Camouflage and ComedyBy
Today’s featured post was written by Nicole Hall, current Peppercom intern and future PR star. This post was originally published on The Stand Up Executive (posted on 7/27/12).
In a culture where everyone is required to dress the same, act the same and sport the same haircut, how are you supposed to practice authenticity?
Before working at Peppercom, I performed media relations and event planning for a Marine Corps organization. I worked mainly with the junior Marines and heard many accounts of their overseas escapades and barracks shenanigans. My favorite is probably their attempt at parachuting off their three-story barracks roof during Hurricane Irene (I didn’t say they used their free time wisely). But what all of these Marines had in common was their ability to be completely uncensored and authentic, both with me and each other. Last Halloween, I planned a short trip for a small group of Marines to see a haunted battleship. At the beginning of the trip, there were two distinct groups of friends who were attending. But after a couple of hours of exchanging funny stories on the road and laughing at the terrible actors on the ship, they were all hanging out together by the end of the night.
From that raw authenticity is how they develop relationships that carry into their workdays and combat situations.
It probably comes as no surprise that enlisting in the military is cited as the most stressful job of 2012. Aside from the obvious stress factors that are associated with overseas deployments, war zones, training and weapons, service members also experience the same situations as we do in our corporate jobs: impressing the boss, working for promotions, being on time, etc.
As mentioned in a previous blog post, comedy doesn’t necessarily belong in all situations, and the military is one of these examples. That doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t practice comedy outside of their camouflage.
When Marines spend time outside of their uniforms, they have the chance to practice comedy which forms bonds that carry into the field. Living a lifestyle constantly defined by rank and a strict adherence to protocol, it is critical that Marines get the chance to laugh often and be able to express themselves in less stressful environments.
Even though practicing comedy outside of work is effective for the military, it does not mean this is the right mindset for a corporate culture. You don’t want your employees to only enjoy themselves outside of work. And you don’t want to run your business like a military institution—there’s a reason that only a small percentage of Americans choose that environment.
Do your employees practice comedy at work? Or is it encouraged to keep all personal interaction outside of the workplace?