Article Date: 11/1/2008

Who Can Think of Thanksgiving?

Who Can Think of Thanksgiving?

Markets are down. Times are tough. Couldn't we wait to say thanks?

Jim Thomas

Yes, the world's financial situation is dire. And you may not be pleased with the results of the presidential election. (According to an informal "Quick Poll" on the OM Web site (, viewed on Oct. 31), 50.4% of optometrists would vote for John McCain, 44.2% for Barack Obama and 5.4% were either unsure or would vote for another candidate.) And I'm sure that locally, you've experienced firsthand how the distressed economy can impact family members, friends and businesses — perhaps even your own practice.

No time like the present

With such news, is it ironic or just bad timing that we're approaching the one day each year we reserve for thanks? Should we postpone Thanksgiving to January, where there's an outside chance that the American consumer's holiday spending will inject the economy with a much-needed shot of adrenalin?

Nonsense, you say. (At least I hope that's what you said.) It's easy to give thanks when we have our health, when our retirement savings are earning double-digit returns, when the practice is booked and employees are content. In fact, it's at the high points where many businesses find trouble. It's at this time that they decide to say thanks either with a monetary bonus or some special gesture. The employee is delighted … until the lean year where no bonus materializes. If the bonus is the "thank you," then these businesses have sent the message that they'll not thank their employees during the hard times — times when thanks are most needed.

How do you say thanks?

I'm sure you understand that gratitude is a essential quality of a leader. The question that arises is, what is the most effective way to say thanks?

Hundreds of suggestions are available on the Web. Try searching using the phrase "inexpensive rewards" at for a list of 1.9 million sites that address the topic. From a discussion of Abraham Maslow, who argues that a human's highest need is not money but self-recognition, to lapel pins, trophies, vacation days and monogrammed shirts, you can find a way to say thank you.

I'll argue that the best "thank you" is the one that most sincerely expresses your gratitude, regardless of the cost. Include a handwritten note. And consider that any gift may not be nearly as valuable as a note which reads, "In difficult times such as these, I am fortunate to have someone as dedicated as you."

On behalf of the staff at OM, I'd like to wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. OM

Optometric Management, Issue: November 2008