Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Make Sure the Boss Gets the Joke

My mailbox is starting to fill with story pitches regarding "safe" April Fool jokes to play on your co-workers. I have mixed feelings about this: Everyone can use a little levity in the workplace these days, but what one person thinks is funny, another may not.

I still remember the time a friend's co-worker pretended to be a "nurse" from his son's school. They called my friend and told him his child had head lice, so my friend was supposed to do all the crap that goes along with that: special shampoo for the kid, washing all the linens at home in scalding hot water, etc. The guy shampooed his child's head, and was up until 2 a.m. washing everything according to the "school's" instructions. The next day he showed up for work, and everyone had a big laugh at his expense. "April Fool's!" they cried.

When he told me this story, it astonished me that he could laugh about it. I couldn't believe this single father was up most the night trying to do the right thing, and it was all a big joke. He couldn't understand why it made me mad.

So, just be careful should you decide to pull an April 1 day prank. And, make sure the boss would also find it amusing should he or she find out about the joke.

Now, for a Tidbit Tuesday roundup:

* Are you talking to me? I've been embarassed at times to be caught talking to myself, especially out in public. But now I don't feel so weird after reading this story in the Wall Street Journal.
"Researchers say as many as 96 percent of people talk to themselves aloud, and deaf people have been observed signing to themselves while answering test questions," the story says.
Of course, the problem comes when your cubicle mates get a bit tired of hearing you blather to yourself all day.

* Making the most of criticism: The next time you're tempted to criticize something or someone, make sure you follow these rules listed at BusinessWeek.com. There are also suggestions listed on how to receive criticism. For example: "Resist the urge to dismiss the critic. Considering what the person has to say will only strengthen your own understanding of the issue you care about."

* Get in the loop: Whether you're interviewing for a job, or just want to know what's going on in business, Fortune has a list of the five best business blogs. This is the kind of stuff you should be reading so that next time you go to a networking event, an interview, or have five minutes to show the boss you're keeping up with critical business issues, you sound smart and current.



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