One of the amazing characteristics of humor is the bonding that takes place when people laugh together. I can't explain it. I just know that something phenomenal takes place when human beings share laughter.
"We only expect you to
work a half day on this job. And
you get to pick the
Even if we
never work any of those "half days," we still will spend nearly a third of our
lives working.Let's see now...forty hours
a week, times 50 work weeks in a year...and if we work for forty years before
retiring...WOW! That's 80,000 hours — on the job! With that big of a chunk of our
lives at stake, it just makes sense that we figure out a way to put some fun
and joy into our work.
"The willing, led by
the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so
much for so long with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with
There is a
tremendous amount of pressure on employees nowadays to get more done in less
time with fewer people. Increased responsibilities, unreasonable deadlines,
down sizing, layoffs and job uncertainty are among the top reasons workers are
increasingly becoming casualties in the war against stress and burnout.
HUMOR AND STRESS
There is a
word for individuals who don't learn to deal effectively with stressful
situations including the increased demands placed on workers: The word is
Victim. Having a keen sense of humor and learning to see the funny side of life events can help us to see things with a healthful perspective.
certain jobs that are inherently very stressful. Some years ago, I was in the
radio room of a police station checking out some computer equipment for a
police friend. A call came in while I was there from a man who had locked his
keys in the car and wanted help in getting the door opened.
dispatcher explained that they only send an officer when there was a child in
the car. I said to the lady, "I locked the keys in my car once and it took me
an hour and a half to get my wife and kids out of the car." I thought that
might bring a smile to the two overworked, stressed out dispatchers. It didn't.
they both looked at me with a look that said, "How dumb can your family be?" I
said, "Hey, I'm only kidding." When they realized it was a joke, they both had
a good laugh. It wasn't that they had no sense of humor. It was just that they
were not expecting anything funny.
laughter is not typically a part of the daily routine for 911 operators.It is one of those jobs that can be very
stressful. Some individuals are much better at handling stress than are others.
If you happen to be one that doesn't handle it well, then you would do well to
stay away from high stress type jobs.
comes to the effects of stress on the body, one of the most cited authorities
best selling author of The stress of life
and Stress without distress. He has
been called "the father of the stress field."
Dr.Selye believed that certain changes take
place within the body during stress that disrupt normal physiologic mechanisms
and trigger an array of diseases.
body aims for perfect internal balance at all times. Homeostasis is the body's
internal self-correcting mechanism that helps maintain balance after some sort
of disruption. One example of a homeostatic response is shivering when we're
cold. Shivering increases the body's heat. Another example is sweating when
we're hot which cools the body through evaporation. Hunger and thirst are also
STRESS CHANGES THE WAY OUR BOY FUNCTIONS
Stress disrupts the natural balance -
the homeostasis —, which is crucial for our well being. To prevent disease, our
bodies need resistance, to fight back. Stress lowers resistance, which makes it
easier for the disease process to take place.
also rob us of years from our lives by speeding up the aging process.Each of us must learn to get a handle on
stress. By learning how to deal with stress, we decrease the risk of becoming a
THERE IS NO "ONE BEST WAY" TO
DEAL WITH STRESS
A multi-pronged attack
is usually best, with a strong sense of humor and daily doses of laughter leading the way.
MAKE HUMOR, LAUGHTER
AND FUN YOUR WORK PARTNERS
course, is not a panacea for all the world's ills. It isn't the answer to all
our stress related problems. Humor is so powerful though, and so sweeping in
its effectiveness that one would be hard pressed to find something that
couldn't be improved by the use of humor and laughter.
especially effective in helping to de-stress the work environment and in making
the time spent on the job a more pleasant experience.
happy, having fun, and enjoying ourselves, even while we work is a mindset. It
is an attitude. It must become a habit. Enjoying life is not something we do
every once in a while, or occasionally.
will be more fun than others but everyday can be a winner when we bring to our
work environment the right perspective, consciously looking for something to
smile and be happy about.
doesn't mean we must become comedians or clowns on the job. The whole idea is
to go about our work with the conviction that fun and laughter can and should
be an integral part of our jobs.
The people you work
with — blessing or curse
"I had to stop
drinking coffee before going to work. I was just tossing and turning all
"Do you know what time
we start to work around here?" yelled the manager to a consistently late
employee. "Not really," said the fellow. "It seems by the time I get here
everybody has already started."
what we do, people are almost always a part of the equation.Some are hard workers. Others work hard at
getting out of work. Some are easy to get along with. Others are the kind of
people only a mother could love.
Herb Kelleher, CEO, Southwest
Airlines said, "What we are looking for, first and foremost, is a sense of
humor. We hire attitudes." Another company adopted the slogan:"We don't train our employees to
be friendly. We hire friendly people."
It would be
nice if every company hired only employees who had a great sense of humor and a
warm, friendly disposition. In real life, this will never happen. There would
be too many people out of work.
there will always be people who are just unhappy. They act as though they were
baptized in lemon juice. Some of them you may have to work with every day. One
may be your boss.
times when you may wonder if there are people in this world whose sole purpose in
life is to make your life miserable. I suspect there are. There may be one
working right next to you.
estimated that these people represent only about 1% of the population but they
seem to get around a lot! These are the ones who will rain on your parade and
dampen your fun spirit if you let them. Don't let them. Life is too short.
A FISH STINKS FROM THE
"Show me the leader
and I will know his men. Show me the men and I will know their leader." ArthurW.Newcomb
"old sayings" remain with us until they become old is because they generally
have a great deal of truth in them. Experience tells us that sayings such as,
"figures don't lie but liars sure can figure," and "before you lend money to a
friend, better decide which one you need most," are right on target.
proverbs are handed down from one generation to the next with each generation
adding a few of its own. And we continue to embrace these precise little
truths. Will Rogers
contributed many, including, "Live your life in a way that when you die, even
the undertaker will be sad."And, "We're
all ignorant; except in different subjects."
rule of management" explains in a few words the futility of trying to change
people: "Never send your ducks to eagle
school; they always come back ducks."
leave out LewisGrizzard's, "Life is like a
dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes." And ForrestGump
with his classic, "stupid is as stupid does."
There are a
couple other old proverbs that lend themselves to our discussion. One is, "No
group ever rises above its leader." The other one is, "a fish stinks from the
these have to do with leadership. We know that very rarely any group will ever
rise above its leader, whether the group happens to be a family, a business, a
church or a nation. And "the head" usually defines the perspective and
philosophy of the entire group.
comes to humor on the job and having a fun work environment, it helps to have the
support of top management. When management shows evidence of a light hearted
attitude, the employees will be more likely to lighten up. This is a win-win
situation for everyone.
RESEARCH SHOWS ON THE
JOB HUMOR BENEFITS BOTH THE EMPLOYER AND THE EMPLOYEES
plenty of studies that indicate on the job humor and fun can provide benefits
to management and employees, including improved productivity and creativity,
better teamwork and of course happier employees. Besides being naturals at
reducing stress levels, laughter and fun energize, stimulate and recharge our
is shared laughter and fun on the job, individuals as well as teams enjoy their
work and morale tends to be higher.You
would be surprised how funny and creative people can be when they feel
encouraged to exercise their sense of humor.
workers are happy on the job, they tend to be happier at home. So everyone wins
— management, employees and families.
WHAT IF MANAGEMENT
DOESN'T HAVE A FUNNY BONE?
each of us is responsible for our individual health and well being.
news is that more and more companies are seeing the benefits of providing an
atmosphere that encourages fun and laughter on the job. The bad news is that
there are still plenty of them that have not been completely sold on the idea.
that humor and laughter are basic human needs. They help us to keep a balanced
perspective. Making sure we get our minimum RDA of laughter and fun is way too
important to leave in the hands of someone else, however.
afford to wait around until the company decides to implement a humor or stress
reduction program. They may never get around to it.
light-hearted environment doesn't exist, you owe it to yourself and to everyone
around you to create one. Whether you happen to be an authority figure or not,
your not-so-serious attitude will have an effect on everyone else.
humor on the job is not officially sanctioned, don't let that stop you from
putting some fun into your work. Someone says, "That sounds good, but you don't
know what a tyrant my boss is." JosephStilwell said, "The higher a
monkey climbs, the more you see of its behind."
there are many that should not be in a supervisory position, for an oppressive
boss can make it more difficult to mix work and laughter.We human beings are extremely creative though
and we're also stubborn. When someone tries to stop us from doing something —
we are all the more determined. It becomes a challenge.
be times when circumstances are such that it would be in our best interest to
find another job. But by being creative, we can often figure out ways to deal
with most unpleasant situations.
FIVE WAYS TO PUT HUMOR & FUN INTO YOUR WORK
So far in
this section, the point has been emphasized that each of us is responsible for
managing his or her own stress and for seeing to it that we have at least adequate
doses of laughter, the best medicine on earth. It is your life we're talking
about. No one else can or will take responsibility for your health and
people and stressful circumstances may hinder you in your pursuit of an
environment that is less stressful but you cannot allow anyone or anything to
stop you! To protect your sanity and health, you must have an unwavering
determination to put some fun and laughter into your work. I'll say this again:
Having the right attitude and mindset about this is essential.
1. Don't be afraid to laugh at
executive was leaving the office late one evening when he found the CEO
standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand.
"Listen," said the CEO, "this is a very sensitive and important
document here, and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing
work?" "Certainly," said the young executive. He turned the machine on,
inserted the paper, and pressed the start button. "Excellent!" said the CEO as
his paper disappeared inside the machine. "I just need one copy."
secretary in one of our local city halls went on sick leave for awhile, a
secretary from another city department was brought over to fill in for a few
days. The only problem was, the new girl kept forgetting where she was. Imagine
the surprised look on caller's faces when they called city hall and heard,
"animal control, how can I help you?"
"One of the
dumbest things I ever did as a kid," said WoodyAllen,
"was give a cat a bath. Actually, the cat didn't seem to mind. But it took me
forever to get the hair off my tongue!"
All of us,
from the company president to the new recruit do things that aren't very
bright. One of the most effective ways to make others feel at ease around us is
to poke fun at our own imperfections.
I know a
young woman who has no trouble doing this. She keeps everyone laughing out loud
with her foibles for it seems that Murphy's law was written just for her. A
waitress in a family restaurant, she came home from work one day and said, "You
will not believe what happened to me today. It could only happen to me! I
stepped on a crouton at just the right angle and it shot through the air like a
bullet, hitting a lady right in the neck!"
said, "But that's not all. I was walking down the isle in a theatre last
weekend. It was dark inside. Suddenly I felt something tugging on my purse
strap. I pulled harder, jerking on it. Then I turned around and saw that the
strap was around some bald guy's head. He was saying in a muffled voice, 'lady,
please, my head!"
For her, it
was just another day. The difference between this lady and some of the rest of
us is that she has learned to not take herself so seriously. By being willing
to share her imperfections, she makes others feel comfortable. They are
encouraged to talk about the silly things they've pulled. Laughing at ourselves
helps us to appear "down to earth" and real.
2. Focus on humor that makes you
knee slapping funny to one may not even bring a smile to another. Cartoons
usually hit everyone's hot button - but not necessarily the same cartoons. One
of the city's newspapers stopped running a certain syndicated comic strip a few
thinking, "who reads that one anyway? As long as they don't mess with the 'good
ones' that I like to read who cares?" I learned, and so did the newspaper that
whether or not a cartoon is a "good one" or not depends on who's reading it.
Readers were up in arms about their comic strip being taken away. They called,
they wrote, they e-mailed. How dare this newspaper remove their favorite comic
was reinstated with an apology from the newspaper. The editors wrote that they
had no idea how attached readers can become to a comic strip. Everyone has
different tastes in humor. You know what makes you laugh. Those are the things on
which you need to focus.
cartoons, funny quotes and small posters or funny signs in your work area can be
just what the doctor ordered for reminding you to take a laugh break when
things become a little hectic. Lightening up your work area, office or cubicle
will also bring comic relief to your co-workers or to anyone who visits. Everyone loves to laugh.
possibilities are endless. Be creative. Here are just a few examples to get you
Place a jar on your desk with a
sign above it that says: "If you fear change, leave it here."
Create your own bulletin board
with nothing but things that make you laugh.
Put a sign on your desk,
"For Sale cheap, 1994 Henway. When someone asks, "what's a Henway?"
Say, "oh about four or five pounds."
Keep a clown nose, Groucho
glasses or other props handy.
Use a laugh-a-day type
Create humorous mini-posters
that can be read from a short distance. I happened to see the following
one in a secretary's cubicle of a large trucking company:"Sexual
harassment in this area will not be reported. However, it will be graded!"
Here are some other funny signs:
"Hard work never killed anyone.
But I figure...Why take a chance?"
"I'm out of estrogen and I have
"I sold my cow...So I don't need
"You can't fool me...I'm a
"I never repeat gossip...So
listen closely the first time."
"If you have nothing good to
say about anybody...Stop in and let's chat for awhile."
"Speed kills — but around this
office, it merely astonishes."
"The floggings will continue
around here until moral improves."
3. Be spontaneous with humor and don't be afraid to laugh out loud.
Some of our
most pleasant memories are often unplanned. Likewise, what may turn out to be
some of the most humorous events in our lives will have "just happened." There
would have been no way to plan them.
While it is
possible to plan times for jest and laughter, the best can be spontaneous and
off the cuff. Ideas for spontaneous fun will come more often when we work with
a lighthearted mindset.
4. Laugh with others
DaleCarnegie, in his book, How To Win Friends and Influence People explains one of the secrets
of being perceived as an extraordinary conversationalist. His advice is to get
the other person to talk about themselves, and then you just listen. You don't
have to say a word and the other person will go away thinking that you're one
of the greatest conversationalists he or she ever met!
perceived as someone having a great sense of humor, you don't need to ever tell
a joke. All you need to do is laugh with your associates. Some folks are
naturally funny. They know how to create fun activities, love to tell jokes, recite funny quotes and
often feel a sense of duty in making others laugh.
You, on the
other hand, may not feel comfortable at times being the funny one and telling
jokes.Don't worry. The ones who are
good at being funny will not mind at all. You provide the laughter, they will
do the rest.
Even if you
have heard a joke before, there is no law that says you must stop the person
who is telling it. Go ahead - Laugh! - act as if though it's the first time. This will
give you an excuse to laugh out loud, which will improve your health by strengthening your immune system and exercising your internal organs. It won't do the joke teller any harm
5. Use humor to get your point
"Humor is a rubber sword- it allows you tomake a
point without drawing blood." MaryHirsch
named Sarah cleaned a small sales
office of several men. She got tired of complaining about the men's "inability
to hit the urinal," as she so bluntly put it. So one day she taped a sign over
the urinal that read,
"IF YOU CAN'T HIT THIS, PLEASE BE SEATED." It
worked like magic.
example, a small business owner had an outstanding invoice for more than
$2,000. The company that owed the money had disregarded written requests for
payment. So the business owner called the company one day and said, "This is
Hank over at the ABC business. I was wondering when you could pay your overdue
invoice. We need the money - We're only one electric payment from being Amish!"
That little bit of humor got the invoice paid without any ill will or threats.
SALES AND MARKETING
PROS KNOW THE VALUE OF HUMOR
salesperson: "Why do you always answer a question with a question?"
Salesperson: "Why do you ask?"
selling health products has a standard answer when someone asks about the product
guarantee. "If you're not happy, just send back the unused portion of the
product and I'll send you the unused portion of your money."
sales people are among the highest paid of any profession. Success in sales
takes hard work, persistence, constant training and extraordinary people
skills.It also takes a great sense of
than ever, successful sales pros know the value of building a relationship with
potential clients or customers. Buyers are increasingly more sophisticated.
They want to deal with people whom they trust. The sales pitches and clever
little closes that worked years ago will get you thrown out today.
have heard the story about the college student who got a job during the summer
at a men's clothing store. The storeowner showed him a bright yellow sport's
jacket that had been on the rack for months.
He said to
the new employee, "I'll be back later today. If you can sell that ugly coat
while I'm gone, I'll give you a nice bonus." The owner returned at about
closing time. The jacket was gone but his new salesman was a mess. His clothes
were torn — he was all scratched up. His boss asked what had happened. The boy
said, "I sold the jacket but I had one heck of a time with the guy's seeing-eye
salespeople know they must build bridges quickly. Generating the kind of
rapport that takes you from stranger to trusted adviser in a short time
requires a tremendous amount of skill.Using humor can help to build that rapport, especially when the humor is
directed at our selves.
One of the
amazing characteristics of humor is the bonding that takes place when people
laugh together. I can't explain it. I just know that something phenomenal takes
place when human beings share laughter.
In a client/salesperson
relationship, humor is an invaluable tool for creating trust and friendship,
which translates into more sales and referrals.
build that successful relationship with your client or customer, a little humor
along the way will actually strengthen your association.