Here’s the thing about working for a living: no matter how much you love your job, sometimes you’re going to hate your job. It seems to be part of the deal. Fortunately, popular culture presents us with plenty of examples of offices that are worse than ours, even on our Monday-est of Mondays. Here are the top five fictional places where you’d never want to keep a cubicle.
1. Office Space
The granddaddy of horrible offices in TV and film, “Office Space” created a road map for every movie and TV show that followed. You could even argue that the American version of “The Office” owes something to this classic. There’s the Lumbergh, the psychotically boring management drone. Peter, the archetypal slacker who just wants to do nothing. Milton Waddums, separated from his beloved stapler and relegated to Storage B. And of course, poor, poor, Michael Bolton, whose name was just fine until he was 12 years old and that no talent ass-clown become famous and started winning Grammys.
2. The Office
If you were a real-life employee at “The Office,” you’d have plenty to complain about, starting with the fact that you’d be working at a paper company in the days when fax machines operate over email and even librarians carry Kindles. But nothing you deal with on a daily basis, not even Dwight Schrute, can compare with the exquisite embarrassment of watching fearless leader Michael Scott attempt to do his job. The combination of neediness, open-mic night caliber comedy stylings, and accidental racism make Michael the best (or is it worst) part of “The Office.”
3. The Devil Wears Prada
Ah, Miranda Priestly. The details of your incompetence do not interest her. She would like if you would continue to move at a glacial pace, as that thrills her. Find her the paper she had in her hand yesterday. Make reservations at that restaurant she went to that time with a designer you don’t know. Truly, the rest of the offices at Runway magazine could have been filled with Girl Scouts and singing nuns, and a few flings of her coat would still qualify this office as one of the most stressful ever filmed.
4. Horrible Bosses
How do you make a bad office movie a decade after “Office Space”? Triple the ante. This film offers not one, not two, but three terrible bosses, each awful in his or her own special way. There’s Jennifer Aniston, who sexually harasses and actually assaults her underlings. Colin Farrell, who wants to fire anyone he finds unappealing, because he’s seemingly blind to the fact that his combover is maybe not the best look. And Kevin Spacey, playing his patented Kevin Spacey brand business sociopath. If we lived in the world this movie was made in, we would definitely only take jobs that involved working from home.
What would be worse? Working for your Mom, if your Mom is played by Jessica Walter, or getting shot at in the office on a regular basis? If you answered, “Both are pretty bad, and also that sounds like an average day at the office for me,” then your name is probably Sterling Archer and you’re the star of this show.