Who Wanted to Be a Millionaire?

December 03, 2009 2 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: From Dunder Mifflin’s corporate perspective, likely $0, though it might find itself having to defend claims that it should be liable for Michael’s tuition promise. Michael on the other hand . . . but you can’t get blood from a turnip, right?

Just how long has Michael Scott been wreaking havoc on the greater Scranton area? From this episode of The Office, Scott’s Tots, we learn that he’s been at it for at least 10 years, when he promised a group of third graders — Scott’s Tots — that he would pay their college tuition should they graduate from high school. Oh those heady days of 1999, when Michael thought he’d be a millionaire by age 30, 40 at the latest. Well, it’s 2009 now and the chickens have come home to roost. In a series of cringe-inducing scenes, Michael tries to avoid facing the music at all, then reluctantly comes clean, but only after letting the kids sing his praises.

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Small Favors

June 25, 2009 2 COMMENTS

Thank goodness for small favors!  With The Office on summer break, we didn’t have to face Thursday night with trepidation, fearing that Michael would, in his affable way, fling impertinent comments about the Iranian election crisis around for all to hear. We are probably not the only ones breathing a sigh of relief either. After all, nearly every company is home to employees who feel uncomfortable when in the midst of insulting and derogatory comments. It is hard to imagine who they are at Dunder Mifflin, but it’s not all that unusual to not know who is privately offended. In a raucous or excessively jovial work environment, people often don’t express their discomfort at off-color jokes and quips.

Allowing culturally insensitive banter in the workplace not only is likely to alienate some employees, but it also may even give rise to a hostile work environment claim if allowed to continue unchecked. Dunder Mifflin could sure benefit from some well-designed diversity training, not to mention supervisor training.

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Spotting Your Michaels (and Dwights)

June 12, 2009 2 COMMENTS

After watching last night’s repeat of The Office, I decided that some of my clients’ stories this week were more titillating. That’s what she said. (Couldn’t resist.)

The theme of calls that I got this week almost made me feel like I was on the show. I looked for cameras (and Ashton and Howie) more than a few times. It started bright and early Monday morning. At my client’s business office, a supervisor started teasing his subordinate about her weight. He told her that the economy had not gotten in the way of her eating, that there were kids in whole counties that go without that she could feed if she skipped a meal, etc. Michael, is that you?

Tuesday and Wednesday were even better (of course, just from a “I can’t believe this train wreck is happening” perspective). A different client’s regional manager (yes, regional manager) called a lunch meeting to boost morale. He noted that purpose in his email. At the lunch, he began making fun of people. He poked fun at their physical appearances, their ethnicities, and their poor work ethic. He wasn’t random about it; the folks he was joking about were being laid off — that week. Better: His boss was at the lunch. And, he laughed and laughed. Michael? David (but without judgment)?

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