The 5 Most Useless Motivational Tactics Every Workplace Uses

#2. If You Can Lean, You Can Clean


If you've heard this at work before, then you've also suppressed rage at work. This clever rhyme, made up by Victorian-era hatemongers and child abusers, is meant to indicate that for eight hours you should never stop moving, you scurrilous scalawag. This preposterous statement is painful to hear in pretty much any position besides that of a janitor or dishwasher whose actual job it is to clean. If your job is making photocopies, stocking shelves or selling Xbox games, when someone decides that the fact that there's no customer in the building right now means you should wipe counters or sweep the floor, it's a bit like having someone slap your face when you're eating a sandwich and saying, "Eat off the floor, shit monkey!"

It's true, probably, that if you can lean you can clean, but it's also just as true that if you can sit you can shit, if you can dance you own pants and if you punch a bear in the face it'll probably revenge eat you. You can make up a lot of douchebag sayings, but none of them are likely to change your job description.


I will even eat your gross parts. I don't give a shit.

Is it unfair to assume that you should not be wallowing in filth at work? No. Clean your shit hole up if it needs cleaning, but every waking moment of your working life does not need to be given over to doing something, no matter how unnecessary. That's not how work works. If your job is to sell computers and no one is in to buy a computer, your boss is an asshole if he wants you to clean spiderwebs out of the loading bay. Loading Bay Spiderweb Guy should clean that shit, that's why we hired him. Creepy fuck.

Forbes tells me 64 percent of people surveyed admit to visiting non-work-related sites at work every single day. Those are the people who admitted it, so the number is obviously higher. Various articles over the last five years have suggested that the average worker wastes anywhere from one and a half to two and a half hours out of each workday doing whatever the hell. When I worked at a Staples, I used to look for better jobs on their computer (that'll get you in trouble, by the way), but the point is, people have time during their day, no matter what the job. If you flip burgers, the moment will come when no one is hungry. If you stock shelves, you'll get them all filled. If you sell heroin, everyone is going to be high one day. So then what? Polish your heroin bags? Shut up with that.

The reason most people give for workplace slacking is that they don't feel challenged. Take that out of workplace speak and it means you literally had nothing worth doing, because polishing the doorknob is not something worth doing. When people literally have nothing to do, by making up new tasks for them like they're annoying 5-year-olds that you need to get out of your hair, you're just ensuring that the next website they look at is going to be a job board where they can find a less shitty workplace that doesn't treat them like a lazy maid.

#1. Team Building


Sweet Mary Sunshine, what a crock of shit. Team building is what human resources chose to call their Jigsawesque group-based torture project. Do you want to finish your workday in peace? Well, I want to play a game. The game I want to play is very infuriating, and pointless, and childish, and will drive you completely insane. And it is, of course, mandatory! Queue maniacal clownish laughter.


Look how little my pants are!

Team-building exercises can be as mundane as that godforsaken trust game where you have to close your eyes and fall backward, or as terrifyingly complex as forcing you to group up and devise team cheers based around the names of the people in your group, or go for nature hikes and forage for your own lunch in the wild. I'm not even kidding, crazy shit like that actually happens, and your company may even hire an outside consulting firm to help them come up with these ideas, because it takes a special kind of crazy to think that making a team of salespeople try to identify whether a mushroom is poisonous or not is a good way to motivate them. And hey, what better way to build up a team environment at work than to make everyone compete against each other? How could that backfire?

I'm no scientician, but I will state with a fair degree of confidence that the only thing these sorts of activities are likely to motivate are threatening mutterings and insulting comedy articles on the Internet. There's likely some good to be gained from team building in a new environment when no one knows each other by forcing people to have that awkward "Hi, my name is____" moment and then maybe get to know each other for a few minutes, but how this translated into square-dancing weekend getaways or hunting a homeless man for sport with the winning team getting access to the executive bathroom is anyone's guess.

There's survey evidence to back this up as well, indicating that most workers think your team-building exercise should go build a castle made of shit in the basement somewhere and leave them alone, but good luck ever convincing lost and confused management types who need to pretend that they're being proactive that, especially when they still need to figure out what "proactive" even means.

Check out more Ian in 7 Safety Products (for the Incredibly Paranoid) and 10 Popular Porn Scenarios That Seem Highly Implausible.

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Ian Fortey

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