Price: Showing Up
Rich people love recognition as long as there is a gala to honor them and aesthetically pleasing hardware to legitimize and advertise their achievements. With tens of millions of awards available, finding a niche to fit their talent is easy for the wealthy. Publicly, they will downplay their achievement and then proceed to display a smattering of awards on the shelves of their office, their library, their study and any other room where it will incite conversation. In the event that you see an award, do not hesitate to congratulate them and ask what Herculean feat they accomplished to deserve it. Do not act surprised when their accomplishment seems inconsequential, in fact you’ll endear yourself by asking them to tell you more.
Are all awards simply pandering to the egos of the rich? Of course not! There are plenty of people that deserve glowing praise for their contribution to the world. Some awards, like the Nobel Prize with a monetary grant of over a million dollars, actually have the effect of making their recipients wealthier but these are few and far between. Most likely an award recipient has made a sizeable donation or investment in order to be recognized. As an example, Henry Kravis of KKR – the legendary Private Equity firm in NYC – was recognized by the American India Foundation for his “corporate commitment and philanthropic leadership”, ambiguous yet impressive. Not to take anything away from Mr. Kravis or AIF for honoring him, but the man is worth $5.5 billion and past recipients have included the Co-President of Warburg, Chairman of Bharti Enterprises and the Head of Global Markets at Deutsche Bank. Not a lot of kids from the streets are taking home hardware from the Annual Spring Gala.
Why do awards matter? That’s a great question and you should fill in your thoughts below because I’ve got nothing! The AIF gala is $500 a person and Kravis’ name will sell every table. It would be gauche to give a sales award or recognize him for “outstanding symbiotic contribution”, so the creative geniuses get to work engraving a crystal trophy with an enigmatic award name. It flatters the recipient and acts as a continual pat on the back for being amazing. If you haven’t received an award, do yourself a favor. Take a look at your boss’ bookshelf, find an award, render your most sincere “very impressive” and you’ll be talking about their favorite topic. The award for most promising career progression goes to…congratulations, it’s you!