Jokes don’t hide anger and frustration. If anything, they amplify those types of emotions and give individuals on the receiving end of the manufactured humor the wiggles and squirms.
Many job seekers are in a tough place emotionally. They understand employers don’t want the negative energy that goes along with those feelings, so there are often attempts to throw in sarcasm and wit to mask sour moods. The end result isn’t good. Just like a Renuzit scented candle doesn’t hide the reality of a Friday night bar bathroom, an edgy punch line on the struggles of a job search can’t keep the waves of despair, anger and disgust from clouding the atmosphere of an interview room or networking event.
Humor is a wonderful thing when those delivering it are in a fun place. For example, I love to listen to Ellen Degeneres and Sinbad. They both make me laugh to the point of tears because they are sincerely funny. I don’t suspect for a moment there is an edge of seriousness behind their words. I don’t get that Andrew Dice Clay effect that makes me want to take a shower when I’m done listening to them.
If you’re looking for work and wondering how to hide the negative feelings you’re wrestling with, consider taking a pass on jokes. Sometimes sticking to the nuts and bolts of what’s being discussed is the best plan. You may come off boring or dry, but those impressions are much less problematic to potential employers than angry.
The best solution is to find ways to neutralize some of those negative emotions so your true personality can shine through. That may be as simple as surrounding yourself with more positive people, adding more exercise to your routine, joining professional/social groups or increasing the daily efforts made to identify potential opportunities.
Whatever the answer is for you, know that most people don’t find the situation you’re working through any more funny than you do. That’s probably why attempts at humor often fail. If you want to show off wit, use topics that aren’t the source of pain or frustration.
– Lisa W-P, CADL Guest Blogger