Lesson learned from The Office

Posted: March 5, 2008 in Blogging, blogroll, Finance For Youth, Jobs, Life, Working

One positive side of the recent writers’ strike is that I get to catch up on a few shows that were entertaining, but not quite enough for me to miss my regulars. Yesterday, I was watching a rerun of THE OFFICE (American Version) that struck me as an important lesson for young people.

There was an opening for a position in “Corporate” that Michael applied for. He was sure that his getting the job was a “lock”. Because he is a well-known idiot, a few of the other cast members also put in for the job. At the end of the show, the (former) temp Ryan gets the job for the sole reason that he had an MBA, in effect making him the boss over Michael.

Here’s the thing. While education is a great and wonderful thing, it is NOT a prerequisite to becoming successful. There are plenty of examples of people with no formal education who achieved great things. I’ve done well with nothing more than a high-school diploma. In fact, if my chosen career path didn’t REQUIRE a degree, I wouldn’t spend the money on getting one. My wife has an Associate’s Degree, but I don’t think she uses it in her job. As I said, we both do just fine.

I know a couple who are big into education. One is going to get a Master’s Degree, and the other is getting a Doctor’s degree in education. I like both of these people in a large sense, but they are really snobs individually. Each as made comments that were condescending towards people without the advanced degrees.

Here’s where the lesson comes in: Sometimes, you will get passed over for a promotion for someone who has a degree. Don’t dwell too much on it. Just for clarification, it is unfair, and it shouldn’t happen, but it does and it often will.

The second lesson here is about being nice to those who may not seem like they are anybody. Sometimes, these people will surprise you.

  1. sjean says:

    “At the end of the show, the (former) temp Ryan gets the job for the sole reason that he had an MBA, in effect making him the boss over Michael.”
    I mean, come on, do you realll think Michael had the “skills”? I wouldn’t say it was solely the MBA

    LOL, can’t believe I’m debating the Office.

    I think I’m missing your point, haha.

  2. Wil says:


    I can’t believe it either, and yet here we are:

    Of course I don’t think Michael would have been good at the job, although he did have several strengths.

    1. He was kind of hand-picked by the CFO
    2. He was a Regional Manager that had just survived the consolidation of two branches
    3. As the CFO said in the interview, he had survived that consolidation without sacrificing customers or profits.

    Whereas Ryan had JUST graduated, with no experience. He wasn’t even a good salesman (considering he was in sales, that is not a good thing). Additionally, he had given a presentation at school about how the business was destined for failure. It can be argued that one has to have faith and a belief in the company if they are going to lead effectively.

    On the serious side, my point was that there are going to be times when less qualified people will move ahead of those more qualified. Young people need to understand that or it will become a source of frustration in their careers. Of course, it could work on the other side, to their advantage, if they are the ones with the degree!

    Thanks for reading and for the comment!

  3. Wil says:



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