“He’s all business.”
“Let’s get down to business.”
“It’s not personal, it’s just business.”
Business is usually regarded as serious stuff. Too bad, because it doesn’t have to be.
Some people seem to think that when it comes to business, you can’t have fun and be successful at the same time. Which is the dumbest thing ever. Leaders who see the power in bringing fun to the workplace are smart enough to understand that having a little fun in no way diminishes the seriousness in which one takes his or her responsibility.
The cool thing is that fun can be a competitive advantage. The old saw is true: People like doing business with people they like. If two real estate agents or financial advisors or home child care providors are equally proficient in what they do, but one is way more fun to work with, which one will make more money?
The truth is, there is no reason you can’t have more fun at work, even though Adultitis likes feeding you plenty of excuses:
“But my work is really serious.”
If your job is super serious, you’d better make sure you have some sort of humor outlet somewhere or you can plan to burn out in short order. Being a 9-1-1 operator is a high-stress operation, but the ones I’ve talked to who last have a top flight sense of humor that keeps them sane. Maybe it’s time to stage a Peep de Resistance.
“But my work is really boring.”
Sometimes the actual work you might be inherently fun. (A Lego Master Builder or teaching at a clown school comes to mind.) But even if you’re not in that camp, there’s still hope. Have a job that requires you to perform the same boring task over and over? Online videos abound proving that some flight attendants have figured out how to make their safety instruction speech fun while others drone on in the same way, day after day. Even if the work is dry, you can still engender a sense of fun amidst your colleagues by using undercover aliases, upending your traditional company-wide gatherings or implementing these budget friendly ideas to keep things light.
“But my workplace is so bleak.”
You can always make your work environment more fun in some small way. There are famous examples that feature foosball tables and indoor slides, but you can easily turn your workspace into a whimsical art gallery or give your office supplies faces. Perhaps you need to install a Twins Board or create an Awesome Room.
“But my co-workers are riddled with Adultitis.”
Even if you work with Adultitis-ridden colleagues (or mostly alone), you’re still not off the hook. You can bring an attitude of fun. First, quit hiding behind corporate speak and excuses about policy. Have a personality. Add a little fun to your wardrobe. And don’t take yourself too seriously. Our family doctor is very good at what he does. And he is really, really funny. In fact, I’m not sure I can describe my first ever prostate exam as fun or enjoyable, but somehow, by telling jokes and stories and keeping things light, he made it not the worst experience ever. Which is saying something. Oh, and never, ever underestimate the power of a red clown nose.
Yes, it’s technically possible to be successful in business without having any fun.
But where’s the fun in that?