My office is not exactly the kind of a place where laughter is heard much. Rows upon rows of grey cubicles don't seem conducive to it somehow.
Humour does feature but in very cautious, "above the belt" ways, and when I moved to the US I was warned that my days of swearing outloud at work were over as it is very much frowned upon here - at least in the corporate world. It couldn't be more different from London where trading salacious remarks all day long is part and parcel of office life.
While I try my best to be serious and behave in the way that is expected in my position, I find it hard to completely stifle the rather British sense of humour I have acquired in my 10 years of living in the UK.
So for your amusement, I will share some of the most politically incorrect situations I have found myself in.
* During an agency meeting - involving around 6 agency staff working for me, one of my direct reports and my internal business partners (including a VP) - we discussed the relative importance of ad formats in driving conversions. We were concluding that larger ad sizes drove the best results and to my utter disbelief, I found myself exclaiming outloud "well, bigger is usually better!". I just couldn't help myself. Cue much laughter in the meeting room and embarrassed blushing from me. I seem to remember that the VP was still chuckling to himself about it after the meeting was over.
* In a one-to-one meeting with a manager working for me, we were discussing an upcoming Affiliate Marketing conference we were both going to attend in Boston. He told me that they were holding a "meet market" where affiliates and publishers could network and mingle. I couldn't hold a straight face when I told him that I had been to a few "meat markets" in my time and always found them to be much fun.
* In another agency meeting, again involving agency staff and internal business partners, we reviewed targeting in Media buys. One of our media buyers was explaining that some forms of targeting available in the market still have to be vetted from a privacy standpoint and were therefore not quite legal yet. I looked up from the deck we were reviewing and said "barely legal?". I think they are still talking about that one.
* While in a meeting this week, Larry & I were both on our blackberries so I emailed him saying I liked his jumper. He replied asking if I wanted to make out later. We both managed to keep a straight face but still got caught by Larry's VP who jokingly asked us to stop sending love notes to each other in front of a shocked but amused room full of people!
I like to think that my US colleagues have accepted my rather unorthodox comments and ways. If anything, I seem to provide free entertainment from time to time.