Circumference of Me – Chapter 16

16 — Mix business & monkey business

It was the first day of work at a new job with a new company for a public affairs manager for a Fortune 500 company. He was excited, enthused, and ready to tackle the corporate world.

One of the first people he met in the hallway on his way to his new office was the vice president of operations.

“Good morning,” the newcomer greeted the executive.

The higher-ranking manager regarded him sternly. “Come into my office.”

Once inside, the vice president ordered the young man to close the door, crossing behind his desk to sit without inviting the new manager to take a seat.

He said: “This is the way it works. You say ‘Good morning,’ and most people feel an obligation to say ‘Good morning,’ and pretty soon we’ve all said ‘Good morning’ and we’ve wasted ‘X’ number of man-minutes of the company’s time.

“To be honest, that’s just the beginning of it. After ‘Good morning’ you feel obligated to ask about their weekend or their families or what they watched on TV last night.

“Wasted time. So let’s skip all that, shall we? I really don’t care about whether or not you have a good morning. I just want you to go to work and stay at it. Understood?”

You can’t blame the new employee for wondering whether he had made a bad career change.

It’s never acceptable to treat work as an adult playground. But there is no sin in having fun at work.

Decades later, this same once-young manager (now in his sixties and nearing retirement) is still in the corporate world, and has made it a personal goal to find something to laugh at every single day. He tries to entertain his co-workers at appropriate times, performing what he calls his “happy dance,” a convoluted mixture of the “Tigger” dance and an old soft-shoe, ball-and-chain routine.

It’s funny, but it’s also fun to watch him because he gets so much pleasure out of doing it.

It’s okay to have fun at work, within reason, and within the boundaries of corporate policy. If work is no fun at all, then why do it?

Find something at work that will make you laugh every day. Having appropriate fun at work is as close to corporate heaven as you can get.

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