In a World of “Dwights,” Be a “Pam”
How many of you loved the show, The Office? I think that was one of the first TV shows I ever binge-watched. The comedy never fails, and the characters all represent at least one person you’ve met before (personally or professionally). I lament its departure from television all the time.
I stumbled upon this definitive guide to the personalities of The Office characters, and as I perused, I realized why this show was so enjoyable to watch. Virtually every character brings a different piece to the workplace puzzle. If the show’s creators had made everyone near carbon copies of each other, the show probably wouldn’t have made it past its pilot episode (if it even got to that point).
This got me thinking about office structures of which I’ve been a part. One of the first characters I often assign is a “Jim,” the lovable, witty jokester who keeps the office environment light and entertaining. Next is usually the “Dwight” of the office, aka the realist hellbent on climbing the corporate ladder and running the company, no matter who he has to push off on his (or her) way. To be honest, I’ve not ever had a boss quite like “Michael,” but then again, that’s probably a good thing…
I’ve also had a workplace or two that I wish could have gotten The Office treatment. I didn’t have a friendly ear to chat with over lunch. I didn’t have a cubicle buddy to swap quippy stories with. My boss drained the life from all of us lowly employees, rather than infusing our day with positivity and a smile.
Is that your office? Are you pulling into work every day with a pit of dread in your stomach?
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24 ESV
We don’t always have the blessing of working with the most desirable people, but remember who your ultimate Boss is. Lord willing, you won’t always be in that unfortunate work situation, but He has you there for a reason. Each day you arrive at your desk, take a moment to ask God to show you what He wants you to accomplish for His kingdom that day. Maybe your scowling, snippy boss is dealing with a very ill family member. Maybe the person making snide remarks about you missing another meeting because of your child’s doctor appointment is struggling to start a family. Maybe the office clown is secretly battling intense depression.
Whether she’s the most popular character or not, I argue that we should all strive to be our workplace’s “Pam.” Be present for every member of your workplace tribe, even if someone’s very presence sometimes makes your skin crawl. Offer to help when you see a need. Be kind in the face of adversity.
Am I saying you should just grin and bear it? Absolutely not. But trust that God will tell you when it’s time for you to move on from your less-than-ideal office. Until then, open your heart and mind to God’s will for you, and be ready and willing to step into whomever’s shoes He’s picked out for you. Some days, you might be a “Jim” to someone or a “Michael” to someone else. Play your part to the best of your ability until your series finale comes, then get ready for your next role in God’s grand plan for you.
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