Winning Critical Mass Valuable Person award

Once in a while, someone notices you. Sometimes it’s just a pretty woman walking down the street. Sometimes it’s a friend you haven’t seen in a long time. And once in a while, it’s your entire company.

This year, starting in our Town Hall meeting in June, Critical Mass decided to implement a kind of “employee of the month” award. It’s formally called the “Critical Mass Valuable Person”, or cMVP for short. The criteria for nomination are pretty straight-forward:

(Taken from the nomination form)

  • Exemplifies our values:
    • Commitment to Excellence & Results
    • Teamwork & Respect
    • Creativity & Innovation
    • Leadership & Accountability
    • Integrity & Honesty
  • Is technically superior in their job
  • Has a consistent, positive attitude towards clients, fellow project team members, fellow colleagues, their job and Critical Mass
  • Is reliable and conscientious in everyday tasks and job expectations
  • Strives to learn continuously on a personal level or by facilitating learning for others
  • Displays initiative by taking on projects outside of their job description
  • Shares ideas and contributes to best practices at a project, department or company level

Pretty high standards, if you ask me. And considering that the timeframe is (ideally) a month, that’s an awful lot of work to have to pull off for someone to take notice. I also cannot really see myself completely fulfilling some of these criteria. Take “technically superior”. It’s a little subjective. As a Web Developer, I’ll rate myself as, say, better than average. But technically superior? I can’t honestly agree to that — there’s a lot of people here who can code circles around me.

No-one who receives the cMVP knows about it going into the presentation. They’re just a face in the crowd, like everyone else. Where I was standing, I couldn’t hear much, aside from snippets of what this person was like. When I heard “takes pictures of all our events”, my heart stopped for a moment. I do that. It could be me. But then I dismissed it — Jude takes lots of pictures, and with everything he does, I’d expect him long before me.

“This month’s cMVP is Geoff Sowrey.”

I froze. Blood ran cold. Eyes bugged out.

Me??

Stunned. Pure stunned. Nothing more eloquent will ever fully describe the feeling of total shock I felt when I heard my name. I stood in place, people around me staring (and clapping, I think), for what seemed an eternity before I got myself to move. Thelton, our President and COO, the person giving out the award, couldn’t even see me from where I was standing.

Ever since the cMVP was first announced, I had wished I could qualify for it. But there are a lot of people in this company deserving of such an award. They put in a lot of effort, sometimes for little more than a “thank you”. While my wildest dreams had me winning cMVP, my reality was quite content to nominate others and not worry about it.

Winning the cMVP is like an Emmy or an Oscar. You’re nominated by your peers, although it’s the Executive who selects you. It’s the second-highest award you can win here. (The highest is the cMVP of the Year, which has yet to be given out.) That’s just fine with me — I’ll be flying quite high on this for a while, I think.

So I find myself here, on a Monday that’s not going nearly as well as I’d have liked, typing away about something I won (I very much hesitate using the word “deserved”) with still-shaking hands. It’s an honour that I’ll have to live up to even more than I apparently already do.

I don’t toot my own horn (at least too often). But I certainly won’t object to others tooting it for me.

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