I had one of those jarring moments at work about two weeks ago - the kind you look back on and say "Hey, that was a fork in the road and I don't think I missed it - for once."
As I believe I mentioned, we had a quasi-regulatory audit at work. A big deal actually - without receiving a favorable audit report, our ability to sell product here and abroad would be compromised. Myself and my department work incredibly hard to ensure a successful audit, including long hours over two weeks spent to make sure everything was attended to.
After the audit, which was successful, I looked to my manager and asked him if someone was going to publish something to the company (we're 95 people, so it's not as if we're big) mentioning the successful audit. "No" was the response. I kept waiting for someone of higher authority to say something, but I was (apparently) waiting in vain. Finally I went to my boss again and said "Does anyone ever notify anyone here?" Again, the response was "No".
And then suddenly it burst on my consciousness like the rapid dawn that I was looking for something out of work, and life, that I would simply not find: thanks for what was done.
I realized that over my life, I've come to expect to be recognized in some form or fashion for at least results, if not effort. Probably this is a reflection of the fact that I am pretty good at school, which always recognizes effort.
The sad reality (and the one I realized) is that in fact effort will not be realized, and probably not success either - at least by others. Sure, the results may result in something - or they may not. But one shouldn't count on it.
In a sense, how incredibly freeing. Suddenly, I do not have to go around thinking I will be recognized and wondering why I am not - I'm not going to be. On the other hand, it frees me from the tyranny of having to wait for the recognition to begin or to assess my ability to do a good job.
It also means that I've elevated men and women to the place of God: people will not always recognize effort and success; God always will, in eternity if not here.
Whether on earth I move forward or do not, it now lies in my hands. To wait for the approbation or support of others, even though it might be nice, is naive at best and foolish at worst.