Appreciate other people’s work posted on 28 March 2024

As a parent of young toddlers, I’m trying to teach them to say thank you more often. This is an underrated skill in the workspace.

Being thankful to others has two large benefits:

  • You will feel better about yourself – saying thank you is a way to recognize someone else’s actions but also for you to acknowledge the work they put in to make your life better. Interestingly enough, this isn’t just about technical work, for example facilities people, administrative assistants etc. are under-appreciated for the work they do.
  • You will build better relationships with your coworkers. This is useful at all levels – people will be more willing to help if you were grateful for their time spent helping you in the past. This is just one of the many soft skills you should have.

While you can say thank you on chat/email, saying thank you in person has tremendously more impact. People will remember it – when I left Google, one of the executive assistants I occasionally worked with told me that they still remembered me telling them thank you for their constant work because it made them feel much more appreciated (and this was was 4 years earlier!).

One interesting thing at Google was that you could send peer bonuses. These were small bonuses ($150) anyone could send to anyone (except your chain of management) for any good reason (because they helped you, because they went above and beyond etc.). I regularly used these to show my appreciation for all the people who spent time working on privacy related issues slightly outside of their usual responsibilities. This helped me build a solid network of peers/friends to tackle org-wide privacy issues without having to go through leadership.

If you have read this post, maybe take this opportunity to say thank you to a coworker (or someone outside work) to show your appreciation of their work/effort – don’t wait for a special occasion.

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