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Friday, August 9, 2013
Career Advice to Learn from Dunder Mifflin
For eight years the Dunder Mifflin gang from “The Office” made us laugh as characters like the annoying Dwight and the crabby Stanley and the inept Michael interacted and make us think about our own cast of characters in our office.
Still, despite their follies and fights, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from this fictional workplace that can be applied to our own careers, especially when it comes to collaboration.
A bad message is a bad message. No matter how many times you may repeat something you believe to be clever or insightful or funny, if members of the team don’t react positively to it, you need to move on. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to communicate with someone who is stuck on a message that doesn’t resonate. If you get the kind of reactions that these workers give Michael to “that’s what she said,” then that’s your first clue you need to become a better communicator. If colleagues tune you out, then you can bet they won’t be open to your ideas or input in the future. Such lack of cooperation can lead to you missing out on promotions, big projects or even jeopardize your job.
Build rapport with integrity. Office politics are a reality of life, but too many people fall into the trap of believing that dishing the dirt is a way to build rapport. If you rely on insulting someone or portraying them in a less-than-flattering light as a way to “be part of the conversation” as Michael says in this clip, you’re way off base. Michael notes that he loves the way “eyes light up” when he shares juicy tidbits, and “it’s wonderful to be the center of attention.” But collaboration (read more here)