Office Space

cubicle

This weekend I watched the movie Office Space again. It’s been FOR.EV.ER since I’ve seen this parody about working in an office. The whole thing brought back memories of my old job. I shared with you about my time spent in the corporate world in this post here.

The characters in this movie are based on real people. They have to be because I had co-workers who acted just like them. Remember this line? Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays.

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We had that perky chick who sat up front and answered the phones. Everything was always ‘super’ and she dotted her I’s with hearts. I swear, if she knew that expression existed, she would have said it every Monday morning to the rest of us who trudged in counting the hours until Friday.

And we had all the techy-geeky programmer guys. They spent all day in their cubicles with their headphones on listening to alternative rock and their heads buried in their computers. Most of them had more than one computer in their area so they moved back and forth between them, working on who really knows what.

One of them drove me crazy every day. He sat in the cubicle right next to me and I could hear him banging on his keyboard all day long. And get this – he would email me when he had a question. Sometimes, I wouldn’t reply back and force him to talk to me. Come on, if you just rolled your chair back a few inches, you’ll see me and you can ask me your question like a normal human being does.

But you can’t say that kind of stuff. This is the corporate world. Everyone has to be politically correct or you’ll get written up and they’ll put a warning in your file.

Before I accepted my place in the land of cubicles, I worked in radio when everything was cool and real rock stars roamed the building. Everyone stood around in the halls and talked to each other. Happy Hour started at 4pm on Friday and the managers called it the “Employee Appreciation Party.” Some days, I was surprised we got anything done and stayed on the air. But things changed when the corporate machine came in and took over.

At the end, it turned into this dialogue from Office Space:

Peter: And here’s something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.

Bob: I beg your pardon?

Peter: Eight bosses.

Bob: Eight?

Peter: Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

That was me.

Truth is … I was close to getting fired. After a long series of events, I went rogue. I made a few non-approved decisions that pissed off a couple of my many managers. Not one to face a firing squad, I took off for my 10 day paid vacation time allowed in my contract.

When I returned, I met with the top manager in my department and turned in my keys and my letter of resignation. Our final conversation went a lot like this one from Office Space:

Bob: Looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately.

Peter: I wouldn’t say I’ve been *missing* it.

Photo credit: Joy in Cubeland

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51 thoughts on “Office Space

  1. Working in an office sucks, from telling you what to work to the whole carrot and sticks philosophy. I went very high in the office world and then just threw it all away, I was offered a huge pay rise to stay put, but 12 years on I know I made the right choice, it all just seems like a bloody bad dream now, a nightmare which I and would never advise anyone to step into.

    • Totally agree! I left tgat corporate world in 1999, started my own company and haven’t missed it one bit. I still feel stress but its not the same as I did with those 12 hour days. Good to meet another recovering corporate employee.

      • Yes good to meet you too. I can honestly say that I am well and truly over it. I went from senior management meetings with the big banks (corporate accounts manager) to driving dry cleaning around in a little white van, which was a real leveler, it was great, out in the sunshine and meeting real people, not cardboard cut outs.

      • Yeah, it’s a different world out there when you work for yourself. The longer I’m out there, the harder it would be to go back. And quite honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way :)

    • It was weird because it wasn’t the actual WORK that I didn’t like. It was the place with all those rules and the people with their corporate attitude. IF they just left me alone to do my job, who knows what would have happened?

  2. Ive never had to do the cubicle thing. Ive been really fortunate not to have to deal that way…there were other things but still. I don’t even understand “The Office” most episodes.

    • You’ve been very lucky to not have to go through that. I know some people who thrive in that world but I don’t see how they can do it all day, every week. I think more people eould work there if it was like an episode of The Office.

  3. Office Space is possibly one of the most relatable movies ever. I worked a total non-office job – grounds crew of a golf course – and still had a lot of these experiences. Especially the multiple bosses one. My supervisor, manager, staff senior to me, golf course general manager, the owner, golfers and the freaking beer cart girl all tried to boss me around. And I just cut grass all day!

    • That movie came out when I was working at my corporate job. I thought it was the funniest thing EVER and now that I’m gone, it still makes me laugh.

      WOW – all that and you just cut grass? And they wonder why people have such attitudes at work.

  4. Loved that movie – and found it so very true…. I have a very loud booming voice, cubicle life just isn’t for me, for that reason and so many more! Of course, there was the one time I was almost arrested at the office, but that’s a totally different story! :)

  5. Love love LOVE this! I JUST watched this movie, spread out over Monday and yesterday before work (just to alleviate some of the torment), so this is very timely…

    • They’ve been running it on HBO lately so I finally sat down to watch it. Sorry to hear that you needed to watch this just to go to your job. But at least got a good laugh.

  6. Managers who have managers to manage more managers is insane. I would never survive!! I love when they have meetings to discuss having a meeting to solve a problem discussed in another meeting….for the love of god I would be postal.

    • Yeah that’s what it was like. This part bugged me the most – we would have a problem, spend hours working through a solution, everyone would agree and then they’d say, we need to send to corporate in Atlanta to get their approval. What a waste of time. And what does Atlanta understand about what we’re dealing with here? It was so frustrating.

  7. Great last line. Talk about ironic. I was cleaning out our old video cabinet today and came across an Office Space DVD. I don’t know how we got it — I’ve never seen the movie. But I’m going to be sure to watch it now. It sounds hysterical.

  8. Great movie. And this kind of summed up the past couple weeks at my workplace. Lots of “corporate” stuff going on. Ugh.

    • Sorry to hear that your office is like this. Maybe you could quote some of these lines throughout the day to give you a good chuckle when everything is going crappy.

      • I unfortunately can relate to the eight bosses. But I’ll muddle through. And think of Ron Livingston. That’ll work.

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