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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Signs that assume we are all stupid and lazy

Signs.  Notes.  You see them everywhere, especially at your work or office.  Most of them are written by choleric people who love rules and must have everything done their way.  And, yes, there is usually at least one choleric in every office.

They put signs up like the following:
  • We do not have a maid service, clean up after yourself.
  • Please shut off coffee pot when not in use
  • This is a garbage, not a recycling bin
  • This is for cans only, this is not a garbage!
  • This room for employees and patients only! 
  • This room is in use/ not in use
  • Meeting this month is mandatory
  • Label and date all food containers in refrigerator
  • All unlabeled food will be tossed every Monday
  • No drinking by computers
  • No food in office
You get the drift.  These are signs written by people who have to have control.  Yet they don't realize that we are all people, and we all have different personalities, and we get busy.  These are signs written by people who think most people are stupid and lazy.

Some of us are lazy for sure, but the majority of us have more important things to think about than whether or not we leave a cup of water lying next to the computer, or have a container that's been in the fridge for two weeks.  Some people are clean and organized (the cholerics and melancholy) and some people aren't (sanguine and phlegmatic). 

I think a few signs or a few rules are good, but when you start to get a collection of them they become too hard to follow and too hard to enforce.  It's better just to have one really important sign, like this:
  • Work hard
  • Do your best
  • We respect your hard work
  • We know who the hard workers are, and we appreciate you
Yet communication in this positive way is rare and far in between, and usually comes just prior to communication that relays something you did that was wrong, such as a charting error that has nothing to do with the patient/ customer.

Signs are dumb.  I'd like to rip them down, and sometimes I do. Likewise, few of these prodigal signs say please and thanks.  I'd like to put my own sign up (just one) to put an end to such frivolity:
  • Quit putting up stupid signs!  And Thanks
None of these signs are necessary.  If you're anal retentive and want to clean the fridge, clean it.  You'll be more respected that way anyway. 

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