The Salt Mines…

If you go to your local neighborhood Big Box Bookstore, have you noticed the “Business Motivation” section?

I’ve always wondered why other categories didn’t have their own “Motivation” sections.  Where is the “Art Motivation” section?  Where can I find “Home Renovation Motivation” at?

They don’t exist, because they aren’t needed.  Just about every thing BUT business seems to have it’s own intrinsic motivator.  People do it because it’s fun, or if it isn’t all that fun (like Home Renovation) there’s a positive, tangible payoff.  But when it comes to making a buck, we need all the motivation we can get our hands on just to drag our ass in the door each day.

I’ve always thought the fact that this section exists to be a sad commentary on things.  Some poor middle-management meathead needs to look at this stuff just to see the supposed carrot at the end of the stick he’s never gonna get.  There are all the how-I-did-it books written at an 8th grade level so they aren’t too challenging and just long enough to be read on a flight to the Cleveland office.

I think the only reason anyone reads any of this stuff is so they can understand the buzzwords on their new bosses’ PowerPoint presentation.  You wouldn’t want to leave out any of the 7 habits of Highly Effective Sociopaths or the 5 Golden Steps to Total Customer Alienation.

I’m a stubborn old goat, but even I’ve figured out by now that nobody who has made a success of anything has done it by whipping themselves into a feel-good frenzy just to get through the day.  You have to work very hard at anything to be successful (whatever “successful” means), and to put in the effort you have to somewhat enjoy what you do.  Maybe not every waking minute, but you should at least derive enough satisfaction to get you through the day, no propagandists or motivational coaches needed.

But you can’t blame the poor clock-watching schleps.  Because so many of our business tasks are not only boring but tedious.  We’ve computerized the really boring stuff, but we haven’t automated the tediousness out of being information tenders yet.  Throw in the weird work environments and managerial styles that seem to be a cross between Machiavelli and Salvador Dali and it is no wonder you can almost hear the silent screams as you walk past those glass cube office park buildings.

If you find yourself stuck in this situation, don’t head to the Business Motivation section.  I suggest you try art, literature, history or even games, and apply generous amounts of fresh air and non-flourescent light.

Remind yourself that you are a person, not an engineered unit of productivity on somebody’s Six Sigma chart.

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4 thoughts on “The Salt Mines…

  1. Very insightful; hilarious!

    I do think, though, that for a lot of business-y folks, there is some kind of pent up desire to be creative, to apply the “can do” attitude to something lasting. Perhaps that’s why there’s this odd business motivation section. If someone could figure out the art of business, they would be placed on a pedestal! Well, I suppose there are lots trying to do so, given the number of volumes produced yearly.

    Love your blog.

    • Thanks Darren! I think you are right in that ALL people have the desire to be creative and leave something lasting.
      We don’t get much of a chance for that in our sterile, corporate environments.

  2. LOL you are a riot and speak the truth.

    When I first started working in offices back in (mumble mumble) I would go on the interview and get the job just by being myself. But every day now on my home page there’s some article called “7 things to never say in an interview” and many more like it. So even the interview is a business, each word must be carefully measured to try for some dreadful job. I can’t do that. And who wants to work for someone who did?

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