You Get What You Give…Most of the time.

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November 29, 2011
Giving ThanksIn the post-Thanksgiving spirit, I thought I would share some thoughts on the very topic of giving thanks. This time of year makes us all a little more sensitive to taking the time to appreciate what we do have and less tolerance for those who use this opportunity to simply complain about what they don’t have.  For example, don’t you just love people who go through life "expecting" things to go their way regardless of how they treat those around them? "Thanks for nothing", they say. "Right back at you", I say. You get what you give. Plain and simple. It is not guaranteed but as a general rule, it all works out in the end.

In a bad situation? Do something to make it better rather than waiting for someone else to fix it for you. Help yourself and then help someone else while you are at it instead of spending your time wallowing in your unhappiness. Every single day should have in it, somewhere, your chance to do good in big and small ways. Smile at someone. Not hard, right? Maybe you will make their day a little brighter. Hold the elevator for someone. Easy. Let someone go first. Hard for some, but really so easy.

I am not talking monumental, sell all your stuff and give the money to charity kind of things. The simple stuff can lead to bigger stuff and one day it will come back to you in unexpected ways. This is not all simply for the touchy-feely outcome of it all. It actually does have practical applications in the workplace as well.

This lesson works especially well in the workplace and these are the building blocks for opportunities to have an individual impact at work that could later translate to great STARs (Situation, Task, Action, Results). Building your resume is one thing, but building great examples for behavioral interview questions is just as important. When you do something to make someone else’s job better, you are contributing to the productivity of the company overall.

For example: Your coworker is struggling with a particular assignment working with a software that you have some proficiency with. Find some time to help them out, give them a mini tutorial. Don’t do the work for them – rather teach them how to do it themselves. No skin off your back and you don’t even need to take credit for it. They get the project completed and you have a good story to tell one day down the road when an interviewer ask you: "Tell me about a time when you used your knowledge to help someone else at work".  You also now have a friend at the office who may be willing to help you out one day when you need it.

Sounds trite, I know. So simple and obvious that it is ridiculous to waste a blog post on the subject. I disagree. It is never a waste to remind others of the fundamentals around being decent human beings. Sometimes we get busy and forget and the holiday season just seems like a good time to put it out there one more time.