The gap between different generations might be bigger than you think. It’s not just a difference in the tech we used or fashion trends—there’s a whole bunch of pop culture baggage that comes with being born in a particular decade. And newer generations might not even be aware of the stuff that used to be popular in their managers’, parents’, or grandparents’ time. Sometimes, obvious comedy can land members of the older gens in hot water because those youngsters just don’t get the references and take things literally.
That’s exactly what happened to redditor u/jesseberdinka who shared their work story with the r/tifu (‘Times I Effed Up’) online community. He explained how using an old commercial jingle during a meeting made him get into trouble with human resources because some of the younger crowd thought it was ‘sexual harassment.’
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You’ll find the full story below, dear Pandas. Have a read, tell us what you think of the entire situation, and if you’ve ever been misunderstood by a younger or older coworker, be sure to share what happened in the comment section.
Not everyone at work might get old pop culture references or jokes. Some even label them ‘sexual harassment’
Image credits: Product School (not the actual photo)
An employee got in trouble with HR after referring to an old commercial that was super popular back in the day
Image credits: Kevin Noonan
The redditor had a couple of updates for the r/tifu community about the miscommunication
Image credits: jesseberdinka
Luckily, everything ended fine for u/jesseberdinka when everyone got the joke. However, it just goes to show that humor at work might not make everyone laugh. Some colleagues might get offended (even if there’s nothing insulting there, really). Bored Panda previously spoke to comedy writer and stand-up comedian Ariane Sherine about the importance of humor in the workplace. She also shared her thoughts about whether or not it’s actually worth being the office clown.
In the comedian’s opinion, humor and fun help motivate employees. There’s definitely a positive effect there. “The more fun you have at work, the more likely you are to want to be at work, so you’re happy to stay for longer and happy to be there in the first place,” she told us that nobody’s enthusiastic to go back to work in a miserable, toxic environment.
“My last job was a blast, we had loads of fun and it was a really warm, friendly environment so I couldn’t wait to get into work in the mornings,” she said that a wholesome, collegial environment encourages workers to do their best and go the extra mile.
“It’s difficult not to take work seriously when it takes up so much of your life, and if it’s impairing your happiness then you need to look for a new job,” she said that we shouldn’t spend all our time being miserable. There are options out there. Better ones.
According to Ariane, the more skilled and irreplaceable you are at your job, the more allowances you get when it comes to humor.
“Sure, you can be the office clown, but only if you’re really good at your job too. No one’s going to mind you joking around if you’re also acing it at work,” the comedy expert stressed that nobody will mind a joke or two from time to time if you’re getting results.
“It’s when it’s detrimental to your work that people start to frown upon it. But I’ve always been the company clown and I’ve found it’s a great way to get through the grind of a workday!”
For those of you Pandas who might not know the jingle (or might need a refresher), here’s the full commercial
Depending on whom you ask, the differences between generations can be seen as either superficial or fundamental. Financial expert Sam Dogen, the author of ‘Buy This, Not That: How to Spend Your Way to Wealth and Freedom’ and the founder of ‘Financial Samurai,’ recently shared his thoughts about these differences with Bored Panda.
“As someone who used to manage a small team in finance, the one thing I appreciated the most from employees was effort. If employees were trying their best to get things done and showed that they cared, I knew they were going places. Showing you give a damn about your fellow colleagues and your work is more than half the battle,” he said that managers appreciate honest, hard work.
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“Bosses can inspire their employees by giving a damn as well! If the boss is always coming in on time, taking their subordinates out for lunch to see how they are doing, and works hard, employees will be inspired. And when employees are inspired, they will care more and do better work. It is a virtuous cycle,” the expert told us.
“Great bosses lead by example. They are not micromanagers either. Instead, they are honest about difficult situations, believe in their employees, support their employees, and engender trust.”
Sam revealed to Bored Panda that he’s a member of Gen X—he’s turning 45 this summer. In his former job, he oversaw some younger employees, as well.
“We grew up without the internet and now have the internet. I did manage a couple of employees who were 10 years younger than me, hence the millennial generation. One got in trouble because he felt entitled to a much larger bonus than $20,000 after his first year out of college! After he got his bonus, he refused to come to work for a week. That was an interesting situation,” he shared with us.
“It seems like more employees want to reach the corner office sooner, without putting in their dues. This may be perhaps due to the internet, social media, and how quickly information is disseminated. When you see someone on social media get super-rich quickly, you start feeling the same way too.”
Here’s how people reacted to what happened. Some of them thought it was either amusing or weird that someone didn’t know the reference