I hate bad manners.
I didn't have much as a kid - don't get me wrong, we weren't impoverished, but we certainly had a restricted income - but the things I will be eternally grateful for in my parents are these: my passion for reading and learning (I attribute that to the fact they read to me every single night as a child, without fail); my desire/lack of fear to try new things (probably stems from my dad offering me a fiver when I was 7 to eat a green chilli in an Indian take away meal...); my life mantra of 'there is no such thing as a black hole (ta mum); and, lastly, that good manners cost nothing.
I wonder if people sometimes forget to say thank you simply because a. they are just ill mannered or b. because we work in such a busy industry we don't always have time to do the non 'critical' things - or if rather, because when you volunteer help or put yourself out there as a source of advice, that people simply assume they don't have to thank you, that you are simply doing what you offered to?
When I first started to trying to break into TV (career change, etc etc) I wrote to a lot of people and asked for help - and thanked every single one in advance for any advice they may have been able to have offered, along with thanking them upon their reply. I even went as far - a few months later when I wrapped on my first job - to write and update them (very briefly) on my success, and thank them for having contributed to it by helping me. Am I suggesting they were interested? No. Am I suggesting you hound folk with newsletters? No. What I can say though is that I have subsequently formed professional relationships with all of them - and each have been keen to meet me face to face and hear how I have got on. Useful beyond words that thank you...
I do offer a lot of advice - I stress it is my personal opinion (although formed on good grounds) and that I don't expect people to always agree with it. What I do expect though, is that even if someone does not agree with it, is that if I have taken the time to reply to a personalised request for help (and more often than not I invest time and redo CVs for folk for free), that the person in return simply acknowledges that investment and says thank you. I don't want flowers (prefer wine!) but just an acknowledgement goes a long way.
I am not alone - some very close friends also support progression in the industry and aid development - and they too are overwhelmed with the volume of people who forget their P&Qs.
Anyhoo - that is what I am wondering today... why do we (and when I say 'we' I mean 'you') sometimes forget to say thank you? DON'T! Do it without delay!
You know how I said that if people don't stop working for free in TV then companies won't stop expecting them to? Well, same applies here... if people don't say thank you, people will withdraw their help... and where would that get anybody?!
Today's lesson - a thank you = 3 seconds of your time, and a continuation of support in the future from the person you are thanking (usually).
p.s. as for manners in general day to day behaviour of people in ANY industry, well - don't even get me started! I once worked with a semi senior member of staff who was so rude that despite my absolute hatred of violence, made me want to Jackie Chan style kick them where it hurt!!! It made my blood boil that someone could progress in a tough industry whilst being so impolite and patronising to others. I consoled myself with the fact they had a hugely disproportionate arse. It was mahoosive.
©June 2012 – Lou Gallagher