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The Most Important Thing I Learned Working in a Donut Shop

Updated: Feb 23, 2019

When I was in university I worked in a few donut shops. There was one where management encouraged us to have fun while we did our job, encouraging us to follow the mantra: “It’s just donuts and coffee”. Since I knew this wasn’t my career job and I didn’t take it seriously I really put this into practice: I have clear memories of playing silly pranks when working the drive-thru, having a designated “crazy word”, and bursting into song with colleagues when we were packaging donuts off the line. Looking back on this with more wisdom after more than a decade of professional experience, the lesson was clear: having fun matters. By having fun we were creating experience we wanted our customers to have. Customers always seemed to get a kick out of it, laughing at the pranks (or pranking us back), or even better they participated with us, joining in for an off key rendition of Sweet Caroline. These moments transformed our customer’s experience from a hurried coffee stop into a moment of fun - a memory even.

Brian Richardson,a Senior Application Instructor at Salesforce (who happens to be one of my favorite former colleagues), is not only an amazing instructor, but he’s incredible at creating a fun and engaging experience by having fun himself. I’ve been an attendee and assistant at different training events where Brian facilitated and he had a big bag of tricks that made the experience fun. Here is a recent example Brian shared on twitter from a Dreamforce 2017 session he led:

While not everyone can rap like Brian, there is a few things that you can do to not only find more fun in your day, but to create a fun environment where everyone is welcome to participate:

  1. Be natural. What do you think is fun? Identifying the ways you have fun outside of work, like playing games or telling jokes, is the same way you can have fun in work.

  2. Make it fit your environment. This is important for obvious reasons: telling a racy joke a bar with your friends may be fun, but at work it’s sexual harassment. Keep it clean and matched to your professional brand and relevant (see Brian’s rap)

  3. Make sure it makes people feel good. Don’t make anyone but you the butt of your joke. Some people are fine with being the subject of humor, but others are not - and you might not learn which someone is until they’re offended. The experience should be positive for everyone.

What do you do to have fun at work? We’d love to hear your go to jokes in the comments.

If you don’t follow Brian on twitter already, you should at @B__Richardson

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