Just a 30-minute one, not a sabbatical.) He's had a terrible week (his elderly dad was hospitalized and is losing his independence.) Normally he's really on top of things and in a good mood, but he was not today. And it was Black Friday. It's very out of character for me to just tell my boss to go take some time away, but I suggested it and he just nodded and said, "Yeah... I'll go do that." Poor guy. But he came back happier!

I'm actually really grateful to work with him and my other coworkers (most of the time.)

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