Warning. The following is a whine - and a really big one. So if you're not in the mood, you may as well flip to the next entry, or go check out the progress on our house and come back next time. Consider yourself warned.
I'm not sure how to write this without it coming across as a whine. Hence the caveat above.
When we went to the Consulting Conference last year in Las Vegas for the Big Fish that bought us, they gave out awards to some of the consultants. One thing struck me the most about those awards. The only people who ever won anything were the project managers. This was rather telling, but aside from it being just one more reason why I haven't been thrilled to be acquired by this particular company, I didn't really give it much more thought once we left. The benefit of being at this particular project is that I've been mostly insulated from all the policies and practices of the Big Fish and I've been, mostly, able to ignore them.
Last night I ditched an SPCA board meeting to go to a dinner of all the Big Fish's people. A bunch of managers drove up to see all of us, and I figured that I ought to do all the political nicey-nice and go, even though I would have much rather been at the board meeting. Heck, I would have preferred scouring the bathroom tile, but I digress. It's not that I don't like the people - I do. They're all quite nice - this little crowd that has suddenly sprung up on this project - but it's the whole schmoozing thing I hate and have always hated.
Dinner wasn't bad. It was loud and hard to hear people talking, but at least I managed to chat with my manager about things - general small talk, but still, it wasn't bad. I was having fun, despite the niggling concern that my own manager seems to be stalling every time I ask her for information on expanding my management experience.
But then the Consulting Director stood up. He noted that this project we're on is the largest one of its kind in the Big Fish. He noted that it's very high profile and there's a lot of pressure to succeed. And then he thanked one person for all of the project's success so far. He thanked the Testing Manager - a man who also happens to be a recognized Project Manager within the company.
It was a direct slap in the face, and it hurt like hell. My coworker and I may not be 'official' Project Managers within the Big Fish, but no one on the project from the customer side to those who work under us would argue that we direct development and are, hence, the managers of the project. The man who was singled out manages testing. Nothing more.
I sat there, pasting on a smile, and pretended to be cheerful, but that really drove something home. This company I work for doesn't apparently care about the actual contribution. They care about the title. And I know that the man who stood up to make that announcement knew darn well what position at least I play on this project. He's one of the ones who interviewed me for the management job that I didn't have a shot in hell of getting, and we discussed exactly what my role was.
I talked to my coworker this morning - the one who manages development with me from the technical side. He suggested I send an email, but as you can see from the tone of this entry, it would only have come across as sour grapes; as a whiny little "but how come you don't like me, wah wah wah". I simply didn't know how to respond or to act. All I could think about was what we'd seen in Las Vegas last year, with only the project managers getting recognition.
The thing about this is, it's not that I necessarily *want* recognition. I am not hoping that someone will single me out and pat me on the head and say 'ooh. Good job!'. What I want is simply to be given credit for what I've done, and to have my coworker get credit for his role as well. I want to know that everything we've accomplished over the past year actually means something to our own company. I want to know that we're not simply going to be relegated to 'oh yeah, they worked on this project too' list, simply because we don't hold the proper title.
And at the moment, I cannot dredge up even the smallest bit of optimism that this will happen.