Recognition from your Peers: What Motivates YOU?

Just a Thought

Recognition From Your Peers: What Motivates YOU?

It is that time of year once again when we hear about ways to recognize our fellow co-workers. Whether a staff member, faculty member, student or alum, opportunities are abundant to show that you acknowledge how hard someone is working and that you appreciate that person’s efforts.  But how often do we actually submit something on someone else’s behalf?

When the lottery was in the millions, everyone went out and bought tickets. Groups went together to purchase a chance to change their life forever with a windfall of large amounts of cash.  When you look at the statistics, it is actually more likely that you will get struck by lightning or hit by a bus before receiving millions of dollars through a lottery distribution.

Why do we do this? What motivates us to spend our hard earned cash in large amounts for a…

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Recognition from your Peers: What Motivates YOU?

Recognition From Your Peers: What Motivates YOU?

It is that time of year once again when we hear about ways to recognize our fellow co-workers. Whether a staff member, faculty member, student or alum, opportunities are abundant to show that you acknowledge how hard someone is working and that you appreciate that person’s efforts.  But how often do we actually submit something on someone else’s behalf?

When the lottery was in the millions, everyone went out and bought tickets. Groups went together to purchase a chance to change their life forever with a windfall of large amounts of cash.  When you look at the statistics, it is actually more likely that you will get struck by lightning or hit by a bus before receiving millions of dollars through a lottery distribution.

Why do we do this? What motivates us to spend our hard earned cash in large amounts for a possible chance of winning?  It is hard to say.  Everyone is motivated by different things.

Well, ask yourself something. What motivates you when you are on the job?  As a staff member working in Higher Education, you realize that it is not about the large salary that keeps you coming back day after day.  It is more than that. You have to find some sort of personal satisfaction that is gratifying.

For me, it is all about:

  • The challenge to learn what someone needs and what specific resources would work best for that situation
  • The moment for the student when frustration turns into something else
  • The sparkle in someone’s eyes when they finally get it
  • The time when a student takes ownership of individual actions and realizes, “If it is meant to be then it is up to me!”
  • The next time that I see this student and they share what has happened since we last spoke

Coffee Break

We will spend time to go down and get a cup of coffee from the local coffee shop, wait in line, learn the crazy language of explaining what we want and then wait patiently for them to shout out our name, while watching others go through the exact same process. You instantly smell the aroma and feel the warmth of your cup.  You have a sense of accomplishment, although in a very short time the cup will be empty and you will be moving on to the next thing. It is really about the little things.

Imagine if you were to use the same amount of time to acknowledge someone that you work with and let this person know how much you appreciate them. It only takes a few minutes.  It could be a sticky note, a text, an email or a nomination for an award.  Sometimes, it may be kind words that you speak to acknowledge your approval and accolades.  Other times your appreciation is noted by your actions when you buy in to someone else’s idea, you participate in brainstorming to come up with new ideas or you actively listen and take the time to hear someone else’s point of view.

Thank You, Thank You Very Much

Our office has a table dedicated to thank you cards. We provide a notecard and envelope, along with a pen and a notebook that includes the business cards of our on-campus recruiters.  I am very thankful that we have the ability to do this, because I truly believe that we need to send hand written thank you cards.  Not emails, or long letters, but thank you cards that include a few simple sentences acknowledging the interviewer and something learned during the interview.  Maybe the employer mentioned something that was not addressed during the interview. Maybe the student had something in common and wanted to reiterate the situation to help the employer distinguish the student from other applicants.

By providing the thank you cards, the student can fill it out and leave it for the front desk to distribute accordingly. Every once in a while, I ask myself a few questions.  Are we truly encouraging students to be thankful for the interviewing opportunity?  Will the student send a thank you card if we did not provide it?  Will the student remember to do this in the future if we are not prompting them to do it?  I like to think that we are providing fishing poles and helping to teach our students proper protocols, not just providing fresh fish.

Email Request for Nominations

On a daily basis, our email box is flooded with a variety of different messages. Some that must be addressed in a timely fashion, some are flagged for follow up, while others must be deleted.  Managing your inbox takes a constant effort and should really be checked regularly.

As you receive emails promoting ways to recognize your co-workers, what do you do with them? You might keep them in your inbox, consider nominating someone and then you get busy, or you have more important things you need to do that you do not make this nomination a priority.  You might justify your actions by saying, “Well, I am not sure if this person has truly met the criteria for the award.”  We expect our students to conduct their due diligence and learn as much about the position and employer, as possible.  Yet, when it comes to acknowledging others, we do not always take the time to determine the best person to nominate or ways to show our appreciation.

IT MATTERS

Just a moment ago, I answered my work phone and on the other end was a student that I had helped over a year ago. She is currently in a leadership class and one of her assignments is to acknowledge someone that has made a difference in her life.  She called me.  She went on to say how much she appreciated all that I did for her and the way that I made her feel.  It almost brought tears to my eyes.  Who knew that at the very moment I was writing about the importance of being thankful, someone would call me and show their appreciation.  What an incredible moment.

THIS TIME

A while back, Jerry Seinfeld created an animated film called, “THE BEE MOVIE”.  As a bee that was graduating from high school, Jerry wanted to go out into the world and see what it was like before he accepted a specific position that he would do for the rest of his life.

On one occasion, Jerry was trapped inside an apartment and he was trying to get back outside. The window was closed and he kept running into the glass again and again.  All the while, he was saying, “This time. This time. This time.”  If you have not seen this movie, I would highly recommend it.

The next time you receive an email or someone mentions a way to recognize your peers, think about it. Everyone is busy.  There are only 24 hours in a day.  Make the most of yours.  Remember, it is not about you.  It is about them. As the song goes, it only takes a spark to get a fire going.  If you plan to nominate someone, then consider promoting the nomination with others. Work together to acknowledge someone, not because you have to do it, but because you want to do it.  It is amazing what people will do with the proper motivation.

Respectfully submitted,

Debbie Boles | Assistant Director ~ OU Career Services | Alumni | Graduate College | University College | International Students | Veterans | Students with Disabilities | LGBTQ Students | Liberal Studies | Continuing Education | dboles@ou.edu | http://www.hiresooner.com  http://www.linkedin.com/in/dboles/ | Office: 405.325.1974 | Fax: 405.325.3402

OU Career Services – serving OU students for 70 years

Fall Back, Pay It Forward, Time for Giving Thanks

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Pumpkin patches, football games and the smell of a distant fireplace really sets the stage.  The air is crisp with anticipation of cooler temperatures, and the summer allergies are gradually decreasing. It is that time of year when the leaves are turning bright red, yellow and orange, while hanging on the tree just a little while longer to enjoy the transformation from summer to fall.

Career fairs, midterm exams and on campus interviews begin to fade as we begin to prepare for the next phase in the career search process. How can we utilize this time of year to help our students?  What are the most important things to consider?  Where do we begin?

REBOOT, REFRESH, RESTART

Rather than re-inventing the process, I recommend that we encourage our students to take a step back and evaluate what is working and what needs to change. Why do we keep doing the same things and expect different results?  Ask the student a couple simple questions and consider how turning over a new leaf can be just what the doctor ordered.

ORGANIZE AND IMPLEMENT YOUR PROCESS

Here are a few questions that are important to ask, and might get the conversation started.

What are you doing to find a summer internship? How are you keeping track of the positions that you apply for, the employers that you follow up with, and the career links and passwords that you need?

Build a list of job titles that sound interesting, employers that meet your requirements, and openings that you want to apply for. Conduct your research to find people or companies that are doing what you want to do.  Reach out to see if there is a summer internship available.  Initiate contact.  Submit appropriate documents.  Follow up.  Then WASH, RINSE and REPEAT.

The bottom line is the semester only has a few weeks left before the students will be busy with projects, presentations and final exams. What can we do now to help promote action and encourage follow up?  Not every student will have a light bulb moment where they realize how hard work, determination and planning = opportunity.  It is not our responsibility to place our students in positions, but to provide resources, encouragement, and support that will fan the flame and encourage everyone to start the journey of the job search process.

Each person will need to determine what is working and what needs to change. Then, start it all over again.  As career professionals, we must provide the fishing poles with instructions on how to fish, rather than providing the big feast. Learn to pay it forward through our actions, our advice and our daily commitment to our students, alumni, faculty and staff. Each student will play a role in their own destiny.  It is up to each individual to determine if they want to be the leading man or leading lady in his/her own life story.

As the students come in for individual appointments or walk-in assistance, we realize there is much work to be done. How do we keep our students informed and engaged in career research strategies when each person is in a different place in the planning phases?

Some students will self-select and actually reach out for assistance, while others will wait until the last moment and desperately try to do it all. As professionals that are task with finding the silver lining, we have a responsibility to provide encouragement, embrace procrastinators, and magically turn a frown upside down.  Motivation comes in many different forms.  How we communicate, engage and inspire others could be the difference between a mediocre internship they had one summer, and the first day of the rest of their career.  Let it begin with you.

GIVE THANKS

Take a moment to appreciate others through your thoughts, your words, and your actions.  Thanksgiving means something different to every person. For me, it is:

  • A time for giving thanks to those that have gone before me and paved the way
  • An opportunity to say thank you to those that serve and protect our country making it the land of the free because of the brave
  • A chance to reflect on the past (what we have accomplished), focus on the present (what we experience on a daily basis), and apply this knowledge to plan for our future

Take a moment to reflect. What are you thankful for?

Respectfully submitted,

Debbie Boles, Assistant Director

University of Oklahoma Career Services

What to Expect at NACE15 if You’re a First-Timer

The NACE Blog

Debbie BolesDebbie Boles, Assistant Director, University of Oklahoma Career Services
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/dboles/
Twitter: @breboles

In 2014, I attended my first NACE Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Although I have been working in higher education for 20+ years, it was my first year as a NACE member. As I prepare to attend the 2015 NACE Conference & Expo, I thought it might be nice to share some things that helped me at last year’s conference.

Remember: The conference will be what you make of it. If you take the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and gather ideas to bring back to the office, then that is what will happen.

Preparation: Promotional Materials, Maps, and Apps

When conference information is sent through the mail, I keep it handy to help me get organized. The registration information booklet for the 2015 NACE Conference & Expo includes a folded handout that…

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