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The Languages of "The Office"

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the talk-amongst-yourselves dept.

Businesses 147

Venkat Rao has followed up his analysis of office dynamics as reflected in The Office, which we discussed last month, with one titled Posturetalk, Powertalk, Babytalk and Gametalk. The Office is running a little thin of meaty examples to make his points in delineating the ways of PowerTalk — the language of the Sociopaths — so Rao reaches out to Goodfellas, Wall Street, The Boiler Room, and Making Jack Falcone. The entire analysis illuminates and is illuminated by a diagram of the disparate languages that Sociopaths, the Clueless, and Losers speak to each other and among themselves.

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Hear me out! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087338)

So I have a theory that I would like to outline for you all. Constantly on this site you hear someone get labeled as an M$ $hill! because they make a statement that is favorably or isn't damning of Microsoft. But why would M$ waste it's money buying people to shill for them when it would be so obviously seen through? I propose that instead that the real M$ $hills are the people who claim to be pro-FLOSS but do their best to make the rest of us free software supporters look stupid and extremely fundamentalist so we can be easily written off as extremists. This way, M$ and other proprietary software companies have an easy target to point their customers to when they make their biased sales pitches against free softare OSes like Linux in favor of their proprietary offerings.

Tell the Guild (4, Informative)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087770)

This article is about the sociological maladjustment of screenwriters.

It has nothing to do with real dynamics, or actual language used by anybody.

Re:Tell the Guild (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087948)

Actually, the article is pure junk. There's no such thing as "Sociopathic PowerTalk" outside of what this guy writes. BTW, he really needs to lay off the bong if he thinks "The Office" means anything in "real life". Same as the people who think wresting isn't faked.

Re:Tell the Guild (3, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088438)

I'm not so sure. For one, I'm probably reading this slightly differently because the most I've watched The Office is during previews of reruns on an off channel interjected into Simpson's shows, so the character names mean nothing to me.

My career so far fits his stereotypical loser: due to my autism, I'm unable to make the low-work, high value deals of the sociopaths. Due to my idiot-savancy, I'm too smart to do any more than the minimum necessary. So I'm certainly usually in "wait out the clock mode" except for the few times a week somebody brings me an interesting problem and I jump into clueless mode enough for them to keep me around. (usually- doesn't always work and I've been both first and last laid off in downturns).

Despite my brilliant ideas, I do speak in something very like his Gamespeak, in that I view economics as a problem in Game theory. Due to that, I seem to run into mental blocks talking to sociopaths; the biggest two are their belief that *hard work=success* vs my belief in luck, combined with their belief in infinite resources available vs my belief in a finite world bordered such to create a zero sum game.

Due to that, we're talking different languages so much that the black line on this guy's diagram represents an utter lack of communication.

Re:Hear me out! (2, Funny)

nexxuz (895394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087802)

Shhhhh..... Big Brother Balmer does not like to hear things like that! *sigh* I guess we'll have to do another ritual sacrificial to set things right again.

GET THE NEW INTERN READY GUYS!

Re:Hear me out! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087882)

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Hear me out! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30088022)

Apparently I was too close to truth for some of the M$ $hills to handle.

Incomplete analysis (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087370)

What about clueless loser sociopaths? How do we^H^Hthey communicate? Or do they just use all of these different "languages" to talk to themselves?

Re:Incomplete analysis (2, Funny)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088468)

Somebody who is all three is either schizophrenic or has multiple personality disorder- in which case they'd speak the language that best fits their current personality in that relationship.

I say this because the clueless stereotype and the sociopath stereotype in the description are mutually exclusive; the first is honorable and goes beyond the call of duty without motivation or recompense, the second you can't get out of bed without offering a six digit salary.

The losers are the people somewhere in the middle.

Re:Incomplete analysis (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30090282)

I say this because the clueless stereotype and the sociopath stereotype in the description are mutually exclusive; the first is honorable and goes beyond the call of duty without motivation or recompense, the second you can't get out of bed without offering a six digit salary.

You seem to have confused altruistic with clueless. Of course, a sociopath would likely consider an altruistic person to be clueless.

Re:Incomplete analysis (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30090832)

You seem to have confused altruistic with clueless. Of course, a sociopath would likely consider an altruistic person to be clueless.
 
Not my definitions, but if you read the author's two main pages, that is EXACTLY right. The only difference between the clueless person and the loser person is altruism.

Re:Incomplete analysis (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091890)

What about clueless loser sociopaths? How do we^H^Hthey communicate? Or do they just use all of these different "languages" to talk to themselves?

They burn down the building. Duh...

Let me get this straight (5, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087410)

Didn't read TFA - just skimmed it a bit, but let me get this straight, some guy has analysized a bunch of fake conversations (that were created by the various shows' writers) in order to produce an explanation of real world office dynamics?

Do I have that right?

Re:Let me get this straight (3, Informative)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087446)

Yes, you have it right. I made it about half way through the article before my eyes glazed over. I wonder what category the author puts himself in.

Re:Let me get this straight (3, Funny)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087618)

Idunno. What kind of a sociopath divides the entire world into the "clueless", the "losers", and the "sociopaths"?

Re:Let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087804)

the entire BUSINESS world.

and it's originally from a gapingvoid comic: http://gapingvoid.com/

Re:Let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30088194)

Yeah. Everbody knows there are only dicks, pussies and assholes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RNgaxKfyZU

Re:Let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30088216)

I'm a clueless sociopathic loser, you insensitive clod!

Re:Let me get this straight (3, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088516)

Idunno. What kind of a sociopath divides the entire world into the "clueless", the "losers", and the "sociopaths"?

Clearly the kind who is a clueless loser...

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30090060)

Seriously. If those are the only three topics, how do you classify someone who is successful and an agreeable person?

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088418)

... some guy has analysized a bunch of fake conversations (that were created by the various shows' writers) in order to produce an explanation of real world office dynamics?

I wonder what category the author puts himself in.

A.I. researcher.

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087520)

Yeah. The original article was profound bullshit, and I imagine this one is too.

Re:Let me get this straight (4, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087878)

but... is the The Office [bbc.co.uk] , or the US version?

The original was unbelievably true to dysfunctional form. I Everyone I know says "yeah, I used to work for a guy like that". that's mainly what made it so popular. The US version... well, I believe they altered it to make it fit the US culture, mini series format, product placement and got a pit of writers in to add some jokes and make it run for half a dozen series. I'm sure the joke wore thin after the 1st.

Re:Let me get this straight (4, Informative)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088482)

Actually, the US version fits US Business even better- and if that scares you, well, it should.

Re:Let me get this straight (3, Interesting)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088526)

Mod parent up. The UK version is a real observation of life, much like The Royle Family, and its accuracy is what makes those shows great.

Someone once said to me: "Steve Carell tries to be funny. Ricky Gervais acts like a guy trying to be funny".

Re:Let me get this straight (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30090862)

>>>I believe they altered it to make it fit the US culture, mini series format, product placement and got a pit of writers in to add some jokes and make it run for half a dozen series.
>>>

What the heck are you talking about? You're probably correct about the "writers" aspect (that's how TV is done here - group writing), but it's definitely not a "mini-series". It's the standard 20-22 episodes per year that virtually all U.S. television shows follow. A U.S. miniseries is typically 3-4 episodes and then done.

Re:Let me get this straight (4, Insightful)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088084)

I know, right? It's almost as if he were pretending that the conversations in The Office were like, extreme examples of the things that people do, in fact, run into every day in office situations and then using them as exemplars, and that he also thought maybe more people have seen The Office than would be privy to the goings on at McManus, Kinsey & Schmidt Box & Container Manufacturers. What kind of insanity as this?

It would have been MUCH better if he used really tame or low-key examples from some office in the middle of Podunk, Iowa that nobody has ever heard of, because that would just work so much better for an article intended for a nation/world-wide audience. EVERYONE knows how Jeanne in Accounts Payable is like this while Frank in Customer Service is like THAT. Cause that stuff is REAL, yo.

Gotta keep it real.

Does it also bug you that people study literature or historical accounts which may very well be somewhat fictionalized/idealized portrayals of real events, and attempt to use them to understand human interaction?

Down with capitalist barbarity! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087414)

For international socialist revolution! Workers to power!

Re:Down with capitalist barbarity! (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088502)

Not as long as the sociopaths exist, buddy!

The Office - movie or TV show? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087420)

The site in TFA is slashdotted. Are we talking movie ("do you have your TPC report") or TV ("hey Pam, come and work for the Michael Scott paper company")

Re:The Office - movie or TV show? (1)

Whalou (721698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087480)

He should have gotten a server farm instead of a ribbon farm.

Re:The Office - movie or TV show? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087498)

The movie is Office Space, not the Office.

Re:The Office - movie or TV show? (1, Funny)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087578)

The movie is "Office Space", you retard.

(yeah, Powertalk!)

Re:The Office - movie or TV show? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087704)

well, yes, I *AM* an idiot, but that's why I posted as Anonymous Coward when I'm unsure of things like that

Re:The Office - movie or TV show? (2, Informative)

nexxuz (895394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087880)

And it's "TPS Report"

Just an FYI

This is crap. (1, Troll)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087430)

Seriously. Why the hell is this on Slashdot AT ALL much less on the front page? Even in whatever field this is attempting to masquerade, this isn't even craptastic. It's just crap.

Re:This is crap. (0, Offtopic)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087450)

kdawson hasn't found any FUD articles to post yet so he's scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Re:This is crap. (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087928)

Anything related to "The Office" is immediately beholden to all geeks, everywhere, for all time. Just look at how many Wikipedia articles are dedicated to minutia from The Office, and compare that to say Particle Physics or FOSS, and the answer becomes clear: The Office is today's 'Geek Thing you have to love' just like Science Fiction or board games, both of which have very little to do with present day computer science or IT.

Re:This is crap. (0)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088534)

And the silly thing is, I resemble that remark, even though I've never seen the office- the stereotype of The Loser fits my career to a T, just as the stereotype of the Sociopath fits every entrepreneur I've ever known.

Oh yes, I've known quite a few of the clueless as well, but most of them have been stop-lossed overseas in the last 10 years.

Re:This is crap. (2, Insightful)

flydpnkrtn (114575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088650)

Wow, nice subtle dig at the military there... if that's what you were going for... Personally I'm proud to have served those 5 years, and I'm going to college full time for free... in fact I actually make a little bit of money off the GI Bill

Re:This is crap. (0, Troll)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30089314)

Proud of your blood money?

Re:This is crap. (3, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30089552)

Not meant to be a dig at the military- if anything, I have great respect for those willing to go above and beyond the "bare necessity" that I do.

In fact, I'd say that the country *owes* a full retirement to anybody who has ever been in combat- that "little bit of money off the GI Bill" is an example of the sociopaths politicians disrespecting the value of your service. The reason this stereotype calls you clueless is because you don't realize just how little they gave you in return for you risking your life.

But they're definitely an example of the "clueless"- because that's what the clueless do; risk their lives in return for a "little bit of money off the GI Bill".

Re:This is crap. (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091338)

But they're definitely an example of the "clueless"- because that's what the clueless do; risk their lives in return for a "little bit of money off the GI Bill".

That assumes your desire was to maximize material possessions. One of the many reasons so many people in the military are admirable are they do know it's a ripoff, profit-wise. It's more altruistic than quid pro quo.

Re:This is crap. (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091526)

That assumes your desire was to maximize material possessions.
 
Which of course is the desire of the sociopath. And in fact the whole point of "The Office" and the working world to begin with.
 
  One of the many reasons so many people in the military are admirable are they do know it's a ripoff, profit-wise. It's more altruistic than quid pro quo.
 
EXACTLY- and altruism in the system from the article (and by the way, an entire branch of economics, the Austrian school of thought), is the very definition of cluelessness. It's because these people are altruistic that they are considered clueless.

Re:This is crap. (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091790)

That "little bit of money of the GI Bill" is on *top* of full tuition being paid for, including books and living allowance.

It's actually a pretty decent deal. It's what my roommate is doing right now as well.

It also includes a good health plan for life (for himself and four children he pays half of what I pay for just myself, and doesn't lose it if he switches jobs).

There's also some pretty attractive terms for home purchase in there as well.

It could, and probably should, be better, but it's not a total "screw you" to those who've served anymore.

Re:This is crap. (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088492)

kdawson

Re:This is crap. (0)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30089610)

i have to agree with you on this, i think these types of stories should be allowed to vote on and never allow that person to post again

not sure I totally agree with what he says (4, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087500)

There's certainly layers of nuance and meaning that can get heaped onto human communication. As an aspie geek, it's very easy for me to get what was literally said and completely blow past the subtext. "What's wrong?" "Nothing." "Ok! I'll be on my way." Nooo, that's the nothing that means there's something and I'm supposed to fish.

However, the author really starts heaping on the layers of meaning in his examples. It reminds me of the conference scenes from Dune where whole conversations are intuited from the lifting of an eyebrow. "I knew it, he knew it, he knew I knew he knew it, but he didn't realize I knew he knew I knew he knew it. The twitching of my pinkie finger drew his attention away from my own eyebrow thus concealing my knowledge." Puts me in mind of great bits of comedy where sophisticated and devious characters are speaking obliquely around a topic of great significance, doing so in such a way that they soon realize they're not entirely sure if they're both having the same conversation.

Re:not sure I totally agree with what he says (2)

thickdiick (1663057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087710)

Nooo, that's the nothing that means there's something and I'm supposed to fish.

A real man says whats on his mind. He also doesn't fish. If someone is afraid to speak their mind, they are lower status than you, and should be ignored. Do not feel guilty about being a real man.

Re:not sure I totally agree with what he says (3, Informative)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087776)

And just like he did, you entirely missed the underlying meaning. The other party in that not-so-hypothetical conversation isn't a real man, precisely because that other party is female.

Re:not sure I totally agree with what he says (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088008)

"What's wrong?" "Nothing." "Ok! I'll be on my way." Nooo, that's the nothing that means there's something and I'm supposed to fish.

Bazinga!

Re:not sure I totally agree with what he says (2, Interesting)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088190)

The thing is, there really IS a whole lot of stuff to human interactions. Not quite as absurd as portrayed by that bit of Dune, but it can be psychotically nuanced, especially in situations where people have (internal) goals that are often in conflict (i.e. "tell your boss to fuck off" vs. "I need to keep this job" vs. "I don't want to be hassled" vs. "I don't want to be a doormat" vs. "I don't want my co-workers to think I'm unstable/unreliable" vs. "I don't want them to think I'm a pushover, either" etc.)

Most of the time, these levels don't matter much - it isn't like we're diplomats handling intricate protocol, the proper execution & understanding of which keeps the fate of nations in the balance. If you fail to ask a sighing, moping acquaintance what "nothing" means, the worst that will happen is your sighing, moping acquaintance will mope off to someone else to fish for sympathy, you know?

In the article, it felt like he was using extreme exemplars to really highlight the ideas he was talking about. It's often easier to use really SUPER over the top examples than it is to use more subtle ones, when talking about interactions.

Re:not sure I totally agree with what he says (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30088210)

The coworker has integrated non-lexical elements into the language and you have not.

Imagine if you were talking to a computer program that took each of your words and interpreted each word according to the first definition that appears in the dictionary for that word. So, you tell the program, "I feel well," and the program interprets "well" as a well that you fetch water from. The program understands you lexically, but not contextually. The program is using a subset of the language that you are using. For the program, "fishing" would be analyzing the context of the conversation to determine the meaning of each word.

Now, you are to your coworker as the program was to you. In the reply to your question, "Nothing" means the opposite of nothing, which is indicated by gestures or inflection. You are using a subset of the coworker's language that does not include these nonverbal elements.

Re:not sure I totally agree with what he says (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088690)

I believe that the grandparent is aware of this ... just as he is aware that he has trouble noticing those non-verbal signals and recognizing their meaning.

Re: The Languages of "The Office" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087612)

You mean COBOL [wikipedia.org] ?

Don't watch the telly, it will melt your mind. Kill your TV.

i hope everyone realizes (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087624)

that these stereotypes of behavior are aspects of everyone's personality, including yours

i would have hoped that people would have realized thinking about the world in this cliquish way went out of fashion in high school. simply because you realized in high school (or should have realized) that people aren't cartoonish cardboard cut-outs of one dimensional behavior

show me someone who is supposedly dead center for being, say, the "sociopath", and i'll show you their empathetic qualities. now also show me someone who is supposedly far removed from being the "sociopath" and i'll show you the sociopathic side to their personality

it makes for good television, but real people are a lot more complex than this derivative reductionist thinking that sells people short. its entertaining, but in real life, its brutalizing to your social interaction

thinking about people this way only hurts you, in the end, by hobbling you with a poor model of human thinking and interaction. such that you reduce the richness of your own social experience up front before you even have a chance, because your mentality has overly simplified the people around you. you sell them short, and in turn, you only wind up selling yourself short

in other words, you've become the source of the problem: i would call a person who uses these stereotypes as a way of thinking about people around them the only truly one-dimensional stereotype that has a ring of truth: "the feckless tool"

Re:i hope everyone realizes (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30088114)

I too once thought as you do. Then I met WAY more people than I ever wanted to. These sterotypes *DO* exist. They even strive to live up to the expectation of the sterotype. They are actually proud of the 'highs' and 'lows' of each one. They embrace it.

Are they totaly 1 dimensional? No. But they do not stray far from it. I can think of at least 5 people I have met (out of hundreds) that exhibit 1 dimensional behavior.

They do exist. Some have learned to hide it as they know what they do is somehow 'wrong'. Most people are a bit more well rounded though.

Also what you see on tv/movies is usually the exaggerated version. Why? Because it gives the show a focus.

"Then I met WAY more people than I ever wanted to" (1, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088470)

so you've had 5 minute conversations with a bunch of people you didn't really want to talk to. and based on that, you think this permits you to give them heavy condemning labels

no one is one dimensional

but if you still want to make the case that someone out there is one dimensional, i nominate you, based on the shallowness of what you've just written

Re:i hope everyone realizes (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088552)

that these stereotypes of behavior are aspects of everyone's personality, including yours

Ditto for the Simpsons, and Family Guy and several other shows that are ridiculously more insightful into the human condition than The Office.

Re:i hope everyone realizes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30088600)

a rant against generalizations on /. -- so typical

Re:i hope everyone realizes (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088634)

True enough, as far as it goes. But these three stereotypes are mutually exclusive when it comes to the cut-down face we show at work in our careers, and eventually, one of the three will take over your career and there is NOTHING you can do about it.

Re:i hope everyone realizes (2, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088762)

2nd response: the reason there's nothing you can do about it.

The skills it takes to be a sociopath, be clueless, be a loser (and I think the original author must be a sociopath for choosing these labels) in the workplace are so mutually exclusive that one can't possibly be good at all three.

The sociopath is the ultimate salesman- his aim is to get the most reward for the least effort. I disagree with the author that he's the guy making the organization work despite itself- he's more a parasite on everybody else's work. But like all good parasites, he's always looking for an opportunity.

The clueless is the most honorable person in the office- they'll give you the shirt off their back, and they're on 100% of the time. Too bad they're usually on a task set by a sociopath or worse yet, doing something they don't understand.

The loser is the guy who can't make a good deal to save his life, and he knows it. Because of that, he does the minimum necessary- but he does do the necessary. He's the guy with technical skills who keeps your computer running, the guy with plumbing skills who keeps the water flowing in the bathroom. If he was paid what he was truly worth to the company, there would be no profit left for the shareholders, so they hire sociopaths instead to make sure he isn't paid too much.

Yes, all three of these are aspects of everybody's personality- but the skills to maintain them in the workforce are vastly different. So different that the further away you get from college, the more you'll be pigeonholed by others into one of these three categories. And there's not a damned thing you can do about it, because your talents are what they are and you can't change them.

Re:i hope everyone realizes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30089124)

If [the "loser"] was paid what he was truly worth to the company, there would be no profit left for the shareholders

That, by definition, is impossible. A worker's worth to a company lies in the fact that they're supposed to make more profit by having him. Even employees who don't directly generate revenue (IT, cleaning crews, etc) are (in theory) increasing profit by holding down costs that would otherwise be much greater than their own salaries. There can never be someone who's paid what he's "really" worth yet leaves no profit for the shareholders.

Re:i hope everyone realizes (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30089600)

That, by definition, is impossible. A worker's worth to a company lies in the fact that they're supposed to make more profit by having him.
 
And yet alternate examples like the Mondragon Cooperative exist.
 
  Even employees who don't directly generate revenue (IT, cleaning crews, etc) are (in theory) increasing profit by holding down costs that would otherwise be much greater than their own salaries. There can never be someone who's paid what he's "really" worth yet leaves no profit for the shareholders.
 
True under the standard corporation. The answer, of course is to make the worker a shareholder- a cooperative rather than a corporation.

Re:i hope everyone realizes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30089278)

Quit looking at my personality.

kdawson is an idiot. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087630)

Seriously, is it just me or is kdawson worthless?

Re:kdawson is an idiot. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087644)

It's not just you. kdawson is the worst editor since Katz.

Re:kdawson is an idiot. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087682)

Seriously, is it just me or is kdawson worthless?

No, it's not just you. You're both worthless.

Stereotypes are a real timesaver (1)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087672)

I can't be bothered to read the entire article before saying this.

I don't claim to not stereotype at all - it's an outgroup homogenity bias that all of us have built into us. But I've learnt not to classify people into categories, rather assign qualities to each person I meet instead. I find that a much more natural order of thought in my head, but almost useless to compare notes with.

At least this way my vocabulary-of-people is more like words instead of just individual alphabets (yeah, you sound like an ... alpha-male).

Re:Stereotypes are a real timesaver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30089126)

[...] I've learnt not to classify people into categories, rather assign qualities to each person I meet instead. I find that a much more natural order of thought in my head, but almost useless to compare notes with.

Uh... this is the same thing. "X has quality Y" is just another way of saying "X is a member of the set of things with quality Y". If Y is the kind of quality we notice in people, chances are that the set of all things with Y is a recognizable category.

Just sayin'...

American version Office, or the real one? (1, Flamebait)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087678)

Seriously, if you're going to post this drivel, at least acknowledge the superiority of Ricky Gervais' version. I'm an American, and even I resent it when people assume that "The Office" is synonymous with the Greg Daniels version.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087740)

Look, I don't really care which one is better, but one is certainly more relevant. And that's the one that is currently on the air and has produced seven times more episodes.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30088096)

Just because there's a lot of crap, doesn't make it good.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30089444)

Regardless of whether it's crap, if there's a lot of it, it makes it relevant. See: Pop stars.

P.S. I do think The US Office is funny.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (1)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30089460)

Just because there's a lot of crap, doesn't make it good.

Funny mod?

Don't see it.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087836)

Seriously, if you're going to post this drivel, at least acknowledge the superiority of Ricky Gervais' version. I'm an American, and even I resent it when people assume that "The Office" is synonymous with the Greg Daniels version.

Too true. NBC can screw anything up. I'm also always reminded of NBC's version of "Coupling". NBC had a hit show with "Friends" (I didn't particularly like it, but you have to admit it was hugely popular). The BBC looks at it, says "Let's make a knockoff" and they make "Coupling". NBC sees "Coupling" and says "What a great idea". They buy (!) the rights to make an American version of "Coupling" (which, remember, was a rip-off of their own show) and make a pile of what everyone everywhere agrees is absolute shit. So basically, NBC can't even rip themselves off without screwing it up somehow.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087844)

I think you need to realize they're referring to the Japanese version, which Gervais acknowledged inspired HIS version. You know, the true original version.

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/clips/digital-short-the-japanese-office/252558/

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30088058)

There's a reason for that. You're in America, where the Ricky Gervais' version isn't widely aired.

Combine that with it's lack of character depth and you have a largely unmemorable series.

The Greg Daniel's version has significantly more drama and storyline, which is why it's more popular in the 'States.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30088182)

Yes, how outrageous, Americans assuming that "The Office" means the version shown on American television.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (1)

blogan (84463) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088284)

We'll just refer to the one that lasted more than 2 seasons.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30088444)

We'll just refer to the one that lasted more than 2 seasons.

See, that's the difference between the Brits and Americans. The Brits know when to end something good. They could easily have made tons more series/seasons of the BBC Office, but they know that it's better to end things on a high note instead of Jumping the Shark (a largely American phenomenon, BTW). So the British series was brief, but every single episode is good. Whereas the American show is in what, their 6th season (of 20 something episodes per season)? And the last few seasons of that have been very disappointing (from what I've seen). But they'll continue to run the show into the ground (and then some just to make sure it's truly dead). Then finally they'll just cancel it mid-season during it's 10th or 11th year because nobody cares or watches anymore. So I'd say that "lasted more than 2 seasons" isn't the right way to be looking at things.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (5, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088662)

I have two words for you: "Dr. Who"

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (1)

Kryis (947024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088508)

It only "lasted" 2 seasons because the writers felt they would just be redoing the same thing over again if they did any more, instead of milking it for another 20 seasons until everyone got fed up with it. Instead of running the series in to the ground, they stopped while the idea was still funny.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30088426)

American here, watch both:
I think Greg's office has better casting, production, and is more relate able to me. It's a painful hack though when compared to its inspiration.
Ricky's office is in some ways better acted and certainly more inspired by a long shot. But it really suffers from the BBC 'old brown camera syndrome' where everything looks old, dirty, and cheap.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (2, Insightful)

Kryis (947024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088696)

The "old, dirty and cheap" effect is actually a fairly accurate representation of what it looks / feels like to live and work in Slough, where the UK version of the office is based.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088442)

I think to appeal to the nAmerican wit, they had to cram 2 seasons worth of material into 7. Both are hilarious. I think the original offends nAmerican sensibilities because it is too unforgiving.

I hope he doesn't do an nAmerican version of Extras; it was tuned to perfection, and does a great job of lampooning the way The Office had to be tamed for general consumption.

Re:American version Office, or the real one? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30089952)

The American version does have its moments, but they're very diluted. And it's nowhere NEAR as brutally hilarious or apologetically black as the original. Thanks to it being on network TV, there can never be a moment as laugh-out-loud, jaw-droppingly funny as David Brent yelling "I think there's been a rape up there!" in the middle of that training session.

/. in full effect (1)

splatter (39844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087816)

Can we get a mirror. The entire domain has been /.'ed to hell

Writers never worked in a real office (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30087916)

The Office and other Workplace fiction are written by people who have never worked in a real world workplace, or if they have it was merely as a stopping point for them.

Thus they don't know a thing about it...but...they're creating an entertaining fiction. To acurately reproduce workplace interaction would be very boring TV. So they're doing what they need to do...but there's no reason to try and interpret that dialogue as if it were real.

Re:Writers never worked in a real office (1)

Acer500 (846698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088596)

I haven't watched any of these fictions, but offices can be wildly entertaining :) - there IS a lot going on, especially the more bureaucratic ones - probably startups aren 't this way, but as I've worked in the financial industry, it is quite odd (I guess it's a function of more free time :) )

Re:Writers never worked in a real office (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091214)

The Office and other Workplace fiction are written by people who have never worked in a real world workplace, or if they have it was merely as a stopping point for them.

The studio is real world.

The Pixar feature will have a budget of $180 million. It will be four years in production and employ 400 people. That is as real as it gets.

Writers often work in teams.

Ideally every story problem - every legal and technical and budgetary problem - will be solved before you go into production.

It doesn't always work out that way.

Production credits are important in this business. They define the market value of your work. Your right to residuals.

If you are as touchy and driven as Harlan Ellison you will be spending much of your professional life in court.

Re:Writers never worked in a real office (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091734)

Thus they don't know a thing about it...but...they're creating an entertaining fiction. To acurately reproduce workplace interaction would be very boring TV. So they're doing what they need to do...but there's no reason to try and interpret that dialogue as if it were real.

I wouldn't agree with that, The Office (the UK version at least, not the US sitcom), is a pretty accurate reproduction of a work place. Ricky Gervais wouldn't have been able to write that unless he had experience of such a place.

The dialogue is as realistic as anywhere I've ever worked, and it captures the ennui of a dead-end workplace to perfection.

Sarcasm (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30087972)

It has been a way for powerless losers to get back at uppity assholes. Doesn't work quite so well with group-think delivery, though.

Cache and comments (3, Insightful)

meustrus (1588597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088312)

The article seems to be inaccessible, so here's a link to the Google Cache (text-only version) [74.125.95.132]

My response to what people have said here so far (and I haven't read any of the article yet) is that this is not social theory, it's business theory. It's not supposed to define how you relate to people or how you perceive them. It's intended as an analysis of business dynamics, which is to say it's about how workers in different positions respond to their position and the position of those around them. From what I remember about the earlier article, I would say that even just among the "Losers," their goal is to focus energy into other parts of their lives, parts that have nothing to do with business or their job. When the characters leave the office, this entire analysis falls apart, and this does not invalidate the analysis because it's not intended to reflect each person's entire life.

Boiler room? (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30088548)

I always thought of it as a poor man's Glengarry Glen Ross

And considering that my pick is an all-male flick, which describes most of the close-quarter workplaces we're accustomed to, feel free to chime in.

Having thought about it a little... (2, Insightful)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30089756)

Sociopaths (that is, people with a brand of Antisocial Personality Disorder that have a pathological failure at true interaction with society) is probably not the correct term for the people at the top. What these people actually have is more likely Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Re:Having thought about it a little... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091388)

Narciopaths?

Re:Having thought about it a little... (1)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091628)

Yeah, what we need is a good term for people who "define themselves by the position they're in because they have a damaged identity and can only value themselves because of the worth placed on their position by others and because of this believe that only position is truly important".

Well, I'M A LOSER (UR2 UFO and ICU812) U2 sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30090038)

Last train's eleven, it's now quarter past
Why're you tryin' to make the evenin' move so fast
I'm in real trouble but I can't go back home
They locked the doors and I'm left out alone

You can come to my place and sleep on the couch
Lots of people do it and we won't leave you out
Hard times out on the Street
Hard times, hard to beat

The painted lies they all hand you
I'm a loser on the road
I'm a loser on the road, yeah

Euston station and it's cold as ice
AlI night specials, they move you on
But me and Ginger over there
We got this thing where we really take care

I'm a loser, I'm a loser
I'm a loser

the author may be clueless (2, Insightful)

PJ6 (1151747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30090316)

Let's translate the diagram into a logical statement:

if you're not a sociopath, you are either clueless or a loser

I don't think the author fully understands what a sociopath is.
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