Perk Up or Shut Up

February 27, 2007

About this time four years ago, I was thinking to myself – “This MUST  be the worst day of my life.”  It was 7:00am on a beautiful Sunday morning, and I was sitting in my manager’s plush office coughing uncontrollably and desperately sipping a steaming cup of green tea.  The two of us were on a conference call with our client when in the middle of the conversation, she hit the mute button, turned to me and hoarsely whispered:

“Kevin, I need you to perk up!  We’re on a call with the client!  I’m going to make a note in your performance review.”

I had been dragging myself to work for about a month with a coughing flu that wouldn’t quit.  Not only was I not getting better, but I was also clearly not getting along with my project manager–who didn’t seem to notice nor care that I was close to coughing out a lung on her desk. Worst of all, nobody outside of our small 2-person team knew that we were severely understaffed on our project.  I was trying so hard, and seemingly stuck in obscurity (or worse yet, I was being noted as an “unperky” performer in a file somewhere) in my company.

This was my first job out of college–working for the large German bank Deutsche Bank, which had over 60,000 employees worldwide.  And I was scared that I was doing a poor job, that I would forever be someone who couldn’t make it in Corporate America–assuming that anyone else would hire me.   I felt like I was going to let my parents down, who had been so excited and proud of me when I told them about my new job at a big bank.  I felt awful…

=============

A couple of months and a new project team later, my new manager was thanking me in front of the entire team for my hard work that had helped lead to a happy and satisfied client.

Like night and day.  I felt great working under my new project lead.
That small act of public recognition for my work made me feel wonderfully appreciated; it felt like I mattered and I was doing my part to contribute to the company.  I remembered the stark difference between how my two managers treated me, and I wanted to make sure that I always made people feel the way manager #2 made me feel.  Not only did I work harder for my second manager, I was also more creative and thoughtful about my job.  And much happier.

In founding Worksona, I’m excited to create a service that lets both employees and managers take workplace recognition into their own hands.  Recognition and making people feel like they’re a contributor in their company can lead to wonderful products and services being created.  And in our own small way, the founders here at Worksona hope that we can make people’s lives at work just a little better.

-Kevin

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