Saturday, June 18, 2011

Signature block philosophy

One of the many brilliant perks for working for Big Corp is the opportunity to develop, to grow and to learn. And I'm not just talking about management training courses or annual performance reviews. In fact, every email is an opportunity for edification.
I'm talking about those signature blocks where people add their favourite pop philosophy quote. Since I've begun working outside the UK my working day has been peppered with them. (I suspect it's a trend that will 
head to Blighty soon.)
Most of them quote a platitude you never knew existed, the relevance of which is pretty tenuous. Take this weird thought as a good example:
'Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.' Vesta M. Kelly
That one is tagged onto emails from someone I've always thought seemed physically, and mentally, a bit weak. So perhaps that's why she's so defensive. I love how she credits Vesta Kelly with the quote. I googled Vesta Kelly once and it turns out she is someone who makes her living creating 'motivational and inspirational quotes'. Seriously.
The worst are just made up. These usually lack something in snappiness. For example...
'The difference between knowing something and success lies in DOING!!'

Some are quotes from personal heroes, which in itself is pretty revealing.
'There is no limit to what a man can do, or where he can go, if he doesn't mind who gets the credit,' Ronald Reagan
...is the sign off of a colleague who I will be following closely for evidence of Reaganing.
"Asking questions is a very good way to find out about something." Kermit the Frog
...is the sign off of a lady who I don't think is kidding.

My favourites are the ones which bring religion into it. In a weird way:
'Helping hands are better than praying lips'
Or the puzzling
'When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when GOD doesn't solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.'
Every time I get an email from this dude I want to write back 'No I don't! I don't even believe in... Oh, what's the use...!'

My signature block is devoid of philosophy. I've just gone for an oldschool job title and phone number. But maybe it's time to change that. I'm going to work on something really thought provoking, which sums up my personal philosophy, and is also good'n'snappy.
'Finishing work at 3pm is better than finishing work at 6pm' maybe?

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