“Must Have a Sense of Humor”

For those of you on the job hunt, how many times have you seen a variation of “Must have a sense of humor” on a job notice?  Okay, but isn’t humor subjective? I still think Steve Martin’s comedy albums from the ’70s are funny, but my daughter doesn’t think so. My point, though, is about humor in the workplace.  What kind of humor fits in a workplace? In radio, there’s a lot of gallows humor because half the time we’re wondering how long this industry can last.  When I was teaching, the type of humor was more sarcastic. When I worked in TV, a lot of humor was very blue . Writing for certain websites, the humor is can be more about being clever than going in for fart jokes.

See what I mean? What may be a common humorous trait in one work environment, may not be welcome in another…

I was trying to figure out how I would answer a question about humor if something like that came up in an interview, and it’s difficult.  It’s like asking a comedian (on her day off) to “Say something funny!” You could get an insult wrapped up in a joke. You may laugh at the punchline, but you may also realize, “Hey, she just slagged me!” I suppose a potential employer wouldn’t ask for proof of humor, but maybe this so-called “soft skill” is related to how much you can laugh or find some kind of humor in a job situation that may be stressful at times. Do you completely lose it, or are you the kind of person who kind of chuckles as you plow into a project. I’m guessing that’s what they are looking for — but I could be wrong.

How ’bout you? What do you consider a sense of humor in the workplace?

And what about some of these other soft skills in this slide. What’s the difference between “Bedside manner” and “Good manners.” “A pleasant voice?” Really?  How does one make that determination?

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