How many emails / texts / whatever did you get yesterday linking to the ‘Girl Quits Job Via Whiteboard’ article at The Chive? Not too surprisingly, the whole thing was a hoax produced by the creators of The Chive, and acted by a young woman (and aspiring actress) named Elyse Porterfield. TechCrunch has the details of the hoax.
If you were like me, you enjoyed it and really didn’t apply your critical thinking skills to the now rather obvious likelihood that it was a fabrication. Why?
Well … why is it that Office Space remains such a popular movie? Certainly not due to the excellent acting, sophisticated plot or engaging characters. No – it is for the same reason ‘9-to-5’ was popular in the 80’s, or the song ‘Take this job and shove it’ remains so oft-quoted: the reality of being in a crappy job suffering under a jerk of a boss is something almost all of us can relate to on some level.
I mean, this came out the same day that the Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater quit with quite a bit of flair:
Think about how many times on a TV show there has been a fantasy quitting scenario. I can pull the one from the 70’s show Three’s Company from memory: Suzanne Somers takes a job for a sleazy (and married) boss who wants her around for the sole purpose of ogling and groping her! Of course, Jack and Janet help concoct a scenario that goes awry but in the end the boss in caught in a compromising situation and the oppressed Chrissy is the hero! The situations are totally contrived and unrealistic, but we still root for the underdog – why? Because we can all empathize with her plight either directly or indirectly.
Continuing to date myself with 70’s references, who wasn’t riveted by Peter Finch in Network? And hasn’t more than once wanted to go to the window and say “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”?
And honestly, how many of us haven’t felt like Milton in one way or another – heck, at the company I work for now space is so tight that the summer college interns are put in 3′ x 4′ micro-cubes … in the HALLWAY! Sure it is great that we are back to hiring interns while so many companies are stagnant … but still!
And that is why this story is so great. Sure the web page itself is great – even after I knew it was a hoax I showed it to my family and we all had a nice laugh. The way the narrative unfolds and the facial expressions are all very well done – though my wife commented immediately that had it been real and the boss such a slimebag there would probably have been several hours spent surfing porn somewhere in there.
When I first saw this, part of the reason I was drawn away from critical thinking was that my niece is 22 years old and a recent college graduate working at her first job, and even during her undergraduate years working on committees and activities and so on she had to battle against sexual stereotypes and being treated like a ‘HPOA’ … it is a pretty sad reflection on our society, really.
There are loads of other pop culture references to quitting jobs – movies such as (pre-shoplifting) Winona Ryder getting back at her scumbag boss by messing with his teleprompter cards, the quitting scene in American Beauty, countless TV shows and songs – heck, NPR even has a list of ‘songs for quitting time’!
As for the Chive story, it was loads of fun – and I’m sure that Ms. Porterfield will do quite well for herself, as someone who can bring that whole thing off has a great range of facial expressions, and I wish her the very best. It is not a great time to be looking for a job – I have friends who are still either unemployed or underemployed since the economy tanked in late 2008! So I wish her the very best and hope that this small part leads to greater success.
But as the ultimate ‘quit your job’ film for me as a techie, Office Space really continues to connect with me despite all of the silliness and inaccuracies. So lets leave with a cool soundtrack to the fantasy of taking control of your office in a way that could never really happen in our actual day to day lives …
Original Story: The Chive