They can’t give an award out to everyone.
Working as a web designer and developer for the games division of a Very Large Software Company, I had the opportunity to work on some impressive and fun projects. Back in the day before Millennials were a thing, web sites were more information-focused and less complex than they are today, and “web masters” (as they were once called) often found themselves doing every aspect for a particular project by themselves.
So one day, my boss forwards me an email from product marketing; it was the specifications for a sub-site, complete with verbiage, some assets, and a list of functional requirements. I dutifully prepared the web site, going back and forth with marketing over the site on our development server. Once completed, the often time-consuming process of Final Approval™ was the only obstacle to delivery.
I went on vacation with my girlfriend and prepared an email to my boss and delegate as to the status of the project, as well as the 30 seconds’ worth of work required to make the web site go live. It went live while I was on vacation without a hitch.
Fast forward six months later, and I was assigned a small section to add to our Intranet site announcing the recognition of certain employees for their efforts on specific projects and that these employees would be awarded a plaque and a payment of $800 at a company awards banquet. One of the projects being “recognized” was my very own sub-site.
Shockingly, the people they mentioned were: the marketing folks (no problem), my boss, and the fill-in who had literally pressed a button to launch it. My name was notable in its absence.
I complained to the lady in whatever-division-handles-award-giving-out and explained my situation. I complained that I had worked on the entire project alone from an IT and design perspective, that I had completed 99.9999% of the project. I pointed out that it had been assigned to me, and not the other recipients. I pointed out that the delegate had only pushed the site live, and my boss had only forwarded the original email to me and that given those credentials, I was certainly due recognition, the plaque, and the little bonus cheque (given tax deducations, the plaque was the more valuable item).
You know what her response to me was? “We can’t give awards out to everyone who was involved in the project.”
When my boss and my coworker went up on stage in their tuxes to receive their accolades, I did not clap.