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Monday, February 28, 2011

The Compliment Challenge

Photo by J. McPherskesen 

Let’s say that you’re sporting a new haircut, or that you’re driving a new car.  Chances are you’d want someone to notice.  You’d want someone to acknowledge you.  Deep inside, you’d like a compliment. 
Yet compliments are rare.  Allow me to travel back in time when I was a medical technologist.  I worked with about thirty employees in the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.  We worked Monday through Friday (with two days off a month) and every third weekend.  We were expected to fill in on any shift.  We operated and maintained sophisticated instrumentation.  We analyzed blood and other body fluids (differentiating between normal and critical results), and reported the results to doctors and nurses.  Needless to say, we didn’t get a pat on the back.  Such a shame. My co-workers were amazingly talented individuals.  Were doctors, nurses and managers too busy to notice? 

While it would be insincere to give employees compliments every day, an occasional “You did a nice job” would be a good thing to hear.  To repeat the over-used phrase, it’s a “win-win situation.”  Giving a sincere compliment makes the employee feel appreciated.  Employers who give compliments know it encourages and motivates employees.  It’s such a simple thing to do and it doesn’t cost anything.  Employees in any work place deserve them. 

So what’s this got to do with writing?  Let me pose another question.  How often to do compliment an author for an article that you enjoyed?  How often to you acknowledge a writer for winning an award or achieving an exceptional goal?  I challenge you to do so.  Call them on the phone, post a message on Facebook, or send them an email.  You could send a card or a small gift.  We are so caught up in our everyday lives that we forget that as writers, we need to connect with other writers.  We are part of the community.  So put yourself aside for five minutes and think about someone else.  Pay a compliment to a friend, a family member, or a co-worker.  It will brighten their day and you too, will feel good knowing that you’ve made a positive impact on someone else. You say you’ll consider it?  Then, good job.  Nicely done.  Bravo!  My heartiest congratulations go out to you!


Unknown said...

In the past two years, anytime I have read something that moved me, made me laugh or think, I have taken the time to send an e-mail or note. I have been surprised at the resposes that come back---everyone loves to know that their work matters....thanks for the reminder and I'd encourage all readers to let their favorites know their work is important.

Randi said...

Thanks, Pam. (Do I feel a lighthearted mini-sermon about to be written?)