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Workplace Gaffe? Make ‘Em Laugh!

Workplace Gaffe? Make ‘Em Laugh!

Margot Carmichael Lester | Monster Contributing Writer

August 19, 2008

In my first admin job, I committed a gaffe I was certain would end my career. While sorting mail, I accidentally trashed the VP’s paycheck. I figured I was doomed but wrote a last-ditch satirical news release about how to get the boss’s attention, featuring my faux pas, and routed it to my coworkers. One shared it with the VP himself, who thought it was hilarious. He saw me as a versatile writer who didn’t take herself too seriously. I ended up working there for five years.

“I don’t know if people are more successful in business if they have the ability to laugh at themselves, but I definitely think it lightens up a stressful situation at work,” says Jamie Masada, owner and CEO of The Laugh Factory comedy clubs in New York and Los Angeles. "If you take everything too seriously at the office, it can put a damper on your day. The more you laugh, the less stressful the work environment may seem.

Follow these tips to make light of a potentially heavy workplace situation:

Use Comedy to Build Camaraderie

For Paul Dilakian, an associate account executive at a public relations firm, laughter is the key to keeping workplace stress in check. He recalls one particularly bad day on which the company receptionist provided some much-needed comic relief when a box of copier toner exploded all over her: “Her hair, face, glasses and white outfit were completely black.” Though Dilakian felt sorry for her, he couldn’t help laughing. And the receptionist joined in, the outrageous laughter lifting everyone’s spirits.

“If you can’t step outside of the day-to-day chaos and have a laugh, it can really take a toll on your sanity,” Dilakian says. "It’s important to realize that there’s more to work than just work. You’re not machines. You’re human beings with interests and emotions that need to be stimulated.

Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?

Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?