A Guide to Giving Thanks in the Workplace

By Melissa Nau

It’s just about that time again! Before you embark on your careful journey of gluttony, deep regret, and hibernation via turkey, stuffing, and gravy, let’s take a second to say thanks at work. Now you may be thinking “Thanks? But I didn’t get a raise yet!” or “How could this holiday apply to my job?” or “I don’t even have a job!”…so I should probably elaborate before you take an early vacation.

How could I apply Thanksgiving and the holiday season to my job?

The answer is three letters long: CSR. If you have no idea what that stands for, now is the perfect opportunity for you to not only find out, but introduce those letters to your workplace.

CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility. Simply put, the term refers to your business’ responsibility to give back to the community, whether it’s on a national or local scale. During this time of year, it’s probably most common for your workplace to have a food drive for those in need during the holidays. If your job didn’t host a Thanksgiving food drive, you can propose one for next year, suggest holding a drive for next month’s holidays, or gather some people to donate their time to a food bank. As we venture deeper into the frigid winter months, holding a coat drive is another common yet caring CSR idea. Getting your job involved in charitable activities not only gets your place of work noticed, but it gets you noticed, shows initiative, and effectively reaches “above and beyond” your employer’s expectations.

Here at Roux, CSR is ingrained in our company and has become a large part of our sense of community. We donate our time and finances to organizations like Habitat for Humanity where we participate in “Build Days,” we host a fundraiser each year for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and we assist Coastal Steward in their beach cleanups and in furthering marine education. We donate to many more charitable groups as well, primarily those dedicated to environmental conservation and medical research.

Again, if your company does not offer a CSR program, now’s your chance to make it happen. You could start small with a food drive and then begin searching for credible, relevant charities (for example, it makes sense that Roux, an environmental firm, aligns our interests with environmental conservation groups like Pure Earth). Remember that this also includes charitable athletic events, which could allow you to pick something you love: there’s Bike MS, tons of runs and walks to benefit different charities, and Roux even participates in Courageous Sailing, a summer sailing program. If you find a charity or an event you think a lot of people at your job will be passionate about, it’s likely that your CSR proposal will be approved and up and running before you know it.

If your company does offer CSR, get out there! It will get you noticed and allow you to get to know your coworkers in an informal setting. If your company has a CSR committee and you have a bit of free time to donate, why not join? An opportunity like this could easily be looked at as a leadership position. Taking on any type of work-related responsibility could grant you more responsibilities within your job itself, which could lead to promotions or raises. You could even add your CSR position and/or charity work to your resume (if you have room, of course)!

I don’t have a job…what about me?

If you’re a student or do not yet have a full time job, you can of course look into doing charitable work in your free time. This could be a great networking tool, especially if you find a charity that shares the interests of your ideal career. If you’re actively searching for a job now, however, saying “thank you” is actually one of the easiest ways to get ahead of your competitors.

After you leave an interview, write your interviewer a thank you note. It’s probably the easiest thing you can do to further your chances of getting the job. This is something that never occurred to me until a recruiter instructed me to do it, but it makes perfect sense. You most likely have your interviewer’s email address; if you’re going through a recruiter, you can contact them and ask for it or see if they can forward along your message. The best part is, this “thank you” should be short and sweet, so there’s no need to sweat it:

Dear [so and so],

Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to come in and speak with you regarding the [job] position. 

 It was a pleasure meeting you, hearing about the company in-depth, and learning about your personal experience. I would love to learn more about what goes into [job field, e.g. environmental consulting] and apply my [insert skills here] skills to this position. 

 If you need anything further, please don’t hesitate to ask. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

 Best regards,

 [You]

That’s about as long as it should possibly be. Literally two sentences would suffice with the common themes of “thank you” and “I look forward to hearing from you.”

And why does this matter? If the person you just interviewed with met you and someone else, and you both hit it out of the park, how will they decide who to pursue further? You may both have gone to ivy league schools, fed orphans in a soup kitchen, and published eight research papers, but if only one of you said “thank you,” there’s an undeniable winner.

Overall, whether you’re working hard at your job or working just as hard in your quest to find one, take this time to relax. Deal with your relatives to the best of your ability. No matter how annoying they get, make sure you say “thank you” at the end of the day, and try to apply those words to your job or your job search.

Happy holidays from everyone at Roux!