Just Say No to Sarcasm

Say no to sarcasm.  Yes, it's okay as a funny aside during a dinner conversation with people you know well.  But it doesn't belong anywhere else, and certainly not in a creative workplace.  Categorically ban it from any place or space where you're endeavoring to bring something cool and new to life.

Sarcasm brings with it many ills.  If I'm listening to your concept for a marketing tagline, and I sarcastically respond "That's great", I've just cut you down in public, which is not helping you get to a better place.  And now you no longer trust me as a generative, open-minded person.  Worse yet, the next time we work together, you've learned not to take my utterances at face value.  So the next time I say "hey, that's so cool!", you're going to waste energy and time processing that statement to figure out my intent, as oppposed to taking it as a microburst of positive energy which helps push you forward.

We're all here to be remarkable.  A broad commitment to being remarkable reduces the friction, smooths out the bumps, and amps up the energy we all need to continue bringing cool things to life.  Sarcasm is friction.  Plain old nasty, energy-robbing, friction.

Innovating is already so hard — so why add any additional things to get in your way, right?  Just say no.

3 thoughts on “Just Say No to Sarcasm

  1. I’d argue that certain orgs and the people they hire aren’t looking to be remarkable and merely look for a paycheck. So first, it’s best to surround yourself with other people that also share your goal of being remarkable. Otherwise you’ll have everyone else defending the status quo and one person trying to be remarkable. Speaking from experience, that doesn’t work.

  2. Excellent post, Diego. You’ve pointed out something important here. Sarcasm squelches creativity and innovation and far worse. It’s demoralizing to employees. Let’s understand that people do not enjoy being ridiculed. Even if an idea doesn’t have legs, why use sarcasm? It’s far better to pull one element of possibility from it and suggest ways to build on that. The reasons why the idea won’t work can still be pointed out. That’s called constructive criticism. A positive response helps people to reorient their thinking and lets them know their ideas may not always hit the mark, but they themselves are valued.

  3. Diego – do you differentiate between sardonicism and sarcasm? I think some sarcasm can be lighthearted and fun…I think what’s in question here is sardonicism, which I agree is categorically a Bad Thing.

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