Remembering to Say Thank You

June 18, 2018

Last week Yale celebrated Staff Appreciation Day. With festivities on Old Campus, including food, live music, and more, it was an opportunity to honor the thousands of employees who are so vital to Yale’s mission.

I have called Yale home for thirty-seven years—and I thought this was a long time. But recently, I had the privilege of meeting staff members whose tenures at Yale far outstrip my own! This spring, we held our annual Long Service Dinner at which we recognize staff members who have worked at Yale for twenty-five years or more. This year, our honorees represented a combined 7,085 years of service to the university! Thirty-five employees have worked at Yale for four decades or longer, including Patricia Kane who celebrated fifty years at the Yale University Art Gallery.

Our university has continued to change and evolve over the years, but the commitment of our staff—in buildings and grounds, Yale Police, dining services, administrative offices, and more—remains essential to Yale’s success.

An organization as large and complex as Yale requires many hands and minds, and sometimes we do not take the time to appreciate fully the many staff members who make Yale so excellent. We may not stop to consider the labor necessary to maintain our beautiful grounds, keep our offices clean, or ensure our laboratories are functioning at peak efficiency. We may take for granted when our paychecks are processed and our email accounts are maintained securely.

My own discipline of social psychology tells us that we are more likely to notice when things go wrong than when they go right. That is why occasions like Staff Appreciation Day are so important. They help us remember to express our gratitude to our colleagues and friends whose work is indispensable to this university. I hope you will join me in saying “thank you” more often to the amazing colleagues who keep Yale running.