Advice » In the Workplace» Work-Life Balance » Workplace Gaffe? Make 'Em Laug ...
Workplace Gaffe? Make 'Em Laugh!

Workplace Gaffe? Make 'Em Laugh!

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 City 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.

Practice Good Humor

But as every stand-up comedian knows, not every attempt at humor hits the mark -- and no one wants to bomb in front of the boss. "Whether you're in front of 100 people at the Chuckle Hut or Marcy and Joan in accounts receivable, the same rules apply," says comedian, writer and actor Peter Spruyt. He and comedy songwriter Grant Baciocco explain how to develop your comedic timing:

  • Know Your Audience: "The material that works in front of a crowd of uptown hipsters at midnight on a Friday won't fly with the 8 a.m. office audience on Monday," Spruyt cautions. "So you need to gauge the sensibilities of the people you're talking to. Know the difference between what makes them laugh and what they find hurtful, offensive or just plain stupid."

    Poke Fun at Yourself: Tell the truth, Baciocco says. "Pretend you're a third party viewing what happened, and [tell it] from that perspective. Audiences enjoy when you can poke fun at yourself, so simply saying, ‘this was my moment of stupidity...' will get them laughing."

    Consider the Situation: "The safest situation is one where you have committed the blunder yourself, because you're not likely to get fired or reprimanded for self-deprecating humor," Spruyt says. "If it's someone else, be sure that person enjoys a laugh at his expense before you risk joining the ranks of the unemployed."

Articles in This Feature:

Latest Jobs

Posted: 07/01/2015
Huntington, 25701
Posted: 07/01/2015
Huntington, 25701
Panhandle Area Educational Consortium
Posted: 07/01/2015
Chipley, 32428
McDonalds PCB
Posted: 07/01/2015
Panama City Beach, 32407
CDI Services
Posted: 07/01/2015
Sanford, 32772

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.12.0.54-210