Hopefully you’ve all seen Office Space. If not, you totally should. It’s about a guy’s soul-crushing job at an IT cubicle farm in Silicon Valley during the 90s, and feels almost like a live-action Dilbert series. Peter (the main character) spends most of his day staring at the walls of his pod, waiting for time to pass and trying to avoid as many of his six different bosses as possible. One of these, Lumbergh, is the embodiment of all that is dark and unholy in middle management. He is passive-aggressive, an incessant micromanager, completely without empathy, and spouts corporate talking points and catchphrases like they would ever have a place in normal human conversation.
I really didn’t think people talked like that.
A few weeks ago, at work, I was proven wrong. I was trying to solve a problem for a customer, and had gone up the chain since I wasn’t comfortable making a final call. While I was talking with them about the issue, one of the managers actually used one of the company’s catchphrases.
I was flabbergasted. Like I said, I thought people didn’t actually talk like that, that everyone thought these mission statements and what not were as corny and fake-sounding as me. But they went ahead and did it. Was there Kool-Aid involved?
The whole incident made me think of the scene in Office Space when Lumbergh calls a company-wide meeeting (probably near lunch or closing time) to unveil a giant new banner that says“IS THIS GOOD FOR THE COMPANY?”
Don’t worry, I haven’t followed in Peter’s footsteps and had a complete “I don’t care” meltdown/epiphany (yet). But yeah, the whole experience made me go “Bwuh?”