Everyone, even health policy journalists, needs little rewards to brighten up the working day. I am always really quite chuffed when a reader rings, e-mails or stops me in the street to tell me they enjoyed one of my features - or even one of these columns.
There is a flipside to this: the reader who rings you up to rant that you have misspelled their name, misquoted somebody, or not spoken to every minority interest group in the country. In a previous job, I once came into the office (on my birthday) after spending the morning in a muddy field in Essex (don't ask) only to be told by a person on the other end of the phone line that I was a libellous blithering idiot and they were going to sue. (Rest assured I was neither libellous nor an idiot and they did not sue.)
Another reward for a journalist is to get nominated for an award. I have recently been nominated for two (as have several colleagues). I did not win the first and as we speak am up for another in a few days. I have plans for the cash that I may win and no self-respecting journalist turns down an evening of mingling with fellow scribes while drinking free wine and eating canapes. But more than this I do want the recognition.
It is a frequent complaint of those working within the NHS that they do not get enough recognition. Especially managers.
Doctors and nurses get thank-you letters and boxes of chocs from grateful patients. Not that anyone would begrudge them this but what must it be like to beaver away in services knowing that no-one knows what you do?
Let's face it, managers are hardly the public's favourite professionals and according to the mainstream press should not be allowed within a mile of the health service. It must be even worse for primary care trust staff; because which man on the street knows what they do or even what a PCT is?
When managers' voices do get heard it is by a minority audience. Nice as it is, I fear that a yearly thank you from the secretary of state or NHS chief executive at the Confed shindig may not be enough. But let me know if I am wrong and, more to the point, what kind of recognition you would prefer instead. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org