Saturday, September 09, 2006


In our department, we believe in the sandwich theory. The way it works is that each time you're going to give feedback to a colleague or operator, the idea is first to point out their strong points, then point out those that they need to work on and then end off by once again commending them on their good points.
Can you see the sandwich?
With one week to go before I go on vacation: Three colleagues on leave, another colleague absent, exchange program in vigor, training sessions to prepare and give to the advanced operators along with the monthly audits and the lose ends all to be managed in one week. Let’s not forget the occasional system errors, unforeseen cases and the respective phonecalls that go with them.
So it's been a tough week and time management was crucial in order to get things done. I'd say that I felt my share of stress but not to any alarming level…. I can't say that I did anything extraordinary beside manage my time and lose ends effectively – something I already strive to do daily.

I recall that sinking feeling I'd feel back at school if ever called up to the headmaster’s office and although I'm a big girl now and the only office I get called to is my managers; I always get that cold chill down my spine in fear that the motive was originated from something I did wrong.
I'm an Aries – I hate making mistakes (and profoundly loathe making the same mistake twice.)

So when I was called into my manager’s office when I have no pending cases, butterflies began flying in my stomach especially after being told that it wouldn't take long and that I should sit.
My manager looked me straight in the eye and told me that it has been a pleasure working with me and that he considers me a competent professional. He thanked me for the effort I'd been putting in and noted it more for being under difficult circumstances.
As I heard me compliment me on my good humour and attitude, my mind began searching for the meat inside that sandwich…
I thought about all the situations in which I could’ve botched and mentally double checked all my pending cases but nothing occurred to me, stressing me out even more due to the fact that if I wasn't aware of the problem, then it must be really bad…

My jaw dropped and I stared at my boss…

As it turns out there was no meat: no sandwich! Just the compliments.
That's it? No cheese and ham in the middle? No problem? Nothing that needs polishing? No ulterior motive…
Just the good stuff.

Dumbfounded and caught off guard, I was clueless at how to reply… my expression must’ve clearly demonstrated my confusion and the only reaction that occurred to me was to thank him. So I thanked my manager and went back to the nosegrind trying to recover from the shock.

I've never been very good with compliments. My face changes colour and I never do quite know how to respond. Perhaps because I don't find anything extraordinary in being and investing yourself in what you do – isn't that after all what I'm paid to do?!
Then there's the fact that all my colleagues have putting an extra amount of effort into these last few days and so I didn't do any different than anyone else has.
Not that my manager didn't notice, we all received an e-mail complimenting us on our teamwork in this particular week.
I believe in the momentary praise; complimenting a colleague for the great work once he's presented it or letting a person know how much you enjoy working with them after you've done something particularly fun or credible together.
However, a manager going out of his way to let you know that he's noticed and appreciates your work and effort… that's new to me.

The importance of taking note and appreciating another person's work?
Let's just say that if my destiny wasn't South Africa, I'd be tempted to cancel my vacation in order to stay and work.
Motivation… it develops your desire do to more and better.

He's not giving me a raise,
I'm not up for a promotion,
There isn't going to be material gain
And yet, the few words of recognition were of the utmost value.
To know that my effort was noticed.
To know that my work is valued.
To know that I that I'm valued… valuable to the company.
That knowledge in itself can't be put a price tag on.

I woke up this morning with the distinct desire to tell each and every one of my colleagues how much I enjoy working with them. Some would without a doubt deserve more praise than others but in all, I can't say that there's a soul in my department that makes my life difficult… if anything, I've felt a helping hand from them all at some point or other. Nowadays I heartily feel more a part of a team than I did a year ago.
To avoid risking being put in an insane asylum or told to get off the Xanax… I decided to save my words for the right moment… not because I need one but simply because I want to say it not only from the heart but from the soul as well.

There's always that someone that makes our life's a little easier, be sure to thank them every now and again.


unresigned said...

Reconhecimento é importante, muito importante mesmo. Já te tinha dito, mas fico contente por te ver feliz.

Storm said...

You deserve the compliment! (Or maybe your manager is scared that you dont come back - well he should be!)