It has come to this.
Today I was told that by praising my medical assistant, I am inadvertently making the other medical assistants feel badly. Not every provider shows their gratitude like you do, I was told. You nominated for her for an award, which she won. But it made all the others feel badly. We know how much you appreciate your medical assistant. We know she does a great job. We know you two work so well together. But you just can't say anything positive to her in front of the others because it hurts them. If you have anything to say, you need to take it to a private area. To protect the feelings of the others.
Oh. Wow. Seriously.
We live in a world of fairness. Political correctness. Even steven. Fair and square. Equitable. Everybody wins. Everyone needs to feel good about themselves. No one can stand out. In life and in sports too...
When my boys were little, they played soccer. It was cute. Some of the kids were natural athletes. They scored goals! They stopped others from scoring goals! Some kids weren't really into the game. They were picking flowers along the sidelines, oblivious to what was happening on the soccer field. But at the end of the season, everyone got a trophy.
I get that. Little kids should feel good about trying. But when does it stop?
We're not kids. Adults should know that life isn't fair. Not everyone gets a prize at the finish line. Do adults need "participation medals"? While writing this post, I read some articles about this. One author says "competition is life". Think about it; in a race there's only one winner. Unless you are an elite athlete, there will always someone better, faster, stronger, smarter. And actually, that isn't a bad thing. Losing can be motivating. If everyone wins, does anyone win? Does awarding everyone reinforce mediocrity?
I've been a runner for a long time. I ran a lot of 5ks and 10ks "back in the day". When I ran those races, you were lucky to get a race shirt. There were no medals for those distances. Only runners who completed a half and a full got rewarded with a medal. As they should. Those are tough distances that require commitment and training to complete.
A few years ago, I ran a half marathon where there was also a 5k. The half marathon runners received a medal at the finish. The 5k runners did not. I heard some loud complaining about that.
I realize that by putting this out there, I may offend some people. I understand that for many people the distance of running 3 miles seems difficult. But compare that to a half marathon (13.1 miles) or a marathon (26.2 miles). There is no comparison. Training for and running those distances is completely different than a 5 or a 10k. I don't feel that the shorter distances are worthy of a medal. Sorry. To give awards to the shorter distances downplays the training and accomplishment of those who complete the longer, more challenging distances. And personally, I find that training for and finishing the race is, in itself, satisfying. What is it that they say? There's joy in the journey. Truthfully, I'd be ok without receiving a medal.
I recently ran a Turkey Trot where there was a 5k and an 8k option. There were no finisher medals. I was ok with that. Shorter distance, no medal. Seems fair. I did leave with a medal because I placed 2nd in my age group. Yes! An award for an achievement. There was a little award ceremony. Seems appropriate.
We need to be able to feel good about ourselves, about our accomplishments. Why should anyone's achievements be minimized to pacify the feelings of others? Wouldn't it make sense that watching another achieve success should motivate us to do the same? Why should everyone get a trophy for just showing up to run? Get praised just for showing up for work? And should we downplay the work of the high achievers just to make everyone feel good about themselves? Hard work, be it in life, in a job, on the road, in sports-- should be rewarded. And we as adults should all understand that.