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Andrew Tarvin


As an IT Project Manager at Procter & Gamble, I led multi-million dollar projects for a $350 million brand. As a super-nerd (computer, math, engineer, sci-fi and video game) I was all about getting results. On my first day, my manager told me: It’s better to beg forgiveness than ask for permission.

I decided to test this. I didn’t give away company secrets or steal pens from the supply closet (okay, one); rather I added jokes to the ends of my emails, volunteered to MC meetings I wasn’t invited to, and taught improv to my team. I even declared myself the Corporate Humorist, complete with business cards, a blog, and nameplate for my cubicle wall.

I made two discoveries.

  • Using humor at work helped me be more effective with the hardest thing I had to manage: fellow human beings. The research shows that people who use humor well get promoted, make more money, are more productive, and enjoy their work more. That’s exactly what happened to me.
  • Making conscious choices and decisions about what I wanted helped me get there. I planned my career moves, made connections and took action to get there.

As the CEO of Humor That Works, a training company that delivers workshops on using humor to be more effective, I’ve presented to over 35,000 people from more than 250 different organizations in all 50 states, 20-plus countries, 6 continents and 1 planet. I’ve written the best-seller Humor That Works: The Missing Skill for Success and Happiness at Work and have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and FastCompany. My TEDx talk has been viewed more than 4 million times. And I’ve had the privilege of working with such clients as Microsoft, the FBI, the U.S. Navy, ESPN, PepsiCo, GE, and the International Association of Canine Professionals (yes there were dogs in the audience).