Thursday, October 20, 2011

Appreciation

Is it weird to be appreciative?

This week especially, I've been in awe of how much my life is better because of the people around.

I have a boss who lets me take time off of work to do another job. She encourages me to pursue professional service opportunities. She seriously looks out for my best interest. In one of my library classes, we've been talking about how you alone are responsible for your career advancements. And in the end, that's true. You succeed and fail on your own merits. You do the job, write the articles, serve on committees by yourself. But to have a boss who supports those tasks, whose leadership enables rather than inhibits those projects--that's priceless.

So while I'm thinking about my future career, while I'm realizing in my class that my life can be much harder, you bet I'm going to end my daily chat with my boss by saying, "Thank you. I'm glad you're my boss, and I'm grateful for all your support."

I have a mentor who thinks I'm great. Sometimes, I don't feel so great. I haven't achieved what I've hoped to achieve. I feel like I've made the best with what I have. And it's kind of ordinary, but that's fine. However, my mentor, she's finding more opportunities. She sees potential in me that I don't even know existed. It's the real life example of this post (which I thought was kind of dumb when I first read it, but okay I get it now).

So I find out today that she's been in this position where I encountered her as my mentor for 20 years. That's 20 years of people she's taught, touched, and mentored. I know I'm not unique. I know other people appreciate her. So I send a thank you email. I email a few others about the milestone. It's what you do for people who mean so much to you.

I work in a law library. Law students are exceptionally busy and usually stressed out. So today I've let a student know he's okay for staying in a study room, tracked another student down to give him his flash drive, given a law review student access to the copier to reproduce way too many pages, used my four years (FOUR YEARS!!) of knowledge of this library in countless ways. And people have been unusually grateful. They've said thank you, been surprised, gotten those big smiles that are real. (Did you know that when you mimic a smile to tell if it's genuine or not? It's true!)

It's felt weird. Good. But weird. So it leads me to wonder, do I notice the appreciation because I am appreciative? Do we always appreciate each other but we just don't notice? Do I just need to take more time to express my appreciation? Because there are people in my life who just make life easier. And God knows how much I appreciate them, and I guess they should too.

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