I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

In Praise of Thanks

For the past several weeks, I've not been doing much in the way of cooking at work. I've spent the vast majority of that time in the Kitchen Management office, helping them roll out a new software program. In the middle of this project, one of the major team members suffered a work-related injury and I ended up doing some of her tasks while she recovered. It's been long. It's been sometimes boring. It's been frustrating because I'd rather be in a kitchen, not out of it. At the same time, it's given me a huge amount of insight into the running of a food-related business, experience in dealing with suppliers and staffing issues, and in general been a great learning experience. (Although I would be remiss if I didn't confess that I had complained about it - loudly- once or twice or okay, three or four times.)

One of the best parts about this foray into culinary administration has been the relationship I've developed with one of the other staff. (And I christen thee, for blog purposes, 'Jewel.') I could wax lyrical about how much I adore her, but this post isn't about that (sorry babe.) Recently she and I were discussing the concept of thanks and appreciation from a work point of view. Previously I've talked about how I don't like certain rewards. You know, I just don't want to get stuff. I don't want spa gift certificates, I don't want movies or dinner out with my workmates. All I really, really, really want ... is for the person I'm working for to say thanks. A lot. And mean it.

Pshaw! (I hear you thinking) You can't be serious. You don't want anything? Truth is, NO, I don't. Because what I'm giving you is my time, my dedication, my attitude, my talent, my lots-of-non-monetary things. I want you, dear boss person, to give that right back to me. Reward me with your non-tangibles. Which, I have to say, Jewel has done in SPADES. She really LISTENED when I said that's what I wanted.

I should say that this topic came up because she and I were talking about the fact that HER reward for working her guts out was the HR Manager coming into the office, handing her an envelope, and saying, "Maybe you should open this later" and then walking out. No surprise, people, it was a voucher for some facial treatments. As Jewel wryly commented, "Great! They repay me for my hard work by telling me I have bad skin?" That kind of thank you isn't really a thank you at all. It's a here's-a-present-now-shut-up-and-work-more token gesture.

I invited Jewel over to dinner this past Friday, and she handed me an envelope, too. I knew she was way too smart to give me a &*(^**%! spa voucher, so I assumed it was a nice thank you card. I was only 50% right. It was by far one of the nicest thank you cards I've ever gotten, plus a family pack of tickets to the Royal Melbourne Show. A show which frankly, I couldn't really afford to go to otherwise. A show which I really wanted to take my kids to.

Her message said, in part,

"...so I know that we have spoken at length about rewards and 'thank yous'...but I know deep inside everyone loves a gift still! ... All the long hours away from your family are hard to get back...so have a fantastic time at the Show."

Finally. Someone who gets it. Jewel has given me her honest appreciation of what I've done for her and the company, and given me precious time with my family. She got it so very, very right. As someone who (in T minus 3 weeks) will be a business owner, manager, HR person, bosslady, and everything else... I appreciate her leading by example. She asked me how I wanted to be thanked. She listened. She did it, and then added a surprise bonus.

Jewel has provided me with one of the best examples of true, meaningful thanks I've had yet.

This post is my thanks back.
(no blackhead squeezing and facial scrubs required.)

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