The Awards Award

Posted by JonWoods JonWoods
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I hope the readers of this blog don't mind if I drift away from the main topic for a moment. However please bear in mind our own industry isn't immune to the ego-boosting allure of awards either ;)

I was thinking about the Lou Rawls song "Natural Man" not long ago, and the lyric "I don't want no gold watch for workin' 50 years from nine till five" got stuck in my head.  Aside from the sexist nature of giving a gold watch to (usually male) retirees, it struck me as being ass-backward to give a timepiece to someone who no longer has to be somewhere at a given time, and now has all the time in the world.  It would make much more sense to give the good employees a gold watch during their careers, and then make them turn in the watch when they retire.  Instead of a constant reminder of how little time they have remaining in life (or depending on the individual's perspective, how much time they wasted working at the job), I'm sure the retiring employee would much rather have cash, or a prepaid trip somewhere.

That made me think about the strange nature of awards in general.  Don't get me wrong, I believe military, law enforcement and emergency service awards (for example) carry profound meaning and honor.  It's just the merit of the rest of them, especially the ones that are televised, are a bit questionable.  The little company I worked for in New York seemed to get awards on a regular basis.  They had an entire "Wall of Fame," as they called it, covered with citations from successful campaigns and achieved goals.  When that business was sold to a larger corporation, I don't doubt those awards engraved with the name of a now-defunct company on them became meaningless.  And I wonder whatever became of all those plaques and trophies.  It seemed the real winners in all that were the companies that made the awards.

And then I began to wonder if the award makers have a competition for the best awards, known as "The Awards Award."  And who would judge this?  And what kind of trophy would they win?  Maybe it would it just be some cash and a scribbled note that says "you're the best this year," since these people more than anyone would realize the pointlessness of these things.

It's always quite flattering to win or even be nominated for an award by your peers and customers, but I believe most of us would prefer to be honored with sales.