You could say that I’m a decent employee. I follow the gist of the dress code. I generally show up within 15 minutes of when I am supposed to be at work. You know, reasonable lateness. I very rarely take naps at my desk. And while I am mildly disgruntled, I’m not (yet) acting out my frustrations by urinating in the office coffee pot or something.
Sure, there is room for improvement. And perhaps this is why our Intranet site at the office began posting motivational quotes. Whenever I went online to check my benefits or print out a new phone list, an inspiring quote awaited me. At first, these quotes were wildly absurd homilies about the joys of hard work. Lately though, it appears the company has chosen quotes that are a little more realistic for our corporate culture.
And yes, these are actual quotes that have appeared on our Intranet site over the last few days…
1. “Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake.” ~ Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch-Tartakower
First off, I do love a good Grigorievitch-Tartakower quote. He’s like a chess-playing Confucius. But seriously, I started to think about how his words would actually help me at work.
In essence, the message appears to be, “always look to capitalize on the mistakes of others.” In general, this is an outstanding credo to live by. And at my company, mistakes, oversights, and errors are in constant abundance. Evidently, it is corporate policy to start using these miscues to enrich myself. Thankfully, I have this Intranet quote as justification for whatever malfeasance I end up committing. (Crossing fingers that this will stand up in court.)
2. “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
Ok, I’m starting to get paranoid. Who exactly are my enemies around here? Here’s my list of potential suspects:
Our competitors: The obvious choice, but ultimately, I think they’re too busy being profitable and successful.
Our customers: Generally speaking, they are more victims than enemies.
My Boss: I wouldn’t categorize him as an enemy, necessarily. Sure, our relationship can be adversarial, in a cartoonish sort of way. Him, the Wile E. Coyote trying increasingly elaborate ways to get me to do work, and I, the cunning roadrunner narrowly eluding productivity every time. Sticking with this metaphor, I simply avoid whatever project he tries to slap on my desk like it was an anvil being dropped overhead. Meep! Meep! (Cloud of dust)
My Coworkers: Change that… My Co-employees. The word “Coworkers” is misleading, as it implies some actual work is being done around here. As far as enemies go, there is actually some validity to this one. I’ll single out just a few: The Guy that takes the last cup of coffee and doesn’t make a new pot. The guy that has an annoying cell phone ring that I can hear across the building. And finally, the guy that basically loiters outside the building by taking four hours worth of smoking breaks per day.
3. “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are more stupid than that.” ~ George Carlin
Why is this on our Intranet site? Shouldn’t this be part of our mission statement instead?
Again, how does this help me at work? Am I supposed to factor in this ratio in dealing with my coworkers? Seriously, it’s not like I need the Office Intranet to offer confirmation that incompetent morons surround me.
4. “Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before. ” ~ James Buckham
So my job is a trial, meant to be endured? And by slogging through my job, my only reward will be spiritual growth? And I’ve got what, 30 years of this until retirement? Honestly, with quotes like this, the Office Intranet is only validating my disgruntlement.