A few hundred of us clustered into the hall of a converted convent, having been summoned for the annual reciting of the company’s mission statement, and so we can be alerted to which bits our rivals do better at. I sat near the back, as part of my continuing quest to be cool, which meant that, thanks to someone with a big head and a faulty microphone, for four hours I can’t see or hear much of the proceedings, so I had little choice but to think about lunch.
Prior to being dismissed to eat, it is the awards section of the day. Various people go up for doing various things, and then one of my direct superiors gets onto the stage.
“Right, this next award relates to Project X,” he says, causing a few heads of colleagues to swivel round and gawp at me. I had identified the need for Project X, pretty much solely designed it, and watched as it went onto deliver the desired result immediately.
“This next individual,” my superior continued, “identified the need for Project X, pretty much solely designed it, and it went onto deliver the desired result immediately.”
A few more heads turned round to look at me, and I could feel myself blushing slightly. I had had no idea I would be getting an award, and any second now I’d have to get up in front of hundreds of people. I sent a quick message to my feet that they were under no circumstances to let me fall over in the next few minutes.
“And so,” the man on stage continued, “could I be joined on stage by… Dave!”
All the initial heads turned round to look at me again, with quizzical looks on their faces. My manager’s jaw dropped, and she reached and squeezed my knee. I didn’t quite know what to do, so I mindlessly clapped like everyone else. Dave, whose contribution didn’t amount to much more than reading a few emails I sent him (although maybe that was quite an effort for him) grinned as he accepted the award.
“Politicking,” a colleague whispered darkly to me as the applause died down. No doubt, I thought, but I didn’t realise I’d put myself forward for a smearing.
Afterwards, my manager tried to placate me, but just riled me further by telling me she’d nominated me for the award, but it had been turned down. I tried to sneer, and announced that “some of us are here to do a job, not collect poxy certificates.”
Then I flounced off to the bus stop.
Outside, I encountered a senior member of staff having a smoke.
“Get used to it,” she shrugged at me. “In this job, doing something good is like pissing at the pictures: you get a nice warm feeling, but no-one else knows about it.”
4 weeks ago