Friday, October 26, 2012

Lack of Gratitude

I’m feeling pretty happy today, all things considered, so posting a rant almost seems wrong. However, this blog was mostly done, so I decided to finish it and pop it up here rather than keep you waiting any longer for my pearls of wisdom. *wink* J

No gratitude expressed upon receipt of requested advice. I’m in a position that many others would like to be in: making a living as an author and/or editor. (I do both; some would like to do just one or the other.) So, it makes sense that people want to ask for advice, hoping to discover the secret to my success so that they can succeed in the same way. Sometimes it’s an acquaintance, but more often, it’s an Internet stranger who sends me a message saying that they would like to do what I do and asking how I wound up doing it.

The short answer is that it was a “God-thing.” Everything I do just fell into my lap, so to speak. But that is not what people really want to hear. They want details! They want to know what—if anything—they can do to improve their chances of becoming a paid author or editor. And so I save those questions, and in a day or three when I have more time, I respond with a well-thought-out explanation and some advice. Sometimes in return, I get a warm, appreciative, and verbose thanks. Not long ago, I got a short note—thank you soooo much and God bless—that made me smile. But then there are the terse, one-word responses (Thanks.) or no response at all.

Thanks. (no exclamation point) What does that mean? Thanks for nothing? Thanks to you, I’m no closer to a job in publishing? Thanks, but I’d get better advice from my cat? And what’s with no thanks at all? Surely if one has time to ask the question, one has time to offer a proper thanks for the answer.

If I spend a good chunk of time working on a detailed answer that might even encourage the asker, I expect to receive a decent thank you in return. Is that wrong? While I’m not looking for flowery protestations of gratitude—or flowers, for that matter, I do feel a reply that recognizes the time clearly spent crafting a thoughtful response to a question I was under no obligation to answer would be appropriate, not to mention good manners!

What’s your opinion? Have you ever asked someone for career advice? Has anyone ever asked you for advice? Is there ever a time when thanks should not be necessary?

That reminds me: there’s an e-mail waiting on me for an answer ... I believe I’ll go answer it and see what happens!

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