HUMOR Cassandra Kitko, MBA, CHES, IC Assistant Manager, Health Initiatives Employee Benefits Division, Office of Human Resources
Key Take-away Skills • To increase your humor awareness • To understand the benefits of humor • To use humor appropriately and effectively in the workplace • To have some FUN!
What is a Sense of Humor? • Being at ease with yourself • Ability to act with lightness • It is not about being a comedian
Functions of Humor • Physiologic • Psychological • Social • Communication
Signs You Are Burned Out Because of Work • Your garbage can is in your “in” box. • You sleep more at work than at home. • Your Day Timer exploded a week ago. • You’re so tired you now answer the phone forgetting your own name! • You leave for a party and instinctively take your ID badge.
Signs You Are Burned Out Because of Work • Visions of the upcoming weekend help you make it through Monday. • You think about how relaxing it would be if you were in jail right now. • You wake up to discover your bed is on fire, but go back to sleep because you just don’t care. • Your friend calls to ask how you’ve been, and you immediately scream, “I’m fine!”
The Office Stress Test Are you stressed at the office? Take the stress test!
Humor Why’s • Take your job seriously…and take yourself lightly • Humor can help us to survive–and thrive–at work • Jest for the health of it! • De-stresser • “A smile is the shortest distance between two people”
Humor: A Value Added Benefit • Stress reducer • Creativity enhancer • Stimulates fresh thinking • Allows us to gain perspective • Team building • Powerful communication tool
Benefits of Humor • Humor makes work fun/builds team spirit. • Humor can help us cope with problems. • Humor offers perspective and balance. • Humor isn’t fattening. • Humor is a powerful communication tool and allows for creative expression.
Benefits of Humor • Humor is a way to express the truth even when truth is feared and repressed. • Humor is mentally and physically good for you. • Laughter affirms life and brings people together. • Humor often succeeds where other methods have failed. • It beats all the alternatives.
Benefits of Humor Dear Mom and Dad, I am sorry that I have not called, but my cell phone was destroyed when the dorm burned down. I am now out of the hospital and the doctor said that I will recover soon. I have moved in with the boy who rescued me. Oh, also, I know that you have always wanted a grandchild, so you will be pleased to know that I am pregnant and you will have one soon! Love, Mary
Benefits of Humor P.S. There was no fire, my health is perfectly fine and I am not pregnant. In fact, I don’t even have a boyfriend. But I did get a D in French and a C in math and chemistry, and I just wanted to make sure that you keep it all in perspective!!!
When is Humor Not Appropriate? • Ethnic/gender jokes • Cruel humor (practical jokes) • Sarcastic humor (practical jokes) • Non-stop • Humor as a distraction
Stress-Producing Humor • Pokes fun at other people’s individual shortcomings • Reflects anger • Offends with inappropriate use of sexual references • Divides a group by put-downs • Uses stereotypes to denigrate a person or group • Creates a cruel, abusive and offensive atmosphere • Is insensitive to what causes others real pain • Negates self-confidence • Gives license to hurt someone
Stress-Reducing Humor • Reduces tension by joking about universal human frustrations and faults • Encourages people to relax and laugh • Delights in poking fun at oneself • Unites people by building rapport • Creates a supportive atmosphere of fun and caring • Includes everyone in the good time • Notes the positive aspects of human relationships • Gives everyone a chance to participate
How Can You TellYour Humor is Appropriate? • Body language • Gives valuable feedback • Clues and cues
“Recent research suggests that the employee who can laugh in the face of hectic and stressful situations is probably not only a healthier employee but a more productive employee in the long run.” Randall Osborne Professor of Psychology
Humor How To’s • Put humor into the physical environment • Use humor as a tool rather than as a weapon • Build humor into the corporate culture • Humor’s Bottom Line
Some Suggestions • Promote a light atmosphere in your workplace • Baby pictures • Favorite jokes • Humorous quotes • Humor bulletin board • Post the joke of the day • Put cartoon on an office memo • Keep a funny toy or character on your desk • Humor at Work – Blumenfeld & Alpern
Application Rejection Baxter Conners Vice President Dear Mr. Connors, Thank you for your letter of February 17th. After careful consideration I regret to informyou that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me employment with your bank. This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of candidates it is impossible for me to accept all refusals. Despite Company 203’s outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at this time. Therefore I will initiate employment with your firm immediately following graduation. I look forward to seeing you then. Sincerely, Me
Notice This department requires no physical fitness program! Everyone gets enough exercise jumping to conclusions, flying off the handle, carrying things too far and dodging responsibility.
Humor Links • The Humor Project, Inc. www.humorproject.com • Despair, Inc. www.despair.com