Friday, April 24, 2009


Joe Smith, the head administrator here, is leaving, after many years of faithful service. I have only one recollection of him, which I squeezed for all it was worth to write a decent column for our newsletter. Yes, he actually did do this.

Enthusiasm is something we all aspire to have, in some way. It keeps work fresh, coworkers fired up, and adds a bit of pep when your mind wants desperately to go on cruise control.

Not all the time, of course; no one wants to be the perpetually perky upstart who needs 37 cups of coffee and 2 hours of Elmo just to get out of bed in the morning. The sort who causes everyone to roll their eyes and start speaking sarcasm as their second language.

But some enthusiasm, even the odd outburst of Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailedness is good. Even welcome.

And if there is one word that best describes Joe Smith to me, it'd be 'enthusiasm' (the good kind). There's one instance that comes to mind, where he had to get us rank-and-file enthused.

I mean, there are many ways to rally the troops, as it were. You could stand up and spout off an endless series of speeches that, while perhaps entertaining to some, don't exactly inspire. You could send out craftily worded emails with clever clipart; which would entertain a number of people, maybe not for the reasons intended, and it too would fail to inspire.

Or you could, if you had the moxie and, dare I say, gumption for it, don a super hero outfit, have a comic made of you, and call yourself Captain Positive! That, I'd put to you, inspires far more enthusiasm than anything else.

I didn't even see his transformation in person. I only heard about it, read the comic, and saw pictures. But, even one degree of separation from such a gutsy display of enthusiasm, I was impressed. How could you not be? It's pretty much the definition of 'giving 110%'. It's all the staid corporate phrases broken down and made into something real and applicable -- in the form of ill-fitting spandex and a motorcycle helmet, I'll grant you -- but pretty darn neat, all the same.

And now that he's off, possibly back to the land of Oil and Cow, he's leaving us with that image, that burned-in-the-retina image of a administrator hell-bent on getting, and giving the best to his staff. A man with no compunction for ceremony. A man charged with a hefty dose of enthusiasm. A real Captain Positive!

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