Look at these, would ya? The bottom one doesn’t mean anything to me as far as the patent goes….it was the result of me pitching an idea for one of our products to the designer working on it and he replied, “you know, that would go really good with a patent Andy and I are submitting.” And so I went along for the ride. It has a side story to it, though, which I’ll go into in a bit.
The top one actually did mean a little bit to me. I got recognized for my contributions to a product to which I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for 4+ years. The latest version of it is actually published. (As was an earlier version.) I began as the sole person on this toolkit, but then I partnered on it with another developer and for the last couple of years 3 of us were working on it.
Okay, now for the story of the first award. I got it in the mail, January 2007. A cardboard box came from IBM. “What could this be,” I wondered? I opened it up and when I saw it I started laughing (I am not a patent-type person, I believe in open source, cooperative development, and the sharing of ideas). Then I burst out crying. That took me by surprise. I remember praying “God, you know this doesn’t matter to me. Show me what I can do that has meaning.”
A couple of hours later, there was a delivery man at the door. With flowers. They were from an exchange student we took in during the last part of her stay when it wasn’t working out with her host family. The card said “Thank you for taking me in when I needed you the most.” It was like God showing me that it wasn’t work where I was making my impact. My job was enabling me to do things like take in exchange students, sponsor children in other countries, and do stuff for my own kids.
Like putting them through college.
And so I put the plaque on my wall. And stuck the card from the flowers on top of it. And as I got additional thank you notes, I stuck them on top of the patent. Until you really couldn’t read it anymore. But it was a reminder of that question asked and answered 7 years ago.
Now it’s time for both of them to go. I’ve read before that if you have trophies (not me, I wasn’t that athletic) sitting up in your attic, take a picture of them then toss them. You still have the memory in the picture but there comes a time in your life when you aren’t going to display all the trophies from your childhood. I thought that was a good idea. I mean, these plaques would still fit in an office setting, but I’d rather have bright lovely art on my wall. And so I’ve taken a picture. And now I bid both of these awards adieu.
The trash truck comes tomorrow.