Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Well, Today Something Cool Happened

Today, something cool happened. It involved me, so that made it all the more cool.

I won a big-ass award at work. It's called the Chairman's Award, and according to various sources, it is the "highest honor a Harrah's Entertainment employee can achieve." (I'm still holding out for an Oscar, but what they probably mean is it's the highest honor at Harrah's, the largest gaming entertainment company in the universe.)

So, here's the award.

Sweet, huh? It's for, of all things, community service. And that's the part where it goes kind of sideways. Because I thought I actually wanted an award like this. I even asked my boss to nominate me. Several times. I think a bribe offer was involved at some point, but she graciously declined.

Getting an award for community service is weird because I've discovered it really is...kind of irrelevant. Never thought you'd hear that coming from me, did you?

I mean, it's nice and all, and it was fun that it was kind of a surprise, and it was entirely awesome that the VIPs of our company were in the room during the award presentation: CEO Gary Loveman, CFO Jonathan Halkyard, VP of Advertising Monica Sullivan, VP of Everything Else Katrina Lane, and tons of people from my department, all of them quite supportive and happy for me.

Here's the head honcho himself, Gary Loveman (also known as "G-Love," but I'm pretty much the only one that can get away with calling him that to his face).

So, why does an award like this feel slightly irrelevant? Because, ultimately, it's intended to be a kind of validation. And when you're helping get books to kids, or taking a photo of a senior citizen or a kid at the Shade Tree shelter or a Boys & Girls Club, how could you possibly, ever, get a better validation than a smile or a "thank you" from someone in need?

It just doesn't get any better than that.

At the same time, of course, I appreciate the award very much. It was amazing to know people I work with understand and wanted to acknowledge the time and effort that go into doing works in the community. My boss, Janell, and her boss Julie, had to take time to make all this happen, and I'm so grateful for their efforts. The quote from Julie that was read during the presentation was just astonishing, and I'll never forget it.

And I certainly can't NOT appreciate the award because it included a check for $1,000. One thousand dollars. I know! Love that part. Of course, unlike the other award winners (awards are given in five areas including things like innovation and customer satisfaction), I am, as the community service recipient, obligated to use that prize money for good rather than frivolous things like limo rides or blood diamonds. That's cool. Giving money to charity never really feels like you're giving anything anyway. It feels like getting. Times 10.

Oh, and don't let me forget that I got this fancy printed piece with my name on it.

They do things right at Harrah's, don't they? There was also a framed letter from Mary Thomas, the Sr. VP of Human Resources, saying very nice things about me. It was all a bit overwhelming, even for someone as allegedly jaded as I. Or me.

So, that's what happened today. The CFO gave a wonderful speech. I blushed throughout, on the verge of girly-tears. It's entirely surreal to hear people say such nice things out loud. With you sitting there. Just weird.

The CEO ended up taking a photo of me (with my camera that nobody gets to touch). Since I had been duped into attending the event under the guise of doing photography, it occurred to everyone simultaneously that I wouldn't be able to take my own photo. My buddy Allan jumped in at the last second to get the one above.

There was cake.

And my friends and co-workers (yes, there are people who manage to be in both of those groups simultaneously) congratulated me.

And I came home. And realized how lucky I am to not only get the rewards for helping those who often can't help themselves, but I also now have a reward for getting all those rewards. And thought about how much more there is left to do.

Here's a quote I heard on NPR today. I thought it summed things up quite nicely. The quote was, "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away." Well, every time I get one of those smiles from a homeless person, or a kid or a senior citizen, it takes my breath away. So, I'd be happy to have my life measured that way.

Oh, and by the way, today's award took my breath away, too. Just for the record.


-K- said...

Well deserved.

You've been helping people since I first met you.

Jonderson said...

I'd like to say that this surprises me a little bit, but it doesn't. That is indeed a class A recognition (I am not sure the intent is validation, as you indicated).

I am happy as hell for you, and very proud to call you my friend.

BTW, my word verification for this post is "flout". Just thought I would mention it.

The Rogers Clan said...

We are so proud of you. Really. In the short time that we have gotten to know you, we love you. You are such an example to me, of how it SHOULD be. Doing things for people, not for what you can get out of it, but just because you should, and you love it. Not for the material things you get out of it, but for the spiritual things you get out of it. You are amazing. Great job.

BTW, now that I know Allan took that picture.....he could've done better.

Scott Roeben said...

Thanks, you guys!