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3 Life Lessons from The Office’s Michael Scott

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Although it’s been off TV for several years, I’m a huge fan of The Office. There’s no season and no episode of the show I don’t like. If you’re not familiar with it, the main character of the show – played by Steve Carell – is office manager Michael Scott, a man living and working in the city of Scranton, an ordinary town much of America could relate to.

But Michael Scott is quite memorable for so many reasons. If you need a good laugh and you’ve never seen The Office, I highly recommend it. While Carell’s character makes a lot of bad judgment calls that would never, ever fly in a real office setting, it amounts to be great TV comedy. His over-the-top antics, pranks, and personality all combine to make for a situation that could be potentially unbearable at work or maybe laughable, depending on who you are and how your personality is.

But looking at his character, stripping away the silliness and immaturity, there are three big good takeaways to his character. Takeaways that can be applied to your personal life or your professional life. Things about his character that are likable and that we can appreciate – lessons if you will.

Care. Care about others. Care about something.

The Michael Scott character is always caring. Sometimes –  a lot of times – too much. The places in which he displays his care are sometimes misplaced or inappropriate, but at his core, he is a kind, caring person. In his personal life, you can see Michael getting taken advantage of in relationships where he tries to make things work and it’s dysfunctional, or where he gets too serious too soon, but he really has a lot of love to give to someone. In his business life, you can see him pouring so much effort into nourishing relationships with his employees – again, at times crossing lines, but in the end, you can see he wants everyone to feel valued. While not everyone wants to plan a dorky karaoke night (like “The Dundees”), Michael knows that people matter.

Work hard. Be good at what you do.

Michael slacks off a lot – he goofs off, he leaves work for personal errands, and he wastes a lot of time. But, he’s also doing such a good job that his superior – David Wallace – meets with him just for the sole purpose of asking the question “How are you doing such an amazing job?” Despite Michael Scott’s antics, his results speak for themselves – he’s in the spot of leading the number one branch. So, as you go into your new year, ask yourself – do you enjoy what you do? Whatever you’re working hard at, do you like it? Do you want to work at it? If not, why not? And if those aren’t good answers, do you at least see a path for change? There’s dignity in all work, so why not feel pride in doing a good job?

At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what you are doing. Maybe you’re a housewife, a student, a janitor, a pastor, or a business person. Do you feel a sense of pride in what you do so that you can say you are succeeding, for whatever success would look like in that spot?

Own who you are.

Michael Scott isn’t cool and he knows it. But that’s part of what makes his character so endearing and why I love the show so much. You can see some of the loneliness that he feels of being so unique, some of the sense of isolation that can come with being highly creative, highly unusual, unlike other people. But ultimately, Michael wins. He wins with being successful in his career, with his strong relationships at work, and ultimately, even if you wouldn’t guess it… in love. So own who you are.

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