A sense of humor at work can go a long way

Go ahead — smile at work.

As you craft your next résumé, consider adding some comedy to the skills inventory. A recent national survey from Accountemps staffing service reports the majority of CFOs value an employee’s sense of humor for fitting into the company’s corporate culture.  “All work, no play can really erode having the levity. Building rapport among colleagues reduces stress and tension,” says career expert Christine Endres.

In today’s rocky job economy, a little humor can go a long way.  But when do  jokes lose the laughs? Endres shares four tips for exercising workplace-appropriate humor:

Don’t play favorites
“Never make anyone specifically the person of target within a joke.  Poke fun at yourself if you single someone out.”

Check your tone
“Steer clear of any heavy-handed sarcasm, because it can be viewed as a subtle way of insulting someone. Workplace humor should be low-key or even understated.”

Actively participate

“Even if you’re not necessarily the funniest person, keep the mood light by being receptive to other people’s humor — laugh with the group.”

Keep the pranks in the closet
“To still be taken seriously, don’t clown around too much.  You don’t want to be the stand-up comic, by any means, so practical jokes are always a bad idea.”

Troubleshooting
“If you’ve accidentally offended your co-worker, a sincere, in-person apology can go a long way,” says Endres. “Be mindful not to cross that boundary again.”

A time and a place
Despite the benefits of occasional workplace hoopla, Endres notes the difference between a cubicle community and an interview room. Before you get the company thumbs-up: “Be mindful during the actual job interview. You don’t have to crack jokes. You don’t need to be a comedian. Be natural in ways that let your personality shine through.” 


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