My glass was always half full when I was a kid. I was a positive thinker. A lengthy career in the media rubbed off some of that shine. That should tell you what I think of some of those motivational posters you see in many offices today.
Using beautiful photography and sweet phrases, these posters are designed to motivate employees to do their best.
Imagine a large photo of a man on skis standing at the peak of an immense sand dune. The text reads, "CHALLENGE: Anything unattempted remains impossible." That, my friends, is a modern day motivational poster.
At one time I subscribed to a motivational poster service to inspire my employees. Know what? Most of those posters do a better job of making money for the publisher than getting folks off their butts.
There are now available wall hangings labeled "demotivational posters" and I find some of them to be more realistic than the flowery verbiage on the so called motivational posters.
A demotivational poster that reflects my thoughts depicts a lovely lakeshore scene with crystal clear water on a stony beach. Following the word MOTIVATION is a caption which reads, "If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job; the kind robots will be doing soon."
Then there's the photograph of high power ammunition and in large letters: EXECUTIVE DECISIONS. This is followed by a quote from General George S. Patton: "No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair."
A poster with a photograph of a chain with one link about to break warns, "EXCUSES: If you keep asking others to give you the benefit of the doubt, they'll eventually start to doubt your benefit." I would hope that motivates slackers.
The Spanish tradition of encierro, the running of the bulls, is depicted in a poster which reads, "TRADITION: Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid." Do I hear an "amen?"
I have never witnessed a live encierro but I'll bet you won't find many Einsteins in the cluster of men being chased by angry bulls. By the way, encierro is Spanish for prison or confinement. Some sport.
One of the more disgusting demotivational posters I've seen depicts a filthy restroom. The text reads: "STATISTICS: The typical toilet seat has 49 germs per square inch versus a desk top that has 21,000. That's problematic because a lot of people eat their lunch at their desks. A typical office disinfects the toilet every night." Now that motivates me to not eat at my desk!
Then there's the poster that speaks loudly to the mess on Wall Street. Two glass piggy banks - one full of coins and the other empty - are shown with a caption that reads, "BAILOUTS: From each according to his ability, to each according to his lack thereof."
Though not original, I laughed when I saw a demotivational poster with a photograph of an infant. The caption read, "CHANGE: Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason." Heh, heh - I have always liked that one.
Different poster; same subject. A beautiful photograph of the U.S. Capitol is accompanied by, "CONGRESS: Proudly defending the status quo long after the quo has lost its status."
Over the years I worked hard often in vain - to try to keep everyone happy in the workplace. I was amused by a poster depicting an empty office with a caption that read, "DEMOTIVATION: Sometimes the best solution to morale problems is just to fire all of the unhappy people."
After some introspection I have decided I am not a true cynic, which H.L. Mencken described as, " A man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin."
Nor has life left me a Pollyanna. While I strive to see the glass as half full, there are times when it truly is half empty.
For those times, I will revel in a little cynicism. And enjoy it.