Humor In The Workplace And When It Is Acceptable

David Granirer, counselor, discusses humor in the workplace.

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David Granirer, counselor, discusses humor in the workplace.
Video transcript

Featuring David Granirer, Counselor

Video Title: Humor In The Workplace And When It Is Acceptable Duration: 2 minutes, 37 seconds

Humor in a work environment, you have to watch it these days. There are certain things that are just off limits and will get you into trouble.

So the question is, how do you use humor in the workplace and still make it onside and make it positive? There was research at the University of St. Paul’s, a professor named Coolman said that every organization has its own sense of humor. He calls it organizational humor and, as far as he’s concerned, there are two factors that make it healthy.

One is it needs to stay within the group, so people on the outside are going to misunderstand if they hear you making the jokes that everyone in your organization laughs about. They’ll probably think you’re really sick and twisted, and don’t care. Also, healthy organizational humor, there’s a nothing is sacred attitude about it.

It goes up and down the organizational ladder, it goes all over the place. You know when something’s wrong in an organization when the humor fixates on one target. That is an indicator that there’s something going on in that organization that isn’t working properly.

As far as Coolman’s concerned, there are two factors that give rise to organizational humor. One is being placed in no-win situations. That’s a situation where you’re being asked to do a job that you don’t have the resources, the people power, the time to actually complete.

The other one is having stressors that come up as part of your day that you have no control over that affect your workload. As an example, Coolman uses the TV series, M.A.S.H., which was about these surgeons who worked in Korea during the Korean War, whose job was to fix these soldiers that got wounded.

They were in a no-win situation because they didn’t have the resources to actually do their job, and they never when the casualties were coming, how many would come in, so they were subject to stressors that were beyond their control that affected their workload. The point he makes is that a M.A.S.H. unit without the humor would truly be a grim place to work, and it’s actually the humor that’s the redeeming quality that enables people like that to get through situations.

The commonality of these situations is that people feel like they have no control, whereas, when they use humor, they regain a feeling of being in control. They may not be able to control what happens outside of them, but they’re in control of what happens inside of them, and that buffers them from some of the stress that they’re facing from not having any control.

Presenter: Mr. David Granirer, Counselor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Counselor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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