What we can learn from our workplace doppelgangers: as told by recent sitcoms

Let’s face it, we all act (at least slightly) different in the workplace than we do outside of it. Our workplace “persona” often has implications for our reputation, work and career path.

Since self-awareness is important for both personal and professional growth, recognizing our personality traits and their associated strengths and weaknesses is a useful exercise in self-reflection.

What better way to explore the subject matter – and keep with a subtle but recurring theme for our blog – than through some of our favorite sitcoms.

In all their  “mockumentary”  glory, here’s a quick look at the most prominent characters from Arrested Development, 30 Rock and The Office, and what we can learn from their (exaggerated but empathetic) antics.

The Martyr

the martyr

The Character: Effective and driven but smug and self-righteous, they hold high standards that coworkers can rarely meet.

Might be you if: You can’t let down your family even though they don’t respect you, you won’t take off work after having surgery despite your doctor’s advice, you choose to stay at a job where everyone (save your love interest) is a psychopath.

You are: Michael Bluth / Liz Lemon / Pam Beesly

Recommendation: Give yourself (and others) a break from time to time, but don’t forget to keep your eye on the prize.

The Newcomer

the newcomer

The Character: Chalk it up to youth, personality or inexperience, they are eager and energetic, but lack the presence to effectively assert their opinions.

Might be you if: You wouldn’t borrow a chair from the company you own, you unrequitedly consider your coworkers to be friends, you are not coy when you have a crush on a coworker.

You are: George Michael Bluth / Kenneth Parcell / Erin Hannon

Recommendation: Read up on the industry at hand, fake it until you make it when it comes to confidence and trust your instincts.

The Empty Suit

empty suit

The Character: Confident and assertive, but lacking the substance to merit such behavior, they are capable of great leadership when given the right materials to work with.

Might be you if: You assume you deserve more responsibility due to a formality, you name drop your college instead of presenting actual achievements, you are Will Arnett.

You are: GOB Bluth, Devon Banks, Andy Bernard

Recommendation: Work on your self awareness, use confidence to your advantage and don’t be afraid to learn from others.

The Wild Card

wild card

The Character: They are always seeking new opportunities and skills, but are less predictable on accomplishing day-to-day tasks.

Might be you if: You are constantly changing your charity pursuits, one day you’re the class clown and the next you’re committed to winning the industry’s highest awards, you don’t understand what’s appropriate for dress-down Fridays.

You are: Lindsay Bluth / Tracy Jordan / Meredith Palmer

Recommendation: Pay greater attention to the task at hand and you might find that the idea of staying in one place becomes more and more palatable.

The Boss

the boss

The Character: They run the show. Whether they’re an industry veteran or an everyman with a strong hustle, they call the shots. That is, until the SEC fires up their police boats. (They have boats?)

Might be you if: You have committed light treason through your business affairs, you put on a tuxedo every night by 6pm, you want people to be scared by how much they love you.

You Are: George Bluth Sr. / Jack Donaghy / Michael Scott

Recommendation: Ensuring that those below you truly respect you is key. Without a good team even the boss can find himself/herself in a precarious situation.

The Forgettable Face

forgettable face

The Character: Nobody ever remembers their name despite their well-intentioned contributions due to their mild-mannered ways.

Might be you if: Nobody gets your name quite right, your career has been on the decline since you lost your hair, you are derided by your boss for doing your job.

You are: Ann Veal, Pete Hornberger, Toby Flenderson

Recommendation: Remember: haters gonna hate. Don’t let the negativity affect your dedication to your values, although you may benefit from being open to other perspectives.

The Cool Kid

cool kid

The Character: They can get away with things nobody else can, have a large social media following and are always on the pulse of what others are thinking.

Might be you if: You can successfully navigate a job typically held by people twice your age, you are eager to leverage your personal connections to make things happen, you frequently make incredulous faces in response to your coworkers’ antics

You Are: Maeby Fünke, Kaylie Hooper, Jim Halpert

Recommendation: Learn to balance creativity and professionalism for the best results.

So which are you? What can you improve? Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone.

Check out other great content on workplace best practices, issues in communications and finance and even some TV references on our blog.


This post was written for Paragon PR by Geena De Rose.

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