A few years ago I was having one of those times when I felt like I was under appreciated at work. I was also dealing with primary infertility and the combination of fertility hormones and disappointment was taking its toll on me. I found myself constantly complaining and I was getting sick of it. You know that expression “Do you want a medal or something?”...well I did. I did want a medal. I wanted to be recognized for coming to work everyday and carrying on a normal life while doing these awful treatments and suffering heartbreaking disappointment month after month after month. And then I thought many people are dealing with all sorts of difficulties that I don’t see and they don’t get a medal for it. "Well", I thought, "maybe they should", and so Project Recognition was born. I went to a local trophy store and had a medal made (the “Kudos”) and anonymously awarded it to someone. The medal came with instructions that the awardee would have to award the medal to someone else within two weeks time. The point of Project Recognition is to remain anonymous and not control it. Once it was out of my hands it was to take on a life of its own. I wanted to do something kind, not control it and not be recognized for it. However, over the past 2.5 years I have wondered what happened to Project Recognition and the Kudos. Did the award do what I had hoped? Did it brighten someone’s day? Did they pass it on? Is it still out there in circulation? Is it sitting at the bottom of someone’s desk? I might never know but that was kind-of the point.
And just because I like stories wit happy endings: I found out I was pregnant 1 week after launching Project Recognition. That was the pregnancy that made it. As a statistician I cannot infer causation but it makes a nice little end to this story.
Here is the text of the award letter that went out with the medal.
You have been singled out by a colleague for the good job you do. The Originator started Project Recognition to quietly acknowledge their fellow employees who do a good job every day. Two weeks ago someone received this award. At that time they began looking for the next recipient and you are it. The specific reason for this anonymous award is known only to the awarder. Now that you have received “The Kudos” you are an important part of Project Recognition, for with “the Kudos” come the following responsibilities:
1) Within 2 weeks you are to award this medal and letter to the next recipient. You may award this to any employee for any reason. It’s your award to give.
2) You must remain anonymous. The recipient should never know it was you who recognized them. If you use campus mail to send the medal and this letter please make sure your name does not appear on the envelope.
3) Try not to talk about Project Recognition or “The Kudos”. It may jeopardize your anonymity.
Somebody noticed you and the good job you do. You are appreciated. Please pass on that appreciation to one of your colleagues. Thank you for all you do and for keeping Project Recognition going.
Sincerely and Mysteriously,
The Originator and countless Awarders/Awardees