Thursday, March 31, 2011

10 Commandments of Pulling April Fools' Pranks

Happy (early) April Fools! I was reminded of an old survey showing that April Fools' pranks in the office are frowned upon by a high percentage of marketing executives. Granted the survey was conducted last year, it's still interesting to see the results. I mean things can't have changed that much in a year.

I work at a startup company in the San Francisco Bay Area where the culture is more T-shirt and jeans than suits and ties. Yes, there is a hierarchy, but it's not strict. Our day-to-day interactions are very friendly for the most part. My point is that jokes are well received in this environment. I guess I never really encountered a setting that disapproves of harmless jokes. In college, pranks or "hacks" were unofficially encouraged by the school. It was seen as a creative outlet. Once in a while, you'll see cars being stacked onto rooftops or an extra door added to a random part of the hall way. I once barricaded a friend's door by constructing a "brick" wall made of snack boxes.

They’re all in good fun, but if you're thinking of pulling a prank, there are some ground rules you should abide by to prevent bad blood between co-workers. Here are 10 commandments of playing April Fools' pranks everyone should consider:

  1. Thou shalt take the office climate into consideration
  2. Thou shalt not cause bodily harm
  3. Thou shalt not play an irreversible prank
  4. Thou shalt not jeopardize anyone's career (including your own)
  5. Thou shalt understand the audience
  6. Thou shalt prank with the intention of causing stomach pain as a result of laughter
  7. Thou shalt plan well for the clever execution of pranks
  8. Thou shalt minimize disruptions to productivity at work
  9. Thou shalt be creative and not play lame, overdone pranks
  10. Thou shalt never let a prank get out of hand

Okay, now you're ready to have fun! Have you ever played an April Fools' office prank or been a target of one? Are you planning one or do you think it's inappropriate?


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