Is there anything better than positive reinforcement?

Let’s face it. Whenever we do anything, no matter what it is, we want to do a good job.

If you have any self-respect whatsoever, then when you undertake a task, you’re going to make sure it gets done properly. Nobody ever wants to put forth a shit effort.

Maybe when I was in college, and I was given an assignment, I would dog it little and be content with my B minus. But those days are over. I have a job now, I was hired especially for it, and therefore, I want to prove to not only my employers, but to myself, that I can do it.

I’m not necessarily somebody that goes fishing for compliments. I don’t need positive reinforcement to know that I am trying hard. Because I am my own biggest critic. I expect a lot out of myself.

I truly wish I was one of those kids that completely lacked motivation, and could just sit around and get all high all day and not think twice about wasting my life. That would be beautiful. However, that’s not me.

So, that all being said, it’s still a great feeling when somebody compliments you on your work. Work is a hassle. We do it every day. So it’s nice to hear the words “good job” once in a while and know that you are not completely wasting your time and that your efforts are indeed being appreciated. It’s like rewarding a dog with a snack. I may not be a dog, but I want my snack, damn it!

A couple of months ago, while at work, my editor asked me if I could step into the conference room for a word. “Uh oh,” I thought. I began thinking of all the things I had done recently that could have gotten me in trouble. Many things came to mind. I braced myself.

What I thought might be a scolding ended up being my editor telling me that he thinks I am doing a really good job, and that, if I wish to stick around in the company for a while, I will almost certainly be in line for a promotion.

Whether I wish to stick around or not remains to be seen, but I was completely appreciative and overjoyed with the fact that I was told this. It made me realize that I am not wasting my life and that I am in fact good at what I do.

Because I can’t imagine that there is anything worse than trying your hardest, and thinking that you’re good at something, only to be told that you actually suck at it. That can’t be very good for your self esteem.

It’s easy to be uncertain with yourself, or to lack confidence. Having a job is a big challenge. It’s only natural to doubt yourself and your abilities, especially in the beginning. So to finally find that comfort zone and to feel like you belong, that’s one thing. But then to be told so by others, that’s even better.

So for all of you people out there that either employ others, or work hand-in-hand with others, don’t hesitate to give them a pat on the back every once in a while, and tell them that their efforts are being appreciated. It’s amazing how good that can make you feel.

Whether it’s a “good job,” or a “way to go!” or an “atta boy!” or a pat on the back and a slap in the behind, it’s all appreciated. However, if you are a male and you slap a woman in the behind, you may get charged with sexual harassment. So be careful with that one. Trust me. I’ve been there.

Like I said earlier, as long as you remain critical of yourself — but not too critical — then you should be alright, and positive reinforcement won’t be as necessary. But that doesn’t make it feel any less good.

So to all of the people out there who have jobs, who support themselves and who have an education, well good job! I’ll take up the initiative myself and congratulate all of you. You’ve earned it!

And to all of you unemployed people, who feel worthless and destitute, well, good job anyway, I guess.

One thought on “Is there anything better than positive reinforcement?

  1. Thanks for the “good-job” and to you I say “well done” writing this article!

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