Ladies, it’s time to dull it down at the office — our humor is apparently holding us back from advancing in our careers. No more clever jokes at the watercooler, no more funny one-liners to break the ice at meetings, no more witty remarks to ease any tension in your office.
According to a new study from a group of researchers at the University of Arizona, women who are witty at work are often taken less seriously and could even miss out on opportunities for promotion. According to the findings of the study, which surveyed over 300 people, a funny woman is more likely to be perceived as less effective and lacking leadership skills than a funny man.
The study featured videos of two managers, both named Sam. Half of the participants watched a version of the tape with a woman “Sam,” and half watched the video with a man “Sam.” While the man Sam was a big hit with everyone, the woman Sam’s routine went over far more poorly.
Woman Sam was thought to have fewer leadership skills, perceived to be less effective, and more disruptive; meanwhile, male Sam’s overall presence was considered to be improved by his ability to crack a joke.
But why? Why do people think that men should be funny in the workplace? You will be shocked to learn that the researchers believe this is directly tied to stereotypical expectations for men and women. Because men tend to be viewed as natural leaders, the researchers surmise, their office quips are seen as part of some managerial master plan; when women joke around, conversely, their coworkers think they’re not taking their work seriously enough.
So as it turns out, women in the workplace don’t only face judgment for having families, and also not having families, being too assertive, and also too unassertive, being over experienced, and being under experienced; we also can’t even be witty and charming without facing insidious social repercussions. Yet another compelling case for why men shouldn’t work anywhere.