The Inside Scoop on an Inside Joke

Some of my favorite gifts have been inspired by an inside joke.

A few years ago, my childhood best friend gave me the CD of John Denver and the Muppets: a Christmas Together. 

Growing up, Kathy and I decorated a small Christmas tree together every December, while listening to John Denver and the Muppets on an 8-track player her grandmother had given her. 

For context, this was the glorious 80’s. Music was a big deal. We had already accumulated a modest collection of cassettes. Kathy’s older sister had an extensive vinyl collection that we were forbidden to touch. Jacky could keep her records, for all we cared. CDs were coming onto the scene, and everybody was begging for a CD player.

But Kathy’s grandmother, never one to pass up a bargain, had gotten a great deal on the 8-track player.

Nobody listened to 8-track tapes.

We thought it was hilarious. The device resembled the contraptions that detonated dynamite in old Roadrunner cartoons. You changed the song by pressing down on the bar across the top.

It was part of our annual tradition. Until the player (inevitably) ate the well-worn tape.


Fast forward to a few years ago when Kathy sent the gift. The album is probably on Spotify, but she sent the CD with a card explaining that she had gotten a great deal on it.

It made me laugh.

Humor is a unique gift.

Our favorite mileposts are going to be infused with laughter.

Humor is a character strength that benefits both us and our relationships. It buffers stress and enables us to feel optimistic. It encourages good feelings in others and helps us forge connections.

Inside jokes are obviously most common between old friends. But it’s the sort of interaction we need in professional settings, too. An inside joke confirms camaraderie and inspires loyalty.

As our country experiences The Great Resignation, employees are often motivated to stick around and contribute when they enjoy the people with whom they work.

Unfortunately, new research indicates that many work cultures are described as… humorless. This isn’t funny.

Put simply, the workplace needs laughter.

Obviously, there are caveats. There’s a big difference between positive and destructive humor. A strong case could be made for steering clear of ANY humor in the workplace, out of concern of offending someone.

But if you ignore the fun side of people, you’ll settle for shallow relationships. That’s uninspiring.

And your work could suffer- without solid relationships, your team may miss out on opportunities to discover innovative solutions to complex problems through divergent thinking. Humor fosters the creativity that produces these sorts of results.

Humor follows the same guidelines as any mature communication. Keep it honest and authentic. Look for opportunities to build on common ground, and call attention to the good stuff.

Humor doesn’t have to be laugh-out-loud, stand-up comedy. And it’s not dysfunctional, like The Office brand of humor (even though it’s fun to watch!)

It’s recognizing the absurd in situations in order to keep perspective.

It’s putting others at ease when everyone is worried about the same thing.

It’s disarming when people feel defensive.

Humor is a superpower.

If your relationships lack humor, you’re probably not creating positive, memorable experiences together. Mileposts will be lackluster. Why settle for this?

Leaders need to be proactive about harnessing humor to create a healthy workplace environment.

They have an opportunity to create an inside joke by anticipating an unforeseen need in a shared experience, and meeting that need with an appropriate gift. It’s a great way of putting people at ease. As an insider, you’ll understand the need for the gift. Such as some of my favorites:

Of course, the best inside jokes are the ones that you don’t see coming. And they’re not going anywhere.

They’re the Mileposts that mark the moment you first met the friend you’ve always had.

Sometimes, it’s the improvised moments that make the funniest Mileposts.

They have an opportunity to create an inside joke by anticipating an unforeseen need in a shared experience, and meeting that need with an appropriate gift. It’s a great way of putting people at ease. As an insider, you’ll understand the need for the gift. Such as some of my favorites:

Here’s to a good laugh!

Are you ready to enjoy an inside joke?
Let us help you create a Milepost Moment!

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