Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

As one who enjoys witty political cartoons regardless of the message communicated, it is easy for me to laugh at cartoons that poke fun at people and causes I care about.  I may not agree with the message delivered, but I still appreciate the wit.  That makes all the difference in how I react inwardly to attacks on people and ideas important to me.

There has been much in the news in recent days about social issues that most Americans hold strong opinions regarding.  I have an opinion on the matter as well.  I’ll let that opinion be made known in the voting booth when the time comes.  Meanwhile, I’ll let others publicly debate such issues.  I want my public and online persona to be focused around other matters.

With this being a presidential election year, we will have no shortage of political cartoons and satire in newspapers, online and in other media.  That’s expected and welcome in a (somewhat) free society.  In the fall when the Republican and Democratic conventions are held, I’ll be one that watches every possible minute of both, soaking it all in.  Of course, I’ll be fist pumping, applauding, smiling and agreeing during one, while shaking my head, disagreeing and calling people idiots in the other, my blood pressure slowly rising. But I’ll still watch both to better understand each side, and I’ll find points of agreement and disagreement with both.  I will laugh at cleverly written lines delivered at both conventions that jab the other candidate and party – not because I agree with the message behind them, but because I appreciate clever humor and wit.

So my advice to you regarding humor that pokes fun at people and causes you believe in is to shift your focus when that happens from the particular message to the cleverness and wit of the one behind it.  That may just help keep your blood pressure down as well as keep you out of unnecessary and unproductive arguments with others whose minds and points of view aren’t about to change any more than yours are.

Leap year lesson #128 is Appreciate the wit in humor if not the message.

There are different ways to evaluate how well a team fits together at work.  There is the obvious measure of whether they get the work done that they are expected to do.  What are their goals and how successfully do they accomplish them?  Without that, other means of evaluation don’t matter much.

In addition to mere accomplishment of goals, however, is the evaluation of how well a team actually fits together as a group of people.  Do they get along with each other?  Do they like being around one another?  Would they choose to hang out together outside of work?  Do they come home and tell stories with smiles on their faces of what happened during the day or are they anxious to separate and put all thoughts of each other aside until the next day?

I’d like to suggest an indicator of a healthy team – humor.  It is only an indicator because, for example, if the top measure above of accomplishing goals isn’t achieved, then having a fun time at failing doesn’t make for a good team.  Since many of us spend more waking time with coworkers than those we live with, it’s important that humor as an important and healthy part of life also be a part of a work team’s dynamics.

Today I found myself just laughing out loud from time to time at work at the comments made by those around me.  I work with people who enjoy their work, who do it well, and who enjoy each other along the way.  That is a wonderful situation to have.  I know I am fortunate in that regard.  Such has not always been the case in my professional career.  It makes for effective and enjoyable days when humor is a regular part of it.

Is it possible to have a healthy team and hot have much daily humor along the way?  I suppose so.  But I would rather have a healthy team with humor than without it.

Leap year lesson #117 is Humor can be an indicator of a healthy team.

Once a month the four of us on my team at work spend the whole day together on Friday away from our desks. We may still be on the premises somewhere, but at least we’re away from our desk phones and the routine interruptions that tend to sprinkle the day with good and bad flavors. During these team meetings we may have a list of specific things we want to discuss or accomplish, but we don’t always have the whole day planned, either. There is plenty of time for flexibility and fun.

From our time together yesterday, there are a few things that stand out to me that were not planned and that were just fun, contributing more to being a team than all the work discussion ever could. For example, just picking a place on the fly to go to lunch together, trying something new and enjoying the conversation around an awesome Smashburger. Of course, being the Social Media team, we had to take and upload photos of our meals and each other.

There was also the suggestion from Chuck that we join him and his wife in the 5k Muddy Fanatic run May 19. That sounded pretty cool, so we all signed up to run it together as a team. I have some training to do now.

And then there were just the laughs, the jabs at each other, and posting on Chuck’s Facebook wall as him when he left the room with his laptop unlocked.

I promise we got some things accomplished on the work agenda as well, but the best parts were just hanging out together and continuing to grow interpersonally as a team, especially since we’ve been together less than two months.

Our company didn’t hire any of us to be friends, to run races together, to be silly or to eat Smashburgers. But those things sure do help if we’re going to spend 40-50 hours per week together – perhaps more time awake than we spend with spouse or family.

I’m thankful for an awesome team – Lewis, Patti and Chuck – and I look forward to many such times together in the future.

Leap year lesson #94 is Work teams bond by having fun together.

I stayed with my parents last night. At 7:00 a.m. today my mom called upstairs to me and said: “Jeff, get your clothes on and come down here real quick. I just saw three of the most beautiful dear out in the yard. Come see them.” I was downstairs quickly. She instructed me to quietly go out the side door to see if they were still near. She thought they had strolled toward the front of the house.

I walked out and started creeping around the corner of the house… nothing in the front yard. I then crept past the front of the house to see if they were on the other side of the yard or in a nearby field. As I walked past the front door Mom opened it and yelled “Hey Jeff, April Fool!”

Well-played, Mom. Well-played.

People with a sense of humor are fun to be around. My parents have played so many pranks on people through the years, it’s a wonder anyone believes a word they say. But they know how to time them and mix in enough truth that you don’t know you’re being taken for a ride until the punch line.

Dad told me later that Mom had several people at the YMCA on a previous April Fools Day going to the front door and looking out because she told them some cattle truck must have broken down because there were all kinds of cows loose out in the road.

I can see so much of my mom’s parents in her when she does things like that. My grandfather used to love sneaking up on people and scaring them, even to the point of throwing a lit firecracker at them just to see them scream and jump. He did that well into his 80’s until we stopped supplying him with the firecrackers in light of his dwindling ability to get them lit and tossed away in time.

In another 23 years when I am the age that my mom is at today (78), I hope I have the same energy, humor and love for life she does. More power to her.

Leap year lesson #92 is Enjoy April Fools Day… and every day.

Some people are funnier than others. There are folks who can remember joke after joke while others would get a dear-in-the-headlights look on their face if they were required to tell a joke. There is the kind of humor you expect from those who seem to be the life of the party, and the quite different humor that comes as a surprise from one normally quiet.

Regardless of the source or circumstance, most of us enjoy a little humor in our days. I read earlier today that the average child smiles more than 200 times a day while the average adult barely makes double digits in the daily frequency. We can do better.

Think of some of the things humor can do:

  • break the ice when you’re getting to know someone
  • break the tension in a room of people or between you and someone else
  • help build rapport with others
  • take our mind off our worries temporarily
  • bring joy to those who need it
  • help heal our bodies from the toll of stress
  • prepare people to hear a more serious message

Those who are good at humor tend to know it and use it to their own advantage and that of others. Nothing wrong with that. You’ve probably run into folks, though, who think they are funny but leave you saying to yourself “Will he/she ever stop?” Beware those who laugh a lot at their own jokes. They are usually laughing more than others in the room and ought to notice that fact.

I don’t know if being funny is a gift or not, but I think that if you really struggle with being humorous, you probably ought to not attempt it too much. Just enjoy the humor of others. Forced attempts are painful to the hearers.

I love working with people who have a good sense of humor. The quick comments and wit add a smile and a laugh, build relationships, make the day enjoyable and make the day pass quickly.

If you’re good at humor, use it. The world needs more of it. If you aren’t, then enjoy watching and hearing others.

Leap year lesson #65 is A little humor goes a long way.