async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Not fair

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Not fair


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.

http://www.sporticular.com/more/not-everybody-wins-everyone-gets-trophy/





20 comments :

  1. There was no medal or shirt at my first half because only the first 200 to sign up got shirts. I would've liked a shirt as a momento of my first half, but whatever. IMO there are a whole lot of people racing now for the finisher bling. I think race organizers feel pressure to offer some, even for short races now. And I think they use it to justify jacking up the price.
    As far as feeling like less or more based on something someone else has done or achieved, that's the comparison trap. If this is the case, one needs to look inward.

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    1. I totally agree. And I wonder why this is happening. Learning that life isn't fair is a tough lesson indeed! But it prepares for the challenges of life.

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  2. I've never received anything for just finishing a 5k or 10k. And, I certainly don't expect to. But if I run well enough to place in the award categories assigned by the race officials, then bring it on! Some races have become very "commercial" and it seems they give out bling to all participants. I actually try to avoid these races.

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  3. Wow. This really sucks, Wendy; sadly, I can see this happening, especially in the environment you're in where multiple people are present, working for multiple "supervisors," doctors, administrators, etc. I'm completely in your camp, though; why should those who perform well be punished because either others do not or the people for whom they work do not show their gratitude? I work for three different departments; one of my directors praises my work regularly, one does occasionally, and the third rarely - mostly this has to do with their personalities, and I get that. I definitely would not want them to tell me what they think of my work because they are in fear of hurting someone else's feelings, though. Good grief. We're adults...get over it. And I like your assistant, too, and I don't even know her - ha! You can tell her that I said she's doing a good job.

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    1. Thanks Tara! She does do a good job, and I appreciate her so much that I nominated her for an award last year, which she won.

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  4. Don't stop praising her! She clearly earns it. It is sad that the higher ups don't hold your partnership up as an example of how it should be. I personally agree with you on the medal thing. I am truly of the mind that the journey and finishing are my rewards. But I will say I love having a tri finisher medal. ;)

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    1. I won't lie...I like the bling too. But it isn't an incentive to run a race, that's for sure!

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  5. First, that picture made me laugh so hard I snorted. More importantly, though, I really appreciate you writing this post. I received a medal at the 10K Turkey Trot I did last week, as did all of the 5K runners and I thought it was the silliest thing. I am still debating whether or not I should hang it up with my marathon medals, because it certainly doesn't have the same magnitude. I hope the other medical assistants stop whining about their feelings and step up to doing a better job to earn some praise in the future. Jealousy and comparisons will get them nowhere.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that you feel the same as I do about the shorter races. That picture made me laugh too!

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  6. My husband and I talk about this a lot. When kids first start playing sports they get awards for just showing up. They come to believe that they will always be rewarded without even having to perform. As they become older and see that is not the case, it is a hard lesson to learn.

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    1. I saw it a lot when my kids were little, and I see those kids growing into very entitled young adults. Sigh.

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  7. Oh man. That really stinks at work. That is just how life is... people who perform better do (and should) get awarded. It should inspire others! As long as there is no favoritism and it is fair. Geesh.

    Ha ha, I have known some people who've become OBSESSED with doing races just to get medals, and were mad that it was hard to find a 5K without a medal. Giggle.

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    1. Well, we do see that a lot on social media...people signing up for races for the bling..

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  8. That truly stinks that management has told you NOT to praise people in front of others. REALLY? I'd go above their heads in all honestly, because that is just wrong.
    I also agree that medals shouldn't be given for every distance, but I suppose tell that to the couch potato that got up and actually trained their butt off for a 5K...

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    1. I thought I'd get a lot of flack for posting about the medals, but surprisingly, there's been all positive comments. I did lose a few likes on my page tho...

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  9. Uggh, I feel you so much on this one, but I totally agree!! It goes along with so many other things with kids and sports at school and PARENTS who get upset when their kids don't get a prize for showing up to class. It's a bunch of bullshit if you ask me. People are so entitled these days...you need to work for it people. My kid doesn't get rewarded everytime he comes home on "green" of his behavior chart from school or does something well. He get's verbal praise, but not a medal. We actually had a discussion recently because my son was upset when he did the Color Run with me and didn't get a medal. Now everytime I ask him if he wants to do a kids run, he asks if there is a medal, because he only wants to do it if there is a medal at the end. We have talked about how mommy runs races all the time and doesn't get a medal. Great post!

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    1. Thanks Sue! I think it's a great lesson for kids to learn...to do their best and be rewarded by a job well done.

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  10. Sounds to me like the other staff need to up their game re: appreciating their assistants. "Don't do such a good job! You're making us look bad!"

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