CareerPersonal Growth

Using Humor in the Office: When It Works, When It Backfires

In an interview with Wharton, Maurice Schweitzer and Brad Bitterly (Bitterly gets around) discuss their research findings on when humor helps and hinders business. Essentially, when humor signals confidence and competence, it is good. And when humor is used in poor taste or to be a class clown, it is bad. That is because humor of the latter variety indicates a lack of competence, which is disruptive to your career prospects.

Notably, the research suggests that people who use humor well are more likely to be elected into leadership positions. Thus, if you want to climb the career ladder, you might be able to sweeten the deal by developing your funny bone. Toward that end, Bitterly recommends taking improv classes. Alternatively, you could just religiously study the first nine or 10 seasons of The Simpsons. That would be my recommendation.

You can view the full interview here:

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