Everyone that has ever worked in retail has had to hear those four little words that for some people mean the world, while for others mean absolutely nothing. Those 4 little words? Employee of the month.
For some reason, companies feel the need to choose one of the herd and for a month put them on a pedestal, high above the others but not high enough to actually mean anything, like a promotion or a raise, or even pizza Tuesday.
The company I work for now is no different. The manager or one of his underlings chooses someone from the lower class of workers to be deemed employee of the month. It sounds like a good idea, as if you, the individual, were being recognized for your hard work and achievements and benefits to the company. However, all it is, is the result of a memo from higher ups to pick someone, whose name will be forever lost to the massive amount of paperwork a company generates daily.
One year, we repeatedly chose the same three people, because there were only three people who actually showed up for work, did their job, and went home when their shifts were up, making them the best that we could hope for out of any employees that punched the clock and wore a name tag each day.
Unfortunately, the DM was getting tired of seeing the same three names and looking at the same three faces (I should mention that the Employee of the Month had to have their picture taken, hopefully with an expression that did not scream ‘why me?’). So my boss and I decided to have a little fun with this mandatory pseudo-celebration that we were forced to do each month, and we chose two straight nominees that would stand out in the eyes of the DM, the first of which was a goldfish.
Yes, a goldfish whose days were spent swimming around a tiny glass bowl, with no hope of advancement or ever getting out of the bowl, who therefore seemed the perfect representative for the rest of us, who spent our days in much the same way, only without swimming, and albeit in a larger bowl. We took his picture and sent it to the DM. He had a laugh over it and told us that next time we had to submit someone new. Tired of picking the same three individuals and seeing that the goldfish had swum his last lap, we were forced to find someone who fit the requirements of what made a great employee, at least in the eyes of the company. And then it hit us.
Shows up for work.
Always on time.
Ready to take on any task.
Smile on his face.
Best represents the company.
Our choice met all of these requirements and more, so we put on his name tag, took his picture, and sent it off to the DM. He was not amused and let us know that in an email he sent to my boss.
Apparently it was beneath the position of Employee of the month to nominate the plastic 3 foot tall yellow M&M guy and put a name tag on him and call him M. It seems the company frowned on a candy filled piece of plastic being recognized for all the hard work that they did each day. We were told that we would have to take the position seriously next month.
Next month came, no one was chosen, and not another word was said.
Cover image courtesy of Aaron Edwards via Flickr