Thursday, September 25, 2008

Are Xers appreciated?

I was on the phone with a friend last night when the topic of appreciation came up. It got me thinking. How many people feel appreciated at their jobs?

I feel appreciated at my job. Really, I do. However, I've been in the workforce since 1993 and this is the first time I have felt like the people I work with - and my boss - appreciate not just the work I do, but they appreciate the unique skills I bring to the table.

And when I say "unique skills," I don't just mean marketing or writing or public speaking. I'm great at those things, but so are a lot of other people. I mean things like the fact that people open up to me and say things to me that they wouldn't say to other people I work with. For instance:

Last summer I was facilitating a workshop with two other women on generational
marketing. We were talking about how younger generations tend to be more casual
in the workplace, which can annoy older (not that old, like my age) people. I was
sitting in the "circle" and the Xer next to me leaned over and said, "Yeah, they
really need to keep the junk in the trunk." She was talking about keeping your
butt crack covered.

When I told my boss the story, he thought it was great. Not because it was funny, which it was. Not because he agreed, which I'm sure he did. Then why? Because that meant that my student felt comfortable with me. You can't learn well under stress. And this student knew she could give me her opinion, which means interaction in the classroom, which means even more learning.

At my other jobs, I wouldn't have even mentioned this story, except to my Gen Xer friends. That's because my "superiors" wouldn't have even understood. That would have thought, "Oh, Gen Xers being inappropriate again." They didn't understand that Xers need to be able to communicate with their colleagues as peers - not as I'm "associate professors" but you're only "assistant professor" so you're not as cool as me. They didn't understand that the student was telling me she thought I'm "cool."

1 comment:

Le said...

This is ohh soo true - the connection is eveything ...