Humor Customs

By Jeff Justice, CSP

airport securityNot everybody has a sense of humor. I found this out when I was going through customs in Canada. Customs people up there have no sense of humor at all. You shouldn’t try kidding around with them. I was driving through a border checkpoint with my family when the customs officer asked, “Do you have any drugs?” And I replied, “Sure! What do you need?” I was joking, but he wasn’t. So we stayed for a couple of extra weeks — I felt like the class clown again, staying after school…!

The week of the 9/11 incident, my friends Chris and Cindy were passing through Canadian Customs on their way home from Alaska. It had been a stressful week for everyone, of course, and some travelers responded to the heightened security measures with impatience and anger. Learn More »

Laughter Is Cheaper Than Stress

By Jeff Justice, CSP

U.S. businesses pay the cost of not dealing effectively with workplace stress, and according to the latest statistics, the tab reaches $300 billion annually and is seen in absenteeism, employee turnover, and reduced productivity.

Now, the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has defined “presenteeism” as being “at work” without being productive. In Understanding Business Values and Motivators, Dr. Ira Wolfe says it’s worse than absenteeism, because employees still show up and receive a full paycheck — but they disrupt and demoralize other workers while neglecting the work they are being paid to do. The cost of “presenteeism” in the U.S. alone is estimated to be the hundreds of billions of dollars, resulting in over 2.5 billion lost workdays per year.

The task of fixing problems that stress workers usually lands in the laps of managers who don’t receive much training in laughing their way to success. Bosses who want to get results should take a lesson from stand-up  comedians. Witty executives get bigger bonuses and better performance ratings, according to a report by management consultant Fabio Sala in the Harvard Business Review. He writes, “Humor, used skilfully, greases the management wheels, reduces hostility, deflects criticism, relieves tension, improves morale and helps communicate difficult messages. Learn More »

Life In the Pits

By Jeff Justice, CSP

I know I talk a lot about using humor both in life and at work. Using humor to make my point sounds like I think it’s easy. It’s not. I teach this stuff but it’s a challenge for me to remember to use it all the time. Here’s an example:

Even though our family is vegetarian, my younger daughter loves to go to McDonald’s to play in the area filled with plastic balls. Once while we were there, I noticed she had brought a little toy dinosaur with her. Since I’m a parent with halfway decent intelligence, I said, “Jennica, why don’t you leave it here on the table with me, so you won’t lose it?”

“Oh, no, Daddy. I’m won’t lose Diny.” Well, you can already figure out what I heard two minutes later: “Daddy, I can’t find Diny!” I tried to say something that sounded fatherly. “Well, if you had listened to me, Diny would be here right now, wouldn’t he? But, no-o-o-o! You had to take him inside, didn’t you?” Learn More »

I Sure Told Them…

By Jeff Justice, CSP

I stopped at a minimart for gas and a Coke on my way to the airport. I was standing behind a man at the counter — he was about my height but a big, muscular, workout kinda guy. He was trying to buy a pack of gum with a hundred dollar bill. The woman at the cash register gave him her best you’re an-idiot look and said, “I don’t have enough change for that.” And he snarled, “Well, go get it!” She said, “I can’t leave the register because the manager’s not here.”

The guy was really giving her a hard time. And finally she told him, “Do us both a favor and stand off to the side. Let me take care of the customer behind you because you’re holding him up.” I’m thinking, “Oh, great! Now Godzilla’s going to look at me.” He turned and said, “Hey, Mac, am I holding you up?” I was mad, and I said, “Yeah, pal, you are holding me up. As a matter of fact, you’ve been rude to this young lady. You apologize to her right now or I’m gonna take you outside and kick your tail!” Well, to myself I said that. To him I said, “Oh, no-o-o-o — take your time! I’ve got all day, pal. Boy, she’s got some snotty attitude, doesn’t she?” Learn More »

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