If you’ve had a bad day—or even a tough year—you might be hunting for things to be thankful for at work.
We’re thankful of course for the tough jobs others do that keep us all moving forward: healthcare and hospital workers, police and firefighters, delivery drivers, staff in companies such as grocery stores, senior living centers, and of course, teachers. And that’s just a shortlist.
But no matter whether you’re happy at work or considering a change, there’s more to be thankful for at work than you might have imagined.
Yes, even in our ZoomTeamsWebEx world where laptops are lifelines and pants are optional, here are my favorite six things to be thankful for at work—right where you are, just as you are.
Six Things to Be Thankful for at Work
1. Be thankful for the problems that create your job.
The only reason a job—any job—exists is to solve a set of problems.
The cashier at your local grocery chain exists to solve the problem of how customers pay for their essential items so that the company can pay its farmers, butchers, bakers, and other vendors.
The IT expert exists to solve the problem of what happens when non-techy people need to work more smoothly with technology and internal systems.
The senior executive exists to make the hard decisions around larger, more complex sets of problems, and then to take responsibility to make sure the right people are solving them.
If we have no problems, we have no jobs.
We’ve seen in real-time how once a problem is reduced, the jobs around it reduce, too. For example:
- The problem of getting information to your colleagues and friends around the world goes away when you have Facebook, email, and Zoom—and so go thousands of postal service jobs, too.
- Helping customers withdraw money from their accounts is no longer a problem when you introduce the ATM—and so can reduce teller roles.
- The problem of feeding hungry office workers downtown goes away when those workers remain home—and local restaurants close.
So be grateful for the problems that create your job.
You can still wish them away, but their presence is your present.
2. Be thankful for your colleagues.
It’s great to have friends at work, even if you don’t get to see them in person as often as you might like. Studies have shown that having someone you care about at work is a key contributor to your satisfaction and engagement in the organization.
Human beings are social animals at heart. All of us need some kind of connection with others. All of us need to know, at some level, that we’re seen and heard—that we matter.
Be thankful for the colleagues you can talk to that really make your days bright.
For extra added grateful gravy, take a minute and tell them thanks:
- “Thanks for supporting me.”
- “I really appreciate your great attitude.”
- “Thanks for messaging me in the chat to tell me there was spinach in my teeth.”
- “You’re amazing—I appreciate how you listen and don’t judge when I rant.”
- “I’m not really sure what you do, Bob, but thanks for being there.” <grin>
Don’t assume they know. If you feel it, share it.
I share more strategies for Accelerating Appreciation in chapter 10 of my book, Red Cape Rescue: Save Your Career Without Leaving Your Job. Check it out for more scripts and strategies to accelerate appreciation at any time.
Especially in an accelerated remote world, going out of your way to say thanks will make someone’s day (and isn’t bad for you, either.)
And of course, we all have colleagues who challenge and annoy us, too. Invest a minute and appreciate their unique role in your worklife. After all, the haters make you appreciate the lovers all the more.
3. Be thankful for the superpowers you bring to work.
Even if you haven’t discovered them fully yet, know there is something special and unique about you that you bring to your work, no matter what you do.
You know it. I know it.
Your superpowers are definitely things to be thankful for at work. I’m thankful you have them, too.
4. Be thankful for your emotions (yes, even at work).
It’s outdated advice to believe that we should bypass our emotions in the workplace, especially in a time when we need to recognize and express our emotions more than ever to support our personal resilience.
Positive emotion pulls us forward and motivates us to take the next step. Negative emotions push us back, causing us to hide or play small.
Either way, though, our emotions are big, flashing, body-shaped signs sending out signals that tell us what’s really going on for us.
So, rather than hating your emotions, pushing them aside, being embarrassed by them, or apologizing for them, let’s recognize and appreciate them for what they are. They’re trying to tell you something, so stop, listen, and say thanks.
In fact, our hearts, guts, and bodies are often trying to tell us what we’re feeling long before our brains register anything that our mouths can put into words.
Paying attention to your emotions can be a huge source of practical, real-life data about what you need to do next. Say thanks to your emotions for being your powerful information station.
(Use these strategies to get out of a funk. )
5. Be thankful for your competitors.
Yes, even though there may be days when you just wish they’d go away, your competitors can push you, challenge you, and scare you to try new things—things you may not have done otherwise.
Competitors are a great source of data about other ways to do things and different choices to make.
Plus, they continue to create a new set of problems that reinforce the need for your job (see #1).
Be thankful for them, often and always.
(Plus, you never know when a competitor will someday become a coworker or friend.)
6. Be thankful for yourself.
Don’t sit down at the holiday table without first saying thanks to the person who can do the most for you at work.
Yes, you—not your leader, your manager, or your mom.
- You are the only one who can get clear on what’s most powerful and amazing about you.
- You are the only one who can build your own confidence and recognize that you make a difference.
- Finally, you are the only one who can take control, taking action every day toward creating the life at work that you want.
And if you haven’t done a great job of that to date, it’s not too late.
Engage a mentor or a professional coach.
Don’t give in to the darkness that settles around you when you’re unhappy with your life at work or when you’re seeking new work. Get moving to shine a light on the future.
Because we need you now, more than ever. And we’re thankful for you.
Thanks for being here, and if you want more help
No matter what’s happening in your life at work, a 30-minute chat with me can help you get unstuck and move forward, fast.
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