The reason The Office was so successful on TV, in my opinion, is because it mimicked the doldrums and banal grind that the average office worker experiences. I worked in a pharmacy when the show originally aired, but the jokes, pranks, and mind-numbing meetings were still a large part of my career. It was crazy how closely my life resembled the certain scenes, almost eerily so.
On the television show, Kevin is someone who is in a position which is ill-suited to his skills, and no one seems to know how he was hired. In my experience, I was the one who helped “Julia” (Names will be changed to protect the identity of the culprits) get hired. I was the supervisor at the time and was in on the hiring process with my manager. Julia seemed quiet and determined to learn quickly, but after two weeks of training her, she started harassing my best workers claiming that they were being mean. Once she was at the drop-off window of the pharmacy taking a prescription, and she put her foot on a shelf which caused it to collapse and disconnect three computers. My manager ran to the window to fix the problem and while Julia made a halfhearted attempt to fix the shelf, she called the manager names and then stormed out of the pharmacy. My boss had this crazy idea that it was his job to teach his workers how to be adults and refused to fire anyone. Julia stayed another month or so and to my great relief, she quit.
When you work in a field where there are a lot of women, there’s bound to be a pregnancy or two. My friend and coworker was going through her first pregnancy, and it was rough. It seemed at least once and hour she would vomit into the garbage can and then take it back to the dumpster. I don’t blame her at all, she was quite the trooper through the whole ordeal, but I have a hair-trigger gag reflex, and anytime I heard her heaving I had to walk away so I didn’t join her. Most women are through with morning sickness after the first few months, but “Sandy” was sick the entire nine months she was pregnant. If nothing else she made it crystal clear, I wanted nothing to do with procreation.
I adore my car, and I have an alarm on it which is hypersensitive. This means I feel safe, but when there’s a strong wind or a leaf falls on the hood the air is pierced by the terribly annoying alarm. When I started at my last pharmacy job, I armed the system and went into the building. I work at the far end of the office and if my alarm is activated, I can’t hear it, unfortunately the salesmen can. One day, one of the salesmen was giving a presentation to potential clients and unbeknownst to me my alarm had been going on and off for at least thirty minutes. When I went to lunch “Mark” came into the lunchroom and growled, “Is that your car alarm?” I hastily turned off the alarm after examining all four sides. It was embarrassing and ”Mike” never forgave me.
Andy always sings
The daily grind can be tedious and grueling if it isn’t punctuated by the silliness of singing, Andy always chose the latter and so did I. We didn’t have a radio in the pharmacy in the beginning, so the rare times the office was silent it was a little smothering. I have a wealth of songs memorized and when a coworker said something that was also the lyrics to a song, I would sing it back to them. It wasn’t long until I inspired my fellow workers to join me in a refrain or two. It lightened the tense moments and brought a smile to my face every time we sang an impromptu song.
Every company has a handbook that tells the employees how they expect them to behave. It’s usually a thick packet filled with phrases like leering, attitude, and conduct. I expected that when I moved from my warehouse job to the medical field, I would be in the presence of people who had higher standards for verbiage, tolerance, and a more professional attitude towards men and women working together in the same space. I was disappointed almost daily by one coworker who made it her mission to share at least one joke about flatulence per day. At that particular job, my supervisor pulled me aside one day and told me not to take anything that was said seriously, and that I would be “joking” with them about the same vulgar things soon.
You've been meatballed
What’s an office without pranks? My last office was located next to a pond and there was plenty of wildlife that made crept indoors without an invitation. This kept everyone on their toes when they walked through the warehouse or used the bathroom with one half-inch gap at the bottom. I’m not particularly squeamish when it comes to critters, but there are plenty of people who are, enter the plastic garden snake. I never knew who brought the fake snake to work, but it made the rounds fast. For one week solid the snake was coiled in desk drawers, in piles of paper, and in the most unusual places to give someone a heart attack.
I really miss watching fresh episodes of the office, it was funny to see my life reflected back to me through comedic glasses. I guess I’ll just have to find the humor by myself and keep on singing despite the irritated glances from my new coworkers, they’ll be joining me soon. Is your job like The Office? Let me know in a comment and please rate this article a thumbs up.