We were flying home this weekend and saw a guy in first class who wasn’t exactly bad; he just acted entitled. The steward had to ask him twice to put his computer away. On landing, the steward had to tell him to buckle his seatbelt. Before takeoff, the steward was asking everyone loudly about a backpack and no one answered; it turned out it was this guy’s pack and he was just ignoring the steward. He drummed his fingers loudly and hummed, disrupting other passengers. It’s possible he has never flown before and doesn’t know normal air travel etiquette, but I think it’s more likely that he just feels entitled.
I believe a feeling of entitlement is the antithesis of being appreciative. When we fly, we realize what a goddamn miracle it is. We are hurtling through space at incredible speeds with remarkable comfort and luxury. We obey all the rules and try not to disturb the attendants at all. We appreciate how amazing the experience is and want to be Low Maintenance. This sense of appreciation is key to a happy life and personal relationships, but it is also key to being an excellent student/intern/resident/faculty member.
Do you appreciate the technical staff? I read a letter of recommendation recently where the writer pointed out that the candidate regularly thanked the technicians and the techs loved working with this applicant. Holy crap, this student appreciated the technical staff to the point where a faculty member noticed? That stands out to me as an evaluator. That tells me this person cares about other people and appreciates them. This will translate into greater success for them in all professional paths, so of course I want to recruit this person! They will be an awesome resident and great specialist, spreading positivity where they go and enhancing the reputation of our program.
Do you appreciate your mentors? They spend lots of time helping you, training you, and giving you advice. Hopefully, you express some thanks for what they give to you.
Do you appreciate your peers? Your students? Everyone around you in the veterinary world is working together as a team. All it takes is a quick “thanks”. If someone went out of their way or they did a great job that day, finding them and saying, “Thank you, Sean, for rocking out the cases today!” It’s genuine, it makes people feel good, it makes you feel good, it builds positive relationships, and it makes people enjoy their work.
If you can be someone who brings positivity, and not negativity, to work, you are bringing excellent value to that program. If you want to be recognized as a great student, intern, resident, or faculty member, be appreciative. You don’t have to be happy all the time, or bow and scrape to anyone. But if you give a genuine word of thanks now and again, it will work wonders for your career. Do you remember a time when someone sincerely thanked you? How did that make you feel? Share in the comments!