You’ve just got to be having a laugh

• Is ‘being funny’ one of your core competencies for senior managers? I
thought not. So beware them casually asking about this latest management
training course.

The comedy club chain Jongleurs is selling lessons in humour to executives
who think that developing some devastating wit might give them a competitive
edge. A series of workshops is being launched which teach the prospective
jokers about creating comedy and humour from everyday situations, as well as
how to use a microphone properly.

I admit to a bit of New Year, return-to-work grouchiness here – I suppose it
would be nice to have a boss who is funny, and I’m sure the sessions are good
fun to go on – but comedy is not something you can teach. People are either
funny or they are not. And people who are not funny desperately trying to be
funny is one of the most squirmingly embarrassing things possible – just think
of Colin from the Fast Show.

There is just one group who I would say should go on the course. Personnel
professionals. Just so they can cut dead any managers asking to go on
ridiculous training courses.

Make sure your name lives on

• Office Christmas party gossip, thankfully, is usually a dim and distant
memory by the time the new year rolls around. I certainly can’t remember ours,
and I haven’t noticed any particular sniggering among my colleagues when I’m
present – none more than usual anyway.

But sometimes, the gossip is just so good – as with this true story from
Australia – it is never forgotten. At the office party of a major firm, the
staff decided to play a prank on their boss who was a bit of practical joker
himself. First, they stole his lottery ticket from his wallet, wrote down the
numbers and called over the waitress to take the list. She came back a while
later and asked if anyone wanted to know that night’s numbers. She read out the
numbers, his of course, and set them down on the table.

After casually comparing them with his ticket, taking a quick swig of his
drink, the man stood up on his chair and shouted to the room, "I just want
to let you all know something. I’ve been having an affair with my secretary for

"I don’t like any of you and I’ve hated working for this company. You
can all go to Hell because I’ve just won a bucket-load of money".

End of job. End of marriage. End of story. If anyone knows a better one,
please let me know.

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