punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

The Ancient Ruins of Awards

I knew this guy once who worked with a company for 13 years. He was there in the beginning, and had every job in the company from delivery warehouse to district manager. The company uprooted him from his home in Oklahoma and deposited him in several states. He left his family, his life, and his past behind. In those 13 years, he won countless awards, and was once known as the most valuable man in the company. I was at his house once, and saw all those awards. There were so many, he sort of stacked them where he could, and since his life as a single man was dedicated to his job, he had little else to decorate his place. "Besides," he'd say with a smile, "they may ask me to move again."

He was fired because his district manager, whom had once been his lover, grew jealous when he started dating another girl, even though the district manager had dumped him six years earlier. I always wondered what happened when this guy went home. He had company merchandise up the wazoo. He had one, huge award that he was proud of. It was about three feet tall, made of of a fine wood base and a slab of clear acrylic, and lit up from below so you could see his name and reason for the award etched in frosted letters. I wonder if he threw it away? I wonder if he used it to smash the other awards? Or does he still have them?

I have worked at my current job for a while, and recently, with so many near-misses of being laid off, I wonder what I will do when I finally get the golden bullet. Might be next week. Might be ten years from now. I don't know, since obviously job performance is only marginally related to how long they keep you. I have some awards for projects I have done, but it's sad seeing so many of them now, because they remind me of good people who got laid off over the years. One girl down the hall got laid off after working with my company for over eight years. She had tons of awards all over her office, plus she collected posters from our company's various ventures. Her loyalty to the company was far out of balance to how they felt about her. No chance for changing her jobs, just a cardboard box and a slap on the ass goodbye. My friend Sean got the same thing. I guess years of this experience has shown me that, "It's nothing personal, but you are no longer needed and we don't care enough to try and put you elsewhere." I feel bad that I only respect the company as long as they pay me.

I think I will put the awards, tee-shirts, keychains, mugs, and other memorabilia in a box, and put it away. Maybe in 50 years, they will make good donations to the Smithsonian for their "Internet Boom" exhibit. Along with the sock puppet from Pets.com, there will be my tacky award/clock celebrating the fact I was part of their "Y2K QA Team," and the slate-purple mug that showed I sat and listened to some Sun Systems rep try and sell me something I don't even have authority to buy. My donation to "The Nation's Attic" will stand like the ruins of a time long forgotten.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000228.html
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