Thursday, July 28, 2011

Showing Appreciation for the Good Things in Life

Today has been an interesting day even though it’s been rather quiet at work.

For one thing, I received my official notification that I had made the ‘elite’ group who will be rewarded for my efforts with a trip to London at work. I knew it was coming but it was still a thrill to get the email that congratulated me and made it ‘official’.

It makes me appreciate my job and my company even more than I do already. While I do think that good workers shouldn’t need incentives dangled in front of their faces like a greyhound at a racetrack, I do think that they make things more fun. I’d like to think that I’d do my job just as well with the incentives but it definitely makes the stakes a little higher.

The interesting thing about incentives is that they play a dual role. Certainly, they give us something to work towards. You dangle a free trip to London in front of me and I’m going to bloody well make sure I get to go. Yet there’s another side to it. It creates a huge sense of loyalty and pride in my company that they actually want to reward us like this and that they actually do. Compared to my last company whose main rewards included awkward bagels and even more awkward organized social events, the differences are glaring. Even on my worst days here, I don’t have to talk myself into getting out of bed and going to work. I don’t have to blast rebellious music as I drive in order to psych myself up to face another day. I don’t have any overwhelming urges to throttle my boss with a yoga strap. Nor do I have to retreat to The Most Optimistic Bathroom in the World in order to make myself giggle at the absurdity of it all.

No, even without the rewards, I like this job because they make me feel appreciated. Even without the trip to London or the occasional cash bonuses we get, the fact that my boss tells me that I’m doing a good job does wonders. Our company CEO makes sure he comes to our branch from the main office in Chicago once in a while just to see us all and make sure he knows that our work is appreciated.

So, even though the rewards and incentives are nice, I find that I want to do a good job because I don’t want to disappoint any one. It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes to like and respect your boss because he actually knows what you do on a daily basis. Yes, there’s a little bitterness still there towards my old boss but it’s slowly dissipating in response to my current boss.

I think appreciation goes a long, long way with most human beings. Because there have been times when I’ve done things without so much of a thank you and been hurt, I do try very hard to make sure I thank people when they’ve done something good or nice for me. I try to be a good tipper in a restaurant. I try to make sure people know when what they’ve done means a lot to me. It’s one of those small things that goes a very long way.

Like most humans, I respond well to appreciation. Granted, when the appreciation comes in the form of being granted a free trip to London, I tend to respond rather more excitedly than, for example, with a free leftover promotional favour from a past conference. My old boss once gave me a coaster he found in his office. Sad to say, I was extremely grateful. Needless to say, I’ve made a step up I think.

Another reason my day was rather interesting was because I received another form of appreciation: Fan mail. Now that I’ve made The Reluctant Demon free for e-book download, I’m finding that my “sales” have literally doubled. I’ve had two rather lovely emails already telling me how much the reader has enjoyed my book and demanding to know when the sequel comes out.

It’s a very humbling feeling, I admit. I may not ever make the bestselling lists but to know that people are out there, reading my book and actually liking it is a pretty amazing thing. It’s exciting. My lovely friend, Ms. P, is a librarian and she’s actually put The Reluctant Demon on their library’s “hot summer reading list”. I’m in the company of George R.R. Martin and Jane Austin. I’m slightly awestruck by this but I think it’s pretty fabulous of her. Thanks, Ms. P!

All in all this email is pretty much my way of saying how nice it is to be appreciated. There are times in life when I feel quite the opposite and I do a lot of venting so I thought it would be nice to write about the flipside. I find that one of my flaws is that I’m quick enough to complain and vent but I don’t always remember to be grateful and happy about the things that are good in life. It’s too easy to see the bad sometimes and not so easy to see the good.

So, today, I’m seeing all of the good and appreciating every moment of it. And, to top it all off, tomorrow is Friday and weekends are something else to be truly appreciated, no matter how much we enjoy our jobs.

Happy Friday and thanks for reading!

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