The Power of Thank You

I try not to stereotype. Maybe I’m wrong, please feel free to tell me if I am, but I feel as though writers on the whole are tolerant because we look at people and see individuals. We have to or our writing becomes hackneyed.

For a little tangent, I just realized how nosy I’ve become out of sheer curiosity. What makes a person tick? Why do they do that? How do high-schoolers really party? (There’s one going on up the street tonight–graduation, I presume. I’ll let you know tomorrow if there is debauchery. πŸ˜‰ )

I don’t group people as baby boomers or generation x (come on, was there no better description, folks?!) or millennials. However (you knew that was coming, am I right?), recently I have worked with a few millennials and continue to be mystified by their lack of professionalism in the workplace. Here is just one example. And I do apologize in advance because I DO know many polite, hard-working millennials. (I promise I can see the forest for the trees.)

I love email. I would rather email than speak to you on the phone. I am not alone. This is now a thing. And I am happy about that. Not that I don’t love to hear your voice. I do. In person. When I can also see your eyes. Your body language. And whether you are sprinting through channels on your tv out of boredom.

So I email. A lot. I exchange a lot of emails, enough to know that there is etiquette, especially in business.

In the professional world, it’sΒ de rigueur to respond when you’ve received an email. I have sent you a document. I need to know that you have received it. Not once since I have been working with this young woman has she acknowledged receipt of a document or email. Forget about answering any question actually in the body of the email. It’s as if the email has been lost in the vast ether. Yet, if it were, I would know about it. Ain’t it funny how that happens?!

This drives me nuts. As I’ve mentioned time and time again, this is not a far drive. I don’t need to dialogue with you. I don’t care if you don’t answer the question I’ve placed in the email. I just want to freaking know that it has been received, with maybe a “thank you” attached because I have spent hours of my valuable time working on this document for which I am not being paid. This is a courtesy. Your courtesy is an acknowledgement, because I know that you are being paid.

Is a “thank you” archaic? Are we on our way to becoming a society that cares little about professional protocol or polite niceties? If this young woman is an example, I’m afraid so.

I have considered that perhaps she is too busy (in her mind) to say “thank you.” Perhaps she doesn’t understand professionalism. Perhaps she undervalues the people she works with. Ick.

Ah, so maybe it’s time to pull out my cane and say: you know, back in my day, we said “thank you.” Never heard of it? I bet we can find it here in this old internet dictionary. Yup. Here it is:Β a polite expression used when acknowledging a gift, service, or compliment, or accepting or refusing an offer.

The power of a single “thank you.” Pass it on.

26 thoughts on “The Power of Thank You

  1. Thank you is a myth in today’s society. Say it to someone in a shop who has just served you, or to someone who held open the door, and you’re looked at as if you’re from another planet.
    I was brought up to write thank you letters , and I still do, though confess email is favoured as it’s quick and doesn’t cost anything in postage.
    Our neighbours gave us some plants for the garden and wouldn’t let us give them anything, not even a bottle of wine. So I made a thank you card and popped it through their door.
    I send cards for birthdays and anniversaries, and for an eighteenth birthday, sent money, but did I have so much as an abbreviated text of THX, no. Not a bean.
    Ho hum. That’s their way. Saying ‘Thank you’ in one way or another is mine.
    Thank you for reading this. Have a good weekend.

    1. As soon as I read your response, I thought back to a recent restaurant visit, when a server brought cake to our table, for free. When we asked why, she said, visibly upset, that we were the only people in the very busy restaurant who said please and thank you to her.
      It’s disappointing and disillusioning to think that politeness is now archaic.

      1. We’ve noticed similar lack of conversation or manners in the supermarket queue, having lost count of the number of customers who say absolutely nothing to the cashier as she’s processing their purchases, and just hand over their card at the end without a word.
        We engage the member of staff in conversation and make sure we leave them with a smile. It costs nothing to say please or thank you, but sadly too many people are so far up their own backsides, they don’t give it a thought.
        Thanks for replying by the way. Hope you enjoyed your cake!

      2. Yes! I always talk to the cashier or most serving staff. The number of times someone has looked at me like I was nuts is probably more fingers than I have, but whatever. I guess I just want my little corner of the world to stay friendly and I will continue to talk and be pleasant. Who know, maybe it will rub off.
        And, yes, the cake was lovely. πŸ™‚
        (ps sorry about the previously late reply)

  2. I think manners in general are becoming extinct. My middle-of-the-night-can’t-sleep theory is technology is to blame. It’s created a culture of solipsism. We don’t see each other as people anymore. We’re just text, usually abbreviated text, on a screen. If it’s not on a screen it’s not important.

    At the same time, our collective attention span has shrunk to the point where we can’t read a three-lined text. Have you ever sent someone a text consisting of more than a sentence? They’ll respond and it’s obvious they didn’t read the whole thing. I couldn’t get my best friend to read a 4-page story I wrote.

    I would guess, you’re forgotten before she gives up reading the email. A response is never even a consideration. Somewhere, there’s a video of a monkey riding a pig. Ooh, that kid threw an ice cream cone at her brother. “Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang…”

    Thank you, Internet.

    1. Unfortunately, I think you’re right. I have read things that people say on the internet that I hope they could never say in person, but who knows.
      I certainly have seen instances where a person has not read an entire piece/email/what have you before making a comment.
      The attention span seems to be waning.
      Thank you.

  3. I hate to say it but it’s true! There is a marked line in the sand where manner’s are unimportant or forgotten. Thankfully I’ve been able to impress this on my grandkids. I would hate for them to be part of this ignorant group of people who can’t read let alone write or say thank you.

    1. I remember when it used to be the “thing” for parents to instill in their children the need to say thank you. Maybe everyone is too busy to be polite…or moving too fast…or don’t care.
      Thank you! πŸ™‚

      1. Your welcome. I will always believe that P’s and Q’s are important. Too many take too much for granted. Expecting, not appreciating.

  4. As I grow older the more i realize the value of thank you – perhaps she’s just too young. Anyway she deserves a thank you for this post πŸ˜‰ Thank you Sascha πŸ˜€

      1. Whenever I complained to my mom about how our children never listen, she always says tell them one day it will bear fruit. And actually that is the truth – if you hear it often and see it around you, even if you dont understand the value of something later when one is older it comes into its own. At least it has with me (still in the process!) So maybe the seeds have to be sown early πŸ™‚

  5. Have you tried writing it in the email? Unless you reply to this email the payment might be delayed? I bet that would get her typing…

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