Behind the Recognition

On January 8th of 2020, I was recognized for my performance in December of 2019. I was nationally ranked in the Top 10 out of 861 employees in my role, which puts me in the Top 1% in my role. This was the second time that I reached the Top 1% in 2019.

They didn’t know what I had to do to over perform.

On the recognition call they highlighted my performance in KPIs, and immediately my thought was, “Working 9 days straight with the flu paid off.”

They didn’t know what was behind the recognition.

Then I realized that I was being recognized for accelerating on KPIs, but my peers listening may not realize that as of December 16th I wasn’t even pacing to hit 100% of my quota. They did not know what I had to do to over perform. They didn’t know that while many were taking days off from December 16th to December 31st, I was working 11–12 days and only took December 25th off because the company was closed and December 26th off to try to recover from the flu. They didn’t know what was behind the recognition.

Behind the recognition was a First Generation American who was raised by a single mother after his father passed away when he was 4yrs old. A mother who showed him that rent couldn’t be paid and food couldn’t be put on the table with excuses. A mother who came to the United States as a child from a country in civil war, with no high school diploma, who’s native language was Spanish. A mother whose race and gender is the lowest paid demographic in the country. In 1994 that was .55 on the dollar to a white male in the United States, and in 2013 being .54 to the dollar to a white male.

The recognition isn’t mine.

I remember one night, because my mother worked the graveyard shift to make differential pay, I ran out with tears running down my cheeks begging her to stay. She went to work. I was 12 years old, and I didn’t understand then that she had to sacrifice time with me to ensure I could live.

So my point, the recognition isn’t mine. The recognition is that of a Salvadoran mother, who sacrificed her life so that her sons could have the opportunities to be recognized nationally.

Sure, I worked from December 16th to the 31st. I learned that from my mother, because I recognized that I wasn’t pacing to hit my quota, and remembered working was the only way to pay the rent and to put food on the table.

My recognition goes to Jenny, my mother. Thank you. I love you.