At my first real job, in the second or third year of university, I was a QA guy for a gaming startup spun out of Turner Broadcasting. I was meant to automate a bunch of the manual stuff testing and QA stuff we did. It was a cool combination of hardware and scripting and I was having a blast with it.
After about 3 months, an all-hands meeting was called. The PR and marketing guys had taken the product to E3 (big gaming convention) and done their consumer research and returned with exciting news: the response was incredible and we were going to vastly exceed even our most optimistic projections.
The director stepped forward and congratulated us. You’ve done amazing work, he said. You’ve created a huge success. You should be proud.
There was much applause and cheering. There were about 35 of us on the team at that point (swelling nearer to 150 in the next year’s optimism). I was excited. The finance guys came up and were throwing around revenue numbers that made me giddy. We had built something great. We did it. I raised my hand and the director gave me a nod.
“How much of that do we get?”
The room exploded in laughter. From my colleagues as well as my bosses. As if I was the crazy one. It was an innocent question. It literally never occurred to me that if I was on a team, and the team did well, that I wouldn’t.
I took a couple more jobs after that, but that meeting was the last time I was excited about one.