Humor at Work: Laugh at Yourself, Safely!

Monday, November 29th, 2010 Michael Kerr

Even When You Laugh at Yourself, Practice Safe Humor!

Laugh at yourself and you take away everyone’s ability to laugh

at you because you beat them to the punch line. It’s still

important, however, to practice safe humor when laughing at

yourself or your own organization.

For example, Gerald Ratner, one of Britain’s most successful

entrepreneurs, made an infamous joke in 1991 to 6,000 business

people that resulted in the total collapse of his business.

After joking that his jewelry products were “total crap” and

“cheaper than a prawn sandwich because they probably won’t last

as long,” share price dropped by 90% and the value of his

business fell from 460 million pounds to 54 million pounds.

In only one year, the balance sheet went from a whopping 112

million pound profit to a dismal 122 million pound loss!

Oops. So remember, when you practice self-effacing humor make

sure you are not targeting overly sensitive topics or features

in either yourself or your company that are viewed as essential

to your success. Making jokes about your receding hairline or

as a way to recover from or admit a blooper can be invaluable

at lightening the mood, making a crack about your company’s

core product, reputation or your core competency, maybe

not so much.

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Mike’s Fun at Work Tip

Create a beat-the-blahs tradition or ritual at your workplace

that you undertake when people are feeling blah ? something

after lunch or mid-afternoon that gets people up and out of

their chairs, moving and laughing. It could be a goofy dance,

passing around an imaginary energy ball, a five minute game

of cube volleyball (with wadded pieces of paper), a five-minute

hop on a pogo stick or a five minute spin with a hula hoop!

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Quote of the Week

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in

escaping old ones.” John Maynard Keynes

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It’s a Wacky World

A survey by Harris Interactive found some rather creative excuses

employees gave for not making it into work:

– Someone had their finger stuck in a bowling ball

– One employee had a bad hair transplant

– One employee phoned in sick at 5:00 p.m. the night before from

a bar

– One employee said he wasn’t feeling very clever that day

– On employee said a cow broke into their home

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Copyright Michael Kerr, 2010   www.humoratwork.com

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