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Joking Around at the Office

Monster Members' Favorite Workplace Pranks

Joking Around at the Office

Chances are, at some point you've probably been the butt of a workplace practical joke, an instigator of one or at least a willing accomplice.

What is it about workplaces that make them the perfect setting for these antics? Is it employees' desire to add something bright to institutional walls? The maze of cubicles that makes them go crazy and look for an outlet? Or does the stress from deadlines and customers force workers to do something just to make it through the day? And what makes coworkers such delicious targets?

Whether trying to lighten the air, make people laugh or seek revenge, office pranksters will always plot their practical jokes.

More than 100 Monster members responded to our request for their finest office pranks. Here are a few of the best, chosen because they target a large number of coworkers and took more novel creativity than tampering with headsets or filling cubicles with balloons.

Time's Up

Years ago, a faxed joke on company letterhead circulated in our office about new restrictions on restroom breaks. It said the new company policy was to limit visits to two minutes, after which the stall doors would automatically open and the violator's picture would be taken.

Our company was having all the restrooms updated for handicapped access at the time. With a scanner and some company letterhead, we easily put the joke document together with the manager's signature. One shop employee was a locksmith and could open the glass display cases for company announcements. The uproar over the next few days was tremendous, as most employees believed the document to be real. It nearly unionized our shop!

Self-Directed Prankster

Last year for April Fools' Day, I thought it would be funny to put out the rumor that management had decided to move everyone's offices around as part of a training program.

My boss was gone for the week, so I sent out the email Sunday night saying she'd asked me to pass along a message. It went something like this: "Susan asked me to send out this email for her. As part of a training program to combine the "Who Moved My Cheese?" and "Self-Directed Work Teams" programs, some of you have been randomly selected to move to new offices. You can tell if you've been selected by looking at your door. If your name is no longer on your office, find the one that now has your name and move your stuff to that office. The phone and computers will be moved later. Remember, being a self-directed work team is part of the exercise."

I moved about a quarter of the staff's nametags around by 7:30 in the morning. My coworkers were angry at management, and one guy said he was about to go home "sick." Half the staff was ignoring it all, hoping the problem would go away. At 8:42, I sent an email confessing about the prank and quickly put everyone's nametags back.

The weirdest part is that so many staff members actually believed management would come up with such a cockamamie idea, even when the email was sent by me, a notoriously silly guy. I guess that says something about the state of affairs today.

The Cheesiest

The coffeemaker was in the machine room where I worked, and the lights were never on, because people needed the room dark to see the projectors they worked on. So one time, I got an empty Cheetos bag and some Styrofoam packing peanuts shaped just like Cheetos. I dipped them in water, and then in the cheese powder from a box of mac-n-cheese dinner. I put them in the bag and left it open beside the coffeepot with a sign on it that said, "Do not eat, property of so-and-so."

I hid at the back corner machine and just kept quiet when anyone came in. I heard some interesting noises when people tried the fake Cheetos. Everyone agreed it was a good prank.

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