Saturday, June 3, 2017


It's the last day of  Employee Appreciation Week at Ye Olde Corporate Bookstore.

What a joke. Especially at my particular location.

The official celebration consists of three things. First, an extra 10% added to our employee discount for a week. Which can't be combined with any other deals or specials going on. They're basically saying, "We appreciate your hard work all year so much, we're going to give you an incentive to spend back some of the money you've earned with us! Thanks!"  The second part of the "celebration" is one employee meal for the staff. A meal where there's only about $4-5 to be spent per person. The total will barely pay for a sandwich platter from Subway, so the company suggests that we turn it into a potluck and just use the funds they provide to buy the main entrée. They want us to do extra shopping and spend our money there, and they also want us to provide most of our own appreciation meal! Lest you think I'm being ungrateful, I'll point out that our store is the smallest in our region, and it alone makes more than 3 million dollars a year. It would be completely different if we worked for a small, locally owned business with far fewer resources.

The third thing that should be happening this week never will: store managers are supposed to go out of their way to thank everyone for all the things they do well. That would actually be nice, but our manager is completely and utterly burned out and mentally checked out. She's a nice enough person, but is obviously long past the point where she should have either found another position or taken early retirement. She never thinks to thank anyone for anything, ever. Nor does she notice what's going on around her most of the time at work. I don't know of anyone who feels appreciated there. I certainly don't.

Appreciation and validation are so important at work. I realized how much I miss a more supportive atmosphere last month when two managers from other stores in the region visited us for a week. We have some problems at our store (not the least of which is high turnover) and the two people they sent train new managers in the district. They were sent by the district manager to work at our store for a week to observe, make suggestions, and try to figure out where some of the problems lie. Both of the people he sent were mature, professional, and helpful. And on three separate occasions, I got big praise from the two of them. I've become so accustomed to never hearing any positive feedback that all three times I found myself blushing and then glowing with pride for hours afterward. Every day when I left work that week, I felt like I was walking on air. Of course things went right back to normal as soon as they left. But it was a great reminder that I have been (and can be again) so much happier at work than I am right now! The lack of appreciation is high on my list of grievances, and reasons why I'm looking to move on.

So Employee Appreciation Week falls a little flat for this employee!


  1. Oh dear... how ridiculous is that, expecting the employees to basically put their hard-earned money back into the store, and making their own meal! You're right, it would be different if this was a small independent store, but it isn't.
    As for appreciation, I am sure your customers appreciate you and your hard work, too, even if they do not always say it to your face.

  2. The most appreciated I felt on a job was at the nursing home. Most of the patients loved me. Charge nurses requested me as their assistant. I had dignity--something we all deserve to have on the job when we work our butts off.


  3. Doesn't cost anything to say thank you.

  4. Even where my daughter works the manager is awful.
    I just do not understand it. When I was working employees were valued. You worked hard and were rewarded. Nowadays not so much.
    I think you are doing a great job.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

  5. Your so-called Employee Appreciation Week should be multiplied by 52. I find it a bloody cheek that they should even think of such a thing. Employees should be appreciated EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR.

  6. Time to get a new job? But I fear that many employers these days will be exactly the same. Our local Waitrose ( top notch food supermarket for those not familiar with UK stores) has been cutting staff all round and the service is not what it was at all. I was chatting to a guy who has been there since it opened...34 yrs....and is seriously thinking of quitting. Banks here are the same......less and less staff, and longer queues.

  7. I worked for a small company a long time ago that also had an Employee Appreciation Day. They hosted an elegant lunch at a local restaurant and we each were expected to contribute $10, which was probably more than it cost them. I didn't go to that, my first and only, employee appreciation day, and I quit shortly thereafter.

  8. I can see why! As you said, positive feedback (actually, ANY feedback) is so important in the workplace. People have to feel valued, to feel like they and their jobs matter. It's hard to work in an environment that lacks that kind of reinforcement.

  9. Surely, in Employee Appreciation Week you get an Employee Appreciation Week badge and an Employee Appreciation Week bumper sticker! I applaud your cynicism Jennifer and I also applaud your observation that workers appreciate genuine praise and encouragement. Sometimes this can be better than money.

  10. They suggest you bring food to a potluck for employee appreciation day, that is outrageous. I recall for a few years my husband's employer gave employees a $25 gift certificate to a food store, now that was nice. Isn't it wonderful how a compliment at work lifted your spirits?

  11. Shame that there is no appreciation at work, which can be a morale booster really.