Since the the beginning of time, man has had to endure the “daily grind” of working to sustain himself. This unfortunate fact of life has resulted in the temptation to allow life to become mundane, boring and an endless string of “day after day after day.” Is this what life is SUPPOSED to be? Can’t life be more exciting, entertaining…even FUN?
Thank goodness for the “workplace wacky”…those who allow their sense of humor to add “spice” to an otherwise “bland” life.
According to historian Dr. Alfred Schmuckley of the Federal American Humor Research Team (FAHRT) located in Mt. Pilot, NC, the early cavemen were the first to experience this phenomenon. Archeologists have found cave writings in which cavemen have clearly indicated the boredom associated with daily hunts and dragging their women around by the hair. Later cave writings, however, also indicate the power of a sense of humor: several of the cavemen characters displayed on the wall were later altered with goofy glasses, mustaches and cartoonish sayings. It is from these writings that Dr. Schmuckley points us to the first known incident of “workplace wackiness”.
When asked to elaborate, Dr. Schmuckley responded, “These writings point us to the first known incidents of workplace wackiness”. Uh, okay. Thanks Dr. Schmuckley.
Later cave drawings seem to support this conclusion. Daily hunts appeared to be more productive, and cavemen were able to drag the women around at a higher rate of speed. Yes, humor seemed to create a more productive workcave environment, according to Dr. Schmuckley.
“Humor appears to have created a more productive workcave environment”, Dr. Schmuckley added. Thanks, Dr. Schmuckley.
Once the power of humor was seen and appreciated among the cave dwellers, it became a part of normal life.
Ug: “Me not like cave writing job. Ugh! YIKES! Big poop on my rock desk!!!!”
Glug (workplace jester): “Hahah. Me put rubber poop on you rock!”
Ug: “UGH! You get me good! Me thought poop real! I work now!”
From those early days, the workplace environment was found to be more productive with a healthy dose of humor. History has proven the benefits of humor and, conversely, the ramifications of disallowing it.
Do you remember the “New Coke” debacle? Coca-Cola suddenly decided to ditch their long-standing original recipe for a “new and better” taste. Bad move. Rumor has it that there was NOT a lot of joking going on in that boardroom. (One intern was spotted putting a whoopee-cushion on the Chairman’s seat but was swiftly booted out. Too bad. He could’ve saved the company a lot of trouble.) It is clear that the boardroom was really a “bored-room”.
The power of the “workplace wacky” could have averted this tragedy. Millions of Americans protested the recipe change for their beloved beverage. World economies stood on the brink of collapse and the sky turned blood red. Crops failed, ocean tides were altered and planets looked to collide. Thankfully, Coca-Cola decided to revert back to the old recipe, and the universe returned to a state of balance. Whew! That was a CLOSE ONE!
Why humor in the workplace isn’t more widely accepted, I’ll never know. Often the humor is met with comments such as:
“Knock off the wisecracks and get to work, Seinfeld”, or
“You wanna laugh? Laugh on your own time”, or
“What’s so funny? Children are starving, wars are raging, and I have hemorrhoids. I don’t find any of this FUNNY.”
(Not that I have actually heard any of these first-hand….except maybe the third one. I didn’t realize Grandma was having one of those days.)
When you DO see humor exhibited in the workplace, it can be quite refreshing. Take, for instance, a small hotel called “Barney’s Hotel” in Manitoba, Canada. Their embracing humor has actually resulted in amazing business and world acclaim. Whenever people from around the world travel to Manitoba (???), they are sure to stay at this hotel. Why? Because laughter is good medicine and, well…the hotel is probably CHEAP. Heck, it’s Manitoba for crying out loud! Here’s a couple of signs from this hotel:
As you can see, the manager of Barney’s Hotel has a sense of humor, and it shows. Granted, he lives in Manitoba. What else is there to do in Manitoba besides think of catchy sayings to put on the signs, walls and doors of your hotel? It’s healthy to keep your brain working. Otherwise, it would be very easy to sit and stare at the endless wheat fields while the wind blows tumbleweeds against you, eventually piling up into a giant tumbleweed mountain. THEN things wouldn’t be so funny!
So has Corporate America learned it’s lesson? At my workplace, it appears so:
Here we have Sonya, a “Crew Tracker” for the airline I work for. Sonya’s job consists of, uh, er…”tracking crew”…thus the name “Crew Tracking”. (Are you still with me?) Because Sonya’s job is often stressful, she must remain FOCUSED. In an effort to do so and still maintain the fun and friendly environment she is accustomed to, she donned a wacky “eye visor”, complete with eye portals through which she can see her computer screen, remain focused on her duties, keep the sun off of her face (even though there are no windows on this floor of the building) and yet still enjoy the fun that goes with wearing a visor inside a building! Can life get any better? I submit that it cannot! We all noticed that Sonya’s “productivity” (corporate-speak for “more work for the same pay”) skyrocketed, yet her demeanor was unaffected…she still sang, whistled, told jokes, and sounded like a sick chicken when she laughed.
Sonya’s coworker Val decided to give it a try.
Soon Val was standing on her desk doing the chicken dance. Through it all, the crews were….tracked. They kept track of the crews like there was no tomorrow. If you wanted to know where a crew was, these ladies could track them down like two hunting dogs on a scent. (They probably won’t appreciate that analogy, but hopefully they’ll be yukking it up, wearing their “eye visors”, so it won’t matter.)
Soon other coworkers (like Jimmy above) donned the eye visors. Not only were CREWS being tracked, but services were being offered to law enforcement agencies, foreign governments and NASA for tracking assistance. In fact, as I write this, Sonya, Val, Jimmy and others are tracking satellites and space junk. So far Sonya found three spare tires, an old Soyuz capsule, and an astronaut’s athletic supporter. Isn’t humor amazing?
In these stressful days of increased pressure to “produce”, perhaps you should try injecting some humor into your day. Break out the fart machine and put it in your boss’s desk. Use the hand-buzzer thing when you meet clients. Give the CEO the dribble glass. Put shoe polish on his telephone ear piece. It’ll be a HOOT, and I bet that, secretly, they’ll think it’s funny.
And in your new-found “off time”, you can practice up on your joke-telling. You’ll keep getting all kinds of new job experience, but it’s worth it. Why? Because the workplace needs you.
I’d write more, but I shouldn’t be joking around at work, so I better go.