my memory board ( from 3 years ago)

One of the things that came up at this latest event was the whole system of awards. It seems that many people are not so happy with the system, or the awards, and so on. I don’t think that this is a new argument but I did notice that many people seem particularly jaded and somewhat bitter about the whole thing.

I think it can be very hard as King and Queen ( and other royals with the allowance to do this) to know who to give awards to and more importantly when. It’s a fine line, award a person too early and the general underlying feeling is that person didn’t do enough to deserve it ( never mind if they did or not but that’s the perception) but if they wait too long then there is a feeling of resentment about all the work done with no reward. It’s a delicate balance and I’m quite glad it’s not my job.

The system works on a sort of honour system. The royals rely on the populace sending in recommendations for people. But the system is open to abuse. I have seen shires get together to do award campaigns. They decide who should be up next and then they sit down and write en masse the recommendations needed. Of course  when this doesn’t work and a person expected to get a certain award at a specific event doesn’t get this tears ensue.

What happens when people don’t bother to send in recommendations or better yet the stupid online form doesn’t work properly making it “more work” to find the right email addresses and so on. And then what do you say? Person X does lots of stuff and I think they should get their AoA? I once over heard a conversation where one member of the SCA told a newbie that the way to become a laurel ( one of the highest rungs on the ladder) was to know how to dance and to be able to play chess.) If these are the perceptions people have then no wonder the whole system kind of goes awry.

I was one of those people where almost everything happened a little too late. By the time I was awarded award X I didn’t much care about it any more and to a certain extent it lost its meaning. I was never one for accolades anyway, mostly I like to hear the words Thank you you did a great job and we appreciate it, ( I also like getting paid in coin of the realm) but I am and was pretty easy going about the whole award thing. I rather enjoy seeing other people get hauled up in courts and given their moment to be seen and acknowledged. ( which was what made the job of being Signet Clerk so much fun by the way)

In a club that runs pretty well 100% on volunteers there had better be a way to reward the ones who step up to the plate and work so that the rest of us can enjoy the hobby without too much fuss. And because of the nature of volunteer run organizations there will always be those who constantly do and those who constantly take with most people hanging out somewhere in the middle. It’s a nasty sharp edge tho. I have heard more than once about a specific person who works their ass off at every single event they go to that “they only do it because they want to get noticed” or  that such people are greedy for attention and never let anyone else do stuff but it’s been my experience that anyone who works that much, consistently isn’t doing it for recognition they do it because it’s their nature and they probably really enjoy it. In the area of service most regular volunteers don’t do it for the bling factor, it gets too old too fast.

In the area of Arts and Sciences it’s a bit different, people do what they do because they love it and if you love something you do you get better and better at it (in theory) So there’s a progression of award for that as well, in this kingdom it’s usually getting a Panache then, if you’re of the right stuff, a laurel which is the top rung for A&S. The problem I see with some of this is while a panache is still an award that people get recommended for by everyone peers are made by the crown on the recommendations of other peers ( mostly) And what I have noticed over the years that sometimes persons who are just astonishing artists ( and this goes for the service area as well) but who have “difficult” personalities don’t ever get accepted into the peer clique because they are considered not of peer like qualities.

For me, having been on both sides of this fence, the words “peer like qualities” seem to be synonymous with “not one of us” or “I really hate this person’s guts and I don’t want them in my little world”. What does this phrase even mean? No one yet has been able to come up with a clear and concise explanation of what “peer like qualities” are. Probably because every single person has their own ideals about it and no one can meet in the middle.

I don’t have them. I’m an outspoken bitch who doesn’t always play by the rules. I don’t enter A&S competitions and I am very vocal about hating the job of judging them. I was told point blank years ago by a couple of laurels that if I never entered or judged an A&S competition then I would never become a laurel. It was that simple. I wondered then as I do now WTF that had to do with learning an art or craft or science to the point of becoming a master/mistress of it but since these words were told to me by two laurels on the same day I figured okay what ever… and accepted I’d never reach that high step and while it bothered me it was also okay because if that’s what I had to do to become a peer then too bad. I don’t like being coerced or forced at proverbial sword point to do something I don’t enjoy in what is essentially my hobby and should be fun.

I have seen from many parts of the Known World people get black listed from peerage because of a nasty comment made in public, or a temper tantrum at an event etc… but seriously how does this even enter the picture? For me the criteria are simple. Has person X reached a skill level that is master level. Have they shown a constant willingness to serve the kingdom, do they do so willingly and often? Do they teach their skill and encourage others? Do they share? For me these are the peer like qualities I need to see. Whether or not they’ve had a mass meltdown at an event 5 years ago because something happened that set them off is for me immaterial. People are people, they have moods they say shit they shouldn’t and the have opinions. To my mind the last person I want as a peer is some unopinionated, wimpy assed yes person. It’s good when someone says it like it is. I think there’s far too much high and mighty that goes along with the whole thing and in the end we all bleed the same when we’re poked with a sharp stick. Plus… who amongst any of us ever can say we have never done or said something mean or stupid?I guess it all just depends who sees and hears you and whether or not higher-ups feel hurt by it. I have issues when shit that happened years ago gets dragged up as a reason to blacklist someone.

Awards are a way to say thank you or acknowledge a person’s achievements within a set of parameters. Personality will play some part in it all but in the end it should not be a popularity contest and I do sometimes wonder if maybe part of our problem in this kingdom would be solved my a few more awards for specific things vs few awards for very general things.

my memory board (from 2010)

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