A colleague of mine had to cover for the boss while he was on leave. She did an outstanding job, everyone agreed, introducing a few new things to smooth out communications as well as managing to get the rest of her work done to its usual exemplary standard.
Boss gets back from leave and is suitably impressed that not only is everything running smoothly but staff moral is higher than ever. So he suggests to his boss that she get a special mention in the greater team meeting.
These special mentions are called "Gold Stars." Yup, do a great job and you don't get a bonus or a pay rise or time off, you get a... gold star.
But clearly this isn't insulting enough. During the team meeting, the uber boss is making mention of people who have done well, mentioning the work they had done and how this has benefited the team.
She gets to my colleague and says, "And this award to [Sally] is for... no reason in particular! Well done, [Sally]."
I just looked at my colleague, trying to keep a straight face for the rest of the meeting. All the things she had done and they couldn't remember one of them for the meeting.
Oh, and she's supposed to get a tacky gold star for her desk, but it's been several months and nobody has ever seen one.
I don't think she's holding her breath.