Laughing in the Face of 2020

Who’s tired? I know I am.   


2020 seems to have decided to be the year that will live in infamy. COVID-19 hit the headlines early in the year and really swung into action in March. I strongly suspect everyone reading this post has had his or her life upset in one way or another by the virus. 

Some of us are still working from home. Some of us may not have seen much beyond our homes for 3 months. Others may have contracted the virus. All of us have a story of some sort. 

2020 Is a ‘Persistent Beast’

You’d think that would have been enough in and of itself for a bad year. 2020, however, is a persistent beast. Murder hornets arrived, which at least allowed for a little levity or gallows humor, but the horrible death of George Floyd was a sober reminder of more serious business at hand.   

You’re forgiven if you feel careworn at this point. Any one of this year’s crises would be serious alone; together, they can be overwhelming. That’s especially true in our workplaces. 

COVID-19 has added layers of consideration on top of already difficult regulatory schemes governing medical leave and disabilities. Each of us has probably tried to work through the best way to take up the questions of race in our country. If you’ve had trouble hitting your stride, it’s OK: I’m struggling with the best message and tone, too. 

So, yes, we’re all worn down a bit at this point—and we’re only halfway home to putting this terrible, no good, very bad year into the history books! What are we to do? I suggest we all have a laugh, and what can give us more uproariously funny content than the intersection of comedy and the workplace?  

(As a matter of fact, someone should start a blog … oh, right….) 

Help Us Laugh

With that, here are my candidates to help us laugh in the face of 2020. Do you have others? If so, share them in the comment section.

  • For sick folks in the workplace, I can’t think of a better candidate than Parks & Recreation. Who remembers the episode when Leslie Knope refuses to leave work despite the flu? She claimed it was merely allergies, but she vomited up her Claritin. The office tried social distancing and locked themselves in the conference room; she responded by licking Jerry’s coffee mug. Tom even tried misting himself with hand sanitizer. 
  • Back to that well, we can’t forget my TV spirit animal, Ron Swanson. Ron doesn’t succumb to illness or misfortune. Nevertheless, a simple sneeze aggravates his hernia and confines him to his chair, unable to move. He’s left attempting to eat lunch by throwing a burger at his mouth (he missed). 
  • If you’re looking for examples of diversity training, I hope you know not to take Michael Scott and The Office as your inspiration. The first season’s depiction of a diversity seminar in which Dunder Mifflin’s employees must act out stereotypes of selected ethnicities is tough for an employment lawyer to take. Michael winds up with a deserved slap across the face, which (if you’re wondering) is a hint that the session isn’t going well. 

Before signing off, one last word: Hang in there, everyone.

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