low-drama coworkers, telecommuting, and other things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

It’s easy to complain about work – from annoying coworkers to difficult bosses to the Accounting department’s inability to issue your expense reimbursement on time, there’s plenty to be frustrated by. So why not take a moment to appreciate some things about the workplace as well?

Over at the Fast Track blog by Intuit QuickBase today, I talk about seven work-related things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving – including low-drama coworkers, the increase in the acceptance of telecommuting, and more. You can read it here.

{ 56 comments… read them below }

      1. fposte*

        I found it by searching “intuit fast track”–it’s the first article. (I’d include the link, but by the time AAM approves the link she’ll have fixed the link!)

  1. Erik*

    I would’ve killed for #1-4 and #6 at my last job. I’m always thankful for #6. It makes me really appreciate them more.

  2. Lillie Lane*

    This is a great reminder, Alison. I complain a LOT about my job but in the end I am grateful to have one. Awesome coworkers are my #1 reason to be thankful. They share the pain and we have fun together.

      1. A Bug!*

        Me, three. The articles and the comments help me keep things in perspective. And hearing from such a diverse crowd of people is very educational; I’ve had more than a few light-bulb moments reading the comments here.

        Thanks, everybody!

    1. Jamie*

      Me too. :) definitely thankful for everyone here.

      And as much as I enjoy my work related aggravation and eye rolling, I’m thankful for them to. I work for and with decent people doing a job I love with flexibility and autonomy. A little more gratitude and a little less taking it for granted wouldn’t go amiss.

    2. Ruffingit*

      Absolutely, I am too! I’ve learned a lot from others and hope I’ve helped some too. This is a very giving and helpful community and I’m certainly grateful for that.

    1. Jean*

      Hang in there! Give it time and try to enjoy at least some part of the journey even if it’s not clearly going in the direction that you most desire. Oh, and take care of yourself because no matter where you are going, you are AWESOME, wise (you post sane, useful comments), and deserve good care.

    2. AmyNYC*

      I’m in the opposite boat – life outside work is pretty great but work is a total “meh.” I’m trying to make the best of it by seeing it as a learning experience, but some days I just don’t know how I’ll make it until 6. (or 7, which is a large part of the problem)

    3. some1*

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I enjoy reading a lot of your comments on here because I think you are intelligent and you offer a valuable perspective in these discussions.

      Because I have been reading and commenting on the blog for awhile, it’s easy to feel as though I cyber know you and a lot of the commenters who post on the regular, as all of us, I think, share certain details about ourselves to give context to our opinions.

      I have noticed over my time here that you often mention that you are not in a relationship and don’t have kids and it’s not by your choice. I can certainly relate to that, as I felt the same way when really good relationships I was in did not work out.

      When I read your comments where you lament not having a BF or having kids yet, part of my reaction is that I am sure you will find the right person in due time because you seem to have a lot of qualities that would make you an awesome significant other.

      I hope this doesn’t come out wrong, but to be honest my second reaction, when I read some of your comments, is discomfort at the idea that you may be lamenting about these things to people IRL. (Granted, I have no evidence that you mention these things to anyone around you, it could just be here because it’s relevant to the discussion and it’s a place that’s pretty safe, internet-wise)

      If you are telling people that you wish you had a BF IRL whenever the topic comes up, might I make a suggestion that you cut down on that? I am sure if you mention it to people it’s only because you want to share your experience and pain, but it can make people around you uncomfortable because it’s hard to know how to react…are you looking for empathy, sympathy, a fix-up with my neighbor, reassurances/promises that Mr. Right is around the corner?

      It’s hard to know what to do when someone laments about something (anything) on the regular, but to be honest, my first reaction is to avoid the negativity (and thus, that person). If you spend a lot of time lamenting your lack of BF to the people around you, you could be shooting yourself in the foot.

      I have thought of mentioning something about this to you before, but didn’t before because I thought it was none of my business (and it might still not be my business, so I am sorry), but it seems to upset you enough with enough frequency that maybe offering an unwanted opinion might be ok.

      1. Jennifer*

        Oh, some1…..

        “When I read your comments where you lament not having a BF or having kids yet, part of my reaction is that I am sure you will find the right person in due time because you seem to have a lot of qualities that would make you an awesome significant other.”

        Not always, not necessarily. All single ladies of a certain age know plenty of other single ladies of a certain age that are awesome, but can’t find a similarly awesome dude left on the market where they live. And “due time” may not mean “by the time she’s still fertile,” so…. Well, I’ll put it this way: the sentiment is nice, but that’s not always how life works for us old singles. But it’s not under our control, and that is especially frustrating for the folks who have to think about the damn clock.

        ” (Granted, I have no evidence that you mention these things to anyone around you, it could just be here because it’s relevant to the discussion and it’s a place that’s pretty safe, internet-wise)”

        Yup. It’s easier to vent about these things online than IRL anyway, you do not know that she is going on about this 24-7 or at all. I would presume it comes up less in real life.
        Look, I cannot claim to have read everything she posts myself, but it has not stuck out in my head that this is all she posts about 24-7. Heck, I didn’t think she was only referring to her lack of love life when she said it–other personal drama could be coming up for all I know. I’m just glad she’s got one area of life going well for her rather than none!

        “but it can make people around you uncomfortable because it’s hard to know how to react…are you looking for empathy, sympathy, a fix-up with my neighbor, reassurances/promises that Mr. Right is around the corner?”

        Assume she’s venting and agree that yeah, that sucks. Empathy and sympathy are all you are going to be able to give over the Internet anyway. I suspect you don’t live anywhere near her to fix her up, and reassurances/promises don’t really mean anything when it comes to this topic, unfortunately.

        Old ‘N Bitter Single
        (who, thankfully, doesn’t care about having kids and has pretty much stopped caring about having an SO anyway, but knows what the latter feeling was like and sympathizes)

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          Yep, I was one of those “old” single people, who didn’t meet Mr Right until I was about 35, we got married when I was 37, and had our child when I was 41.

          At that point I had figured it was going to be me and the cat, riding it out for the long haul, and I had gotten to be OK with that. Not what I would have chosen, but at that time I had a career I was happy with, lots of great friends, and the freedom to pretty much do what I wanted. Lots to be thankful for in that scenario. And what’s the alternative? To be bitter about how things have worked out? That’s no kind of life.

          Someone very close to me deals with a bi-polar spouse who goes on and off the meds with no rhyme or reason, and when off them, becomes extremely volatile, unstable, and abusive. (I should note here that the abuse is not physical, but verbal.) She was melting down awhile back about the situation, and she and her husband broke up and got back together 3 or 4 times over the course of a few days. She’s been dealing with this for a few years now. She makes excuses, all of them weak, the weakest being that she doesn’t want to be single and looking for a date in her 50’s. So — evidently she’d rather be abused than be alone.

          So…I guess my point is that being single really is not the end of the world. Just because someone is in a relationship doesn’t mean that they’re happy, or that they’re better of than they would be on their own.

      2. tcookson*

        Don’t most of us have some area of our lives that isn’t exactly what we’d hoped for, though? I know I do.

        The thing that drives me crazy is the notion that we’re all supposed to put on an act that everything is so by-god perfect* for us, to the point that we’re not supposed to relate to one another with any kind of depth at all. To me, the people I can relate to are the ones with the honesty to admit that they have areas of weakness (things that haven’t turned out — yet — as they’d hoped; struggles with the way they see a certain issue vs. the way it seems to be perceived by those around them, etc.).

        *It’s as if people have extrapolated the de rigeur answer to the old interview question, “What’s your greatest weakness”, from the business sphere to the social, so that everyone’s greatest weakness (in business OR in their social lives) is that they’re just so darn perfect. Puh-lease. /endrant

  3. Anonymous*

    I am thankful for my IT in job in education where, it turns out, they value continuing education and let me go to conferences and buy me any book I ask for. Also, thankful that it is a steady job with decent benefits and a pension plan.

    1. fposte*

      Seconding much of that, and I’ll get specific–I’m thankful for having both a 403b and a 457 :-).

    2. Sascha*

      Yes! My pay is not awesome but man, that pension. And the health care. Also I just got a shiny new Galaxy Note tablet – and I’m thankful to Alison’s advice (in general) for giving me the courage to ask my boss for it. :)

  4. NylaW*

    I’m so thankful for my job, low drama coworkers that I actually like to be around, and a manager who values and respects us. I’m also thankful for this blog, which is a daily reminder of the things I sometimes take for granted.

    1. KarenT*

      Honestly? I’m thankful for my high drama co-workers. They entertain me. I’m pretty sure if I filmed some of their antics I’d have a tv show on my hands that way outshines The Office.

      1. Jen in RO*

        I’m thankful for having left the drama workplace, but still getting regular reports. This way it’s entertaining and not stressful :)

      2. tcookson*

        I’m thankful for other people’s posts here about their high-drama co-workers . . . I’d still like to get rid of a couple of mine. ;-)

    2. tcookson*

      I’m thankful for my low-drama coworkers, and for the fact that they have my back (and I theirs) when the two high-drama ones start to go after one of us.

  5. Anne*

    I am thankful that my work lets me have blue hair and pays for my accountancy training.

    I mean, that’s got to be a pretty unusual combination of workplace win.

    1. tcookson*

      Our new admin had blue hair while interviewing with us, but she’s gone to a natural color now. I’m glad to work for a place where the blue hair didn’t stand in her way, because she’s great!

  6. Sascha*

    I’m thankful for the whole culture shift towards more positive attitudes about telecommuting and flexible working arrangements. Those things aren’t suitable for every job or every person, but I’m glad that more employers are willing to consider these things instead of an all-or-nothing, butt-in-chair approach.

  7. Meg*

    I’m definitely thankful for #1 (well, except for one bad egg), #2, and #7. Having plenty of sick time and vacation time, and being able to use it guilt-free is a wonderful feeling.

  8. Allison*

    I am extremely thankful for my job. I’d probably be MORE thankful if I was an employee rather than a contractor so I’d have some paid time off this week, but I’m making it work because contract work with this amazing company beats the pants off doing similar work as an employee at most other companies. Really chill, down-to-Earth boss with reasonable expectations, great co-workers, and a flexible as hell schedule that lets me work from home whenever I want, it’s a pretty sweet situation.

  9. Meg*

    Man, I’m thankful for all of those at my current job.

    I’m also thankful for my lax dress code that allows me to wear whatever I want, style my hair how ever I want, and have whatever piercings and tattoos I want.

    Thankful for benefits such as health insurance and PTO and paid holiday.

    Thankful that my place of employment recognizes my skills and experience and allows to me, the subject matter expert, to make decisions instead of having some non-SME with no experience (but a higher level of authority ) make a decision without fully understanding the limitations and impacts.

  10. Jean*

    I’m thankful for this blog, the many wise people who comment here, and the fact that other people are happy employees, contractors, or self-employed folks. It gives me hope plus some solidly good suggestions on how to get there (or how to get myself ready to do the work of getting there) myself.

  11. Penny*

    I’m thankful my company has all of those (well limited telecommuting but that’s ok because I like my coworkers)

  12. Xay*

    I’m thankful that my employer saw fit to dig into their overhead and offer floating holidays to those of us who had to use all of our leave during the government shutdown. I know that a business has to be mindful of its bottom line but it is greatly appreciated when an employer recognizes that its employees were caught in a situation out of all of our control and at least makes a gesture to make things better.

  13. Nonprofit Office Manager*

    I’m super thankful that my job provides me with really good health insurance. Which reminds me, I need to find a chiropractor in my new town!

  14. Malissa*

    I’m thankful for this community that helped me find a cool job in a place where I don’t wake up freezing. I’m thankful that I can always find good advice and caring people here.
    I’m thankful for my new job, even with it’s drama. I control my own little corner of my world here and that is awesome. The last place I was always torn between two different parts of leadership and having to get things done with no actual authority. I am very thankful that chapter is done!

  15. Windchime*

    I am so thankful that my employer does very well in all the categories that Alison’s article mentions. Someone else mentioned health insurance; I am so thankful for that. I was a little dismayed at the amount of out-of-pocket I will have after my ankle surgery, but I am thankful that I will be able to pay it off without too much hardship.

    And PS…..I am thankful that I can now walk with crutches! No more knee scooter!

  16. periwinkle*

    I am thankful for:
    * AAM and the civilized, intelligent, and very informative discussions she fosters on this blog – I learn something new every day
    * My soon-to-end job that encompasses #1, 3, and 6
    * My soon-to-be job (starting in January) that definitely includes #7 and involves forwarding the company’s goals in providing #4 to its employees
    * Kitty pictures!

  17. Associate*

    I’m thankful that I have a great job. No-drama coworkers, great work, great managing partners who let me take vacation guilt-free and provide actual training and mentoring. Nos. 1, 2 , 4 , 6, and 7.

  18. Associate*

    I’m thankful that I have a great job. No-drama coworkers, great work, great managing partners who let me take vacation guilt-free and provide actual training and mentoring. Nos. 1, 2 , 4 , 6, and 7. Also love reading your blog. Lots of common sense, realistic advice.

  19. ChristineSW*

    Harumph…I *wish* I had a job to be thankful for!! I’ve been looking for so long that I’ve hit a point where I’m almost on autopilot when I search.

    However, I *am* thankful for the following:

    -My volunteer work, through which I’ve met some really awesome people and have learned a great deal about the human service needs of my community. Still haven’t quite been able to get a foothold on my TRUE area of interest, but I’m getting there.

    -My wonderful spouse and family who have been incredibly patient and supportive, as well as a couple of close friends.

    -The AAM community, with their wise and witty comments (and one of the friendliest online communities I’ve encountered). Though I haven’t had an office job in ages, I’m really learning a lot about the ins and outs of job hunting and the workplace through real people. Oh, and Alison herself is pretty darn awesome too, all for the same reasons :)

  20. MR*

    After being unemployed at this point in the year the past two years, I’m glad to finally have work, even if it is part time retail. Oh, and a wife that has tolerated it up to this point.

    If I could wish for one thing going forward, is to be able to figure out what it is I want to do with myself. It’s hard to search for jobs when you don’t know what you want to do. Any tips would be appreciated!

  21. Cassie*

    I am thankful for my boss – he’s a good guy, gives me the authority and space to do my job, and lets me have a flexible schedule.

    I’m also thankful that although my coworkers are not exactly low-drama, my interactions with them is limited – I can essentially ignore them for days at a time if I wanted to (not that I do) because our duties don’t require regular interaction. And I’m thankful for my headphones and Pandora so I can be-bop to music to drown out the dramatics going on around me.

  22. QualityControlFreak*

    I am thankful for work that not only pays well and has great benefits, but is also meaningful to me personally. I enjoy what I do, and I also believe in and completely support what WE do as an organization. My job is engaging and challenging, my org is great about providing training and development that feeds back into supporting our mission, and I have a high level of ownership of my own processes as well as input to policy and procedure org-wide. Can’t say my coworkers are all low-drama, but we genuinely care about each other and (here’s the real perk) we laugh EVERY DAY. No, it isn’t perfect. Nothing is. But I am very very lucky and I’m fully aware of it.

    And I will join others in expressing my gratitude for the online community AAM has created here, and all of the commenters who make this a valuable and essential part of my day. You all rock!

  23. Sue*

    I’m glad, after 30 years in the corporate world, losing everything at age 50, that I finally have been able to start my own business, work in my jammies every day with a commute that consists of walking from my bedroom to the coffee pot then to my home office. No snotty co workers or nightmarish bosses either. No half hour restrictions for lunch, no “get here at 8 am and leave by 5 pm”, none of that. Yeah me. Oh and I make more working from home with no gas expenses or lunch and breakfast expenses than the market is currently paying, way more.

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