Three Tips for Working With Office Clowns (or with Camels Named Caleb)
If you’re like me, chances are your Facebook newsfeed on Wednesday mornings now greets you with companies sharing pictures of a certain camel that is happy to celebrate his day. I’m sure you’ve seen the Geico ad at least two-hundred and thirty-seven times by now, but if you’re jonesing to see it again, here you go or this one if you’re a Dallas Maverick’s fan.
Caleb the Camel (yes, he actually has a name) perfectly personifies that co-worker every single office seems to have. While everyone else is busy working and could care less that it’s Wednesday, you’ve got him up walking around disturbing everyone within earshot. Oh, you’re not within earshot of Caleb? Don’t worry, he’ll come find you and shout your name fifteen times to really make sure he has your attention.
“Is that a mosquito I’m hearing?”
What are the warning signs of an office clown? Does someone match this description? If nobody matches this description, be prepared because you may just be a Caleb.
- Do you tell jokes and play pranks on an hourly basis?
- Do you feel the need to be the center of attention, even when those around you are busy working?
- Do you have a sarcastic remark for everything said regardless of who said it?
Office clowns have their place and they aren’t horrible to have around. They’re great at lifting the mood on a Monday morning when the last thing you want to do is see your overflowing inbox of emails. However, just like with everything in life, a little bit goes a long way with their personality.
“Did you hear the joke about the dog named Rupert?”
How should you address the office clown so everyone can be more productive? I really like this tip from Nitpickers’ Nook:
- Don’t encourage the behavior. If you laugh at the person’s antics, it’s a sure bet the clowning around will continue. Immediately delete the jokes he or she forwards to you via email. Don’t comment on a recent gag. If the person stops by to joke or casually talk, tell him or her you are busy with work and will catch up with him or her later. Keep a straight face and the person will likely look for another audience. Comedians don’t perform to an unresponsive crowd.
This tip from The Commercial Appeal offers another suggestion:
- Divert their attention. Have a project or report set aside or ready that you can discuss with him when this occurs. Don’t interrupt his “act” unless it’s dragging on. When he gets to a natural pause, say something like, “You’ve got a great way of looking at things. We have a serious problem I need your help with. Here’s the situation…” and get right into the specifics.
If all else fails:
- Address the problem privately. Nobody wants their faults to be aired in front of everyone, especially peers that are seen on an almost daily basis. Bring up the annoyance with your manager or HR representative privately in an email or in their office with the door closed. They should talk to them about it and get it addressed so everyone can find a balance between work and humor.
It’s great having someone around the office that can get everyone to laugh, but there’s a time and place for it. Maybe if Caleb had someone bring up their annoyance with him, he could learn from it and take it down a notch so he would be invited to after-work drinks or office sport pools. Camels should be the life of the party, just not at work.
Have you ever dealt with an office clown? What worked best for you to address them? Do you wish Caleb worked in your office? Shout off in the comment section below!