Career Center Blog

November 25, 2013

A week of thanks


Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, a holiday for most employees. Thanksgiving was originally dedicated to expressing gratitude for the blessing of the year's harvest. A few years ago, I decided to make Thanksgiving week a time to focus on gratitude and think about all the people in my life (both personal and professional) for whom I'm grateful.

Before I go to sleep each evening this week, you'll find me writing a quick list of all the people and things for which I'm thankful; little things that might not seem like a big deal, but that make my life even happier.

Like my local barista, who knows my name and my favorite coffee drink -- and has it ready for me by the time I get to the front of the line. My husband's texts during lunch on random days, just to say he loves me and is thinking about me. A co-worker who takes the time to tell me a funny story, making me laugh when I'm having a difficult day.

We all have people in our lives for whom we're grateful, and Thanksgiving week is a great time to count those blessings by thanking those who matter most. Here's how:

Start a gratitude journal. Each day this week, take a few moments to write down three to five things for which you're grateful.

Give thanks more often. Say "thank you" to all those who have a positive impact on your day. For example, when your barista hands you your grande soy extra-hot pumpkin-spice latte: "It always amazes me how you not only remember my name whenever I'm here, but that you also remember exactly what I like to drink. Thank you for always making me feel so special."

Express gratitude to the person's manager. Did someone do something special for you or go above and beyond the call of duty? Tell his or her manager about the fabulous behavior or attitude.

Kick off your next staff meeting with a gratitude segment. Write everyone's name on slips of paper and put them in a bowl. Have each person draw a name and then give one reason why he or she is grateful for working with that person. It's a terrific way to start a meeting with positive energy. This also works well for gatherings with family or friends (try it when sitting down for the Thanksgiving meal).

Get back in the habit of handwriting thank-you notes. Remember when your mom made you write thank-you notes for birthday and Christmas gifts when you were a kid? Get back into the habit of showing appreciation that way. Handwritten thank-yous are especially great for someone who might not expect it, such as your daughter's teacher, your son's football coach or a checker at your grocery store.

Studies have shown that people who are grateful are more likely to feel happier, healthier and more optimistic about the future. So take the time to count your blessings this week and be thankful for the people who matter the most in your life.

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., a career-coaching and business-consulting company. Email her at

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Karen Burns Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.

Kristen Fife Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.

Lisa Quast Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.

Randy Woods Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

Former contributors

Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.

Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.

Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."


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