“The Office” Is Closing, But Its Job Lessons Live On

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Thursday nights may never be the same after both 30 Rock and now The Office are no more.  Sadly, unlike Tina Fey’s show, The Office faded with a whimper. Michael Scott left, and the remaining characters became shells of what they once were.

Still, in its finer moments, The Office was one of the funniest, most influential shows on TV. Modern Family and Parks and Recreation (among others) replicated its“mockumentary” style. Michael’s signature cringe-inducing awkward comedy became commonplace with shows like Nathan For You and every Paul Rudd movie in the last 5 years.

And now, The Office influences one final place: our video of the week. Let’s look at the lessons the members of this typical American workplace can teach us about our professional lives.

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Michael Scott

This comes from one of my favorite episodes in the series (season two’s The Client). Michael appears to be blowing a new account, but over the course of the day, we realize that he’s doing the opposite. By schmoozing the client, Michael wins the account and shows that he is actually a good salesman.

Michael’s unending need for approval defined his time on the show—and usually made him the butt of jokes. More than anything, though, Michael’s ability to connect and succeed with clients came from that desire. He wanted people to like him, and ultimately, you should too. You can have the the best experience and résumé of a job candidate, but if you’re a jerk, no one will want to work with you.

In my job search, I want to be professional and seem like a person you’d like to share an Awesome Blossom with (with extra awesome).

Dwight Schrute

Oh, Dwight. Crazy, crazy Dwight.

There are certainly things to learn from him. He works hard. He knows things about bears.

This clip shows one of his failings. He attacks job interviews in typical Dwight fashion. It’s easy to point out the mistakes he makes. (A résumé longer than one page, and it includes “trivia”? Answering “tell me about yourself” with the word “jackhammer”?) However, it may harder to figure out where you could improve in interviews.

That’s why it’s important to think about how your interviews went after you have them—especially if you don’t get the job. If you can, reach out to hiring managers for feedback. By knowing how to improve, maybe you can end up with your dream job in the end (just like Dwight did).

Jim Halpert

Jim spends his fair share of time pranking Dwight, and we loved him for it.

His major lesson, though, comes from the odometer in his car. In season 3, “Big Tuna” relocated to Stamford to find open waters for his career. When the branches merged, he came back to Scranton. This season, he’s been going to Philly for his new biz.

When looking for a job, or once you have one, be like Jim: open to a move. It may not be what you’re looking for, but it may actually get you to where you should be all along (in Jim’s case, with Pam). I’ll move if I have to, as many of my friends’ successes have come by packing up and heading out.

Pam Beasley (She’ll Always Be “Fancy New Beasley” To Me)

Pam was engaged to Roy for 3 years (not quite 5) until her love for Jim took over, and they lived happily ever after. (Or so we’ll assume, having not yet seen tonight’s finale.)

The lesson here is simple: If you have a better option, don’t get too comfortable that you can’t realize it. I don’t mean in your romantic life (although that’s probably not bad advice). I mean that once you get that first job, don’t just settle in for good. If a better opportunity arises, recognize that it may be time to move on.

Remember, you can always go bigger. (And … now we’re all thinking this.)

What did you learn from The Office? Share with us!

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