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All Thanks Are Not Equal

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I am thankful that we have a day dedicated to thanks. We all know people that are not so inclined to be thankful by nature and on this day they are reminded to spout the usual sappy Hallmark thank-you platitudes to anyone who does not have diabetes or a weak stomach. Maybe I was wrong by thinking that it is way too early for TV Scrooge Marathons running back-to-back until Christmas because there is something very scroogy about Thanksgiving as well. Probably the only phrase more worn out than “thank you” is “I love you” because both are often thrown around with no underlying feeling or meaning… not every time but often enough to satisfy the cynical side of us.

Image credit: <a href=''>wildcat78 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>In coaching job seekers, we always emphasize the value of a thank-you email or hand written note following an interview. This is the right thing to do, but the logic behind it is so shallow. On a level playing field with candidates of similar abilities, it may be a subtle discriminator if it gives a sincere reflection into the character of the sender. There is no way to determine if it is the real thing or a replica. Even the obligatory thank-you has meaning, but if the intent is a weak diversion, cover-up or bribe it is meaningless. Sincerity is the key to meaningfulness.

In my professional life, the best thank-you I have ever received was a hand crafted Native American dream catcher from someone I hired. It took me totally by surprise. She did not have to thank me… she already had the job. I did not expect a thank-you much less a gift, but the thought behind this really touched me. There was nothing to gain, there was no quid pro quo, and we quite possibly would never have any further professional or personal interaction. The accompanying hand-written note read something like this: “You were instrumental in making one of my dreams come true. I hope this dream catcher will make all of yours come true.” Well, it worked. The reason that my fellow recruiters and I do what we do for a living is to make a change in people’s lives. Sincere gratitude from one of these people was a dream coming true.    

Be polite and throw around more thanks than you receive because that is what polite people do. Special people will find a way to say a sincere thank-you from the heart with a meaning deeper than is expected. Surprise somebody. It feels good.



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