Corporate America - Lighten Up!

By Judy Carter

There is something missing coming from the office - the sound of laughter!  With HR patrolling corporate hallways looking any hint of inappropriate language or behavior, jokes have become more scarce than food in Mary-Kate Olsen’s refrigerator. All jokes poke fun of someone and that has become a corporate liability. People have lost their jobs for telling jokes that refer to race, religion, sex, and Polish People. That doesn’t leave much to joke about. With workers losing their jobs to off shoring, and out sourcing, off-color jokes and out-loud laughing has become a danger zone - just not worth taking the chance.

You don’t have to hire a consultant or put together a focus group to see if “Laughing is a good idea.”  It is. Studies have shown that laughter improves moral, lowers the attrition rate, and even helps people to live longer. Look how long comics live - Bob Hope and George Burns both lived to see 100 years old. Phyllis Diller still performs in Vegas at the age of 85. So, what is a healthy diet? It’s a diet of laughter, because Phyllis Diller is alive and Dr. Atkins is dead!

Studies show that Americans are very stressed out, making humor more vital than ever. It’s a scary world we live in:  terrorism, war, a VP who shoots at lawyers. We need to laugh. Laughter makes the workday brighter and helps relieve stress. It’s hard out there for working people. It’s hard raising a family. And apparently, after watching the Academy Awards, it’s hard out there for a pimp.

Here are a few tips to help lighten up your office:

  • Catch people doing things “right.”  When your boss says, “I need to see you right away in my office!”  You’re probably not thinking, “Oh goody, I’m getting a promotion!”  That’s because we always notice when people do things wrong, and ignore them when they do something right. Acknowledge your fellow co-workers for little things such as writing a great email, showing up on time, or even showing up at all.

  • When things go wrong, say, “Whoo-Hoo!”  Sounds strange, but it can help to shift your mood from cranky to funny.

  • Have toys on your desk. My favorite is a sponge head that I can squeeze to relieve pressure. I like to paint a picture of the person driving me crazy on them.

  • Add humor to your Power Point presentations - cartoons, funny quotes, your prom picture. It will not only wake up the audience, but also assist them in retaining your information. And besides, it great to have people laughing at you when you are still in the room

  • Finally, make fun of yourself. Everyone else probably is already.

Laughter can just happen, but in stressful times, it sometimes takes an effort to make it happen and remind ourselves, and the people we work with to lighten up!  Life doesn’t show up funny - stress happens. You get to work and listen to your messages, “You’re not doing things right!  You’re way over budget!”  And that’s just your wife. Your computer will freeze, your email will stack up, and eventually you will die. The good news is that the experts predict that the hereafter doesn’t have computers. So, don’t wait until you’re six feet under to get over the blues. You don’t need the office clown to cheer you up. Take your sense of humor out of the file cabinet and start to enjoy life, now.

Read other articles and learn more about Judy Carter.

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