Not, I-got-a-spot-of-coffee-on-my-pant-leg bad days. Not even, someone-cut-me-off-in-traffic bad days. We're talking stellar bad. Rock-n-rollin' bad. Days you wished you'd gone into a career of shoveling ditches in the Arabian peninsula.
Years ago, a beloved editor of mine taught me the virtue of a business compliment. She showed me her "atta girl" stash of cards and emails and letters. Each of them collected over her career. Each thanking her for an excellent job. Each sincere and dogeared.
"This is my Feel Good Folder," she told me one day, one vibrantly punk day, when we were both wondering about switching jobs from journalists to janitors. "Any kind of compliment, anything kind, it goes in here. Then I take it out and read it on days like this."
Though cards age, sentiment is timeless. A heartfelt "thank you" has the eternal shelf life of canned meat. Should nuclear annihilation come, the humans who rise from the ashes centuries later will still be able to fatten themselves on the potato protein and hydrolyzed soy of Vienna Sausages manufactured in the 80s.
Now that's timeless.
That's the Feel Good Folder.
Today, I discovered a lost recommendation from 2009 that is going inside my Feel Good Folder:
"I have a reputation as a 'tough sell' as, more often than not, I decline recommendation letter requests. Tara has never requested a recommendation letter from me. I sought out this opportunity. Tara is, in my opinion, a national treasure: integrity, creativity, humility, decency, personal skills, DIALECTIC INTELLECT!!!! .... Need I say more? I give Tara my HIGHEST recommendation. Call if you have questions (918) *** - ****."
Booyah. Yummy to my tummy. I needed that. It tasted great and was less filling.
My suggestion? If you don't have a Feel Good Folder, you'll feel good about starting one. You'll feel even gooder about starting one for your employees. Keep it next to their personnel files and yank it out when they've locked themselves in the VIP bathroom.
Slaps on the back work. Both to motivate and to dislodged processed meat.