The movie Office Space was made in 1999, yet, nearly two decades later, the film is as relevant to cube dwellers as ever. Although writer Mike Judge should be commended for so astutely tapping into the cultural zeitgeist, it’s a sad commentary that many American workers can readily identify with the office attitudes of Initech, even all these years later.
Although attitudes within the workplace are changing and more companies are embracing true work-life balance for employees, it’s still an uphill battle. Some offices insist that already overworked employees put in extra hours on weekends. It’s demoralizing for many to be “on call” for employers who show little appreciation for staff and don’t give them the opportunity to decompress and spend time with family.
For this reason, many people can identify with Office Space movie characters including Peter Gibbons, a programmer at the software company Initech, who gets fed up with the oppressive atmosphere of his job and stages a covert rebellion with some of his soon-to-be-fired cohorts. Or perhaps you’ve encountered a benign office presence like the hapless, stapler-loving Milton—that guy who never gets a piece of cake at office get-togethers and mumbles an argument for his right to listen to music at work.
Although no one wants to work in an office environment like Initech, there’s a lot that Office Space can do to motivate you to seek a better employment opportunity and appreciate a welcoming office culture once you find a new and better job.
Not sure if your office culture is healthy for your stress levels and workplace state of mind? Take our Office Space Employee Satisfaction Quiz! Read through our quiz based on memorable Office Space scenes and count how many times you respond with a Bill Lundberg-esque “Umm… Yeah” to each. (Come on! It’s the definitive Office Space movie quote, for Pete’s sake!) Tally up your “yes” answers at the end and see if your workplace is a good fit for you…or if you’re waiting for the day when the Bobs show up to “restructure” your company.
- Have you ever been subjected to an office-orchestrated holiday (like Hawaiian Shirt Day) as part of a futile effort to make the endless onslaught of unnecessary meetings and quaint memos pertaining to a need for increased productivity seem slightly more palatable?
- It’s 4:45p.m. on a Friday. Are you crouched beneath your desk or hiding in a supply closet to dodge your boss’s request that you come in on Saturday?
- Have any of your co-workers blatantly “borrowed” items from your desk and failed to return them? (Pour a little out for your beloved red Swingline stapler.)
- Does your office have equipment so faulty that you and your co-workers have been tempted to take it out into a field and go to town on it with a baseball bat?
- Has someone in your office uttered, with a complete and total lack of irony, that “Somebody’s got a case of the Mondays”?
- Do you have eight different bosses? (Okay, maybe not eight but three or more bosses?)
- Do you think about burning down your office building (when no one’s in it!) a few times each week?
- Does your office “view” consist of either a sad, grey cubicle wall or the inside of a dank storage closet packed with office cleaning supplies?
- Does your typical day at work sound something like this: Come in 15 minutes late, space out for about an hour, then get down to the oh-so-stimulating tasks of reviewing TPS reports (or something mind-numbingly similar)?
- Have you seen hard-working colleagues get canned after an impromptu “restructuring” session?
1-3 Ummm Yeaaaahs
Congratulations! Your office environment is open-minded and dynamic. You likely work in an office that values work-life balance and frowns upon working through the weekend. Added bonus, you probably have an office manager who makes sure everyone gets a piece of cake during co-worker birthday celebrations.
Well, it’s not the best office environment, but it’s a steady paycheck, right? Maybe your boss(es) don’t bother to pronounce your name correctly. Or perhaps you catch flack for wearing the bare minimum amount of flair. In either case, it could be worse… but it could also be a lot better, too. If you feel your workplace environment could be better, gather together a few co-workers and try to meet with management to air grievances and present more effective solutions to common problems.
7-10 Umm… Yeaaahs
It’s a miracle you haven’t quit your job. (Or just stopped going to the office.) Not to jump to conclusions, but what’s keeping you at your job? Polish up that resume, grab your red stapler, and find a position and an office that makes you happier. There is more to life than putting the right cover on TPS reports.