MONDAY MOVIES: “Office Space”

I’ve been surprised lately by a number of people who have not seen “Office Space”. The scathing satire on corporate culture wasn’t initially a box office smash upon its release in 1999, but over time it has become a cult classic. I live by some of the lines in this movie — including, appropriately, “a case of the Mondays” — and it’s hard to imagine that not everyone has seen it.

A lot of what makes the movie so relatable is the myriad of managers and consultants who don’t seem to care at all about employee morale. They make people work in cramped, dark basements. They only care about TPS reports. They steal red staplers.

These people in the film are caricatures, but at heart is a sense that these bosses are only interested in results and not in developing leaders and hard workers.

“I have eight different bosses right now… 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.”

-Peter Gibbons, “Office Space”

Whether or not you’re a boss, you can learn from this movie. Think about how you talk to people, and think about how they receive your words. Think about what motivates you and others. And think about letting your co-worker just keep the red stapler!

office space

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