My partner recently resigned from his job after years of overwhelming stress. It was the type of stress that changes a person. A gradual draining and dulling of the spirit that makes one say, "I don't care" far too often.
He expected some sad goodbyes from friends and a few pats on the back from acquaintances. But he never anticipated the sincere outpouring of emotion he received from all levels of the company. From the managing partner, to HR, to new staff members- the hugs and the tears- it was a shock and it made leaving bittersweet.
"What can we do to make you stay? We'll fix this!"
"We didn't know it had gotten this bad."
"There's nobody like you- what will we do without you?"
Many understood his situation- he didn't keep his overwhelm a secret. But when there was no end in sight to a destructive situation, he had to save himself. Like so many of us who stay in a difficult situation until, and often beyond, the breaking point, he tried to make it work.
Yet, after all the parting words had been said, I have to wonder where all the gratitude and appreciation had been hiding the past few years. For all the praise and "We can change" he heard today, where were those messages yesterday when he needed to hear them the most?
Imagine how many marriages could be saved if gratitude and appreciation came as easy as they do on an employee's last day. Before hugs and support are just palliative.
This is the time of year when many people are in the spirit to give thanks and spread good will. Many knowing that holiday tidings often don't last beyond the New Year. And come Monday January 2nd, when we all head back home and back to work, there will be a tired husband or wife who has had enough, a firm's star employee who has been worked to the bone, and people you know who never knew how much they meant to you. We can all do better at keeping the spirit alive.
I'll even get us started. Send a coworker, friend, or loved one this article- and not just as a viral marketing ploy for my article, eh-hem, but as a way to get the conversation started with someone who needs to know how much they mean to you. In fact, if you are reading this article because someone sent it to you, know right now that the sender wants you to know how much you are appreciated.
P.S. This is just a start... you also have to tell them in person.
Brad Waters is a career & life strategy coach and writer based in Chicago. He is the author of Cultivating Your Everyday Mindfulness, available on Amazon and Smashwords.
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©2012, Brad Waters