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Ruminations from open’s internal braintrust

Expertise is organic. It must be constantly nurtured if it is to grow and flourish. This is one of the fundamental pillars of OPEN’s internal culture.

Marvin Chaulk, Vice-President, Senior Consultant
OPEN Communications


the opinions and musings behind the expertise

Blog Author: Catherina Murphy

Sometimes You’ve Gotta Have Fun. Seriously.

Catherina Murphy

Posted: January 17, 2014

Have fun at work? Seriously? Yeah. Sometimes you just do. 

At some point, everyone needs to take a step back. Maybe to laugh. Maybe to cry. But laughing works better (even if it is at yourself). Research shows that laughter releases endorphins that actually make your body feel better and more relaxed. It has the ability to thwart sickness and promote healing. It allows us to do a reboot our psychological and mental functions. It may sound a bit like magic.  And maybe it is. So why don’t we do it more often?

Maybe it is because we live in a work-rush-and-work-some-more world that emphasizes our self image and survival. As soon as we reach the age of maturity (some later than others), we become this ‘proper’ self and begin to place more importance on dressing up properly with our hair just so, and our clothes meticulously wrinkle-free. We spend our waking moments stressing over tidy houses, mortgage payments, utility and phone bills, RESPs and RRSPs, not to mention our families’ needs and health, as well as job security, the economy and the general state of the world. Sometimes we even worry about the people in war-torn countries, the environment, and whether this year is really going to be the end of the world. But then we sometimes also fret over Kanye’s latest foolish utterings or Beyonce’s latest single. True, we do take time to play with our kids, but when was the last time you raced your kids down the hill on a toboggan? Or soared towards the sky on a swing in the park, just for the fun of it?

From the moment I get into the office, I sit at my desk and type and click my mouse. Don’t get me wrong: I dearly love and enjoy my job; but other than the occasional breaks, I hardly lift my head from my computer screen. Sometimes I’m so focused on my own work and the often impossible deadlines; it is hard to think about anything else….

Until I catch a flash of something blue and yellow passing my door — Marvin with a Nerf gun.

Having Fun at OPENI quickly grab my weapon from the window ledge and “cock” it. Crouching low, I tiptoed towards the door, and fire. A rain of soft yellow bullets stream out in all directions – my aim is not always true. From a couple doors over, Stephen quickly joins in and adds to the onslaught. Wayne becomes collateral damage and sustains injury in the form of a temporary foam bullet stuck onto his glasses while he banged onto his keyboard and turned his head at the wrong time. Sharla’s office becomes the new port in the storm. 

Having Fun at OPEN: Wayne, the innocent bystanderWe stopped only when we ran out bullets and laughed so hard that we had to take a break.  Minutes later, it was all over.

With still a smile on my face, I return to my desk, and resume my work. Suddenly, a new perspective presents itself and the problem I was trying to solve for the last half an hour melts into an easy, non-issue solution. This is what laughter does to you: it draws you out of your ‘box’, fills you with the simplicity and creativity of a child, and allows you to see your ‘box’ from the outside when you return. I often tell others that when I am stuck in a problem and get the I-am-so-close-that-I-can-almost-touch-it feeling, all I need is to take a break or sleep on it. Somehow, when my brain shuts down, it rearranges the mountains of information I process on a daily basis and, by the next morning, something that was amiss will surface and new solutions abound. Fun provides me the same recharge, only that it takes a fraction of the time.

Laughter is indeed the best medicine. And the Nerf gun? In my opinion, the best delivery mechanism.

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