"I don't mean to brag, but I have enough money in my pocket right now to buy that mini-fridge" -- Jake Johannsen
I was watching a movie recently that had a corporate awards ceremony in it where everyone was shuffled into a room and watched a senior executive hand out blue ribbons to a few people who had shown up. Embarrassed junior managers accepted the trophies and paused nervously for the obligatory hand-shake photo.
The main character was opining to his wife about how it seemed so unfair that his work was going unnoticed and how he felt slighted for not getting the recognition. She did a great job of counseling him that "it was just a piece of plastic" and that no one was going to remember the person giving it. In a feel good moment, the man's daughter gave him a hand colored "award" for "Best Dad."
I started thinking about the whole deal around corporate award ceremonies. They typically are not competitive events, though they certainly feel like it. The tacit message of course is "be like this person". On the flip side, it is also unfortunately a trend I see with millennials who come from "the winningest generation" and expect blue ribbons "just for showing up."
The wife was right though: those vapid trophy chunks of lucite would eventually find their way to a landfill and the person handing them out would likely be long forgot before then.
I realized their actual intrinsic value wasn't in the ceremony, or the cube squatting token that would eventually have to be thrown into a box when the employee quit or was "exited".
Their value lay in the dubious claims the recipients could make on their resumes, as in "Winner of the 2015 XYZ award" -- you see this in car commercials all the time, where they claim "Best in Class" -- which is totally meaningless when you think about it.
Nearly impossible to fact check, and other than the physical trophy that no one is going to carry into their next job, I realized that we might as well start making up our own trophies to celebrate our achievements!
We can go online right now (just google "lucite awards") -- and create a trophy to celebrate our Awesomeness* Order it, pay for it, and receive it. Done & Done.
Then on our resumes we can literally put down "Recipient of the Q4 Awesome Award" -- and we would not be lying in the least.
We'll even have the trophy to prove it
So go ahead and give yourself or someone you respect the recognition they deserve.
* "Awesomeness" is actually a skill that I added to the LinkedIN profiles while they were still in public beta -- you can endorse someone for "Awesomeness" -- which I frequently do if I think you have it.