A strong sense of humor seemed to be in my family’s genes along with freckles and being musically challenged. My father’s wit was so sharp it induced paper cuts, but we’d laugh at the brilliance and the total silliness of his one-liners or odd little stories.

In grammar school, I kept my classmates entertained with some pretty inane stories while my parents were in constant contact with the principal. I had yet to learn when delivering a punch line was acceptable: All the time was not appropriate.

Years later when I moved out of my parent’s house, I took my coolest clothes, my college degree and my honed sense of humor. Those clothes no longer hang in my closet (thank God); my degree got me in the door of NYC advertising agencies, and my sense of humor kept me employed and out of trouble…sort of.

One day, I think it was a Tuesday, I was cornered by the big boss who commented that when my emails ended with a spiffy one-liner or a sarcastic blurb, the team went forth and accomplished whatever task we were knee deep in. No idle threats came from my co-workers. We all seemed to work as a well-adjusted and productive team. What were we ingesting on company time?

I was delighted (and concerned) when my sense of humor was viewed as a tool that brought people together in the workplace. From that day forward jokes were incorporated into the boss’ presentations and emails. And would I write the boss some one-liners? I begged off and explained that humor had to come from the core, the soul – what was funny to the boss’ ear? Besides me begging for my job?

What followed was a valiant attempt by my boss at reciting some tired, old jokes that were out of favor with the nuances of humor back in 1938. I cringed and slithered out of the corner office. The economy was strong back then. I could find another job.

A few weeks later our boss summoned all departments to the main conference room. I had forgotten about those threats to do stand-up at meetings. All of a sudden the silence was pierced by what appeared to be a joke coming from our boss’ lips. Not a good joke, not a horrible joke, but a small joke with a tiny punch line.

People looked around and for a few seconds there was laughter in the air. Not a lot of laughter, not too little laughter, but just enough nervous laughter for all of us to look at our boss in a new light. Some of us dared to like the boss for trying. The rest of us speculated that the boss had suffered a mini stroke.

But for that short time in history, we all appreciated the universal language of laughter. One little joke turned out to be a great equalizer. By 11 A.M. the boss went right back to biting off the heads of baby chicks, but we felt like a well-adjusted and productive team that morning.

Now, you don’t have to go as far as having open mic night in your workplace. But a little levity at work can work wonders. Humor lowers blood pressure, lessens stress and who can feel lonely when people come together and share a laugh? Just don’t let my former boss know when you are doing it. It could get ugly.

Author's Bio: 

Branching Out Creative Life and Career Coach, elizabeth cassidy, started her coaching practice with the belief that Baby Boomer women have the power to change their lives by tapping into their courage and creativity: courage to get pass the roadblocks, the fears and the doubts and creativity in the form of inspired and innovative solutions that will help Baby Boomer women move forward in their lives.
If you long to change careers or explore new business possibilities, take that unfinished manuscript out of storage, paint with Paris as a backdrop to your artistic side or become happier by peeling away those old tired layers of insecurity, let Branching Out Life Coaching become your co-creative partner.
Get ready to take a self discovery journey as you become fearless, fabulous and fall in love with yourself and the life you know you should be living.
Saying "yes" to what you want and need in life, along with believing in yourself can be daunting. As your co-creative partner, elizabeth will be there to offer support, motivation/accountability and chocolate when needed.
Before becoming a creative life and career coach, elizabeth worked in the advertising field for over 20 years and was a stand up comic and comedy writer for WNBC radio in Manhattan.
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