Notice Board Translations

By | March 4, 2010

Spending lots of time in organisations offices you see many things pinned on notice boards, cubicle walls and dividing screens. Below are the most common ones (seen more than three times in different companies over the last 6 months).

  • You don’t have to be mad to work here… but it helps!
  • ABC Always Be Closing
  • Careful, wacky/zany sense of humour present
  • Don’t work harder, work smarter
  • Think outside the box
  • Careful with your work/life balance
  • Careful, you’re attitude is on show
  • You are what you eat!
  • What goes round comes round
  • The Customer is King

After you get past the banality, the most striking thing about them is how desperate they are. It’s a law that anyone with a zany sense of humour would never say so. Also notice three begin with Careful, the parental zeal to admonish is very strong. The lack of ambition/aspiration/originality is very also dispiriting.

But then we realised they are actually written in code. They are designed to send out much more meaningful, organisationally subversive messages.

We think we have worked out the translations below:

You don’t have to be mad to work here… but it helps! – A sense of humour is needed to put up with the awfulness of working here

ABC Always Be Closing – Our sales practices are dreadful and unprofessional

Careful, wacky/zany sense of humour present – Careful, boring people about

Don’t work harder, work smarter – Since the last round of redundancies, we have to do two jobs and take a pay cut

Think outside the box – We have no new ideas and not a clue how to innovate – help!

Careful with your work/life balance – We’re worried about the amount of self-medication people are employing to cope

Careful, you’re attitude is on show – We have lots of racist, homophobic people working here

You are what you eat! – The staff canteen is a health risk

What goes round comes round – Revenge is a dish best eaten cold, be careful

The Customer is King – We are republicans and have a low opinion of royalty

Now these signs are fascinating. We look forward to discovering others and their real meanings.

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