I have a confession to make. I’ve been feelin’ an ever-so-slight propaganda vibe in these work gratitude posts. Don’t get me wrong — every last spankin’ one of my items has been true. But my college journalism training has been nudging uncomfortably at the back of my head, whispering things like, “You know you’re not telling the whole story” and “Yeah, that’s great, but….there’s a but, you know.”

While I can’t remember the exact reason we were asked to participate in this exercise — it has something to do with a task given to directors, managers, and supervisors in a leadership development retreat — I do get the WHY of it. People who focus on positive things are happier. Period. The emotions and feelings you get out of life are the emotions and feelings you put into it. Your attitude about your life is ALL about focus. Every person on the planet has good times, frustrating times, buoyant times, and heartbreaking times. Will you keep your eye on the great things while looking for the lessons learned from the not-so-great things? Or will you keep an eye on the negative situations and events while viewing the great times as flukes?

What you feed, grows.

Of specific importance to our bosses and their bosses is that employees who focus on positive things are happier, more productive, and more compliant. Everyone buzzes along, content and grateful and laughy and agreeable.

I agree.

See? I’m being agreeable.


I know you know it’s coming….

The “but.”

It’s just that an overtly Pollyanna-ish outlook feels at times……well, dishonest. Not to mention neglectful, in a poke-your-head-in-the-sand sort of way. I like to spike my optimism with a dash of reality and proactive determination.

For example, at work it is true that “tough questions” are solicited and admirable efforts are made to solve problems….and I appreciate this. But have problems been defined correctly? Have root issues been addressed, or is it that symptoms have been elevated to issue status? In my opinion, nails have been hit on their proverbial heads at times….. but, at other times….well. Not.

Am I grateful that our offices are downtown and I have a sunshiny window beside my desk? Absolutely. But the cubicle environment can often be disruptive and claustrophobic and decidedly unproductive. Am I grateful that GHS has adopted an informal “work/life balance” stance? Yup. 100 percent. But it’s being spun as innovative when it stopped being innovative years ago.

I’m not complaining. As corporate jobs go, mine is tippitytop first-rate. I recognize that we are all human, for heaven’s sake — even middle management all the way through the upperupper echelon. It ROCKS that hearts really do seem to be in the right place. Perhaps I am too sensitive to “spin” considering the industry I’m in, but I worry that forced optimism will prevent us from addressing REAL problems in order to make a REAL, positive difference.

That’s all.

Let’s see……I’ve got two more grateful items to go before I complete my required list of 15 (phooey, by the way, to you guys who did not correct my math in the very first warm-fuzzies post). And here they are — no ifs, ands, or buts.

Well, mostly no buts.

Sigh….OK, there are buts. And ands.

But some of my buts have buts, and ands aren’t really that bad.

No ifs, though!

I’m grateful for the team members who share my desire to create high quality work. With such an overbearing emphasis nowadays on price and speed, attention to excellence seems to be dying a slow, tragic, choking death. Today’s tolerance for mediocrity, sloppiness, and inconsistency in design and messaging makes me a little sad. Ohhhh, wait…. that sentence seems to be a segue into a but, doesn’t it? Well, never mind the but. The point is that I LOVE working with other creatives — Steven, Gary, Nancy, and Jeanine — who have the same ethic, understand my internal struggles, and help to hash out possible solutions.

I’m grateful for our massage chairs!
This one almost doesn’t count, because it’s not like Greenville Hospital System would’ve been so frivolous as to buy these things for us. Purchased by the previous tenants in our office space, they were worked in as part of the leasing deal. They ARE just down the hall, however, and I am unapologetically grateful for them. At my Mac for hours and hours each day, I visit the one in the back hallway a few times a week so that those firm little relentless “thumbs” can work a little magic on my tightnesses. Some people are creeped out by them, because “who knows WHAT has been DONE on those chairs,” but I don’t care — embracing the cooties around me will just make me stronger, right? Other people think the action presses too hard, but I’ve experimented with positions and leverage in an effort to increase the pressure to a masochistic level. For example, if you roll slightly to one side, lean toward your shoulder a little, and tell the chair to do tiny circles in that highest upperback spot, it’ll dig into your neck muscles quite pleasurably.

As great as that feels, though, it doesn’t hold a candle to the moan-inducing glute maneuver I invented last year.

chair copy