I wrote this to someone the other day:
“Thank you. We all need some encouragement in life, even for those things that we do because we love to do them.”
I truly was thankful to the other person. They are a regular reader of my blog posts, and they provide comments back to me every once in a while. Think about it. They take a little time out of their week to dedicate to me. They don’t have to do that, but they do.
I write my blog posts because I love to write. I find it fun to write about the subject of careers. There is a sense of accomplishment, of completing a task, that I find stimulating. I recognize that not many people read my posts. I am not looking for a national following or expecting to make fame or fortune from the blog. It is simply something I love to do.
The gratitude I felt from the other person’s simple gesture of commenting on my posts was more profound that I would have guessed initially. After all, if I do something because I like to do it, why do I care what others say?
That got me thinking.
Encouragement and acknowledgement matter. They do lead to joy. And we all probably don’t spend enough energy doing either one of them.
What people in our life might we encourage or acknowledge? Is there someone doing something very simple, that we get some occasional satisfaction from? It could be the mail carrier. How about the friendly face at Starbucks, Dunkin or Panera? Perhaps it is the person we see walking on the indoor track or lifting weights who is not the most fit person in the world, but is trying hard.
We also overestimate how awkward saying thank you really is and underestimate how much joy it will bring the other person – Jessica Stillman
If you work, take a moment to think about those people who do things that make your life a little better. The computer network is always up and running. The conference rooms are (relatively) clean. Someone made sure that we have a new printer to use. It is so true that we sometimes only recognize something when it breaks.
That begs the question: What if I made some small gesture, occasionally, to acknowledge that something worked?
What is the cost of that gesture to me? Virtually nothing. What might be the return someone else gets from it? Immeasurable.
Simple acknowledgement by me (minimal effort) = Huge joy for them (maximum benefit)
That is quite a winning equation. We all underestimate the impact we can have on others. We overthink the amount of effort we have to put into a gesture in order to “do it right”. Or maybe we don’t think about it at all. Often, we assume because someone is doing some task that it is not necessary to acknowledge them. Ever. But I know that is not the case. This is a case where “a little goes a long way”.
Let’s turn that to job search.
The job seeker gets a note saying “your resume has been received”, “you are being considered” or “we will get back to you”. Might a thank you be in order? Someone takes some of their time to pass along a networking contact, look at our resume or simply ask us how things are going. Do we thank them later? We see a fellow job seeker, do we have a word of encouragement for them?
How about if you have a job? A job seeker asks for some feedback. We have a discussion with someone about their job search. Do you follow up with them? We could take a moment to send them an encouraging note. Small gesture. Big reward. Got five minutes? Do it this week. To someone. Anyone. You will multiply your impact.
Here is a really short article on the subject of thank you: https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/study-if-you-understood-how-much-people-like-being-thanked-youd-express-more-gratitude.html