Humor at Work: Jokers at Work No Joke!

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1. Jokers at Work Are No Joke

The latest installment of the International Journal of Humor
Research featured a fascinating paper on the role of “the joker”
in a workplace setting. The study found that many offices have
a self-designated joker who plays the role of the modern day court
jester. The “role” of corporate jester evolves naturally over time,
and contrary to what you might think, the joker is considered to be
an important workplace personality by both peers AND the monarchy
(I mean management). The office joker played four essential roles:
challenging management (in a fun way, lest they be beheaded),
pushing boundaries (important if you’re going to be an innovative
workplace), developing the culture (always nice to have a little
culture, kind of classes up the joint) and providing stress relief
for the entire team.

Like the medieval court jester, the modern day joker often gets away
with speaking uncomfortable truths with humor. They also help senior
leaders avoid acting with arrogance and play an important mediator
role between leaders and employees, thus earning respect by both
parties. Finally, the study found that the joker often performed an
important storytelling role – sharing past funny stories to new
employees, thus keeping the culture and sense of history alive.
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2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip

Halloween is two days away, so OF COURSE you should get into the
spirit of things with perhaps. . .
– a costume contest for all employees
– rewarding your customers with a prize for best dressed costume
– bringing in treats for trick n’ treating in the hallways
– hold a “dress your boss” or “dress your co-worker” day
– give a prize for the costume that best represents the “superhero
version” of whatever your profession is (e.g. SUPER ACCOUNTANT)
– team pumpkin carving contest with a special prize for whoever
can carve a pumpkin that best resembles the boss (be careful!)
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3. Quote of the Week

“Humor is acting out optimism.” Robin Williams
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4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky, World

Who says you can’t monkey around a little at work? A Japanese
bar has “hired” two trained monkeys to help wait on customers.
Fuku-chan doles out hot towels, while Yat-chan serves drinks.
The monkeys get paid in soybeans, and according to at least one
customer, “the monkeys make better waiters than some of the
really bad human waiters.” (And you thought you only had to
compete against members of your own species.)

Happy Hump Day everyone. Remember he who laughs. . .lasts!
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Copyright Michael Kerr, 2008. mike@mikekerr.com www.mikekerr.com

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