Office Stress Management Pranks

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Filed under: Office Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief

Parker: Real-estate stress opens door to pranks
by Penny Parker
Denver Post
December 8, 2009

doorbell-200State employees are feeling the pinch of the real estate downturn, too. State-mandated furloughs and the hiring freeze have contributed to the Real Estate Division’s stress and burnout.

In an effort to pump up Cary Whitaker, manager of the mortgage broker program — the program that has the most complaints and fewest employees — division staff members decided to punk him while he was on vacation.

They installed a doorbell in his ceiling tiles and passed around the remote that rang the bell to anyone who had been annoyed by Whitaker’s crankiness.

For a week, staff randomly rang the doorbell, torturing Cary while he answered calls, drafted a mortgage company bill and generally tried to do his work, all in an effort to get him to laugh.

“I learned of the prank last Tuesday and decided it was inappropriate,” said Erin Toll, director of the Colorado Division of Real Estate. “By Wednesday, I was asking for the doorbell and ringing it like crazy. State employees are people, too.”

While not giving the prank a “ringing” endorsement, Whitaker said he didn’t mind having staff let off some steam at his expense.

“But at the end of the day, what’s really important is whose bell I’m ringing in combating mortgage fraud,” Whitaker said.

Pranks such as Whitaker’s ding-dong have been springing up all over the Division of Real Estate office.

“All funding for Christmas parties was denied due to the budget crisis, so staff is getting creative trying to keep things light,” Toll said. “I found a picture of Glinda the Good Witch attached to my nameplate after a particularly snotty e-mail from a woman about robust enforcement.

“There are also a number of gelatinous eyeballs stuck to my ceiling tiles. No one is sure who is playing the pranks because they are done after hours, but it sure is fun to come to work and see what’s waiting!”

image: Let It Pass