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Some things we can be thankful for

Posted: November 25, 2008 10:41 p.m.
Updated: November 26, 2008 4:30 a.m.

This is the time of year when many businesses are slowing down, wrapping things up and preparing for the next calendar year.

Other businesses remain busy, working hard to close every possible sale, collect every outstanding dollar and end the year on a high note in preparation for the New Year coming up.

Whatever your thinking might be about the last six weeks of the year, take a step back, take a deep breath and be thankful for what you have and do.

Indeed, there is much to be grateful for, although it may not seem readily apparent. The headlines scream that the country is sinking faster than the Titanic. That may be true, and there might even be larger and dangerous icebergs ahead. Time will only tell.

There are many things we are all guilty of taking for granted in the business world. Perhaps we have come so far so fast in our entitlement attitudes that we have forgotten just how much we truly have on a daily basis.

It is of no concern what your title is or what percentage of shares that you own of the place where you work. If you are working somewhere, simply be grateful for:

n Our spouses, significant others and family members who understand the demands of being employed. Having a job might mean arriving early in the morning, staying late, enduring a long commute or a job to be done at all hours of the night and day as well as weekends and holidays. Work can be physically and mentally demanding; it might require out-of-town travel and perhaps long trips that might mean missing important family events.

n An employer who meets payroll obligations on a regular basis. If you work for a company that pays you a paycheck, whether you work part-time or full-time, whether you are paid by commission, hourly or salaried, give thanks to that company for paying you the money that puts a roof over your head, food in your refrigerator and makes sure the lights stay on so you can watch television at night when you come home and on long weekends like this one.

n Our employer who pays withholding taxes along with Medicare and Social Security contributions.
Be thankful that your company hands you a check or makes that direct deposit on your behalf.

n The bank where our paycheck is drawn upon. They have been a good vendor to the company that employs you.

n Clients and customers. Most companies have a client or customer or two that aren't very nice to deal with. However, those folks pay their bills and those payments keep the company running. What does it mean to you?

It means that you have a place to come to work (a physical place). It means that the lights, heat, air conditioning, computers, coffee maker, refrigerator and phones work. It means that you have office supplies and tools to help you do your work. It means a clean restroom to use and a place to eat lunch.

The company also pays vendors and suppliers for goods and services. Everyone needs to recognize the value of how those vendors and suppliers have worked with your employer on deliveries, billing and other special needs. Something as simple as a pen that you write with that came from the office supply cabinet while you were at work can be traced back to the efforts of a vendor of the company. For those efforts, we should all be grateful.

Everyone should thank the others that are on their "team." Yes, there are some people who are not pleasant to deal with and there are others who probably aren't as productive as they could be, but by and large, those we work with share our common goal and we should be grateful we are able to work side by side each day with them.

If you don't want to be thankful for having others to work with, consider those who are out of work. Being out of work not only means not having a team to work with, but no paycheck to pay bills.

No employer is perfect, and each of us likely has something we would like to see changed somehow.
But today we should all be grateful for what we have.

Kenneth W. Keller is president of Renaissance Executive Forums in Valencia. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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