Improv In The Workplace

Sticks Author: Steve

The other day I was totally making something up at work.  It was probably nothing too major as far as you know, but maybe I was making up what I actually do for a living or maybe it was about my background being felony free or maybe I was just making up that I was listening to what somebody was saying to me.  It’s really not important so stop asking me so many questions about it.

I got to thinking about improv exercises in the corporate environment.  Actually, I first got to thinking about something else, but later (now) I decided to retrofit a whole bunch of details for purposes of having some words to write.

I think it’s fun (sort of) when groups come in and spend a few hours training corporate ghouls (like me… take no offense) that a bit of “yes and” along with zip zap zop and change-a-scene can really loosen you up and make it easier for you to return to your soulless beige cube to concoct new ways to check reddit or fleece America whichever is your vocational mission statement.

Practically speaking, I think that this is a necessary part of the improv theater or group’s model to make some money to fund the things that they really like to do such as Harold nights, Maria Bamford tours, and late-night Caligula re-imaginings.  And a little improv class with your peers might be a tad awkward, but it beats the shit out of sitting through another session on diversity training with 700 of your closest white guy coworkers.

But I think I may have found the greatest incorporation of improv training ever.  I work with an advertising agency in the midwest.  (I am protecting their names because there’s a very good chance that one of the 11 people who reads this blog actually works for a rival or something and that they would use this information against them and destroy their lives without mercy.)  They are required to participate in several kinds of training by their parent company, but they have some freedom in designing it.

So what did they do?

They have hired an improv company to teach them The Harold for a couple of hours each week for one year.

Come on!  How great is that?  At the end of the year, they’ll perform.  And this counts as their corporate training.

They are a clever, smart, funny bunch of creative types and I bet they’ll be outstanding.  In the meantime, I have to log on to take the interactive web module training on Ethical Behavior.  I hear it’s hosted by a funny cartoon pirate and his sassy parrot.

Back to my beige cube.

Cartoon from SavageChickens.Com

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