As classic as the American dream, NBC’s workplace mockumentary The Office highlighted the day-to-day happenings of a small Scranton paper company. From countless conference room meetings and company Christmas parties to amusing pranks and touching love stories, it was hard to see how the members of Dunder Mifflin Scranton could ever get their work done.
Through every distraction, Dunder Mifflin Scranton continued to be the top-performing branch, and executives were stunned. When you look past the insanity that often occurred in the office each day (Michael burning his foot on a George Foreman grill, Ryan starting a fire by leaving his cheesy pita in the toaster too long), the team always managed to band together and get their work done.
Let’s take a look at some of the members of the office and evaluate their working styles to see exactly how that was possible.
At the start of the series, Jim is unmotivated and perhaps a little too laid back. His days are spent pulling pranks on Dwight and flirting with Pam at her desk. Jim gets along with almost everyone both in and outside of the office, making him an amicable salesman. He’s able to connect with his clients, coworkers, and eventually his boss.
At one point, Jim secures a huge sale for a potential client he’s been chasing for a while. Granted, he gets the sale by standing in front of his car and refusing to move until the potential client agrees to sign, but that’s some real commitment! Jim slowly but surely becomes motivated to do well and work hard when he marries Pam, is pushed by company incentives, and actually begins to get along with Dwight. Shockingly enough, they make a great team.
Dwight’s passion for his work and his eagerness to please his superiors are two excellent qualities that make him a leading salesman. One could argue that Dwight lacks the normal social graces, but that’s what makes him so endearing! Throughout the series, Dwight is always seen putting his nose to the grindstone to make sales. He’ll go above and beyond. Literally, if necessary.
Demonstrating his ability to team up with Jim, the pair close a sale by proving that Dunder Mifflin’s customer service is far better than one of the “big guys”. He calls said “big guy”, and waits on hold for some time before calling Dunder Mifflin and getting connected with Kelly immediately. Whether he’s Regional Manager, Assistant Regional Manager, or Assistant to the Regional Manager, Dwight is an innovative salesman with a desire for growth.
Pam Beasley is the perfect example of growing within one’s company. Starting out as a secretary, Pam can be identified by her signature greeting: “Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam”. At the start of the series, she seems a little lost and unhappy.
When Michael decides to break away from Dunder Mifflin to start his own company, Pam follows him. She’s desperate to do more with her work life and secures a position as a saleswoman at Michael’s company, eventually returning to Dunder Mifflin and becoming a saleswoman there.
When sales doesn’t quite work out for Pam, she adapts. She creates the title of Office Manager for herself, and through that gains an in-depth knowledge of budgets and cost constraints for the company. Pam reinvented herself through Dunder Mifflin, and was all the happier for it.
The Office: An American Workplace
What motivates these workers, you ask? I believe it is the love and loyalty they have for their wacky little company, and the people within it. Each member of the office is so much more than a coworker. Throughout the series, you see them grow into a tight-knit family. In the end, that’s what makes Dunder Mifflin Scranton the most successful branch. It allowed each worker to utilize their strengths, even if their weaknesses include putting office supplies in jello.