In the last ezine we looked at some general rules for using humor at work. Here is a continuation of that article.
Click here to view part 1 or other archived ezine issues
Of course it’s OK to pick on your own ethnic or minority group, at least to a certain extent. One of my comedy students is hard of hearing (he calls it being deaf), and he makes some very funny and pointed remarks about deaf people. If a non-deaf comic made those same remarks she’d be toast! And just because someone picks on his or her group doesn’t make it OK for you to join in unless you’re part of that group. In his comedy act, Chris Rock uses certain words that only a member of his minority group can use and no one else. Look what recently happened to Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Now you might be thinking, “My friends are OK with my warped, off color sense of humor, so why shouldn’t I be able to make the same remarks at work?” Simple, because the people at work aren’t your friends. Some of them may be, but chances are not all of them are. There’s a difference between your workplace and your personal life. You may like to walk around the house in your underwear and pick your nose, but these charming practices wouldn’t be accepted in the workplace. Same with certain kinds of jokes that target people lower on the PPS, contain graphic sexual details or bodily functions references.
The other confusing factor is that some workplaces break some or all of these rules. For example, I’ve had women tell me that in their workplaces lots of swearing and crude sexual innuendo goes on all the time and that they think it’s hilarious. Or in some workplaces different ethnic groups poke fun at each other.
These workplaces tend to comprise small groups working far away from head office. They are often front-line personnel like road crews, police, fire, ambulance, medical staff and other crisis responders. They are also usually characterized by the high degree of trust group members have for each other. Group members also demonstrate a high level of sensitivity, knowing just how far they can go and when to stop. This means no hurtful racial epithets or other phrases that are designed to purposefully wound.
But just because these workplaces exist doesn’t mean that their take no prisoners form of humor will work in your workplace. As a matter of fact, chances are good it probably won’t. If you want to keep your job, stay within the: Never pick on anyone lower down on the Percieved Power Structure than yourself.
Click here to view Part 1 or other archived ezine issues
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