Appreciation Day = Every Day (Why Not?)

Recently, my work had an Employee Appreciation Day.  They supplied breakfast and lunch, hosted games, gave away prizes and even decorated the office.  They exerted such effort to make everyone feel “special” that it became distracting.  It also got me thinking…  (Uh-oh, that can’t be good.)

Here’s the deal:  I don’t want my employer to value and appreciate me with this ridiculous attention on one day out of the year.  I want to go in every day and be respected, have my voice heard and earn praise for a job well done; and I want to reciprocate by doing the same for my coworkers.  All I ask is that I don’t fear consequences of having to leave early to pick up a sick child or worry about having a job if I make a little mistake.  My work environment satisfies all of the above, so we’re good.  I feel appreciated (and more comfortable) without the overt display.  

I wonder how it came to pass that we had to have manufactured days to express appreciation.  I mean, I don’t want a dozen roses on Valentine’s Day because the alarm on my husband’s cell phone told him to stop by the supermarket on the way home and buy them.  I don’t want my kids to give me a hug and draw me a picture on Mother’s Day because that’s what they have to do.  I don’t want my kids to lavish attention on my parents just on Grandparents’ Day because that’s what the calendar dictates should happen on that Sunday in September.  (But I do love the idea of Thanksgiving because I think many blessings go unrecognized the other 364 days of the year.)

To put it simply, attention doesn’t feel special on those days, it feels forced and expected.  If my husband leaves me a love note* for no reason or the kids draw me a picture because its Tuesday – that’s special. 

*a love note contains kind, loving words without requests of any kind. 

Example of a Love Note:  “If I wake up next to you for the next 40 years, I’ll be the luckiest man in the world.  Love, Hubby”  (for the record, I have not received such a note)

Not a Love Note:  “Can you drop off my dry cleaning on your way to work?  Love, Hubby”

Sorry.  I drifted off topic there, but I’ve learned to be VERY specific about my expectations 🙂

Each night, I do a decent job of remembering the big things that I’m thankful for (you know, the husband, kids, family, house, job, etc.)  I think I can do better; dig deeper.  So, today, I’m recognizing five writing-related blessings in my life.  (Since this blog is supposed to be about my writing life and journey.)

People who critique my writing.  The constructive criticisms that knock me down and the positive comments that build me back up make me a better writer.

Query rejections for my first novel.  Rejections forced me to reevaluate my definition of success and remember how much I enjoy the writing process.  (Failure to do this would surely have resulted in depression and anxiety.)

My life experiences.  My awkward childhood, social ineptness and lots of practice laughing at myself have given me the ability to feel my characters’ pain and write them out of their strange predicaments.

My overactive imagination and paranoia.  These two things work together to come up with some twisted views on the most normal situations, which is great for writing stories.

The wonderful people that read my blog.  No, seriously; I mean it.  I’ve hit some low points in the writing journey and it seems there is always someone there to cheer me up. 

On this note, I was tagged by Barb (Creative Barbwire) earlier this week to answer 8 questions about myself.  So, here goes:

1. If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?

I’d say Spider Man’s superpowers…I’m just thinking at work, if my ‘spider sense’ could warn me about approaching negativity, I could simply scale up the walls and escape.  (If you’ve ever been trapped in the bathroom with a complainer, you’d understand how awesome this would be.)

2. Who is your style icon?

I don’t have one.  My style is whatever is on sale, feels comfortable and looks good.

3. What is your favorite quote?

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” (Herman Cain)

4. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

I know I’ve received compliments, but it’s funny, I can’t seem to remember them.  I can tell you the mean things kids said to me in elementary school, though 🙂

5. What playlist/cd is in your CD player/iPod right now?

I have a mix of country/rock/pop/Christian rock.  Favorite singers/groups right now: Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi, Kelly Clarkson, Casting Crowns.

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?

I love anything furry that’s not a rat…but I am definitely a cat person.  Meow.

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

Um, there is no meaning.  I didn’t even create it; my parents gave it to me.  It’s my name…and I write.  (If we were at a social gathering, here’s where you’d flash a fake smile and say, “Oh, how nice,” and then scurry away before I could bore you with another story).

I’m tagging these fellow bloggers, if they haven’t been tagged already and want to play:

BrownEyed Mystic

Lavender Blue

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11 thoughts on “Appreciation Day = Every Day (Why Not?)

  1. Brown Eyed Mystic September 23, 2010 / 6:46 AM

    Aww. Now this is the kind of post that has such an impact–so true.

    Loved it to the core!

    -BrownEyed

    • jannatwrites September 23, 2010 / 7:18 AM

      You are too kind (as always) BrownEyed. It’s nice to hear that you liked it that much, though 🙂

      Your comment definitely falls under the last ‘thankful’ item I listed…thank you!

  2. darksculptures September 23, 2010 / 8:56 AM

    The world be a better place if everyone stopped to read this. I’m ever so thankful for so many things, small and large, and for relationships old and new. After reading your heartfelt expression I wonder if I could do a better job showing my appreciation. Thank you for sharing this!

    • jannatwrites September 23, 2010 / 6:55 PM

      Thanks, Darksculptures. Sometimes its easy to focus on what’s not right and forget about the special things that make life good. Enjoy your blessings 🙂

  3. Barb September 24, 2010 / 12:34 AM

    I totally hate those “fixed holidays” and having to remember to buy gifts and the likes. I prefer giving something to someone when I find the perfect something and it can be anytime, anywhere. If a birthday or other holiday such as Christmas is close, I might keep it for The Day, if not, I’d just give it… and same about receiving, I guess! 😉
    About work… well… let’s not go into that. The way my employer (it’s a bank, does this say it all?) is trying to lure it’s employees on one side while scr…. them on the other… OK, I’ll just shut up! 😉
    Thanks for playing the game! Love your quote!
    Barb

    • jannatwrites September 24, 2010 / 7:53 AM

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that dislikes forced holidays. But then, some people love them, so if I forget about the holiday, I unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings.

      Sounds like your day job is tough. Sometimes, the only positive thing you can say is, “it pays the bills.” The two-faced nature of your job is tough to deal with. (My career at my last company went south when I encountered a devious back-stabber; management loved her, though). Hang in there!

      • Barb September 24, 2010 / 7:55 AM

        I will (hoping it won’t have to be another 22 years! ;-))! Especially if I decide to self-publish, I better keep that damn day job… 😀

        • jannatwrites September 24, 2010 / 8:11 AM

          Twenty-two years sounds like a jail sentence…better take it a year (or a month) at a time 🙂

  4. milkfever September 24, 2010 / 5:36 PM

    I agree with you, more consistent appreciation needed. Loved the answers. I always wanted to have spider man’s powers too, despite having a phobia of spiders at the time. 🙂

    • jannatwrites September 24, 2010 / 9:27 PM

      Hmmm…the phobia of spiders could present a problem, but maybe there’s another superpower for that. Thanks for stopping by!

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