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Is there a place for sarcasm at work?

The sarcastic manager is not funny in fact sarcasm is a form of belittling that could land you in trouble with HR

Artificial Intelligence (AI ) like Sheldon has trouble detecting sarcasm. The very brainy Sheldon is like AI very literal. But that could soon change using episodes of US comedies like The Big Bang Theory and Friends AI is being shown examples of sarcasm in order to identify it in communication with us humans.

All very clever, but necessary? Apparently those involved in the research say we use a lot more sarcasm than we realise. So do you have a sarcastic colleague or worse a sarcastic manager?
Chandler’s sarcastic comments about other characters in Friends are funny when experienced as an observer but when you’re the butt of the sarcasm it is just someone making out you’re stupid. In fact habitually making sarcastic comments is not an attractive quality. That’s why they say sarcasm is the lowest form of humour. It’s also inappropriate and unprofessional in a work situation.
The manager who was in the habit of saying ”What part of ‘No’ did you not understand”.
“ If I wanted your opinion I would have asked for it”.
“ I see you’re hard at work”-  coffee break
“ Glad you could join us”- last to arrive
“Did you knock this presentation up in the tea break?”
“Is English your first language?” – in reference to spelling or punctuation mistakes in a report.
“ You should have started this report ,’Once apron a time” referring to the reasons given for the latest performance figures.
“ You might be right on this occasion after all even a broken clock is right twice a day!”
You can simply ignore the sarcasm but I have found the best response to a manager is to say, ”Are you being sarcastic?” They usually back down realising that they have been inappropriate. Don’t fall into the trap of being sarcastic or rude in your response. It will only make things worse.
On one occasion whilst being interviewed for a Directors’ post the chief executive said after my presentation  “ Have you made presentations to board members before? When I said I regularly did so. He said, “ and you do them like that! “ In such circumstances you can hardly ask if he is being sarcastic you can only hope they don’t offer you the post.
Blair Mcpherson former Director author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk

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