Workplace blogs
Workplace blogs

The Hump Day Humor-Gram March 3, 2004 Issue #79

WARNING: This message stops at
all railway crossings.

In this issue . . .

1. When Practical Jokes are No Joke
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip
3. Quote of the Week
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky World
1. When Practical Jokes are No Joke!

The town of London, Ontario, Canada has officially banned
practical jokes in the workplace, after pranksters sent an
employee over the edge. The employee was vacationing in Banff,
when he received an urgent letter from the office letting him
know that the a major project had to be completed ASAP. The
employee was on holiday precisely because they were already
feeling stressed about their workload, and the letter, naturally,
did little to help.

This has prompted more than one radio phone-in show to ask this
question: should practical jokes be allowed in the office? With
April Fool’s day rapidly approaching it’s a timely question.

I have collected at least a dozen stories of well-meaning folks
that have been fired for their practical jokes, so obviously
extreme caution has to be taken before plotting your
next prank. It’s critical to always ask yourself how YOU would
feel on the receiving end of any joke, and essential that you
know your audience EXTREMELY WELL before pulling anything.

Remember, as a pal of mine used to say: “It’s all fun and
games until someone gets hurt. And then it’s hilarious.” On
second thought, maybe you shouldn’t remember this.

Keep in mind that by their very nature, practical jokes
are designed to create a situation where people are laughing
AT the expense of someone else, so the vast majority don’t
fall into the category of “safe” workplace humor.

What do you think? Any and all comments on practical jokes
at the office are welcome, and if you have a story of a
practical joke on the job that has worked well OR backfired
please pass them along to me at
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip

With Sunday night’s Oscars behind us, it’s a great reminder
of the attraction of awards ceremonies. So hold your own version
of the Oscars for either employees or customers. You can give
prizes for “Best Supporting Cast” for an office assistant,
“Best Actor in a Lead Role” for someone acting in another
position or “Best Director” for someone who successfully
directed a major project.
3. Quote of the Week

Always do right. This will surprise some people and astonish
the rest. Mark Twain
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky World

Speaking of awards . . . on March 5th, folks in Britain can
attend an awards ceremony dedicated to . . . awards ceremonies.
Yes, it’s the first ever Awards Awards! I kid you not.
The Awards Awards will be doling out awards for things like
“Best Acceptance Speech at an Awards Ceremony.” People from all
sorts of different award ceremonies (including “Rescue Cat
of the Year Awards!”) will be in attendance.

Happy hump day everyone!
Copyright Michael Kerr, 2004

Back issues of the Hump Day Express can be
found at

International speaker Michael Kerr, “The Workplace Energizer” is
the author of five 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 skills.

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