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Be the Butt

by Adam Zack — September 20, 2017

I don’t like to be joked!

When brothers and I were growing up we teased each other relentlessly. Actually, we still do, but back then we didn’t really care about each other’s feelings. Making sure it wasn’t you that was the butt of the joke was our daily goal in life at the time. I think all kids are a little sensitive about being the butt of the joke, and my youngest daughter Alyssa really did not like it. “I don’t like to be joked!” she’d exclaim while we yukked it up at what she thought was her expense. It wasn’t true, but it is a memory that carried into teenage years and since the family still liked to joke and tease, we instead joked her older sister, who received several funny nicknames and learned that being a Polack was kind of funny. (“Wait, why am I the Pole???” she’d say.) With Halloween coming up I was reminded of an old store manager who was big in the stomach and big in the seat. One year for the store costume contest an employee dressed up as the manager, complete with pillows stuffed in his shirt front and the back of his pants. It really was funny, but it turns out the manager loved to joke people but did NOT like being the butt of the joke. He retaliated like a spoiled kid and gave the guy who dressed up a chocolate covered turd or something like that as his costume contest prize. Definitely not a good sport (and wasn’t with us much longer after that.) All this led me to how, as a boss, being the butt of the joke can really be good for morale. If your employees are not intimidated to joke with you occasionally at work without fearing you’re going to get all butt-hurt and you can laugh with them and good naturedly tease back, you’ve got a work atmosphere that’s more fun than scary, more interesting than boring and there’s more teamwork. It’s the strong, confident manager or owner who can laugh at himself while laughing with the team. Having said that, come Halloween I may be sorry I wrote this.

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