Out of the blue I received a call from a colleague in another department. She wanted to know if I had agreed to attend the event in Johannesburg. I had absolutely no clue what she was talking about. She was a bit surprised that I was completely unaware that I was invited to go. Flights were to depart 2 days later and she was actually calling to confirm my ID number so that she could book my ticket. I made a few calls to see if I could arrange for someone to look after my children and called her back to confirm my attendance. I asked if anyone else in my department would be there and one other person was attending as well as another from a different portfolio. She briefly explained that we had been chosen as part of a group of the top 25 agents in customer care and would be attending an award ceremony and a workshop the next day. The other agents were all from our outsourced business partners.
I wasn’t exactly sure how this had happened, so I went to my manager to ask her. She apparently had not realized she was supposed to tell me about it and had only been asked a few days prior to nominate the people she felt deserved to go. She explained that she looked at our departmental stats and had considered our work ethic and attitude before putting forward the two names she had chosen. She told me one of the things that stood out to her was when I left a meeting exclaiming that I had work to do. I had to laugh. I was just being honest! At the time I felt that my time was being wasted and could be better utilised, so I left. Ultimately it was a bit self serving as our remuneration is based on the time we take to get to our assigned work and I felt that I could do better if I put a bit more pressure on myself.
Hurriedly arrangements were made for us to depart to Johannesburg. Everything was arranged on very short notice and we were only informed after 17:00 what time our flights the next day were scheduled for. Luckily with the shift Rudi was working it was possible for him to take me to the airport on the Thursday, as well as to collect me on the Friday. We had breakfast together before I boarded and off to Johannesburg I went. We arrived at our hotel too early to check in, so we had lunch while we waited for them to get our rooms ready. Having had a long and busy day already and not having any commitments prior to the evening event my colleagues and I desperately wanted to take a nap. Finally when our rooms were cleaned we went our separate ways to relax before getting dressed for the black tie do later. I was really looking forward to a nap, but only managed about 40 minutes before waking up for no reason. Ugh. I watched a bit of TV, had a shower and got dressed as the shuttle was going to collect us for the event.
We arrived at our head office to a man armed with a camera and were lead into our building to the conference center where a red carpet was laid out. We were served cocktails and canapés while waiting for everyone to arrive. We entered a beautifully decorated room. The table settings were all white and gold. There were floating candles in long vases, flower arrangements, huge feathers and gold chairs at the tables. Everything was stunning.
Our resident in house MC who is really amazing and hilarious welcomed us and kicked off the speeches where the top brass from our quality division who initiated this recognition programme spent some time explaining to us what an achievement it was to be there. Being as self deprecating as I am I still have trouble believing that I have won this award. They really did make a huge deal out of it and showered us with praise, motivation to continue what we were doing and a request to spread our passion for what we do among our colleagues that we work with every day. We were all called up onto the stage one by one to take pictures with the executives and handed a certificate for “Excellence in Customer Service” as well as a gift.
The food was really amazing and I regretted having a big lunch. There was also an open bar which is something that I haven’t seen at a company event in years. Once all the formalities were out of the way the DJ played while we danced until it was almost midnight before being collected by the shuttle to return to the hotel. I honestly cannot remember the last time I danced so much. I had such a good time. Before the event I wasn’t happy about the late hour that we would be getting back the hotel. It is WAY past my bedtime and I am a woman who often chooses sleep above staying awake to watch a movie or read, but I found myself feeling disappointed when the evening was drawing to a close.
Perhaps it was for the best as Friday morning was an early start to catch breakfast at the hotel and head off to our head office for a workshop. I have been working for my company for 16 years and had never been to our head office. I was excited by the prospect of finally getting to see it. I wasn’t disappointed. The campus is huge and consists of many buildings. I managed to pinch off a little time to meet some of the people I work with daily which was really awesome and at the same time I got to see a little more than just the building we visited. I also received some baked goods from said people to butter me up for future business 😉
Before we knew it the day was gone and we had to rush back to the airport. We could have taken our time though since our flight was delayed twice and we ended up leaving more than 2 hours later than scheduled. That aside I had such an amazing time. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience from start to finish.
The delayed flight was frustrating, but arriving at the airport to two little voices screaming “Mommeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” excitedly was the best feeling! It was so awesome that they were so excited to see me. Although the hotel had amazing pillows, no bed sleeps like your own bed 🙂
It was really nice to be recognized at work. Sometimes you don’t realize that what you do daily is appreciated.