It’s Valentine’s Day! We all know the greatest love story of ALL TIME is Michael and Holly from NBC’s, The Office. When Michael Scott finally met his perfect match (Holly, not Jan) I couldn’t have been happier for him (except I hated him at the same time for leaving Dunder Mifflin). Although Michael Scott is no longer a part of The Office, he left a legacy of lessons in both business and life that I will never forget.
In less than a month, I’ll be leaving WrightIMC to embark on a new adventure in New Jersey. So, I wanted to illustrate what I’ve learned from both Michael Scott and WrightIMC in my time here.
Turn Negatives into Positives
When Michael hit Meredith with his car, causing her to go the hospital, he was somehow able to turn it into a positive. Because Michael sent Meredith to the hospital, she was forced to get blood drawn which showed she was positive for rabies. Without that blood test, Meredith would’ve been hit with a full-blown case of the rabies. So, in the end, Michael saved her life.
While some (most) may say moving to New Jersey is a negative, I’m choosing to look at it in a positive light. Yeah, I may be moving to the land of mobsters and “waste management” but that just means, if Brandon does me wrong, I know how to “take care of it.” Just kidding … Ahem.
Anyway, WrightIMC takes negatives and turns them into positives for clients all the time. You sort of have to when you work with clients that are in unfavorable industries or when something huge happens in your client’s industry – like Lance Armstrong getting sued for doping.
Know When to Keep your Door Closed
This lesson doesn’t seem that important, but I can see where it would be vital to your humility. After Michael hit Meredith with his car, leading her to realize she had rabies, Michael put together the “Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure.” Whew, that’s a mouthful – that’s what she said. Before the race started, Michael decided to get dressed for the run in his office. Unfortunately, Pam walked in on him while he was changing (he said “come in”) and she saw … too much of Michael.
In a somewhat similar situation at WrightIMC, Tim Wagner did the RIGHT thing by announcing to the whole office that he would be changing in the office, to which Lan Nguyen responded appropriately:
It’s a good idea to always let it be known if you’re going to be doing something out of the ordinary in your office. This way, you don’t come out looking like the weird person that you probably really are. In fact, I’ve made it a point to announce to the room if I accidentally find myself on an inappropriate website. When you’re link building using certain tools, it’s bound to happen, so I figure, why not announce it to the room? That way, if someone walks by they won’t think you did it on purpose, because you NEVER do!
The Internet is there to Help You with your Creative Process, so let it Flow
Michael uses the Internet to find information, but not always in the best way:
“Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you are getting the best possible information.”
Although I laughed at this, I recently tried to submit an article to Wikipedia and it’s actually a lot harder than you’d think.
One of the great things about working at an online marketing agency is that you see all the funny YouTube videos before everyone else. This is because anytime someone at WrightIMC discovers something worth sharing, they do. Sometimes I feel like a YouTube snob because I have to tell people I’ve already seen that video … six months ago. For instance, with a more recent video I had to explain to too many people, “I’m over Sweet Brown … ain’t nobody got time for that.” There’s also an endless supply of animated GIFs to use in any situation. That’s part of what I love about working at WrightIMC – we don’t always respond to emails with words. For instance, when I told everyone I was moving to New Jersey, Courtney Cox replied with this:
Thank you, Courtney, I will.
Michael may want to be everybody’s friend (except Toby’s) and Tim Wagner taught me that he’s not totally wrong. Although managers should not aim to please everyone, they should make their employees’ priorities their priorities in order to learn how to motivate them. It’s better explained in Tim’s blog post, Your Advertising Career Hinges on Your Ability to Empathize.
Learn from your co-workers
Unless you’re born with the skills you need in business (or life), we all have to start somewhere. It was Michael Scott that told Jim to “never, ever ever give up.” That simple advice helped Jim gain the courage to show Pam how he really felt about her. While it didn’t happen right away, Jim and Pam went on to become the second greatest love story of all time, after Michael and Holly of course.
Learning from your co-workers is a great place to start, especially when you work at a diverse place like WrightIMC. For instance, I started as an intern at WrightIMC – I didn’t even know how to build a link (I lied in my interview), but I had great trainers. Minh Nguyen gave me a great piece of advice soon after I started, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” I’ve been faking it ever since.
I’ve learned plenty of other lessons from my co-workers too:
- Tim Wagner taught me that even middle-aged white men can, in fact, dance (well, sort of).
- Ryan Bayron taught me that not all homeschooled kids are socially awkward (but they are all weird).
- Sarah Hodge taught me that even when you’re facing a huge obstacle, you can push through it and still have a smile on your face.
- Lan Nguyen taught me the proper way to eat Ramen – with chop sticks. Who can eat noodles with chopsticks?
- Someone, who will remain nameless, taught me that it’s never a good idea to get drunk at an office party.
Business is Personal
Michael Scott may be considered a clueless manager to some people, but he’s actually a great salesman. Why? Because he knows his clients on a personal level. He makes a point of knowing his clients, what they enjoy doing, and their children’s names. In fact, Michael was able to use his knowledge of their personal lives to his advantage when he stole some of Dunder Mifflin’s clients and got them to switch to Michael Scott’s Paper Company.
In a recent meeting on client services, Tony told us to take an interest in our clients’ personal lives. He suggested that we call them on their birthdays and learn their kids’ names and interests. While this seems like something small, it can make a world of difference.
The last, and possibly most important lesson I’ve learned from Michael Scott and WrightIMC alike, is to have fun. Michael certainly promotes having fun at the office and the employees take advantage of his appreciation of having a good time. Pam and Jim play a prank on Dwight in nearly every episode; the whole office participated in the “Office Olympics”; and Michael brought everyone together to make his incredible movie debut in Michael Scarn.
At WrightIMC, we have fun nearly every day. We joke around with everyone – owners and interns alike. We have dart gun wars and silly competitions between bullpens. Needless to say, there’s never a dull moment here, except during reporting week – those are never fun.
You have to work practically your whole life, so you might as well enjoy it. If you find ways to love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. That’s exactly what I did at WrightIMC. Before I had a 9-5 job, I didn’t know what to expect. My dad told me The Office is pretty close to what a real-life working environment would be like … that may be why my dad works from home. While my experience at WrightIMC hasn’t been exactly like The Office, it has been quite an adventure. I’ve learned so much from everyone here at WrightIMC. Every day was filled with hard work, fun, and at some times inappropriate moments.
I’ll never forget my first “office job.” I only hope the rest can measure up.
Thanks for the memories.