Salary Survey Extra: A play on words or a crime against humanity?
Posted on
June 9, 2022

Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

What level of satisfaction do you take in a good pun?

Late night TV commentator John Oliver could probably find a lot of people willing to back up his assertion that, "Puns are not just the lowest form of wit, but the lowest form of human behavior." Then you have crime novelist Karin Slaughter, who once observed that, "I love puns. I've been known to turn the car around just to take advantage of a good pun situation."

Here at Certification Magazine we once used the headline "Hello from the Inside" on the cover of an issue about virtualization that happened to go to print right around the time that a certain ditty by British vocalist Adele was warbling in the collective consciousness, so you can probably guess where we stand.

Lots of people love a good pun. Lots of other people love to hate the very idea of puns. (There doesn't seem to be much of a middle ground between those two extremes.) Even those who disapprove of puns bitterly and tenaciously, however, will sometimes concede that a cleverly crafted or precisely timed or otherwise singularly artful pun has a certain beauty to it.

How much beauty? This is one of those times when we discovered a matter of consequence and decided to have our reliable body of Salary Survey respondents weigh in. In the goofy end-of-survey section where the questions are a little less buttoned down than "Which of these 900 certifications do you hold?" we asked our 2022 pool of certified IT professionals about puns.

To wit — as it were — we asked them to rate the degree of personal satisfaction brought on by executing a successful pun. Here's what we learned:

Q: Making a good pun is more satisfying than which of the following?

True love itself — 12.2 percent
Sending the last payment on your home mortgage — 9.5 percent
Sharing excellent food and good conversation with old friends — 11.8 percent
A perfectly pleasant first encounter with a beloved role model — 9.5 percent
A can of beans without a can opener or a spoon 13.2 percent
A poke in the eye with a sharp stick — 12.2 percent
Scientists have conclusively determined that there is no such thing as a good pun. — 7.7 percent
This entire topic is punacceptable. — 23.9 percent

We offered five answers that signal some degree of approval of wordplay and puns. The final three answer options are generally suggestive of a dim view taken of wordplay and puns. Given that 56.2 percent of those surveyed chose one of the five generally favorable options, it's arguable that, among certified IT professionals, puns are more popular than they are unpopular.

So if you like puns and you work in IT, well, you're probably in the majority. Of course, it's not an overwhelming majority. Maybe still take some time ask yourself "Is this the opportune moment?" before the next time that you crack wise at the morning standup.

Some puns are cheesier than a plate of nachos, and many of our respondents jumped at the low-hanging fruit in our orchard of answer options. No other option, in fact, rallied as much support as the Easy Cheese blowing off of our entire project. We'll assume that most of the people who don't like puns deemed this exercise (ahem) punacceptable.

(On the other hand, there may be some degree of nod-wink acknowledgement of our admittedly feeble wordplay represented there as well.)

Some of those we surveyed don't like puns, but would most likely prefer a pun to poke in the eye. The most committed pun naysayers are the ones who are like, "Don't even start with me about 'good' puns, they don't exist."

Interestingly, there are apparently a sizable number of people out there who do like puns, but don't like beans. (Or maybe they just like mildly opaque similes.) Paying off a home mortgage and/or personally encountering a beloved role model is a rare pleasure for most, so those people are definitely pun positive.

The pun true believers, however, are the ones who enjoy a good pun either more than true love itself or more than a delightful meal with good friends. That's commitment. You guys are welcome to show up at the next editorial meeting where we need a magazine headline.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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