Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Award or Sucker Prize? You Decide...

I got this award at work. It's called the 'Superior Service' award. Several weeks ago, they blasted out this email campaign and hung up posters all around to remind folks to nominate someone for this special award. It's supposed to go to people who go 'above and beyond their normal call of duty to provide excellent service.'

I ignored the campaign, not because I don't see the value in giving people props for good work, but because I've been swamped and didn't have the time to consider a nominee and write up their nomination. I forgot about the campaign until the winners were announced in an e-mail on Friday. I blinked hard at my computer screen when I saw that I was one of them.

Cool, I thought. I'm special! I spent the next half an hour sending out 'thank you' emails to people who congratulated me on winning the award. Wow, people take this stuff seriously! I thought.

And then, I kind of forgot about the award again. But this morning I logged into my computer and my calendar reminder told me that I had a two hour 'meet and greet' breakfast. Ugh. Those of us who were chosen for this award had to sit in a room and meet everyone who came by to congratulate us. They really came by to get free coffee and breakfast, but that's ok. I like to mooch free food at work too, so I don't blame them.

So we were sitting in this conference room that has a c-shaped conference table in the center. The award winners were congregating around the room, talking to people, and meeting and greeting. The administrative assistant actually herded us into the center of the c-shaped table, so that when people walked through the room to congratulate us, we were stuck in the middle of the room. For TWO hours. One of my fellow award winners is a very sweet gal who was talking about the seventeen appetizers she's preparing for her husband's surprise birthday party this weekend. As she chatted along about her salmon puffs and cheese balls, I could not stop staring at her 'stache. I'm serious! She is a fair haired gal, so it wasn't dark, but boy was it furry. I was very distracted and ready for that two hour meeting to be done with.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of our superior service recognition day! We had lunch catered in as well. As we sat in the second meeting of the day, we were told that by winning this great award, we were automatically put on a special task force to come up with our departments' mission statement for excellent service.

Yep, that's right folks, we get to meet every other week for the next year to come up with new and exciting ideas on how to provide excellent customer service. I don't do customer service, so I'm not sure how I will contribute to this group, but it appears I have no choice in the matter.

So it's an award, but it's really another assignment, task, expectation, etc. Fun. On one hand, it's nice to be recognized, but on the other, it earned me six hours worth of meetings this week, and another hour every other week until next October. That's a lot of hours in meetings.


Andrea said...

Congrats on the award and free food! :) Hopefully you'll be able to look at these "meetings" as "breaks" where you get to drink good coffee and say things like "Mm-hmm", "Really", "That's an interesting idea", and "Hmmm" without actually having to think or give real input. It's at least a novel idea... :)

Hope you're feeling better today!

WebGal said...

That's classic. Let's take the best and brightest and take them away from a job they're doing great at to come up with ideas that nobody really cares about or will do anything with as it'll be forgotten in a year. I'm so proud to work for that company! :)

But congrats! You deserve the award. :)

Swishy said...

Sigh. I always say I get punished when I do a good job ... doesn't it suck? But yay on the award!

Mom In Scrubs said...

Sounds like a sneaky corporate manever to cull the herd - having coworkers offer up the best and brightest for exploitation. Putting the "spin" on it that it is an honor is soooo.....tacky? predictable? bureaucratic? Ugh. This stuff happens at my work all the time. Can't just hand out an award with a nice bonus or raise...
So yes, congratulations on the award.
And I'm sorry it had strings attached.

Jenster said...

Yeah, but it sounds like a lot of free food. How can that be bad??