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DISCLAIMER: NO animals were harmed during the writing of this e-zine.
In this issue . . .
1. Is Your Workplace Humor Creating More Stress or Less?
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip
3. Quote of the Week
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky, World
1. Is Your Workplace Humour Creating More Stress or Less?
Humor, as we know, is a powerful antidote in the on-going war on
stress. A lot of psychologists consider humor to be the complete
opposite of stress in terms of it’s impact on our bodies and mental
So we need to make sure that whatever fun and humor we’re adding to a
workplace isn’t creating more stress, because that would be kind of,
well, silly and defeat the whole point.
Sarcastic humor for example, has the potential to be stress-inducing
(one study has shown that people who practice primarily sarcastic
humor have a higher incidence of heart attacks and may be more prone
to high blood pressure).
Hurtful humor that discriminates against people in any way, or humor
that targets people in a mean-spirited fashion can certainly poison a
working environment and increase stress levels. Similarly, humor that
divides people or put down humor that laughs overtly AT people
(instead of with) and humor that focuses on short-comings or mistakes
can be extremely stress-enhancing.
Even positive humor can, occasionally (and usually unintentionally)
increase stress levels. A great example of this is the wonderful
humorous e-mail messages we all get forwarded on a regular basis.
Although a lot of people might appreciate the funny diversion, be
careful of assuming that they all will. I was talking to a
businessman recently who described the horrible stress he feels in
trying to cope with a backlog of over 400 e-mail messages on any given
day! And each time he gets one of those forwarded humorous e-mails,
his blood pressure shoots up a notch, because it’s just one more
message for him to deal with (not to mention the e-mail guilt he feels
in not being able to cheerfully and adequately respond to these sorts
Bottom Laugh Line is simply this: Always ask yourself if the humour
you are using is helpful or harmful?
(And read all the warning labels before applying any humor. I once
had a Whoopie cushion explode under me – it was not a pretty sight).
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip
Thursday the 21st is, yes, the day you’ve all been waiting for. No,
not that one, the other one. Yes, it is International Hello Day,
where folks are encouraged around the globe to say hello to a minimum
of ten people they don ‘t know.
So, in the spirit of Hello Day, try this little experiment, if you
dare, that emulates an actual research project.
For one entire workday, substantially increase the number of cheery
“hellos” you dish out to everyone you encounter friends, co-workers,
bosses, complete strangers, dogs, parrots – and take note of how it
impacts your OWN mood, stress level and physical well-being.
3. Deep Thought of the Week
Dolphins are so intelligent, it only takes them two weeks to train a
person to stand by the edge of the pool and throw fish to them.
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky Faking History
Pranksters are erecting fake historic plaques around Paris. The
plaques are mysteriously showing up on buildings saying things like:
“On April 17, 1967 nothing happened here.” Or “This plaque was laid
on December 19, 1953.”
And who ever said history was boring?
Copyright Michael Kerr, 2002
Michael Kerr, “The Workplace Energizer” is the author of 5 books,
including When Do You Let the Animals Out? and You Can’t Be Serious!
Putting Humor to Work. Michael delivers keynote talks and workshops
on humor in the workplace, business creativity and public speaking
“Just wanted to say “WOW!” Our group has had many speakers over the years, but none the likes of Mike Kerr.”
Richard Dansereau, President, NAPA Autopro BDG
“Michael Kerr is one of the best speakers I have seen. I highly recommend him!”
Veronica D. Bouvier, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Aspen Properties Ltd.
“Mike held the full attention of our senior management team for a full FOUR hour
presentation – no small accomplishment!”
Martine Rothblatt, CEO, United Therapeutics