Armed, dangerous

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Oh great. He's going to talk about sarcasm. Perfect. These days, with so much negativity in the world and uncertainty in long-term care, we definitely need as much of that as we can possibly get.

You know what sarcasm is — the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really want to say in order to be insulting and/or funny. Like when someone stabs you in the eye with a fireplace poker, and you respond, “I so hope you'll keep doing that. It feels fantastic.” That, my dear, treasured personal friends, without whom I am nothing, is sarcasm.

Closer to home, it's like when you're negotiating to be a hospital's preferred provider, but haven't bothered to dig up any relevant data to prove you're the best available partner. “Please,” they might say, “don't trouble yourself to demonstrate actual value. We know how very busy you must be, what with picking up these yummy donuts and all. So how about if we stop asking difficult questions and just send you all our patients forever?”

See how that works? The glaze on those donuts is pure sarcasm.

I mention this only because sarcasm has recently been demonstrated to be contagious and bad for a company's bottom line. Now, I know what you're thinking. “Oh great. Another study. Perfect. I'm so glad scientists are ignoring the Zika virus and devoting their brains to this critical topic.”

It is estimated that workplace incivility, of which sarcasm is the go-to weapon, has doubled in the past 20 years, and now costs companies like yours thousands of dollars annually through lost production and work time. A sarcastic person would wonder aloud how they've arrived at those statistics, and express total confidence in the scientific method.

So if you love to administer sarcasm in the workplace, that's just great. Perfect. Keep doing it. Your organization needs more financial challenges, and there's no better feeling on earth than undermining your own employment future.