5 Ways Sitcoms Didn’t Prepare Us for Corporate Life

Our parents would probably like to think that all of our formative impressions about business life came from their stories of hard work and pulling themselves up by the bootstraps, but let’s be honest. When it comes to what we should expect in the corporate world, we probably learned more from tv than we did from our parents.

1 – You should NOT date your assistant!

Friends – When Rachel started dating her hot assistant Tag a lot of us swooned. It’s hard to be too angry at our younger selves, after all so many corporate men had gotten away with the same thing for decades on tv, so we just didn’t know any better. In reality, someone needed to sit Rachel down and talk to her about the very real implications of power imbalance in the workplace! This was absolutely a sitcom fail when it came to representing corporate life.

2 – Don’t quit your job because a co-worker got the promotion!

Full House – When Aunt Becky got promoted to producer of the talk show she co-hosted with Danny Tanner, Danny quit his job in a fit of pique. Not okay, Danny, even if you were our favorite sitcom dad. In reality, this is a terrible way to handle feeling passed over, and unlike the way it worked out in a quick half hour episode—you’re unlikely to be able to get your job back!

3 – You should NOT prank your co-workers.

The Office – Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim. Jim. Sure, we’ve all worked with Dwight’s in our time, and maybe (ok, definitely!) we’ve wanted to put their staplers in a mold of lemon Jell-O. But it’s not a good look in the real office world. It’s hard to imagine a real life co-worker getting more than maybe one second chance after some of those practical jokes. PS—Toby, this is your fault too, HR should’ve cracked down on this!

4 – You need a business plan. (And fewer NBA players.)

Parks and Rec – Who doesn’t love Tom Haverford? He and Donna taught us how to Treat Ourselves! But, Tom didn’t do so well when he left the public sector and started Entertainment 720 with Jean-Ralphio. They didn’t have a business plan, they over-spent and over-hired, employing models and NBA players to basically just lounge around their office. You can’t be like Tom, you need a business plan!

5 – Don’t nap at work.

Seinfeld – If ever there was a character not to take advice about corporate life from, it was George Costanza. Among his many workplace faux pas, the time George created a napping cubby under his desk while he worked for the Yankees probably takes the cake. Sure, it sounds like a nice idea, but in the real world, this is the kind of audacious ridiculousness that would ensure you never worked in your industry again!