Your workplace might be taking off for Passover or Easter Sunday this weekend, giving celebratory employees a day off to travel to see family or to recover from festivities. In addition, one holiday is coming this weekend that employees of all religions and nationalities can enjoy together: the celebration of silliness, the honoring of nonsense, the jubilee for jokes. I’m talking of course about April Fool’s Day! That frustratingly inescapable opportunity to be laughed at by all of your colleagues and superiors!
It is a tradition in the Computhink offices to take advantage of this holiday and get as many pranks in as possible. Don’t think for a second that April 1st falling on a Sunday has immunized all of you serious sams out there – you’re still getting a desk drawer full of Skittles when you get back to work on Monday. To that end, we would like to help out all of our readers who are trying to get revenge from last year’s lunchtime nap head shaving. You’ll be surprised to learn that April Fool’s Day is sacred. And pranking is a sport for ladies and gentlemen. Like all sophisticated sports etiquette is paramount. Get your whoopy cushions ready, we’re going to walk you through it.
Make sure your boss is a comedy fan
Is your boss a Michael Scott or a Miranda Priestly? Do they love jokes and frivolity, or are they a taskmaster with a heart of ice? More than likely, they are somewhere in between and at times more similar to one than the other. Don’t be afraid to test them a little bit with a work appropriate joke. If you catch them on a good day and they share a good chuckle with you, it’s safe to play a little prank on a coworker. If they instead repeatedly deny you those golden guffaws and ignore your attempts at humor, code red: April Fool’s Day will be more of an April Ghoul’s Day.
Then again, your boss may be a prankster themselves. In which case, make sure to get them before they get you! But, be careful while upping the ante – if you’re the one to take it too far, you could get fired. We’re confident that if you follow our pranking etiquette, you should be well within the acceptable bounds for tomfoolery.
Don’t break any rules (/the law?)
Don’t kidnap your coworkers. Phew! Glad we got that one out of the way. This might come as a shock to you princes and princesses of jest, but prank season is not a free pass to ignore the employee handbook. In fact, the biggest prank of all might be coming to work early and getting all your work in on time. Right? Right? Same as the above, pranks shouldn’t go too far, especially in the workplace.
And we thought this would go without saying, but… *sigh* Don’t break the law. Maybe start by avoiding any felonies and work your way backwards. If your prank involves willfully destroying or stealing any company property, you could be fired and then saddled with a lawsuit. Just remember, it’s the little things that count, like swapping your coworker’s old, slow computer for two live turtles wearing hats. Or swapping out all of the fridge magnets with pictures of Harry Sinclair. Get it…? Because he was an oil magnate…?
Avoid putting your target in mortal peril
Again. We never thought this would have to be said in a guide on etiquette, but bear traps in an office aren’t funny. Neither is a live bee hive in the men’s restroom. Not pointing any fingers… April Fool’s Day is about having fun and making people laugh. It isn’t about destroying someone’s life or ruining their day. Keep the mood light. You don’t have to be extreme to be funny. You’re not Gallagher. So forget the cougar you were going to hide under Jan’s desk, and leave the hot tar and feathers at home.
Here are some great non-lethal/non-harmful prank ideas:
- Wear a tiger mask and sneak up on a coworker who does not have a pre-existing heart condition.
- Draw a funny face on an employee’s report after asking their permission.
- Put the salt shaker where the pepper shaker usually is and the pepper shaker where the salt shaker usually is.
- Tell a salesperson that they have to accompany you on a routine visit with a negligible client and then surprise them with an appropriate-length lunch at a modestly priced restaurant.
- convince a coworker that you have another secret job working for the FBI and that you’ve been undercover for months, and when they think that it’s a prank, show them your badge and your pay stubs to prove that you’re telling the truth and that their life is in danger; then, help them assume a new identity in another country while you take down the criminal ring that has been running things in the shadows for decades.
Take credit for a prank, even if it goes horribly wrong
A prank isn’t like a school project that a kid takes credit for even though their dad basically did all the work: helping a friend pull off a prank doesn’t make you the mastermind. Likewise, if you were the mastermind who put ketchup in your boss’s coffee, own up to it. That’s a really gross thing to do, by the way, and not a very good prank. If you want to take the credit for your excellent tricks, you have to also take credit for the ones that go sideways. If you intended to tie up a horse in the parking lot in your desk mate’s spot while you sneakily park her car out of sight, then you’ve got to apologize when the horse poops on her shoe. Every prank is a tiny risk. Luckily, the best ones also yield a huge ROI.
Laugh with your target
We’ve already said it once, but the point of a good prank is a wellspring of laughter. You want to make your coworkers laugh. Your boss too. Your employees. The CEO. The investors. The News station that comes down to report on your prank. The viewers at home. YouTube. Talent scouts for that new prank show. Your audience. All of your new, rich friends. Your talking car. And, eventually, the disinterested audience at PrankCon ten years down the road after you’ve run out of clever tricks. But back to reality.
The one person you really want to laugh, the chortle you should be seeking most, is that of your target. If trickery is all in good fun, then it can’t be mean, insulting, illegal, dangerous, or rude (it can be a wee bit embarrassing, though, that’s okay). Just make sure that the person who got pranked knows you are laughing with them, not against them. We will close this guide with the words of Punk’d creator, Prankmaster, and zillionaire investor Ashton Kutcher, “I can’t grow a mustache. It’s pretty sad if I attempt to.” April Fool’s, everybody! And happy April First!