5 Office Survival Lessons from Office Space

Even though the cult classic Office Space was released over a decade ago, there are still many valuable lessons employees can take away from the movie and apply in their everyday lives. Though it isn’t the best idea to take down the company you work for or beat up a printer, Office Space really does teach us how to survive in the workplace.

Life is too short to work at a job you hate

We all remember how much Peter Gibbons hated his job—as he says in the film, “Every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.” Now Peter definitely HATES his job. Most of us don’t loathe our workplace with such intensity, but most of us will know what it is like to dislike where you work at some point in our lives. You may dislike your job, but there are probably some good moments as well. If you are looking to make a transition, don’t quit until you have a better job lined up. In the meantime, you can work at making your current job tolerable while you work to find a new one. The main takeaway here is not to let anger overrule your life; try to have a positive outlook until you can change your circumstances.

Your office environment can be changed

It’s true you won’t be able to sleep in all day and gut a fish on your desk like Peter did after he was hypnotized. However, you can make small changes in your office like moving to a different area (maybe closer to a window or if you are sitting next to someone you can’t get along with, request a move). You could also bring in pictures and things that remind you that you have a life outside the office that you love. You could also request to work flexible hours. You may not realize it, but employers can be more accommodating than you think. The key is to ask.

All you need is a great idea

The Jump to Conclusions Mat may not have been a million dollar idea, but the guy who invented the Pet Rock definitely made some money (as surprising as that is to most of us). If you have a great idea, put some work into it and get it done! Who knows? You could be the next Pet Rock guy. Don’t let everyday distractions get in the way. Fight for your ideas by taking action on them. You may not be inventing a product, but ideas for new services or work processes could change the company you work for and could eventually land you a promotion.

Be courageous

If it wasn’t for Peter’s straightforwardness in the film, he wouldn’t have gotten that promotion. Having the courage and confidence to be honest, he revealed the weakness of having so many bosses. He answered questions with honesty and confidence, which others like to see. It’s a bit exaggerated in the movie, but there is some truth to how confidence can inspire people to follow you. If you believe in yourself, others will as well.

Don’t avoid office conflicts

Poor Milton… His bosses decided not to address the problem and just stopped issuing paychecks, hoping he would get the idea that he was no longer employed. Avoiding conflicts is never the best solution. Whether you need to let someone go or you need to address an issue with a coworker, don’t sit back and assume that the problem will work itself out. Problems in the office don’t simply disappear and they will only get bigger if you choose to ignore them. Be upfront and honest when you run into conflicts and find the best possible solution.