30 Sep 2016

Work hard and be nice to people...

In my line of work, I get to see an awful lot of offices and work-spaces.  It's quite eye opening in many ways and increasingly, I'm seeing lots of 'maxims' and 'mantras' blown up into posters which adorn the walls of offices to exhort people to 'Keep calm & whatever'  or that 'Nice guys finish last', 'Failure is not an option' and a personal favourite 'Don't Quit'.  I'm never sure really if these are supposed to be motivational and life affirming or just to occupy wall-space.  It's similar to the ongoing battering on social media of 'inspirational quotes' which I'm seeing increasingly regularly on various feeds.  In fact, I'll digress a little here because I also saw a research piece recently where a Canadian group of scientists had completed a project 'on the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bull****'. (http://ow.ly/ZHsL304IlXv).  The study found that those who are receptive to these messages are less intelligent, less reflective and more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, the paranormal and alternative medicine'.  Anyway, each to their own.  I was with a client this week through and on their wall was a huge poster with 'Work hard and be nice to people'.  This has resonated with me all week and I think that if you're going to have a mantra, this is probably the best of them all.

In the world of work, just as you can't choose your family, you can't choose your workmates.  But it's a small world.  The main Northern centres for advertising are Manchester and Leeds and they are relatively small cities.  Whilst all recruitment is theoretically confidential, we are reliant on individuals within businesses using discretion when dealing with CVs.  Sadly, it's not always the case and this week, we had a case of a client declining to see a candidate - who on paper was perfect for the role.  When I enquired as to why it was a no, I was told that someone in the team had previously worked for that person and been told they were a lazy so and so who wasn't a team player.  

Another example.  Ran a great new opportunity for a role by three candidates.  Lovely agency, great client roster. Each candidate declined, having heard on the jungle drums that the most senior person on the account was 'difficult' to work with and 'made people cry'.

The Jungle Drums are heard far and wide. Often, it's not even a direct connection but it can be 'a friend of a friend' or just plain old chinese whispers.  Most of the time, I'll advise individuals to go along and make their own mind up. Sometimes reputations are justified, sometimes they are not.  But really, without being made up of meaningless words strung together for some kind of inspirational appeal, I think 'Work hard and be nice to people' is simple, to the point and we'd all be mindful to heed this advice in an increasingly small world.

To see the very opposite - demotivational work posters, take a look at http://ow.ly/65Wg304InzL