Wednesday, June 5, 2013

All the Awards I've Never Earned

I've worked for the Department, on and off, since 1999. I've been in Consular, in CLO, in Political and in Public Diplomacy. Every cone but Econ, actually. And in that time, I've won exactly one award, way back in 2001. Okay, technically, I won another award in 2000, but that wasn't for any "real" work. Rather, it was for something specific I did within the community for which I couldn't get a real award, but for which someone high-up wanted to recognize me. That might be my favorite award ever, actually, even though it isn't really real, because damn, did I ever earn it.

Another time I was the runner-up for one of those huge departmental awards that pits everyone in a single job against one another, worldwide. Everyone in the world! And I was the first runner-up. I didn't win, but still, that was kind of awesome.

And then there was the post that hired me specifically to write a huge, federally-mandated report, the kind that hits the news every year and causes a scandal. I worked on that report every day for four months or so, and when it was finished, I forwarded it to my boss, who forwarded it to DC, where they read it, cleaned it up, and published it for all the world to see. A short while later, a cable went out from the Secretary herself, naming the top, I can't remember, 5 or 10?, reports worldwide, and calling out the authors of those reports by name. My report was one of the chosen ones! But my name didn't make the cable: they named my boss instead.

No problem, though. I wasn't upset. Because when the cable came out, my boss came around to my office, thanked me for my work, and noted that my name really should've been on that cable. And with that, I was happy. Because I knew that the people I worked with knew how hard I had worked on that report. It gave me nightmares, truly, because of some of the horrific content, and I still think about some of the people I profiled in that report. But I wrote it, and it was important, and it was true, and it was good.

Anyway, today was the annual awards ceremony at the Embassy, and I was really happy, because the two people for whom I wrote up nominations received awards. My husband got a superior honor award, and of course he'll be appalled to hear I mentioned that on my blog, so don't tell him, okay? And he was really happy because he was able to write nominations for a bunch of his deserving employees, including one who got the Employee of the Year award here at Embassy Amman.

So it's all good, really. But sometimes, you know, just sometimes, it's frustrating to be "just a spouse" and have no one notice your contributions. I was bummed today, a little. Tomorrow I'll be over it already, because when it comes down to it, why be upset over a friggin' piece of paper? If you like your job, and you like the people you work with, and you learn something new every day, well, the rest doesn't matter, does it?

But still.


LindseyD said... [Reply]

Maybe you should put in for an award for "living vicariously through the achievements of others"? I kid. I feel your pain. There's no such thing as "just a spouse" though I can certainly sympathize.

Bethany Davidson-Widby said... [Reply]

I've been following your adventures for a few years now and I think you're pretty awesome! So while I can't send you an award from Guatemala...I can say Felicidades for all your accomplishments! So while today wasn't your day, keep your chin up...sometimes the best praise comes when you least expect it and it means the most.

Please. Write your own stuff.