The 5 Most Useless Motivational Tactics Every Workplace Uses


Do you have a job? You probably hate it. According to Forbes, a whopping 19 percent of Americans are happy with their jobs. Nineteen percent. More people believe that aliens have visited Earth and the government is covering it up. That's not even a joke, real surveys indicate that. More people, when they stop and think about it, are apt to say, "Holy shit, I hate my job, but good thing aliens have visited Earth because maybe they'll abduct me from this goddamn Orange Julius stand and end my suffering by probing me into oblivion one day." People literally say that. Not literally. But if you say it right now, then literally. Say it. Say it and make me the Internet comedy version of Nostradamus.

The fact is, work sucks, apparently 81 percent of the time, and it's small wonder, since most of us work for big, ridiculous companies that get their HR departments to brainstorm the most insane, pointless rules and ideas for their employees to ensure that each and every day is a special form of Turkish-gulag-level, mind-numbing suffering. And the tragic part is that management is just as able to tell how much shit they're shoveling as you are when it gets shoveled in your face, but the unspoken agreement is that we all smile and take it for no reason at all.

#5. Cheerleading


When a company gets to a certain size, its employee base becomes ungainly, like abnormally corpulent testicles on a little man with chubby thighs, and he's trying to run to catch that elevator, but dammit, it's not going to happen. So many low-level plebes work for them, it's like a goatherd with too many damn goats in the field and they're all out there eating scrub brush and pebbles and shit and the goatherd doesn't like it. You hoary goats. So the goatherd has to think of a way to keep those goats in line. The answer is cheerleading. This no longer makes sense with the goat metaphor, which was really rickety to begin with.

Work for any major corporation on the ground floor in an environment with a fairly large number of other employees, be it a Staples or a McDonald's or whatever, and odds are you're going to be subjected to some manner of pre-shift meetings in which your manager gathers the crew together to let you know how awesome you're all doing. Except for this, this and this. But otherwise awesome! So awesome that maybe you can do better than yesterday today! Awesome! Go you! I am going to throat-fist your soul every day you work here until you quit, get fired or have to be institutionalized!


It's not a metaphor. Open up.

Nineteen percent of people apparently give a shit when their manager does this, though in fairness a percentage of that 19 percent are probably managers and people who are self-employed, so let's just assume 5 percent of workers like these cheerleader company meetings, and a high percentage of that 5 percent need their managers to re-pin their mittens at the end of said meetings.

HR people can't be so stupid as to believe that employees are motivated by hearing how much money the store is making, or how much more the store needs to make because of their lazy hides not working hard enough. There's no way to spin a "our success is your success" speech into something that doesn't sound like utter bullshit unless employees are getting a cut, and even when they are, it just means that they're generally forced into a position where they look at co-workers as competition rather than people in the same boat, so you're just as unhappy at work. If you are happy at work and don't feel this way at all, consider yourself lucky, and maybe also consider that everyone you work with may hate you.

#4. Share Our Philosophy


Job interviews suck so hard, and there's one reason above all others why this is so, one question you will be asked in nine out of 10 job interviews that you will never, ever answer honestly, but dread hearing all the same. Why do you want to work here? Eat so many bags of so many dicks, Question. In fact, mix those dicks with balls and assholes and make crotch trail mix.

In a fair and good world, you would look the interviewer in the eye and say something like "Well, I really need a job right now and I think I'm qualified for this one and I'd definitely do my best at it" or something equally as charmingly honest. But first and foremost, for nearly every one of us for all our lives, the reason you want to work there is because you need a job. You need money because the grocery store keeps chasing you out of the produce aisle with a broom when you perch on the grape bin and start nibbling to sustain yourself. No one wants to work at a place of business because they saw how it produces a superior grade of notebook paper and they really feel that superior notebook paper represents their own outlook on life and oh, by the way, I'm masturbating to a picture of your CEO right now.

It'd be awesome if we could all work at a company that pays well and also makes the world a better place by doing something we believe in, but those two jobs were already taken. The rest of us have to settle for working at Walmart, and the only people who are taking a look at Walmart's corporate culture and thinking it really represents what they want people to know about them can be summoned by saying their name five times in a mirror.

We tell interviewers we like the way the company does business, we feel we share similar values, we like the same music, we both laugh when we turn our heads the wrong way and bump our noses when we make out, whatever it takes to score the job, but come on. No one believes that shit, and it's just HR all but coming out and saying, "Can you give me a metaphorical blowie right now? Because I got a hankering to cover you in phantasmaspoogia."

#3. Posing


Almost any given workplace is a weird domino game of "Oh shit, the boss is coming!" The fry cook suddenly looks busy when the supervisor walks in, the supervisor looks busy when the manager is in, the manager is wearing a tie and has his pants done up for the district manager, the district manager tells the meth heads to stay home when the regional manager is doing inspections and the regional manager acts like Detroit doesn't have any operational stores when the East Coast VP wants a report.

Someone always expects you to pretend you're something you're not when you're at work, but it's so much worse when you're just forced to pretend for the benefit of someone else, for a few minutes. Call centers are notorious for this kind of shit, with rules like "no blue jeans." No blue jeans? In a call center? I could be in a kiddie pool full of sangria with a hot dog in my hand and do just as good a job at a call center as anyone else there, why the hell do my pants matter?


I got your tech support right here. Plus a hot dog.

The reason you'll get this at a call center is classic HR giving you the gears -- in case a client comes in. See, call centers look at new clients the way you look at your supervisor: It's someone who can make your life shitty if they want to. So you have to polish all your little turds up nice and shiny for them, and the clients of call centers apparently hate blue jeans. Can you even fathom the logic behind that? Surely Verizon is aware of how awful their own tech support is, blue jeans are the least of their worries. Maybe when you inspect the call center you should focus less on people's pants and more on the number of people who seem to be breathing through their mouths and trying to get their heads out of buckets.

Unless your client is from space, you should assure them you've had NASA conduct tests to ensure that blue jeans will not affect your employees' ability to handle a telephone.

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Ian Fortey

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