Office Humor: The Fine Line Between a Laugh and a Pink Slip

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Humor can bring a breath of fresh air to an otherwise lackluster office environment. But when pulling practical jokes at the office, you can definitely go too far. The following are a few office pranks that are work appropriate, as well as some themes that have no place there.

The Office Appropriate Pranks
The following are a few funny office gags that won’t result in you looking for a new job.

Novelty Pranks
This is where the time-honored oversize pencil comes in. Take the novelty office item a step further – try a prank office stapler. There are some that emit a noticeable, but harmless, electrical shock. Your stapler will never go missing again!

Gag Signs
Try placing a sign such as “Please Do Not Feed the Dorks” outside the information technology department, or try a “Bathrooms Are Closely Monitored” sign that will have people doing a double-take. Official-looking funny prank signs can be some of the best office pranks.

Fake Office Items
Try replacing that often used office item with a prank duplicate. For example, slip a No-Tear Sugar Packet in with the other kitchen supplies and watch as your co-workers struggle gallantly to open it.

Humor With No Place in the Workplace
Walking the line can be difficult, but the following are a few guidelines on office pranks and humor that are entirely inappropriate, and which no one would be surprised to see get you fired.

Jokes That Cause Actual Damage
Super-gluing your co-worker’s phone to his desk may be funny, but always think about the longterm ramifications: Will this office prank actually damage the phone, and if so, who will pay for the damage? While this sort of prank may be great fun, if there is going to be irreversible damage, choose a different good office prank.

Sexual Jokes
In today’s society, sexual harassment is taken very seriously, with many companies having strict policies in place. Any prank or joke that uses material which is sexually-charged or based on gender or sexual orientation is taboo, even if those involved don’t find it offensive. Your office is a group setting – consider all of the staff when planning a prank.

Ethnic and Racial Humor
Any professional will recognize the inappropriateness of jokes and pranks using an individual’s race or ethnicity. What may seem like harmless banter to you may be offensive to non-minorities, and might even be illegal.

Taking the Prank Outside the Office
Imagine this: you and a co-worker are battling – it’s a full on office-appropriate prank war. Sounds like fun. But while you are on the phone, that friend pranks you and you lose a sale. Not funny. Jokes that disrupt important tasks have no place at work and may have you looking for more than a new friend.

It can be a fine line between the joke that gets a laugh and the joke that gets you fired. So consider whether what you think is the best office prank ever might really get you looking for another job.

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