Monday, April 05, 2004

An associate just knocked on my door to tell me he rented the movie "Office Space" over the weekend and thought it was a realistic depiction of what life must be like "at a place where the work isn't as challenging or interesting as it is here." Come on, let's get serious.

I saw "Office Space" a few years ago. All I remember is that the Jennifer Aniston character worked in a TGIFriday's-like restaurant and had to wear 15 pieces of "flair" on her uniform -- buttons and other accessories that could get customers interested in talking to her and spending more money on fattening fried foods and overpriced watered-down drinks. I mention the 15 pieces of flair every year when I do interviewer training here for the associates who'll be interviewing law students. I tell them that here, they each get one piece of "flair." They can -- and should -- put one thing in their office that indicates some sort of outside interest. Partly to show the students that outside interests are tolerated and even encouraged here, and partly to give us a check on which students have nothing else to talk about. If a student does four interviews and I find out he mentioned the "flair" in each office, this is not a student passionate enough about the work we do. Setting traps for law students is just one of the reasons I love my job.

Every year I distribute a list of appropriate and inappropriate items of "flair" for the associates to place in their offices. Condoms -- or any birth control devices at all -- are inappropriate. Books are always an excellent choice. One of my favorite associates has a Sandy Koufax biography in his office that he's never read. He told me the response he gave once when someone asked about it. I thought it was great: "Oh, that book? Someone got it for me as a present. I haven't had time to read it yet. But I figured I'd keep in the office, because odds are the only chance I'll have to read it is if there's a blackout. And if there's a blackout, odds are I'll be in the office when it happens."

Oh how I love this movie, let me count the ways:

1. I work in a call center, and if anyone knows call center life, it is basically the same exact thing as working for Inetech...

2. I actually had a boss who looked exactly like Lumbergh, from the glasses to the hair to the white collar and cuffs set against a colored dress shirt with suspenders. He didn't talk like Lumbergh, but I have used his phrases in everyday life at work.

3. I have compared my department to Milton as our role continues to change and we get moved all around the building, at one point actually working in a storage room that was cleared out so we could be there!!

4. The Bobs!

5. Milton Waddams!!

Milton Waddams: Excuse me? Excuse me, senor? May I speak to you please? I asked for a mai tai, and they brought me a pina colada, and I said no salt, NO salt on the margarita, but it had salt on it, big grains of salt, floating in the glass...
Mexican Waiter: Lo siento mucho, senor.
[Under his breath]
Mexican Waiter: Pinche gringo.
Milton Waddams: [as the waiter walks away] And yes, I won't be leaving a tip, 'cause I could... I could shut this place down. Sir? I'll take my traveler's checks to a competing resort. I could write a letter to your nation's board of tourism and I could have this place condemned. I could put... I could put... strychnine in the guacamole. There was salt on the glass, BIG grains of salt.

6. Wishing I could live my life by Peter's motto after he was stuck in hypnosis.

Peter Gibbons: Michael, I did nothing. I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything I thought it could be.

7. The fact that they actually made a red Swingline stapler because of the demand after this movie became a cult favorite.

Milton Waddams: Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler...

8. My work motto...

Peter Gibbons: Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about about mission statements.

9. A commonly qouted line at work and with friends...

Drew: I'm thinking about taking that new chick from Logistics. If things go right I might be showing her my O-face. You know: Oh. Oh.

10. Those damn copiers and fax machines that never work!!!
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