Jonathan Lam

EE/CS @ The Cooper Union


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Undue gratitude

On 9/8/2021, 11:44:58 PM

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This is a brief knee-jerk reaction to some recent experiences. There is no deep meaning to this, and maybe it's obvious. I've been overwhelmed by the happiness of the client, the kindness of the coworker, and the gratitude of the boss, due to recent experiences.

I feel that the work should be expected, and I am not entitled to thanks for little things -- this is what I signed up for, this is what I was hired for, this is what I get paid for. Expressions of gratitude feel like too much when I am not going above-and-beyond. When the job is done well, then sure, some thanks are welcome and relieving. But even when the job is not, such as fumbling over a phone call or giving a poor presentation at work; even when expectations are not matched and a tutoring session leaves me relearning the material in front of the supposed learner; even when my work doesn't entail much more than sitting at a desk watching over the computer center, I've had tremendous support from others.

Of course, part of it is the industry -- I mostly deal with other members of the school, or members of a technical company, or users of the technical product. I've heard much worse from stories in the service industry (medical and food services), and always resolved to work in a job that doesn't have to interact with customers. I still fear that world, and understand that it is a privilege to be able to work in such a protected bubble. It has taught me to be less miserly with gratitude, for the times when the bubble bursts.


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