At a company some HR person put a label on the wall with a slogan:

"Life is short
 Work somewhere awesome
/+ Name of the company

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The question is: May this label sound conversational? Like I see at least 3 meanings:

  • Working here is not awesome - but somewhere is awesome. So change your work, because life is short
  • Work hard/awesome to be/stay at this company
  • Working in this company is awesome (this was implied, I guess initially)
  • 1
    Your second interpretation is not a possible meaning of the phrase—it cannot mean that. Your first and third interpretations are both valid, the third being obviously the one intended. And yes, it is very colloquial and informal in style, which I am guessing is entirely intentional. Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 11:35
  • 2
    While the third seem obviously the intended meaning, I would almost instinctively read it as the first one - and quote the sign in my resignation letter >:)
    – oerkelens
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 11:52
  • The irony is that that was put just after some partial layoff. I just thought that my cognitive context is shifted and a can see something else.
    – ses
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 12:08
  • @JanusBahsJacquet is correct. There's no way that 2nd statement is even alluded to. I would venture to say that only the 3rd point is close, but not quite, implied. To me it's: Life is short. Find an awesome place to work (like this company). The fact that the company is added at the end makes it seem like an afterthought.
    – Tucker
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 12:22
  • It's a non sequitur. You could just as well say: Life is short. Why prolong it?
    – KCH
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


I can read four meanings in this motivational slogan, which is certainly conversational in style, but none of them includes the OP's second interpretation, i.e. Work hard/awesome to be/stay at this company.

1st interpretation:

Life is short, you need to work anywhere, somewhere. Awesome!

I interpret the exclamative tag, awesome, as meaning What an inspiring message! Considering the simplicity of the message, one might consider that final remark as being sarcastic in tone.

2nd interpretation:

Don't squander your life working here. Find a job with an awe-inspiring/inspirational company.

3rd interpretation

Life is short, work somewhere. Awesome (The name of the company = Awesome).

4th interpretation

We (Human Resources) have been told that moral is flagging (for some reason), so we thought we had better remind employees that working here is awesome.

  • Thx. Do you find this slogan good enough or you would better change it to something else to motivate people to stay at company feeling that it is best awesome place to be?
    – ses
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 12:46
  • I think that many employees will read the message and will, for ironic purposes, interpret it as saying: Leave this job and work for someone really inspiring and motivational. If people are afraid of losing their jobs, no slogan will appease their fears. It is the job of management to reassure their employees their posts are safe and secure; not a two line slogan, which some might find insulting.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 12:51

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