For those who celebrate Thanksgiving, the feastful holiday in November offers time for people to dine and reflect on all they're grateful to have.
It's common to hear faith, loved ones and health listed as responses when families are asked to share why they're thankful at the dinner table. Housing, pets, food and other possessions may also be discussed, however, where people earn a living can also have a big impact on how we express gratitude and appreciation.
If you're among the 45% of US workers who are satisfied with their current employer, then you may happily add your job as another item on your "I'm thankful to have" list. After all, a steady source of income makes it possible to pay bills, cover expenses and purchase the turkey and dressing you're preparing to gobble. For those who are unsatisfied with their job, it may be difficult to describe other aspects to appreciate besides receiving a paycheck.
The reasons why someone may be unhappy at work may be valid as well. Following the pandemic, several new trends and concepts emerged including "the great resignation," "quiet quitting or doing exactly what your role requires,'' and increased flexibility with hybrid workplace models or options to work solely from home.
Mix institutional fatigue with other issues ranging from poor management, a rude boss, a stressful workload, conflict with coworkers or not earning enough to pay bills and you're bound to be unhappy and detached from the conversations around the dinner table.
As someone who has worked in education over the last seven years, I've witnessed the challenges and obstacles that this industry has faced with teacher and substitute staff vacancies, falling standardized test scores and growing mental health and social/emotional concerns for students and staff. Recently I read a long post from an educator who provided a daunting, but honest, perspective of the obstacles teachers and administrators face.
Despite these challenges, many educators continue to rise to the occasion and devote so much time and energy towards providing the best educational outcomes for students. Until you've seen the other side of a teacher's role with providing a series of instructional lessons, attending trainings, scheduling conferences, managing student conduct, participating in after-school meetings, serving on school committees, completing additional training modules and so much more, then it's difficult to understand all of the complex issues that can arise within a classroom or school each day.
This is why during this season of gratitude; I've decided to list 7 positive items from my experience as a support staff member and school administrator. I also challenge readers to develop a list of at least seven positive features from their current job in any field or role within an organization or group.