A few years ago I was standing outside a high end hotel in NYC with a colleague waiting for a cab. It was a freezing cold February day. As we stood there chatting, a well known sportscaster walked out of the hotel. The doorman acknowledged him and they began talking. Next thing we knew a cab pulled up and the sportscaster got in. My co-worker looked at me and said, “xxx xxxxxx just stole our cab! He is a cab stealing b*****d!” From that day on, whenever one of us sees him on TV or hears him on the radio we call or text each other “CSB.” It has become a running joke.
The same colleague has an extreme dislike for a particular singer. OK, he hates Neil Young. Everyone in the office is aware of this. I have seen him practically break his leg to run over and change the radio station when one of Mr. Young’s songs comes on. Last time Neil was in the area to do a show, an advertisement for the concert somehow got plastered my co-worker’s door. Yes, I did it. He laughed then promptly ripped it up. What can you say about that other than, “Hey hey, my my?”
Just so you know I can take it as well as I give it. One of my co-workers once held my beloved scissors, Snippy, for ransom. He sent me a note stating that if I did not let the paperclips go free Snippy would be rust. What could I do? I loved those scissors. He negotiated an agreement with me after his stapler went missing.
Some individuals do not take “teasing” as well. A friend of mine shared a story about a guy she worked with. This gentleman does not like when he hears bubble wrap popped. One year, on his birthday, he opened his office door and found everything inside wrapped in bubble wrap. His co-workers thought it was hilarious. He was furious.
Speaking of birthdays, they are a particular target for humor, especially those that end in a “0.” I have seen offices and cubicles decorated with every “other-the-hill” tchotchke party city sells. Most take it as friendly ribbing. A few are highly offended and march right into my office to let me know it.
Here is the deal. You know the folks you work with. For the most part, you are aware of who has a sense of humor and/or who shares your sense of humor. If you know a person will not find your wit amusing, don’t joke with them. Do not make snide remarks or make them the brunt of your jokes. This can be construed as harassment. Good natured fun should be just that.