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An award with one real perk
- Duane Sherrill
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While I’ve won many state press awards over my career for columns, stories and photographs, my most recent honor is the one that has perhaps been most beneficial and memorable.
The honor I’m talking about is the Southern Standard’s Employee of the Month Award for the month of September. I was conferred the title by publisher Pat Zechman, who was busy putting up the sign commemorating the designation when I pulled into the parking lot Sept. 1. Actually, I’d been tipped to it by another member of the staff who said I should feel free to park in the special spot out front when I came in that morning.
As such, I came in with my horn blaring as they were putting my name on the Employee of the Month parking spot, located by the main entrance. Finally, a bit of respect around here – much deserved if you ask me. Frankly, I thought the whole Employee of the Month thing was a sham and I’d even joked if someone were to go on vacation for a week, they would get the title when they came back.
This opinion, of course, changed when I got the title as I was obviously picked for my value to the company and my work ethic. Besides, I didn’t go on vacation during August so that shot my theory out of the water.
Ah, I don’t really care why I won it. All I care about is the parking spot. That’s right, the best part of being Employee of the Month is not the accolades, notoriety or the sign I’ve placed prominently on the front of my desk for everyone to see. No, it’s all about the parking spot.
Granted, I don’t have to walk a mile to work from our regular parking lot just below the office, nor do I have to pay an exorbitant fee. Actually, the lower parking lot is just a few more steps than it is from the Employee of the Month spot, yet the spot I have this month is like the greatest thing ever. I was so moved by having the upfront spot that I traded in my car and got a new one. Hey, I can’t have a two-year-old car soiling up the Employee of the Month spot. Only the newest Hyundai is good enough for the space. It’s my own personal Castanza. You Seinfeld fans know what I’m talking about.
Now, the bad news. September is almost over. I, and my new car, will soon be relegated to the lower employee lot where I will have to park and walk on – gravel. Once September is gone, then so is my parking place – gone like dust in the wind – although the car payments will remain. And, if history is any indicator, I may not win the honor again for decades. I last won Employee of the Year in 1992.
As happy as September was, October promises to be conversely depressing as I will have to walk past the new Employee of the Month’s car, parked in my spot.
 Standard reporter Duane Sherrill can be reached at 473-2191.