is a thing we do for each other at the library where I work.
What happens is you notice a coworker going above and beyond, maybe they're being extra helpful with a patron, or maybe they've stepped in to assist you, and you want to give them a little shout-out, a mention, a virtual pat on the back. At the library we have a special online form called YMD, and we fill it out and send it to the person who YMD-ed.
It feels good to give them out. It feels good to receive them. For a long time, I thought that was all there was to it. But then I sent one to a coworker, and later she thanked me, and said she'd won a few hours of paid time off. Apparently, all of the YMDs for a particular quarter get thrown together and one name is picked out to receive this bonus reward.
We need to do more of this, I said to my coworkers last week. Not on the off chance that we might win the bonus time-off hours, (Although this is GREAT!) but because it's an all-around nice way to treat each other, to recognize what are coworkers are doing, and to show our appreciation.
I feel so strongly about this that I volunteered to sit on the library's appreciation committee. This is a big deal for me because I have an aversion to committees.
This goes back to
(1) my first teaching job fresh out of college, and I was so amazingly young and naive about the ways of the adult working world, and we'd be sitting in these all staff meetings and someone would bring up a problem, and the principal would say, "Why don't you discuss that in the committee?" And I would think, hmm, what is the committee?
Until one day, I brought up a problem and was directed to the committee, and whispered to the people at my table "What is this committee?" and they all laughed and whispered back, "Oh, Jody, you silly girl, there IS no committee."
(2) when my kids were in elementary school and I was such a gung-ho volunteer that I sat on EVERY committee and I got so ridiculously enmeshed and burned out that when my husband found out his job was being transferred out of state, one of my first thoughts was YES! I CAN QUIT ALL OF THESE COMMITTEES.
But anyway, I like this Library Staff Appreciation Committee, so far, (we've only had one meeting) but already, we had fun brainstorming cool things we can do to show the staff appreciation. First order of business: Oreos for National Oreo Day, which is March 6, in case you didn't know. (I didn't)
Also, I don't really care for Oreos. But I do appreciate the gesture to show us appreciation.
I was thinking about all of this on my drive home after the committee meeting and still feeling the after-glow from a YMD one of my coworkers had given me that day (for helping with the Baby Storytime the week before), and so I was late to start my afternoon writing work, but trying to gear myself up.
Something about my writing work: the YMDs have to come from within. I truly believe this and have always been okay with it, but then I opened up my email and was surprised to see a YMD of sorts, a message from my Substack account with a note from a reader,
along with some information about a pledge-payment feature the account offers and how to handle subscriptions if you choose to activate this feature. Until that moment, I hadn't even known that payment was an option, but I was still stuck on the message, the kind words from an old friend (coincidentally, a million years ago we sat on several committees together). How lovely and out of the blue to hear from her, and to know that she reads my words and likes them.
And I hope she won't mind if I give her a little shout out now:
You made a difference.