You don’t have to wear blaze orange to be noticed, but it helps

You can’t miss her with her blaze orange vest!

This past weekend we went for our normal hike. Mostly normal, anyhow.

Grace was dressed in her blaze orange vest, a safety precaution that she wouldn’t be mistaken for a deer during hunting season here in New Hampshire.

While Grace isn’t even close to the size of a deer, she does leap through the woods with deer-like hops and the rustling of her movements might cause confusion. Her coloring blends perfectly with the autumn leaves thick on the forest floor, so this blaze of color wrapped around her speaks in hunter’s language as something to avoid. Even when she was far ahead and typically invisible to us, we could see her running, darting, jumping, and sniffing. We were aware of her every move. Yes, her every move.

Stopping to be noticed

Even though the nylon material made a slight crinkling noise as she moved, she never indicated that it bothered her in any way. In fact, she seemed to like being noticed. It was as if she was in her best party gown and it felt special to be admired.

It makes me wonder if sometimes we forget the beauty, talents, skills, and successes of those that we interact with everyday. Do we become so immune to all they contribute that we forget how lovely and valued they are in their normal “attire?”

Some employees are timid and modest and would never seek praise or recognition. Others may ask for it, but might not receive it in the dosage they require.

I was interviewing a candidate late yesterday who is seeking employment with one of my clients. I got the impression he loved his work and many things about his 10-year tenure there, so I was curious what was prompting his career move. I asked about his current employer and what it would be like to leave them. He felt that while they knew he was one of the few managers in the district exceeding the sales quota, he had the impression that they would not hesitate to accept his departure and willingly hire from outside the organization to save on their payroll. Assuming that he is correct, it’s a very short-sighted approach. But at the very least, the leadership has given this employee a perception that he is not valued for his everyday, routine, and consistent performance. He feels unnoticed, under-appreciated, and it opens his willingness to pursue other career opportunities.

Find ways to “see” more of those who are around you all the time. Understand their contributions and be sure to tell them how you feel.

And if it would help, buy blaze orange vests!

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10 comments

  1. Wow, Grace looks fabulous in that coat (not everyone can pull that color off!). Good to see her out enjoying her romp. πŸ™‚ I have also interviewed people whose primary driver for looking was feeling unappreciated. Oftentimes, when they submit their resignation the employer tries to move Heaven and Earth to keep them, but by then, it’s too late. The damage of being taken for granted is done and they are β€œhigh” on the attention they received from their new employer during the recruitment process.

    • Laurie, it is so nice to have your HR perspective here. I did wonder if this candidate’s employer would come back with a counter-offer, and if so, if he would stay. I’ve seen that happen and usually with bad results for both parties. As you said, the damage has been done. So it’s better to avoid getting into that situation in the first place, isn’t it?! (I think Grace is rather stylish myself, but I’m biased. Loved your comment about her wearing that color well!)

  2. Grace looks so happy to be donning a colourful vest, and I bet she had a lot of fun scampering through the autumn leaves. I’m sure Grace receives plenty of praises, too, for her good behaviour. Our Lil’ Miss Maple may be short, but there’s no shortage in the amount of compliments she receives everyday… from pottying to finishing up her meals to giving us licks and kisses! Sometimes we tend to forget to give similar positive affirmations to our fellow human beings… and the first person I think I ought to start with is my hubby πŸ˜€

    • I have to admit giving Grace lots of praise and yes, I also sometimes forget to show my appreciation for other humans. I love that you think of your husband — our personal relationships need that nurturing, too. In my case, I often neglect to tell my parents when I appreciate them. Thanks for that nudge!

  3. I continue to be impressed by the way you link your “Grace”ful experiences with business and leadership lessons. Each of us needs to remember that the people around us are more than the clothes they wore yesterday. It reminds me of those occasions when I’ve bumped into someone I work with, only outside of the office. Sometimes I haven’t even recognized them, dressed as they might be in jeans or a t-shirt. In some ways it’s like building small, individualized stereotypes that we’re completely unaware of. Allowing ourselves to recognize such a shortcoming can lead to everyone around us having greater visibility.

    • Thanks, Michael. Great point about how seeing people in another context can be jolting for us — and shouldn’t be. We’re much wiser to come to understand the whole person, aren’t we? It’s great advice you shared to help us remember to overcome that tendency. Thanks so much for taking time to share your view. Much appreciated and valuable for us all.

  4. LeeAnn says:

    I agree with Laurie – Grace pulls off orange beautifully! There is never a danger of my Gracie being mistaken for a deer – a pig, maybe, but not a deer.
    Those are very wise words, Robin, and I am sure that I do not see the “beauty” and “talents” of those around me enough – and that makes me sad. Thanks to you, I will work on it!

    • Oh you make me laugh. Your Gracie is precious and it’s a good thing she won’t be mistaken for a deer! πŸ™‚ I remember the post about your brother and that was surely a beautiful testament to your appreciation of those around you.

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