Recognition is not always worthwhile.

One of the lessons I learned early in my career is that if you make the cover of a magazine, you’ve done something wrong. Doesn’t matter if you make the cover for good reasons or bad. Making the cover means that you did something completely new or different (or wildly wrong and a roof fell in…).

Since then, I’ve come back a little from this being an absolute truth. Sometimes you make the cover because you simply were in the right place at the right time. Or because you accomplished something new in one place that is actually well practiced in another.

Recognition can be a great thing. It can springboard your career, it can introduce you to new people, it can put you in a position to see other new things coming down the pipeline. It’s tough to beat positive recognition.

But for all the good it can bring, sometimes it can hurt. That same positive recognition can bring new expectations that are unachievable. It can diminish the contributions of the team that did a lot of the work. It can misrepresent the entire project. Sometimes it is important to realize that working from the shadows is often the best choice.

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