It's Time to Say Thanks—to Your Boss

Employees often forget that feedback works both ways.

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Outside Voices - ''Working Girl'' aka Karen Burns
When was the last time you thanked your boss?

You may think your boss should be thanking you! After all, aren't you the one who puts up with the long hours, low pay, conflicting demands, confusing instructions, harassment, insecurity, and lack of recognition?

Even if not, even if you like your job, times are troubled. You may feel safer at work keeping as low a profile as possible.

So is it a good idea, especially now, to remind your boss of your existence with something as banal as a "thank you"?

Yup. It is a good idea. After all, don't you appreciate it when you get a pat on the back? You even expect it, actually, because part of a boss's job is to give feedback.

Well, feedback works both ways. Think of the lovely warm fuzzy feelings you have toward people who say nice things about your work. Now think how great it would be if your boss was having those same warm fuzzy feelings about little old you!

Maybe your boss is a mean SOB who hasn't smiled since the Reagan administration. More likely, though, he/she is a decent sort doing good work under difficult circumstances.

Either way, no matter how bad or good your boss, your relationship (not to mention your job security) can be improved with a simple, sincere, professional, nonsycophantic thank you.

In this season of thanksgiving, think about giving thanks to your boss.

Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, to be released by Running Press in April 2009. She blogs at