If you think your company has culture problems / is a shitty place to be, join the club. Who hasn’t been there.
Its the 10% of people who attempt solutions to culture issues that are the gold in any org.
Talking about bad culture is like talking about wanting to lose weight. Rarely does moving your mouth improve the culture, at some point you gotta put int the work. Here’s how I’ve kept an attitude of gratitude at Work.
Here are a couple of things that help me stay in a position of extreme gratitude and I try to spread it, hope it helps you too.
Thank you cards for co-workers
Find someone to write a thank you card to, if you aren’t happy with something culturally, lead by example & expressing gratitude to someone, they might do it to someone too.
You can impact shit like this, cards are cheap, stamps are cheap, and pens are cheap. Do your part to change the things you don’t like.
This week I got 2 touching cards where people shared very deeply how Seer has impacted them in deeply personal ways, from benefits, to team support, to career growth, you name it. I even had an alumni hit me up and leave some really kind words as she reflected on her time here and the companies she’s been at afterwards (more on that later).
A couple of thank you / gratitude hacks I have to help spread good vibes:
1 — Have a thank you card station, with stamps.
2 — When you write a thank you card to someone in your company, on the back write a note like “write one to someone else before you open this one”
3 — I’m lazy, so I think about sending thank you cards to people all the time, funny how hard it is to do, so I have printed labels for all my remote people with their addresses, it saves me 3–4 minutes of logging in and out of tools to get addresses, and saves me time, which I just don’t always have a lot of. It also reminds me to send them, since they are a bit more out of daily sight. I also have a roll of address labels for my San Diego office on my desk. That little hack helps me to get out 2x the amount of thank you cards.
Volunteer w/ co-workers
You can choose what you do with your time. Volunteering somewhere is the ultimate gratitude hack. It helps me put myself in someone else’s shoes for a second or two. Usually that time I spend with people who are going through some real stuff, makes small cultural things not nearly as big of a deal.
I often talk about a time in my career where I was so down about the company I worked with and what I was doing with my time. It was volunteering that helped me get through that time and realize it wasn’t such a bad place to be, I had my health and a roof over my head and a good salary and decent people around me. Was it going to be my forever job no. But when I was volunteering at a hospital with sick kids, it gave me perspective.
A couple of volunteering hacks:
1 — Do a volunteer event as a company, most companies will support you doing it, if they don’t do it outside of office time, but grab a few other people to do it with, get a conference room and find something you can do for an hour together here and there.
2 — We do volunteer days with clients (locally), every so often, it humanizes everyone to everyone else. We’re clients and we’re consultants, but we’re PEOPLE too.
3 — Someone at Seer has asked the red cross to come, and just today we could walk upstairs and donate blood.
Show up for people in Good Times and Bad
You control your time. I have flown in for 1 day for weddings when I can. This one wedding took the cake, see below. (By the way the guy who did this is hiring an exec assistant, so yeah he’s a fun one to work with)
I’ve been on the sadder side too, like funerals, when you see someone in a receiving line’s face light up when they see you, you can’t really put a value on that.
People don’t expect me to be there, they know I got a lot going on and a family with time demands, but I hope those times I can make it speaks volumes for what I’m willing to do, and leads by example.
When one of our alumni and her family participated in a city wide walk to commemorate people who had taken their lives, I found a way to make a little time and walk with her and her family. This was the message she wrote just yesterday on Instagram (its a public URL & post so I assume she is OK with it) these things matter and leave impressions on people, she hasn’t worked here in 5 and a half years, she thought of us yesterday.