During these tough economic times, my mind invariably comes back to a 1929 Mather work incentive poster above my desk that puts things quickly in perspective. Worry Bags No Game is a terrific reminder that challenges need to be faced head-on, focusing on what you can do – and not on what you can’t.
Printed in Chicago between 1923 and 1929, the Mather work incentive poster series were designed to improve worker productivity and reduce turnover during a time of economic expansion and plentiful jobs. While the posters can be seen as workplace propaganda or camp Americana, they are perhaps most importantly viewed as a visual expression of the idealism and optimism of the rising nation. President Calvin Coolidge pithily summed up in two sentences the ideology of the era in his 1925 speech to the society of American newspaper editors: “The chief business of the American people is business … The chief ideal of the American people is idealism.”
Evoking the courage of hunters like Teddy Roosevelt, this poster inspired workers and managers alike – and seems as relevant today as in the Roaring Twenties.