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How to not say, "I DECLARE BANKRUPTCY!"

This article will help you prevent yourself from saying these eternal words by Michael Scott.

The Office (US) is easily one of the greatest shows to be ever telecasted. Adapted from Ricky Gervais’ UK version with the same title, The Office ran from 2005 to 2013, spanning over 9 seasons. The show follows the journeys of the employees of Dunder Mifflin, a paper company based out of Scranton. This show is a mockumentary, and uses humour cleverly to portray complex emotions on screen.

The Scranton Branch of Dunder Mifflin is headed by Michael Scott. A man who wants his employees to be afraid of how much they love him- the conflict in the show often arises from the gimmicks of Michael. Despite Michael’s eccentric behaviour around the office, the Scranton Branch somehow always manages to be doing well, even through the financial crisis of 2008. Michael himself is unable to explain to his boss, David Wallace, the secret of his success.

Let us attempt at dissecting the business lessons we can learn from Michael Scott and The Office.

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

Diversify Your Portfolio

One must always have more than one source of income, so that one doesn’t become overtly reliant on one source. Diversification helps in bringing in more income as well as increases your risk-taking capacity. This is best seen through the character of Dwight Schrute, Dunder Mifflin’s top salesman. Dwight is the Assistant (to the) Regional Manager, and brings in the most sales each month. He is a top performer, and loves the company dearly; but that doesn’t stop him from diversifying his portfolio. He owns a beet farm, runs a bed and breakfast, and later in the show, buys the building that Dunder Mifflin rents.

Live Within Your Means

the office, usa

Michael Scott believes in being extravagant. He does things and makes purchases which he shouldn’t. Very early on in the series, we can see him buy a 3-bedroom condo, which he clearly can’t afford. In the latter seasons, he spends his 3 years’ salary on buying a wedding ring for Holly. These purchases make Michael’s expenditure unsustainable. We should learn from this, and always make a budget to plan out our incomes and expenditures. Provisions should be made for purchasing expensive items, like a house or a wedding ring.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

In order to be successful and rich, it is important to cash in on some opportunities in life, and take certain risks. Jim and Pam are married with 2 children, and lead a well-settled life- when Jim gets the opportunity of running a sports management company with his college friend. It was a very risky move, and was especially inconvenient to Pam since she had to look after the kids all by herself. But in the longer run, this move paid off. Darryl is also a character who takes risks and works his way up from the warehouse, to the office, and eventually joins Jim in his sports management company.

Think Before You Make Life Changing Decisions

the office, USA

While the idea of abandoning a boring job and pursuing your dreams sounds extremely romantic, one must carefully assess and evaluate these decisions. In the series, Andy abandons his job as the manager to go sail on his boat for a month. Eventually, he leaves his job to pursue an acting career. This proves to be a wrong move as things don’t work out for him. Even, Michael starts his own paper company after quitting Dunder Mifflin called Michael Scott Paper Company. He manages to sell the company off to Dunder Mifflin itself. This move later works out as he is re-hired, but in and of itself it was a dangerous move. This point can be perceived to be contrary to the 3rd point, but with any decision, you must both carefully assess it, as well as capitalize on its risk element.

Learn to Maintain a Work-Life Balance

As you climb up the corporate ladder, there will be more stress. There will be important decisions that you will have to make, and there will be tremendous responsibility on your shoulders. In such a scenario, it is vital for you to maintain a work-life balance to do away with the stress. In the Office, Ryan quickly climbs through the rank as a Temp at the Scranton branch to Michael’s boss. He’s unable to cope with the stress and becomes a drug addict. One should look and this and learn the importance of taking rest and preventing yourself from burning out.


Hence, if you learn from the many many mistakes of characters of The Office, you will be successfully able to find yourself to be almost financially secure. Or maybe not.


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