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The Fine Line of Appreciation

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  • 2019 College Interns
  • Everyone loves to feel appreciated; this is even one of the Indium Way’s core values. The idea of being recognized for completing a quality job is one that many enjoy. But, when appreciation becomes participation trophies and a pat on the back for doing a job that is expected to be done, appreciation can turn into a somewhat negative trait. There are many people that I know who only do things with the expectation of recognition. Maybe it is a pride thing, that they want everyone to see the work they’ve done. Or, maybe it is because of insecurity that they seek the approval of others. This is something that I noticed in college; if it will not be collected or graded, it will not be completed - although this could stem from laziness of college students.

    There is a quote by John Wooden, a famous and successful basketball coach, that says “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”[1] I think that this is a very important thing to keep in mind when working on any project. Doing a careless job leads to feeling unfulfilled. Why would you not want to use your full potential to do the best job possible? You can always spot the issues of a careless worker; sloppy mistakes and botched jobs that need even more work to be fixed. Character is one of the most important traits a person possesses, so it is important to always work hard and be sure that your tasks are done well.

    An honors class I took in fall 2018 was unlike any of my other classes. It was called “In Search of Meaning: Indigenous Cinema.” The class met once a week, which meant that we had 1 full week to read an article that took 1 hour maximum to look over twice, but people still would not do it. Every week when the class discussion started and we began to talk about important takeaways from the reading, it was very clear that only about a third of the class read or even at least took a look at what had been assigned. Our syllabus only had 2 graded assignments on it, one of them being a semester long group project and the other being a reflection paper on the course, so nobody expected there to be extra graded assignments and therefore put in no effort.

    This “group” project was our entire class. This meant collaborating 18 schedules and catering to 18 different opinions. The project could be anything; there were no rules besides simply showing how our idea of indigenous cinema changed over the course of the class. We finally decided that we were going to make a video series where we discussed certain traits that were characteristic of the indigenous films we watched. For those that paid attention and read the articles it was easy to find important things to talk about. We had 5-6 meetings on Sunday afternoons that lasted about 3 hours each, and even if 16 people said they were available at the time we picked sometimes only 12-14 would come. All of the footage was split up to sift through to find the best hour of footage from each day, and then we would piece together the clips to create one of the final videos.

    Our professor clearly knew from our weekly lectures that people were not doing the readings or even taking notes on the films we watched in class, and, because of this, he did a few carefully calculated things to make it obvious to everyone that he knew. The best thing my professor did was tell us AFTER we filmed all of our videos that anybody who missed 2 or more meetings got a 0 participation grade. People were so mad that multiple class members went to the director of the Honors Program to talk about how our professor was unfair. It was funny to me that everyone who didn’t put real effort into the project was still expecting to receive credit that they did not deserve.

    In this day and age of social media there is a lot of pressure to receive recognition, but many feel entitled to it for doing mediocre work. I have noticed that a lot of people are not able to handle criticism, even when it would be constructive and in their best interest. The way that people react to this feedback is a big part of their character as well. I think there is something to be said about the ability to admit that you made a mistake, as it shows that there is room for growth of character. For someone starting as an intern at such a reputable corporation, being able to learn through my mistakes has been crucial. It feels good to have my supervisors and others that I have worked with tell me that I’ve done great work, because I worked really hard to complete some interesting projects.

    I love to give credit where credit is due, but it can be difficult to watch it be given to those who are undeserving. All you can really do is make sure that you are using your talents to always work to the best of your ability. In this way, you will be able to feel as though you have done your part to contribute with your work ethic. Eventually, even other people will notice as well, and it is satisfying to be appreciated for valuable work. You can’t always avoid people who are going to take the shortcuts, but you can be someone that attracts good things to yourself by staying positive and working hard.

    Over and out,

    Kendra

    [1] Pavlo, Walter. “Character Is What You Do When EVERYONE Is Watching.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 23 Oct. 2012, www.forbes.com/sites/walterpavlo/2012/10/23/character-is-what-you-do-when-everyone-is-watching/#38ccc2b4fc6d.