Honors and accomplishments
One of the things that struck me as I got into the USA for the first time was the dedication to prizes. OK, the United States are a nation where personal efforts and achievements are taken more seriously than in Japan, China, Europe or the former socialist world. There it is the group that counts.
In Europe it's getting more and more neither nor. We are not brave enough or even self-conscious to be proud on what we achieved personally. We only need groups when things go wrong. Nobody is to blame then. Nobody can hurt us. We remain too much of an individual to loose our identity in a group though.
The solution that we have found for this dilemma is: given an employee a jubilee when he served the company or organization for 25 years or more. Without making a difference between those who really served and those who did not. I have never felt any affection for this theatre. Fewer and fewer people celebrate their 25th professional anniversary. So this will fade out automatically. Flex the buzzword.
But how do we express our gratitude then? It seems pretty old fashioned to make a statement via medals of honor. The King of the Netherlands gives away medals every year. The Chief of Staff of the Dutch Army does. Even the chairman of our sailing club and sailing association do. Only few people refuse this kind of gratitude. Greater part is surprised and happy.
As the chairmen of the NEN Policy Committee I was part of this theatre two or three times a year. Most of the times I was invited to hand over a medal of honor to somebody I didn't know well. The challenge is to make something out of it. Assume that I played my role well. I believed in what I did, despite the fact that the person in front was a stranger to me quite often.
Yesterday the roles were opposite. I was given a reward for 15 years of duty and commitment at NEN. And yes, it felt good. In particular because I have had good times working for, guiding and representing the NEN-organization. In conclusion it brings me to the point where I say, prizes and rewards have apparently a function. In the USA they work as an inhibitor, a catalyst. In The Netherlands as a hand on your shoulder and a voice whispering in your ear, you have done a great job!
Yes, it works. It still works. Even with me.