If you're like most people, you probably wish you got thanked a little more often.
Hold that thought.
In a classic Mad Men scene, Peggy confronts Don for taking credit for her idea.
He disagrees. "It was a kernel (of an idea)," he says.
"Which you changed just enough so it was yours," Peggy says.
"I changed it into a commercial," Don says. "That's the way it works. There are no credits on commercials."
"But you got the Clio!" she says, referring to an advertising award.
"It's your job," Don says. "I give you money, you give me ideas."
"And you never say 'thank you'!" Peggy says.
"That's what the money is for!" Don replies.
Don is right.
And also wrong, because pay isn't thanks: Pay is just an exchange of money for effort.
Hold that thought for a second as well.
In a 2018 study published in Royal Society Open Science, researchers examined everyday conversations between friends, families, and neighbors in countries around the world. Their focus was simple: Identify when one person asked another for or to do something, and then count the number of times the requester expressed gratitude.
On average, the requester only responded with "thanks" about 5 percent of the time.
So, yeah: If you think you don't get thanked enough, you're probably right.
But for an interesting reason.
Our findings indicate a widespread assumption that saying "thank you" is not necessary in the everyday contexts of our lives. Some might interpret this as a crisis of rudeness, that we are polite in public but have no manners in our own homes. But that is the wrong interpretation.
Instead, it demonstrates that humans have an unspoken understanding we will cooperate with each other.
Makes sense, especially at home.
And maybe even at work -- where, to paraphrase Don, the exchange of money for work creates a similar unspoken understanding.
Studies show that nearly nine out of 10 people wish they heard "thank you" in their daily interactions. Clearly that unspoken understanding doesn't apply.
Which is unfortunate. Research shows a direct link between gratitude and job satisfaction; the more "thank you" becomes a part of a company's culture, the more likely employees are to enjoy their jobs. Research also shows that grateful leaders motivate their employees to be more productive.
In short, pay is an exchange for effort. It's a transaction. You pay people to do their jobs.
But you should also thank the people you work with -- as often as possible -- for how well they do their jobs. For being responsive. For being proactive. For being cooperative, helpful, and supportive.
Because every employee is also a person, and every person wants to be thanked more often.
And because we all flourish in environments -- whether at work or at home -- where expectation does not preclude appreciation.