How to cope with a job you don’t like, ‘Office Space’ style

Do you live for your weekends? Do you feel like you can barely make it to Friday afternoon so that you can enjoy life? Do you work the night shift, and you look so forward to your days off that your energy is zapped as you trudge through the dreary daily grind? If any of these examples rings true, then this essay is for you. If you think “work sucks,” then let’s talk about ways you can live your life like every day is a day off, just like the main character, Peter Gibbons, does in the 1999 flick Office Space. [Side note: If you haven’t watched Office Space, then it’s time to do so, my friend. That movie is hilarious.] The main theme of Office Space is about enjoying life despite a terrible job, and how to go about doing that. Here are a few life lessons I learned from Office Space–lessons that taught me ways to live every day like it’s a day off: Remember there’s a space beyond your office In Office Space, Peter Gibbons takes down the cubicle wall that’s blocking the window to the outdoors. If that’s not a possibility for you, take a brief walk outside on your lunch break to get some fresh-air time. You’ll be amazed at the possibilities if you give yourself some sunshine and space to think. Spend time with people you care about Peter and his love interest, Joanna, played by Jennifer Anniston, get together and watch kung fu. Say you’re at work, and you enjoy talking to your co-worker Sally. Well, make sure to give her a call or stop by her office and chat, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Talk to a colleague about that new Game of Thrones episode, or introduce yourself to the new secretary. Compliment your co-workers on her cute dress, or his sharp tie. Finding people you care about in the office, and spending time with them, will brighten your day, cheer your mood, and make your work day go much faster. Practice gratitude about the little things Find the little things in the office that make you happy, and do one of those things every day. Start a gratitude journal so you can spend time thinking about what you’re grateful for. Take a break from your usual and try out that new Indian restaurant for lunch on Tuesday. Do some stretches in your chair at work. Play Candy Crush on your phone during your 15-minute break at work. Order delivery for you and your office mate. Don’t agonize too long over your mistakes In fact, the whole theme in Office Space is centered around this: lighten up! I know, you’re probably a perfectionist, and you can’t stand it when you make a mistake. I can be pretty hard on myself, too, and that usually causes me misery and gets me nowhere. Forgive yourself for mistakes. Find the humor in things. Tell a joke at work. Share a (clean) joke with colleagues via email. Dress down on Fridays. Listen to some music on your iPhone while you work. Go out of your way to show some compassion In Office Space, poor Milton is a character who is mistreated one too many times. For example, his precious stapler is stolen, his office location is moved again and again (ultimately to the cockroach-infested basement), and rather than broaching the subject of dismissal, HR simply stops paying him. What happens? Well, I don’t want to spoil the whole movie for you. My point is that we humans need to spend more time just being nice to each other. Say “hi” to that shy new girl in accounting. Offer to hold the door open when someone is carrying lots of bags in from her car. Don’t steal someone’s favorite stapler. A little kindness can go a long way. At the very end of the movie for is the awesome act of kindness Peter does for Milton — it’ll make you feel all tingly. Figure out if you just need to move on Peter’s love interest, Joanna, is a waitress who’s struggling to fit in with her supervisor’s expectations. No matter how hard she tries, she doesn’t measure up and she hates her job. The life lesson here is that sometimes finding a new job is the best answer. You need to ask yourself if you’re willing to change yourself for the job, and if you’re not, then maybe it’s time to quit and change jobs instead, like Joanna does in the movie. So when you get back to the office, try one of these ideas. See if you can enjoy Mondays as much as you do Saturdays. Pretend it’s just another day, and do something you like, spend time with people you like, and live in the moment. You might be surprised at how easy (and enjoyable) it can be. Jenny Campbell loves, loves, loves writing. She and her hubby enjoy hiking in their home state of Colorado. She also loves animals (especially Chihuahuas), watching movies, and sleeping in. Some of her work can also be found on You can follow her on Twitter @y_jencampbell19. [Image ]