A Pause For Giving Thanks: Why Gratitude Is Totally Work Appropriate

Gratitude at work

It’s nothing new to give thanks for our loved ones on Thanksgiving. But as we think of our family and friends, it’s also a good time to reflect on the people who have helped us in our careers. The mentor who supported you from the start. The boss who, in retrospect, taught you more than you realized at the time. The work BFF who makes the hard days a little easier.

I have a long list of people who have made my professional career more successful, more interesting and a lot more fun. At the top of that list are you, my blog readers, Tweeps and LinkedIn crew, who always inspire me and help me see new perspectives. So, THANK YOU very, very much.

If you’re feeling grateful career-wise, here are some fresh tips and helpful reminders on showing gratitude in the workplace:

Handwritten Notes: Still the Gold Standard

“Handwritten notes are unusual, but they can be effective when sent in conjunction with an emailed thank you. They take time to draft, each word carefully chosen with no ‘undo’ or ‘autocorrect’ to fall back on. A handwritten thank you involves selecting stationery, paying for stamps and visiting a mailbox. The notes indicate investment, and that very costliness indicates value.”  —  Read more at Business News Daily.  

You Can Learn a Lot from Writing Gratitude Emails

“Lesson one in gratitude: You have to make it a priority. No one will do it for you, and you can always put it off. Like many important, non-urgent things that usually are your life’s most valuable things, if you want to do it, you have to not do other things for a while. … It feels good to thank people. Their responses seemed to show that I made them feel good and gave them the chance to write back, which felt good. … It gave me a way to spend time on my most important relationships for mutual benefit.” —  Read more at Inc.   

A Meaningful Thank-You Gift Doesn’t Have to Be Lavish

“No matter what someone in your network does for you—set you up with an informational interview, review your resume, give you life-changing advice—he or she always deserves a proper thanks. So, if you want to go above and beyond for the person who went above and beyond for you, here are 18 great gift ideas that’ll only cost you $10 at the most.” [I love the grammar pencils and business card holder!] —  Read more at The Muse.   

There’s a Link Between Gratitude and Job Satisfaction

“A study out of the University of Melbourne found that gratitude at work can have far-reaching effects on job satisfaction and employee well-being. More specifically, the researchers found that ‘institutional gratitude’ has the most significant impact on employees and a company’s culture. This kind of gratitude is ‘culturally embedded within the organization, through its people, policies and practices,’ in ways that make thankfulness and appreciation ‘customary features of daily work life.’” —  Read more at Dropbox.

Create a Gratitude Cascade

“The more practice you give your brain at feeling and expressing gratitude, the more it adapts to this mind-set — you could even think of your brain as having a sort of gratitude ‘muscle’ that can be exercised and strengthened (not so different from various other qualities that can be cultivated through practice, of course). If this is right, the more of an effort you make to feel gratitude one day, the more the feeling will come to you spontaneously in the future. It also potentially helps explain another established finding, that gratitude can spiral: The more thankful we feel, the more likely we are to act pro-socially toward others, causing them to feel grateful and setting up a beautiful virtuous cascade.” —  Read more at New York Magazine.

What’s the most memorable work thank-you note you’ve sent or received? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.


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