Unlike some people I know, I like surprises; the further down my jaw drops, the better the experience.
I’m hard to surprise because I’ve done enough sneaking around planning how to bowl over someone on their special occasion (ask my daughter what an excellent Santa Claus I was). I notice when something is out of whack or someone is trying to cover up what’s really happening. It makes it difficult to be a mystery reader because I figure out the plot way too soon.
In fact, there’ve been only a few times when someone really shocked me: My 60th birthday (thank you handsome and clever husband and those who traveled the country to participate) and the night I received the top award from my professional communications association (oh, okay, I admit. I was very suspicious when my husband got dressed up and wanted to sit through a stiff-collared banquet).
Now I can add the night of April 11, 2019, when Luke Haas, the leader of the association whose magazine I do, gave me his president’s award.
Why was I surprised? Because I have spent my entire career working on improving the communications that associations send out to their members; I’m paid to do it. Very few people have ever thought to thank me for my effort and why should they have to? I’m accomplishing exactly what I set out to do.
I already knew that many people in this association, the International Cast Polymer Association, appreciated what I was contributing—I’ve had a good support system from the start. It’s a wonderful group of people, and they believe in their industry and what they do. They also recognize those who make things happen. But to be honored by them was not something I could have foreseen. That’s why it was something that shocked me. Okay, I’ll admit, it amazed, astonished, astounded, dumbfounded, floored, rocked, thunderstruck me (Thank you Merriam Webster’s thesaurus).
I find it deliciously ironic that the speakers at the conference where I received the honor seemed to be returning again and again to the same theme: engaging employees by showing them you appreciate and recognize what they do. The main speaker at the conference, a dynamic woman by the name of Lisa Ryan, calls it Grategy (gratitude as a strategy). What she said made sense to me because too much of life goes by with all of us running our little hamster wheels whispering: I gotta get this done because it’s my job; I gotta get this done because I’m on a deadline. I’m not just talking about corporate people because many of us are also in the business of taking care of children or family members or homes that need our time. We don’t take the time to find a way to recognize what it is that get’s done, and it’s partly because no one else notices.
By giving me this award, Luke stopped my hamster wheel and showed me that what I accomplished in the last few years was noticed and appreciated.
But he also gets the golden star because he successfully surprised me!!
Genilee Swope Parente