Lucia Litman is a researcher with the Sales Executive Council, our sister program for heads of Sales. She generously agreed to give us her opinion on the landscape of office fantasy football.
Football season is here! Not only does this mean that ESPN finally has something to show other than boring baseball highlights (with apologies to the baseball fans out there) – but it also means its fantasy season. Below are a set of guidelines specific to office leagues to guide those of you that may be new at fantasy football, or new at fantasy football in a work setting.
Trash Talking: A Breakdown
If you are anything like me, you have the pleasure of watching your team destroy your competition week in and week out. Striking the right balance between professionalism and reminding everyone who they really should be afraid of in the office is nearly as difficult as deciding who to start every week-especially if the person you beat is your boss.
My suggestion: when you see your boss- wait to see if he or she brings up the game. If the loss is mentioned, it is fair game to unload on him or her. If the game isn’t mentioned- don’t bring it up and take the high road and walk away – your boss is definitely thinking about it, even if nothing was said.
Acceptable forms of trash talking at the workplace:
- Self-Promotion – Remind everyone where your team stands in the league. Just be careful not to go overboard – it’s already lonely at the top.
- Stat-Based Trash Talk – If your stud RB put up the numbers, then all you’re doing is stating the facts, right? But just like self-promoting, less is more. You don’t want to be that nerd who could work for Elias Sports Bureau because you knew that Aaron Rodgers puts up over 350 passing yards on late afternoon games when there’s a full moon out.
Stay clear of profanity in the office:
- Crude and Obscene – Come on, isn’t it bad enough that your boss took Tim Tebow with the #1 pick? No need to take it to the next level by calling him a %&@#in’ idiot, especially on company email.
- Personal Insults – Keep it related to how awful their fantasy team is and keep it in good fun.
Dedication and respect mandate a creative name-either an insult directed at another member in your league, a player you despise, or an inappropriate pun. Office leagues however require a new type of creativity-one that should still be funny and clever, but not something you are embarrassed to say out loud to your boss. Save your clever, but extremely inappropriate, team names for your personal league with friends.
There are two very different pieces of advice for office trade rules that are based on your position in the company. If you’re the boss, take advantage of your status. But, if you’re a lowly first year, hold your ground! First, if you are the boss, take advantage of that. Use your position to justify offering your old, banged up WR for your new collegiate hire’s healthy Running Back. Make sure to mention this trade face-to-face in the office, just to remind the poor first year exactly who you are, and that you are asking for something. Feel free to leave a business card on the newbie’s desk with a personal reminder of the proposed trade as well.
If you are a first year analyst, fight the powers that be! Don’t attempt to brown-nose the boss by accepting awful trades. Just because you took your boss’s RB who got injured and is no longer starting, does not mean that you are getting promoted anytime soon.
If you’ve drafted as well as I did and haven’t gotten fired because you’ve followed my advice, congratulations! You won your league and now is your time to gloat. Being in a work league does not take this right away from you. However, before you press ‘send’ on your very well written email tearing everyone else down, make sure that nothing in the email makes you an HR liability. Because you are champion, you earned your right to trash talk everyone else, which means you can go slightly beyond insulting draft picks and team performances. Still, keep personal jabs at a minimum – you still have to work with these schlups. I’d recommend calling people out for idiotic fantasy behaviors – i.e. forgetting to start a defense, or starting an injured player as a good way to add insult to the injury of having lost the league.