Manner Monday: Dealing with the Office Prankster

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Every Monday Blogging4Jobs invites our resident Etiquette Expert, CareySue Vega (@Etiquette101), to share tips when it comes to etiquette in the workplace during our own Manner Monday segment. This segment is for the practitioner who is focused on creating a more etiquette-friendly environment. 

April 1 is fast approaching, and that means we’ll all be checking out Google first thing Wednesday morning to see what creative magic they have up their sleeves. We also know that good-old-fashioned office pranks will happen on April Fools Day whether we want them to or not.

Fun, clean and safe jokes aside; what do you do if you have a serial jokester on your hands who continues to push the envelope throughout the year and not just on April Fools Day?

Try to figure out the reasoning and patterns behind the pranks. Is he pulling them as a way to get attention? What is the motive behind the actions? Is the prankster well-meaning, but ends up getting over-zealous? Or is the intent to see how far he can push the limit or boundaries?

If you find yourself on the receiving end of his pranks, recognize the action for what it is before you react. Don’t show anger, get upset, or flustered, just move on. Denying him the satisfaction of seeing your reaction to the prank may help to begin to solve the problem.

If you see a pattern occurring, it’s important to point it out and make sure he realizes what he’s doing. He more than likely does but may not realize it’s becoming annoying instead of fun.

Once you’ve identified what appears to be the pattern or motivation, approach the prankster and explain the unintended potential consequences of his behavior: How is it affecting his reputation with his colleagues? He may think it’s funny, but others think of him as annoying, ignorant, prejudiced or narrow-minded. Make sure to point out the impact of the pranks on others; people may be avoiding him and not want to be assigned to projects with him. He may not realize how his timing is wrong, and his pranks are unprofessional, ultimately leaving him to be the Fool.

 

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