Do you know Milton Waddams? Squirrely guy, mumbles a lot?
Well you should. That wonderful little arsonist made every scene he was in, and since our theme this week is “Office Idiosyncrasies” (i.e quirks), we figured we should take a look at the quirkiest guy we could think of and delve in to see what life lessons we can learn from the character/prophet Milton. Also, we love any excuse to throw pop culture into our posts whenever we can.
Find joy in the little things.
If there is one thing you can say about Milton, it’s that he figured out how to enjoy life where he could. The film pretty clearly establishes that working in this office is not enjoyable, and the poor guy couldn’t even listen to the radio even though Lumbergh told him he could between the hours of nine and eleven while collating. But everyday he was able to look out the window near his tiny felt prison cubicle and see the squirrels. And they were married.
Doesn’t that just swell your heart up with joy? It is almost impossible to stifle an audible “aaaaawwwwwwww…”
But then they moved his desk, and now he had no way of following the lives and times of the squirrel family. Was there a bundle of joy on the way? Did one of them get that big promotion at work? Is the boss going to come over and some sort of whacky situation will take place and at the end we all learn a lesson about family pride? We hope so, but poor Milton will never know now that his desk moved. So, really, we should be thankful for everything that we have, even if it isn’t much. Maybe your computer at work isn’t great or your cubicle mate is annoying; at least there isn’t trash on your desk.
Make sure everyone who wants a piece of cake, gets a piece of cake.
There aren’t very many things that can get an entire office together in one place, but a surefire way to bring the team together is a birthday. Because birthdays mean cake, and there isn’t a person alive who doesn’t like cake.
But what if there isn’t enough to go around? What if the ratio of people to cake is too big? If there’s a lesson to be taken out of this scene, it is to always make sure there is enough cake. Always. Even if you buy too much cake, we are willing to bet dollars to donuts, or slices of cake, that someone in the office will come back for seconds.
Moving past the cake issue, it also shows that you should try to involve everyone in the office when you can. It is good for morale to get everyone together so they all know each other and work well together. Otherwise people get lost in the shuffle and there is nothing more dehumanizing than feeling like yet another unknown soldier fighting in the corporate world. So please, when organizing a birthday party make sure that you have enough dessert to go around.
Don’t push people too far
There isn’t much keeping a man like Milton sane. He lost his squirrels, his desk, his radio, and he isn’t getting paid. As the proverbial red cherry on the top of his terrible Sundae of sadness, poverty and isolation, they also take his red Swingline stapler.
Can you blame the guy for deciding to burn down the building? Well… yeah a little. Maybe a lot.
But if we can look beyond the arson, he does show that everyone has their breaking point and, more often than not, a lot of major office conflict has some underlying story behind it. When you are working in close proximity to the same group of people day in and out, it is easy to get annoyed at their little quirks or habits. But sometimes you just have to let them have their Stapler, or iPod, or pen that they constantly click over and over again all day.
Chances are you have your own little quirk or mumble that gets on people’s nerves. So try and get along, connect with people in the office, and for the love of God let them keep outdated office equipment if they want to.