SpouseTales Snippets 3: Are your actions stealing someone else’s joy?

In Embracing Coworkers, Motivating Women by JoAn Majors, RDA, CSP®

Money or Experience

One of my absolute favorite things to do for our team (and brings me great joy) is finding the special gifts my husband and I love to present to the team. We absolutely love to honor them with some type of gift for almost any occasion that Hallmark makes a card for! I have to say that my husband’s love language is gifts too, it’s not just me. I love “the hunt” for just the right items for the holiday party to present to each team member. So, for me it doesn’t matter if it is Valentines Day, a red, white and blue holiday, Thanksgiving or any that we can get by with even a small gesture of kindness, we are all about it!

So, where’s the problem? Well, I’m glad you asked. You see, we have learned in our many years and four practices with many different ages of team members that the perception of team members who have not been treated this way can be good and can be questionable. Their actions aren’t far behind their excitement or anxiety either. It amazed me to learn we have had team members who actually questioned our reasons. It was something I had not ever encountered. There were a few people in the last five or six years that actually voiced to other team members their trepidations about this. Their disbelief that this was authentic and likely had an ulterior motive was very sad for both my husband and me.

When I returned the day after Valentines Day a couple of years ago,  I found that a team member had left her gift totally intact in the break room. The card was opened but gently tucked back behind the gift. This is when it really hit me that it could actually be an issue for some. Then after accepting bonus gifts (money) and a few other gifts, a team member actually came by our home and returned the items she felt she could no longer accept like a birthday gift etc. What I would like to offer to those who don’t trust or believe in these actions, is this. There are those of us who truly find great joy in giving. It’s not about you. Sometimes you should allow others to find their joy, even if it is in giving. Even if giving is not “your” thing. If someone is willing to accept the monetary gifts as long as you don’t say “Christmas, Birthday or …day” didn’t really make sense.

When you find yourself, or hear someone say things like, “this doesn’t make sense” or “why would they do this?” “What are their motives?” It would be nice for you to also ask yourself a question. Are your actions stealing someone else’s joy? When you feel good about what you are doing and it comes from integrity and a place of joy, it shouldn’t be criticized because it’s not in someone else’s paradigm to give with no expectations. When you say or think, “I’d rather have the money…”. understand that most of us recognize that money you give a team member is likely spent on something they need, not something they want or deserve to enjoy. We’ve always given bonuses, and some cash at the year-end holidays, however, we always tried to offer an experience over money when we could.

We always felt it was more personal to the team member and absolutely takes more intention than putting money in an envelope! We even had a system for a while that a team member being recognized could choose money over experience. Understanding that if it was money that was chosen the value would likely be less than if it were experience. Whatever your race, religion or personal beliefs are, let’s all learn to appreciate it when someone offers a gift. With a gift- monetary, packaged, a kind word or a simple note, it’s rare that a simple “thank you” to the giver isn’t very powerful and always appreciated.

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