I got on a bit of a rant when a friend came over for lunch a while ago. We somehow got onto the topic of hot desks at work. Being in the Human Resources world for a number of years, it is a subject that has come up many times for me, as it is often linked to employee engagement. Some say there are benefits as it helps you get to know different people in the office, some say not having a fixed desk means they feel excluded and unable to work closely with their team. I’m sure if you’re in an office with hot desks, you will have your own view on it.

Personally, at the time my friend came over, I’d had enough of talking about desks. I’d seen a photograph that had been taken in Sudan in 1993 by a journalist named Kevin Carter. It was an image of an emaciated boy who had collapsed, with a vulture that was as big as the boy, if not bigger, in the background. The vulture was poised, like it was waiting for the right moment to eat him.

Carter, instead of helping the boy, took photographs of the scene. After 20 minutes, he scared off the bird and left the boy. Whilst he won the Pulitzer award for his photograph, he sadly took his own life that same year. Haunted by the suffering and devastation he had seen, and I imagine, people’s reaction to him not helping the boy. (Journalists were apparently advised not to touch victims because of disease).

So as thanksgiving approaches in the US, and families get ready to tuck into the turkey and pumpkin pie, I’m recalling this memory to encourage people to be grateful for what they have. Whilst it may seem sometimes that things are not going your way, or that life is hard, there is always something to be grateful for.

You choose to see what you see. If you want to focus on not having a desk and feel hard done by because you “can’t” sit with your team, then you’re magnifying the problem. You’re giving power to the problem and making yourself the victim.

There are people in this world who have to walk 6 miles to get water, people who will be going home to violence, people who are starving to death, children being sold into sex trafficking, women who are raped because in their country it is normalised, people who have lost their entire family to war or natural disaster.  When you think about this, how important is your desk now?

There is so much in the western world to be grateful for. Be thankful for what you have EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Now as you’re coming to the end of this blog, I’m going to ask you… were you about to finish reading, switch off and do nothing with it? Or carry on scrolling to the next social media post?  If so, allow me to encourage you to do this instead…

This thanksgiving, take some time to reflect. What have you harvested for yourself this year. How much joy, love, support have others brought into your life? And then pick up the phone and tell someone you love them, that you appreciate them. Maybe there is someone that you haven’t said this to for a while? A relationship that needs healing? Consider all that you have to be thankful for and focus on that. Because when you focus on what you do have, instead of what you don’t, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!