Thankless Thankful

William Tincup Audacious Ideas, Sports, William Tincup


The darkness…

Most of what you do is thankless. Maybe 5% of your job job is doing something where you should expect accolades, public praise, people to notice, etc. The truth of the matter is that jobs, by their very nature, are setup to be thankless. The filler… the stuff… the meetings… the calls… the pushing of paper (or data)… the endless time in systems we care less about… the things we all do in order to do the very job that we’re paid to do. That shit is benign and essentially thankless. Get over yourself and get over the fact that not every moment at work is a moment for you to bask in something that resembles thanks. Thankless is reality.

Think about it this way: Peyton Manning throws a thousand practice throws a week. A thousand! He’s in meetings after meetings about the game plan and whatnot. He studies his opponent graciously and effectively during the week—all thankless $h!t. He does it because he’s a pro. On game day, during the 17 minutes of live action during a typical NFL football game, he’s either the king or the goat. And, he’s lucky because he’s a world-class athlete; more people get to “thank” him for his effort. But, we’re only thanking him for what we see—not all the stuff he has to do day end, day out. That stuff for him—and for you—is thankless.

Let’s try another example: John Mayer. John’s a classically trained guitarist. He’s spent more time playing the guitar than we can ever imagine. He, like all musicians, is constantly practicing, refining, listening, writing… honing his craft. All thankless activities. And because he’s a major star, he’s got commercial pulls—advertisers want a piece of him. Imagine for a moment how many meetings a week he’s probably in. Probably as many as you are—and he hates his as well. (Shocking, no one likes meetings.) But, he’s a pro… he does the thankless $h!t. And for him, the audience praises in the form of applause at concerts and/or how fans gobble up his wares. He’s thanked (or not) in a very public way. But as a percentage of time per week, the times of thanks are minutes compared to the thankless hours.

<if you are so inclined or bored> Take your favorite actor and you can easily form the same king/goat model. In any case, you’ll discover that everyone who works for a living has thankless shit on their plate. They do, you do, I do… it’s a tie that bonds us together.

So, let’s celebrate the thankless. For a moment, pat yourself and those around you on the back for the little $h!t… the benign $h!t… the thankless $h!t that HAS TO get done. In essence, let’s be thankful for the thankless. Cool? Cool.

The lightness…

Switching gears for a moment. I’ve been writing here via the Fistfuls for over four years. I’d like to take a moment to thank Kris Dunn, the other (wonderful?) contributors and, most importantly, the consumers of our combined thoughts, ideas, and/or musings. Not a day goes by in my life that someone doesn’t mention FOT to me—via email, phone, the LinkedIns, the Twitters, at a conference, etc. This is a wonderful medium, and I’m thankful to be a part of it and I’m extremely thankful that folks care enough to carve out time to consume, share, comment, etc., on stuff that I’ve written.

Those that know me know that I’m not mushy, but on the eve of Thanksgiving… I want to pause and give thanks.

I appreciate you all… more than you’ll ever know.

Happy Thanksgiving.

PS. Photo credit goes to the multi-talented Heather Bussing. She took the photo in Amsterdam earlier this year at HR Tech Europe of me hugging a person dressed like a shrubbery. It only makes sense because it was in Amsterdam.  Oddly enough, I felt better after hugging that shrub.