How to Excel at Your Job and Fail at the Same Time

sign spinnerWhat do you do when achieving excellence in your field and achieving your employer’s desired results are mutually exclusive?

That is the question faced by the career sign spinner.

Sign spinning, or sign twirling, began somewhere around 2006 as a means of directing the attention of drivers to a place of business. Here in Nashville, gold and silver buyers and cellular phone service vendors are the most frequent users of the service.

Allegedly, the purpose of sign spinning is to attract the attention of drivers-by to a store or sale by keeping an arrow-shaped sign in motion, which points (at least some of the time) to the place of business.

But here’s the problem.

  • Being an excellent sign spinner involves putting the arrow sign through a dizzying and visually blurring array of moves and twirls. It requires skill and a certain athletic prowess
  • But being an effective advertiser involves motivating people to engage with a business which provides services or products, by which engagement, the vendor hopes, sales of the products or services may increase
  • A skilled sign spinner cannot accomplish both of these objectives. To accomplish either is to guarantee the failure of the other

Beyond all that, there are now international competitions each year for sign spinning – competitions which offer cash prizes, and not for effective advertising.

So, you’ve made your career choice. You are going to surf the street corners of America, spinning your way to sign-twirling stardom. Is there any motivation at all for you to be effective in motivating people towards the business you’re working for? Absolutely none.

You are going to work on sharpening your skills to excel at the athletic side of sign spinning, not the advertising side. Typically, a business doesn’t hire the spinner, it hires the service by which the spinner is employed.

My experience is that 75% of the time when I am driving past a sign spinner, I cannot tell what in the world he/she is advertising or wanting me to do. So I just drive by.

The only thing more puzzling than a person displaying a sign that can’t be read is a business owner hiring a company that provides that person to make the sign unreadable.

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