Workplace Rights

Weekly (11/27/11)

Topic of the Week  Holiday Spirit: Bring Thanksgiving to Work Everyday

Holiday Spirit: Bring Thanksgiving to Work Everyday:

  • Do Create a Virtuous Cycle.
  • Do Seek Out Gratitude.
  • Do a Daily Act of Kindness.
  • Don't Overlook Your Enemies.

Holiday Spirit: Bring Thanksgiving to Work Everyday

We all know that the holiday season is the time of the year to be thankful. Are you kidding me? With our portfolios in the tank, our jobs at risk and our confidence gone, thankfulness is not the first thing that leaps to mind for most of us today. But, just when we have so little to care for, I'll show you why it's more important than ever to care. Which reminds me of an article from Time Magazine that pointed out that Thanksgiving started out as a day of fasting and prayer. But the Wampanoag Indians, who joined the pilgrims for their 3-day celebration, had a different way to celebrate in mind, a feast.
From fast to feast, I didn't see that coming. Neither did I anticipate how much I'd like the phrase "gratitude is all about attitude." I saw it on the Internet and immediately thought it sounded like throw away line from a motivational speaker. But the more that I thought about it, the more sense that it made to me. So I'll give you three Do's and one Don't for expressing gratitude at work.

Do Create a Virtuous Cycle. We all know about vicious cycles today. Oh, how we know. But most people have never thought about the opposite, a virtual cycle. That's where we push sarcasm and cynicism aside and accentuate the positive. My favorite example comes from a woman who wrote to me years ago. Her boss had asked her to do something unethical and she just burst out laughing. Quickly the word got around that you could stand up for your ethics and it changed the entire culture of the company.

Do Seek Out Gratitude. It is great to give gratitude. But sometimes before you can give it, you've got to get some. Which reminds me of an old consulting client named Melissa. She had lost touch with all of the good deeds she'd done at work. So I encouraged her to call former work colleagues and friends to get some perspective on what she'd accomplished. She resisted for weeks. Then finally one day she called saying that she'd been reminded of a variety of things she'd done for others, most of which she'd long since forgotten about.

Do a Daily Act of Kindness. Bringing in baked goods, remembering someone's birthday or giving someone a heads-up when you see them heading toward a ditch.

Don't Overlook Your Enemies. Often when we think of gratitude we think of the people who've helped us, had our back or who we like. But gratitude can also be valuable when it's directed at your enemies. Offer to buy them a cup of coffee or even lunch. I can't tell you how many difficult relationships have been healed for me simply by buying a cup of coffee and offering an olive branch.On researcher, Dr. Emmons, found that when we express gratitude we are 25% happier. Imagine that, being grateful to others is actually good for our health.

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

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""Ambition breaks the ties of blood, and forgets the obligations of gratitude." "


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