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9 Fun things to do at work that won't get you fired

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Cut loose without losing your paycheck

You've worked hard to make it to this point in your career, no doubt. Don't forget, though, that you can have a little bit of harmless fun while on the clock.

According to the National Career Development Association, laughing and smiling in the workplace is a best practice for career satisfaction and longevity. Not sure how to infuse some mirth into your daily grind? Start with these no-risk ideas.

1. Wear a costume to work

Who says you have to wait for Halloween to come to work as a superhero? OK, you'll need to be cautious about your office culture — but we can guarantee that there's no harm in wearing a sparkly green shamrock shirt on St. Patrick's Day or a horrifying light-up ugly Christmas sweater to a casual company holiday party. (Rusty Zipper, $80)

2. Display jokester signage

A tongue-in-cheek office sign never hurt anyone. Above your paper shredder, for instance, tape a picture of a heavy metal guitarist with the word "Shred" emblazoned across the sign. Need more ideas? Check out these hysterical printables.

3. Playfully prank someone with sticky notes

There are many variations on the sticky note prank. The idea is simply that you coat a co-worker's cubicle with row upon row of sticky notes for a fun morning surprise when she walks into the office. Alternatively, you can layer pictures of cats, flamingos or even David Hasselhoff on her walls or computer monitor.

4. Turn into a basketball star

Hang a miniature basketball hoop over your trash can so you can playfully toss crumpled paper where it belongs. Feeling especially passive aggressive? Tape a sign above the hoop that says, "Ideas." (Amazon, $5)

5. Institute potluck Fridays

And we don't just mean "bring in your family's discarded leftovers" day. Make it fun and lively by choosing holiday themes, cultural themes or any other potluck theme that strikes your fancy.

6. Hang a dapper humor board

Unfortunately, we know that your office is full of real-life Office Space characters who are constantly saying annoying things like, "Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays!" That's OK. There are probably some gems in your office, too. Invite them out of their shells by hanging a humor board, on which your co-workers can pin favorite quotes, jokes and even pictures.

7. Sing in the office bathroom

Repeat after me: Don't be an office hummer, whistler or singer. Just say no. But all bets are off when you go on potty break, so feel free to hum or sing a bathroom-appropriate song to give meaning to your task.

8. Bring your pet to work

If your office allows you to bring your dog to work, pause for a moment to relish the fact that you're one of the lucky few with a cool boss. But if dogs are a no-no, ask about bringing in another rad animal, like a chinchilla, sugar glider or — if all else fails — a Betta fish.

9. Plan a two-minute exercise break

Step away from your mousepad. Researchers have found that just a two-minute exercise break every hour can cut your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Don't just stroll to the water cooler, though. Grab a friend (figuratively) and do a few jumping jacks, push-ups or dance moves to get your blood pumping for two minutes each hour.

More about your career

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