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Jokes and Jokers

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


I sent a harmless joke on our company e-mail to some of the people who work with me, and several responded by saying how much they liked it. My supervisor's reaction was the exact opposite. She called me in and wrote up a formal reprimand, and then she said that this is a final warning. This sounds unfair to me. What do you think?
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Several people I work with now think it is hilarious to tell ethnic jokes. They are also using e-mail to send them around. I find them to be offensive, and I'm sure there are other employees here who feel the same way. What do you suggest?
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We have a diverse work force, and our manager is very good, except for one thing. He has trouble pronouncing many of the employees' names, and he jokingly abbreviates them or butchers them altogether. We try to correct him, but he makes a casual attempt and then goes back to the same old thing. Should we keep trying or just forget about it?
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One of my co-workers e-mails me far too many jokes and stories every day, to the point that some days I receive ten or more from her. I know she means well, but I would like her to stop. How do I tell her without hurting her feelings?
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During our department meeting this morning, my manager looked at me and said, "You are the weakest link." Everyone had a big laugh but me. I was practically waiting for him to say, "Good bye." I'm very upset by this "joke." Am I overreacting?
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I was staring into the distance and thinking about how to handle a certain part of an assignment when my manager walked by and told me to stop daydreaming and get to work. I told him that I wasn't daydreaming, but he laughed and walked away. Is it worth saying anything further to him?
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On a recent business trip, my manager and I had to remove our shoes as part of the security check. I happened to be wearing a pair of socks that have a couple of holes, and my manager noticed them. He made a joke about it at the time and keeps mentioning it. How do I get him to stop?
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The owner of the company brings his dog to work, and I've always been afraid of dogs. The owner half-jokingly says that his dog is the best judge of people, and since the dog snarls at me, I must have some kind of problem. How does this sound to you?
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One of my good friends at work is sort of a goof-off and a clown. The other day, my manager came down very hard on me and said that he has seen us fooling around too much and he wants it to stop. I don't spend that much time with him, and I'm not sure how to handle what the manager said.
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I received an e-mail joke that was not in the best of taste, but I wanted to forward it to a few select friends who work here. I got distracted and somehow sent it to almost everyone. I apologized and was reprimanded by management, but I feel like my future here is wrecked. Is there anything that might help?
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I had a report stored in the documents file in my computer, and my manager asked to see a copy of it. When I tried to access it, I couldn't find it. I went into a complete state of panic. It turned out that a couple of co-workers had moved the report as a joke. I blew up at them and they said I have no sense of humor. I got the report to my manager, but I am still upset. Do I have a right to be?
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I overheard one of my supervisors tell a joke to three co-workers, and within earshot of several others, including myself. It involved a made-up Chinese name followed by an inappropriate term for someone of that descent. I confronted him at the end of the workday and he apologized, but went on to say that several people in the office occasionally use offensive terms toward other races, and that that he could do nothing about it. His advice was that I should get accustomed to it. I'm lost as to what to do next.
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Our manager read or heard that one way to improve the atmosphere is to add a joke at the end email messages. I don't think this helps the atmosphere at all. What do you think?
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Our company goes through a reorganization every couple of years. There is one manager who never sees eye to eye with me, and he recently said in a half-joking way that if I ever end up working under him, I will not be working here for long. I just heard through the grapevine that I may be reporting to him very soon. What should I do?
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My manager teases me often, such as by "ordering" me into his office and pretending he's upset when he isn't, calling me by several wrong names, and even making fun of my car. Afterwards, he laughs and says he was kidding. I don't think it's funny. He knows how I feel, but he doesn't stop. What can I do?
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I made a funny comment in our lunchroom, but several people took it the wrong way. My manager called me in and said it was a form of sexual harassment. I never intended it to be taken that way, but now there's a note in my file about this incident. What should I do?
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My boss wears a bad hairpiece. He is almost 50 and has worn it for 15 years, and it looks very obvious. Everyone who comes in our office makes jokes about it behind his back. I cannot say anything about this to him since a former employee was fired because she was not subtle about this. He is always trying to appear younger than he is. How do I deal with this when people are laughing about it?
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I have an East European name, and one of the managers here makes fun of it, often asking if he can "buy a vowel." I have a sense of humor, but I am tired of hearing this from him and I have told him to stop. He keeps doing it and says he means no harm and is just having fun. How do I get him to stop?
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One of my sales reps and I were at a meeting with one of our best customers when this rep made an inappropriate comment that she thought was cute, but it made the customer bristle. I didn't say anything at the time, but I wonder if I did the right thing, and what to do now?
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My supervisor enjoys kidding me, and he keeps saying that his remarks are all in fun. I do not like hearing his degrading comments, his repetition of the same annoying lines, and the so-called funny stories that he makes up about me. I was thinking about making some similar comments back to him and see how he likes them. What do you think?
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I like to make jokes and double entendres, and one of the women who work with me said some of my comments sound sexual and she does not appreciate them. She said if it continues, she will report it to my manager. If she takes my comments as being sexually oriented, I think that's her problem. Am I right or wrong?
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I emailed an ethnic joke to a fellow employee. He thought it was funny and then forwarded it around. Somehow, it got to our supervisor who disciplined my friend and me. Since I did not send the joke to anyone who would be offended, I donít think I should have been disciplined. What do you think?
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I thought it would be fun to bring an entertainer to one of our company gatherings, and I was referred to a fellow who imitates a well known comic. I gave him information about several of our employees so he could make some fun comments about them, but everything went wrong. He was crass and crude, and several female employees walked out. Now what do I do?
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My supervisor constantly plays practical jokes on me, especially in front of others. Things are said about me in a playful way, but others donít know this person is playing around. I enjoy a good joke, but when I am trying to work it becomes hurtful and annoying. The other issue is that my supervisor is one of my closest friends. This makes it hard for me to say anything. What can I do?
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Our company has taken many steps to deal with and prevent illegal harassment. The other day, my supervisor told an offensive religious joke but said it was okay because he was joking about his own religion. Iím not a member of his religion, but I thought the joke was offensive, and Iím sure most people of his faith would feel likewise. Is he right?
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I sent a link to a website with a funny visual joke to one of my co-workers. He thought it was hysterical and forwarded it to about 20 other people here. When my manager got wind of this, he reprimanded both of us for violating company policy on using company computers. I only sent it to one person, and my co-worker sent it all over the place, so he is the one who abused the system, not me. What do you think?
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I made a mistake about three months ago, and I admit it caused a mess. Things have been fully corrected since then, and the actual damage was minimal. Nonetheless, several employees still ďjokinglyĒ bring up my mistake practically every time I see them. I am tired of hearing it and Iíve told them that their comments are getting old, but they keep on making them. How do I get this to end?
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