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  • 1. Keeping Your Sense of Humor When Things Aren’t So Funny Michelle Mossey and Kristi Key Associate Directors of Admissions Bluegrass Community and Technical College
  • 2. To Laugh or Not To Laugh?
    • From: Jones, Sarah (Bluegrass) Sent: Thursday, April 7, 2005 8:59 AM To: Smith, Joe (Bluegrass) Subject: PowerPoint Presentation
    • I can’t believe you didn’t get my email! You sorry sack! Don’t you ever do any work? Here is the attachment again. Let me know if you cannot open it.
    • (This is a copy of an email that was sent to the wrong Joe!)
  • 3. Humor: Where did it come from?
    • “ Positism” is a term I coined that refers to looking at life through optimistic lenses, seeing the silver lining and squirting back when life gives you lemons. Humor comes from the root word “umor”, which means to be fluid or flexible. Both a positive attitude and the ability to be flexible are important in times of change.
    • - Sandra Jones Campbell, Workplace Humor is NOT an Oxymoron & How to Create a Positive Workplace
  • 4. Did you know…
    • The average preschooler laughs or smiles 400 times day, while that number drops to 15 times a day by the time people reach 35.
    • People smile only 35 percent as much as they think they do.
    • In a Robert Half International poll of 1000 executives, 84% said that workers with a sense of humor do a better job.
  • 5. Workplace Humor Is NOT an Oxymoron
    • Health Benefits of Humor
      • Laughter releases endorphins which are chemicals that are 10 times more powerful than the pain reliving drug morphine.
      • Every time you laugh you burn 3.5 calories.
      • Laughing increases oxygen intake, thereby replenishing and invigorating cells.
      • Relives tension, lifts your mood and boosts your immune system.
  • 6. Workplace Humor Is NOT an Oxymoron
    • Humor benefits the workplace -
    • A little comic relief helps build camaraderie!
  • 7. Is it me? Or was that not funny?
    • Using humor in the workplace does not mean becoming the Jay Leno of your company!
    • When your boss asks you if you have a sense of humor, she’s not asking if you are a clown!
  • 8. Sarcasm – should I or shouldn’t I?
    • It may be funny but it may leave people with a bitter or negative impression!
    • This is a hard one for many people to avoid, but if you can be funny without being overly dependent on negativity, your professional image will be much higher.
  • 9. If I can’t make fun of myself, who can I make fun of?
    • When we make fun of ourselves, it demonstrates a healthy outlook, showing that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. As a result we are seen as more approachable and easygoing.
      • - Craig Harrison, Coaching Tip: Jest Practices: Best Practices for Humor in the Workplace
  • 10. If I can’t make fun of myself, who can I make fun of?
    • Self-depreciation is an excellent tool, but be careful to use it in moderation, especially when you are around authority figures or people who don’t know you.
    • This could backfire if you are always cracking jokes – people may not ever take you seriously.
  • 11. A Sense of Humor in the Workplace
    • Realize when humor is appropriate and when it is not appropriate.
    • A manager sang a few bars of “Laugh While the Whole World is Crying” as he was laying off his employees. His attempt to lighten the mood fell flat and was perceived as cold and callous.
  • 12. A Sense of Humor in the Workplace
    • “ Having a sense of humor has more to do with being able to see that there are funny situations all around us and feeling secure enough to laugh at them than it does with entertaining others.”
    • -Randy Erickson, Humor in the Workplace
    • “ Sometimes people confuse the notion of a sense of humor with the ability to tell a joke. We’re all humor participants.”
    • -Dr. Stu Robertshaw, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse professor
  • 13. So When Can I Use Humor in the Workplace?
    • Know your audience and make sure that your comment/joke won’t be seen as offensive.
    • Do not laugh or joke at the expense of another person.
    • The most common mistake is that we make the assumption that everyone is like we are.
    • The truth is that other people may not have your sense of humor!
    • Pay attention to your coworkers mood. If used at the wrong time, it can backfire and offend, distract or upset someone.
  • 14. WARNING!!!
    • “The inability to laugh may be a sign of impending burnout. When it is no longer possible to find humor in anything, it may be that the employee is in the throes of burnout.”
    • - Mary Rau-Foster, Humor and Fun in the Workplace
  • 15. Some Helpful Humor Guidelines
    • Humor breaks up boredom and fatigue.
      • Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant in Georgetown, KY has pool tables and ping pong tables set up on the manufacturing floor.
    • Humor fulfills human social needs.
      • Laughter indicates cooperation, anger typifies opposition. If you can laugh with people, you can work with them.
  • 16. Some Helpful Humor Guidelines
    • Humor increases creativity and willingness to help.
      • Happy employees can improve customer/student satisfaction because we like doing business with those who have a high “likeability factor”.
    • Humor fulfills the need for mastery or control.
      • Managers or supervisors can be also be seen as team players, who can relax and enjoy life and others as well.
  • 17. Some Helpful Humor Guidelines
    • Humor improves communication.
      • Advertisers are aware of the values of humor and spend a lot of money each year to make funny commercials for radio and television.
    • Humor breaks up conflict and tension.
      • Can effectively reduce the level and intensity of conflict among employees.
  • 18. What about when things aren’t so funny?
    • Does this sound familiar?
    • What do you do then?
  • 19. What about when things aren’t so funny?
    • How does humor fit into these situations?
    • How can we keep our spirits up at times when we want to scream?
    • Or maybe the real question is can we really keep our sense of humor in times like these?
  • 20. Tips For Keeping It Funny
    • Keep a childhood toy or photo of you or your children as a reminder to keep the child in you at work.
    • Keep a stress ball in your desk – this is especially handy when you’re on long phones calls.
    • Use a daily joke or positive calendar instead of a plain one and READ IT!
  • 21. Tips For Keeping It Funny
    • Have a joy jar on your desk and fill it with positive, success-oriented saying, appropriate jokes and candy.
    • Use a nerf bat and ball to work out frustrations.
    • Name the office equipment and talk to it.
    • Have small jars of bubbles in your office and allow everyone to blow bubbles.
  • 22. But seriously…
    • Vent your frustrations with someone whom you trust.
    • Try not to take things personally. Somebody may just be having a bad day.
    • Get out of your office – take a short walk, grab a snack, step away for a break to relax and remember that this too shall pass!
  • 23. The Bottom Line on Humor
    • “ We don’t need less humor at work; we just need to make sure it’s the kind of humor that makes hard tasks easier, collaborations fun and certainly make workdays go faster. Use humor more effectively, and the world still laughs with you.”
    • - Dr. Joni Johnston, Lessons From the Humor Police: How to evaluate workplace humor
  • 24. References
    • Campbell, Sandra Jones (2000), Workplace Humor is NOT an Oxymoron or How to Create a Positive Workplace
    • Erickson, Randy (1995), Humor in the Workplace
    • Gliner, Art (2001), Humor in the Workplace 2001
    • Harrison, Craig (Nov. 2006), Coaching Tip: Jest Practices: Best Practices for Humor in the Workplace
    • Johnston, Dr. Joni (2000), Lessons From the Humor Police: How to evaluate workplace humor
    • Rau-Foster, Mary (June/July 2000), Humor and Fun in the Workplace
    • Toupin, Edward B. (1999), A Sense of Humor in the Workplace: Is It me? Or, was that not funny?