Reviving Humor in the Workplace is Serious Business.
Laughing Nine to Five paves the way. Evidence from top executives, management gurus, and workshop participants reveal how humor improves employee creativity, communications, and wellness while reducing burnout. The result: organizational renewal and effectiveness, even greater profits.
Laughing Nine to Five is laced with the folly found in memos, e-mail messages, management fads, and acronyms. The work world is turned on its head in the quest for humor.
"Fahlman practices what he preaches. This is an amusing book. The fact that it is a highly practical work can be seen as a bonus"...Statesman Journal
"...a lively discourse on how to promote workplace humor and use it to stimulate renewal and effectiveness"...The Midwest Book Review
"Don't forget to laugh on your way to the top...For executives who don't have much of a sense of humor, Fahlman's book outlines ways to find the humor around you, and the humor that exists in your company."...Industry Week
"Books in this field are usually based on seminars conducted for business and medical groups. And they succeed or fail on the basis of two things essential to such seminars: stories and exercises. In the successful books, as in the successful seminars, the readers or audience quickly feel the camaraderie with someone who appreciates the problems they face at work and has useful suggestions for facing those problems. Judged on that basis, Clyde Fahlman's Laughing Nine to Five is a success." Humor, International Journal of Humor Research, 2002 Volume 15-1
"...decries the disappearance of humor on the job and suggests ways to recapture it, chuckle by chuckle."...Oregonian
"The book, sprinkled with lively anecdotes, is loaded with practical tips on using humor for business success...great information on using humor to enhance customer service and ease workplace conflict..."Humor and Happiness
"...Humor in the workplace need not be an oxymoron--in fact, you would be wise to use this book to link laughter with communication, creativity, perspective and productivity in the workplace....Humor Resources
A child laughs 300 times each day. An adult is lucky if it's fifteen, few of them on the job.
What happened to stop the laughter?
It's likely you will have three to five careers and ten job changes in your lifetime, many involuntary.
The high speed of technical innovation can contribute to your increased
stress on the job.
Confusion about what is politically correct.
Not seeing humor in everyday situations.
Not being able to laugh at self.
LAUGH YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS
by Traci Purdum of Industry Week (August 1999)
"Don't forget to laugh on your way to the top. Humor in the workplace not only creates a pleasant working atmosphere, it helps relieve stress and boosts morale, explains Clyde Fahlman, author of Laughing Nine to Five (1997, Steelhead Press). Fahlman also teaches management courses in human relations, creativity, and humor in the workplace.
'The humor CHIP, which stands for connect, health, inspiration, perspective, all of which are enhanced by humor is as important as the computer chip,' Fahlman says. He points out that when manufacturing executives are able to laugh at themselves, their employees will be able to connect and form a bond that will benefit the entire company. 'You've created a connection where you can get together and solve problems.'
Humor also enhances productivity and problem solving. 'In terms of brainstorming, (when you ask your employees) to come up with ideas that will make the line run better, some of the ideas start to get really funny, and sometimes extremely useful,' Fahlman says. 'You start to get ideas that are out of the box.'
For executives who don't have much of a sense of humor, Fahlman's book outlines ways to find the humor around you, and the humor that exists in your company. For example, one of the exercises is to find the good in awful situations or people: 'The very good thing about your competition is that it is a place where you can send your disagreeable customers.'"
HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research, 2002 Volume 15-1
Following is the review of Laughing Nine to Five by John Morreall:
"Although there are a growing number of academic journal articles on humor in the workplace, virtually all the books on the subject are practical. They sometimes cite the academic literature, especially on the connections between humor and health and humor and creativity, but their main purpose is to give readers ways to foster healthy humor in their workplace. Three of the standard books are Malcolm Kushner's The Light Touch, Ester Blumenfeld and Lynne Alpen's Humor at Work, and my own Humor Works.
Books in this field are usually based on seminars conducted for business and medical groups. And they succeed or fail on the basis of two things essential to such seminars: stories and exercises. In the successful books, as in the successful seminars, the readers or audience quickly feel camaraderie with someone who appreciates the problems they face at work and has useful suggestions for facing those problems. Judged on that basis, Clyde Fahlman's Laughing Nine to Five is a success.
Fahlman has chapters on topics such as health and stress, communications, creativity, handling conflict, and negative humor. He also shares fictional memoranda---most of them just a few degrees from the real thing. A good deal of his own humor is wordplay. He traces the etymology of "job" to the Biblical character. He offers an exercise in which we make up our own business jargon by randomly choosing words from three columns of buzzwords.
Some of the best parts of this book came from people in Fahlman's seminars. In an exercise of self-discovery, one person observed, "I smoke on the way to the health club." Another said: "I finish my husband's sentences for him, then tell him he's wrong."
A seminar participant told how her personal life had been in turmoil as she approached her thirtieth birthday. When the dreaded day arrived, she got to work to find a Happy Birthday banner decorated with tombstones, black balloons tied to her chair, and a 'morose-looking cake with spots of black frosting that turned our teeth black. That day will always be remembered as one of the very few hilariously happy days occurring during that otherwise difficult time.'
Since most of us spend most of our waking hours at work----an increasing number of hours each year---we had better be able to find what we do there satisfying. As Fahlman shows, humor is central to this satisfaction."
Aikido is an ancient martial art where the prime principle is to "go with the flow." At the risk of simplification, it means that rather than using energy to deflect the blow or counterattack, you move with the thrust in the same direction or slightly altered direction.
The same applies to aikido humor. You go with the flow. This is particularly useful when an angry, irrational, or emotional thrust is directed at you personally. Humor doesn't come easily at this juncture so you agree or appear to agree with the attacker in a humorous way. The alternative is to come up with some clueless answers (to provacative questions) like the following:
Your hair is too long. (I didn't have any at birth.)
Can't you move a little faster? (My skate board needs grease.)
Your skirt is too short. (No my legs are too long.)
It happened on your shift. (I think we were in low gear.)
You're not suggesting that we do that are you? (Of course not. But would you tell the boss. It's his idea.)
Don't you understand plain English? (We spoke valley in our high school.)
Excerpt from Laughing Nine to Five
Stereotypes Have Great Humor Potential.
Here are some common misbeliefs about human behavior which address the possibilities:
Red-haired people are more quick tempered than blonds or brunettes. (Until they become gray?)
Slow learners remember more than fast learners.(They should probably talk faster to compensate.)
Genius is close to sanity. (They often sit next to each other in a bar.)
High performing employeess always make the best managers. (They invented micro-management.)
Nice guys finish last. (Nice girls don't go into locker rooms.)
Excerpt from the book Laughing Nine to Five.
The Fire Marshall Memo
Dear Fire Marshall:
Received your epistle yesterday: re: the tall weeds in my yard. You indicated they could be a fire hazard when they "dry out." Really now, can we talk? This is Western Oregon--home of the banana slug with three days of sunshine guaranteed annually.
Chances are these weeds will never "dry out." In fact I performed a little experiment on them and determined the best way to dry them is to apply gasoline followed by the flick of a Bic. This doesn't smell very nice, though, and tends to make the lawn look like asphalt.
What we're talking here is not a fire hazard; it's your basic visual pollution from the eyes of some of the beholders. You probably won't be a bit interested to learn that I've applied for protected status as a Horticulture Refuse Area.
Unfortunately even my registration as a Republican is cutting no weight with the current administration. My poor weeds are becoming endangered.
Excerpt from the book Laughing Nine to Five
Trivial Facts About Fahlman
25 years-plus/minus-as a manager for several phone companies
teaches management courses in applied management (oxymoron?), conflict management, creative problem solving, and humor in the workplace at Portland (Oregon) colleges
Humor at Work Activist
Laughing Nine to Five by Clyde Fahlman
ISBN 0-9656055-3-1, paperback 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
204 pages, $14.95
Available from Amazon.com Books, your local bookseller, or send a check for $14.95 to:
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