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Los Angeles, CA, United States


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just say Thank You!!!

Gratitude, appreciation, a simple thank you.  Is that too much to ask?  Growing up, parents just reminded their kids ad nauseum to say thank you.  I hear it today when I'm visiting friends who are parents.  So why has appreciation and thanks becoming more rare these days?

Here are some examples of lack of appreciation.  From time to time, I get emailed by complete strangers asking specific questions and wanting more details from a review I wrote about a particular service.  The emails are usually specific with a list of questions bullet-pointed and really wanting detail.  I enjoy helping others and don't have an issue with answering an email and providing specifics.  It will usually take about 5 to 10 minutes to provide the info and that includes pulling out a file or opening and excel spreadsheet.  All in the quest to be a "Man for Others" as my fellow Cubs will attest to.  About 2/3 will respond back with a quick note of thanks.  The other 1/3 will take the info, digest it and move on.

We've even seen this phenomenon from friends. A friend asked for details about our wedding because their friend was getting married and wanted specifics.  My wife thought it's cool since she worked so hard to put the wedding together, why have someone reinvent the wheel.  So she put together a document and forwarded the info to her friend.  No response. And what about kids today, I was at the market and a couple of kids are at that coin changing machine. One of the kids figures he's short a penny and comes over to me and says "do you have a penny."  I said sure and hand him the penny and he darts off without some much as a nod of gratitude. I know they're kids and it's only a penny and I hope for their sake they learn to be gracious when they grow up.

At work, how often does someone want those numbers and your recommendation asap only to put it on the backburner after you spent your evening crunching numbers until your eyes get crossed.  By the way, it's your job. Appreciate that.

Now I want to make it clear that I don't do stuff so I can get credit or get thanks.  I do things for others because it's the right thing to do.  If I give to a charity, I'm not expecting a  heartfelt letter saying thank you.  I just want that donation letter so I can give it to my accountant. 
But when folks stop appreciating, I take a mental note and it makes me more cautious in the future.  I start asking things like, "do I need to put a lot of effort in this reply?" So sometimes it comes down to who is asking for info.  Work is a no brainer. If the boss wants it, he gets it.  If it's a stranger, more generalities are used and less detail.  If it's a friend, then it's another no brainer.

So going back to the question of why people can be less appreciative these days, I think it's a multitude of factors.  First, everyone is so damn busy all the time.  We are constantly bombarded by different stimuli requiring attention-family, friends, emails, text messages, co-workers, supervisors, and subordinates.  People expect you to be connected and to answer promptly.  Technology has opened the floodgates to accessibility and consequently, required more productivity.  It's this age of multi-tasking that may diminish the ability to be gracious. 

Secondly, entitlement may be influencing the diminishing of gratitude.  Many of the gen X, Y, and Z subscribe to entitlement attitude.  It's the belief that excellence be damned and that everyone should be winners.  It's the idea that one doesn't have to reach for that brass ring but rather it should be brought to them, preferably on a silver platter.  While parents busted their ass to give their kids a better life, a nice home, and all the gadgets a kid could ask for, kids just expect it.  Kids learn at a young age to accept mediocrity.  Look at youth sports leagues, many of them give the kids the same size trophy regardless of their place in the final standings.  Number 1, first place doesn't mean as much because it's not glorified.  Instead, competition has been homogenized and diluted so "everyone's a winner."  This attitude leads to complaining about hard work, assignments and overtime.  Consequently, expecting things to happen and be done for them leads to a lack of appreciation.  How can one appreciate hard work when they don't know what the heck it is.

I know I'm personally guilty of showing a lack of appreciation consistently.  I called it my management style thinking I'm raising the bar by demanding and expecting excellence from my employees.  But sometimes, I wish I can go back and do a better job at reinforcing a job well done.

In conclusion, stop and take the time and say thank you when someone does something for you.  Heck, just say thank you to those that you love including the Big Guy in the sky.

Thank you.


  1. Thank you Farrah for being my friend these last 42 years. ♥ NLV

  2. Apppreciate the Chinese / Burrito perspective! As opposed to just the Burrito...

  3. I see this more and more as the years go by. I thought I was just being "old fashioned". It's just good old fashion manners!