Food was served and the guests had a wonderful time satisfying their gastronomical buds. Neer dosa (which is a Mangalorean speciality), chicken curry, fish fry boiled eggs and top it up with some chicken biryani and ice cream for dessert. Indeed a lavish spread. While I held my tummy and simultaneously my hand over my plate requesting them that I could take no more, I thought about the hostess and the time and effort she spent in cooking so many dishes for so many people. After my meal I went to the kitchen to meet her and as always I saw such a contrasting picture compared to what was out in the drawing room.
She was busy frying fish and the rest of the items lay on the kitchen platform beside. In the sink was a huge heap of vessels to be washed and the pile kept growing. She looked tired, her hair was all scattered and sweat trickled down her forehead. She gave me her ever pleasant smile and I offered my help. “Should I help in cleaning the table, tidying the kitchen. I cant handle the cooking part but any other odd jobs, please let me know. I have no hesitation in doing the dishes too.”
She waved me off and told me to go and enjoy another scoop of ice cream. “But how about you? Won’t you eat?” I asked. It almost 3pm. “Soon” she said. I thanked her and told her the meal was awesome, I specially loved the chicken curry, the neer dosas were so fluffy and the fish was so good that I couldnt help but eat more than my fair share. I saw a glow on her face. Atleast someone had bothered to acknowledge her efforts.
Another lady stormed into the kitchen.”The spices had not properly blended with the biryani and the fish was too salty. We eat less salt”. The hostess just smiled. She went out to check out if the other guests were comfortable or faced similar issues and then I saw a few more including my hubby tell her that the food was salty. Honestly for me it was perfect, I usually have a bit more salt in my food. And I actually never found the food to be salty. I saw her smile sheepishly, mumble an excuse and retreat back to her safe haven- the kitchen.
I later chided my hubby- I don’t think the salt was too much, was there a reason to raise it? Did you atleast compliment her later for the efforts taken? “No” he shrugged his shoulders, that’s her job. “What?” I was almost furious, “dare you try this with me, and you are in for a nasty shock. You cant just take people for granted. She maybe your sister but that doesn’t mean you don’t value her and make her feel special, or don’t thank her. I don’t think this is a formality or there is anything artificial about it. making your loved ones feel valued and appreciating them goes a long way in strengthening the bond”.
Every individual needs appreciation, craves for attention at times at least and wants people to express their love and gratitude. This is not just at home but at the workplace too.
Do you just work for money or because you are passionate about the work or because you have a great set of friends and colleagues there? Somewhere it also boils down to how the people you work with- your boss, subordinates, clients make you feel. Do they make you feel valued? An appreciation mail by your boss about a job well done, a mention about how well you handled the issue that cropped up in a team meeting or even a casual talk where your client or manager tells you about how much he values you and your contribution to the organisation makes a sea difference in your morale and loyalty towards your workplace. In my case this is definitely a big factor which motivates me to set a higher bar each time and make a new record. This is one of the primary reasons I switched my job after almost 7 years of working in one of most reputed organisations, with a solid job profile, good work flexibility, an industry best compensation package. Its not that I dint like my job or the organisation. in fact I was at a stage where I really loved what I did but I dint feel valued enough. Any contributions by me in terms of any innovation, extra time spent in fixing something or a any novelty that I brought to the table was not valued. A couple of people just looked at it at “well you are doing your job”.
But was I just doing my job? I asked myself this question, and tried to answer it candidly. I was doing much more as I aspired to move up the corporate ladder, but if this was not being acknowledged, it was perhaps time to move on. To a place which would not take me for granted and value my contributions. Somewhere I knew staying there too long, a married woman with a 1.5 year old baby – people would have assumed why will she look for a move now? She will stay put. I was being taken for granted and I realise somewhere I was responsible for it for I let this happen. A change would bring about a big transformation in my life – in terms of additional responsibilities at a new workplace till I learnt the ropes, I had to prove myself right from scratch and build my network. This meant lesser time with my baby, I could stop thinking of work life balance and flexibility for a few months. It also meant lesser time with my hubby. It took a lot of courage but I knew I no longer could stay amongst people who didn’t value me and if this needed me to start afresh and work hard, I was willing to do it. My beliefs were reaffirmed when I put down my papers and the tepid response I received from them. Yea not a day longer here, I was certain I was on the right path.
This is a question we women often tend to ignore and brush aside- well I am getting paid, whats this valued all about? I am cooking for my family why should they thank me, its my job ain’t it? Well its not an easy one and its not really about making a formal speech and posting this thing in facebook about how much I love my wife, she has made my life flourish. It is about a hug, holding hands, a casual compliment like “hey the dahi vada was superb today” or”You look lovely in this dress”. These small gestures but they go a long way in making the person feel special, make him/her feel that their efforts don’t go unnoticed and people around them are thankful to have them in their life.
Its important to give this feeling to others as well- an appreciation mail to a colleague for a job well done may take hardly few minutes of your time but the happiness it will bring to the person concerned is invaluable. Similarly, complimenting your spouse for being a good hubby and dad, a hug to your parents and “that painting you just finished is like “wow” to your kid- will help spread cheer. So lets not forget this important attribute of making people feel valued and make sure that we ourselves are not taken for granted ever. If we are not valued, now is the time for a change. So, ask yourself this question” Do you feel valued enough?”