So you’re the office funny guy, eh?
When to use workplace humor to get ahead—and how to avoid workplace obnoxiousness.
People who are funny tend to stand out. And while this is true in Hollywood, on the nightclub scene or at the bar, it’s also true at work. Syndicated workplace columnist Anita Bruzzese says we probably notice humor in the workplace in a subconscious sort of way. “If you think back on people, a lot of times you’re going to come back with the fact that they were funny,” she says.
So why not play this up to help your career? For one, it may not be appropriate to highlight the fact that you’re funny on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. But it’s certainly OK to do it on other forms of social media. “On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it’s important to let your personality show,” she says. Bruzzese warns to be respectful and not take it too far, however, and never make jokes at the expense of others.
Here are a few other humorous ideas she says you should leave out of the workplace: “Political humor, sex jokes, jokes that run on for 15 minutes.” Keep it light-hearted, the types of jokes that begin with, “Isn’t it weird when…” or “Did you notice that…” These moments are not only memorable, they’re helpful in establishing a solid rapport with your co-workers and managers.
“[Humor] is actually helping you communicate with people, and smoothing out the rough patches. That’s so important in the office,” she says. The culture at your place of work is also a factor, though. Take cues from those around you who are well-received. “If you’re office is much more conservative, you don’t want to be cracking jokes,” she says.
But if you’re funny—and your office agrees—then it’s probably OK to lighten the mood with humor every once in a while. “It really does mean something to people,” Bruzzese says.