22 workplace tips we learned from The Office

The Office ends its nine-year run tonight. But the sage advice of Michael Scott — that will live forever.

The Office
(Image credit: Vivian Zink/NBC)

After nine seasons, more than 200 episodes, dozens of epic pranks, a watercooler-buzz-seizing romance, a worrisome change in management, and countless "that's what she said" jokes, The Office is punching its NBC timecard for the last time Thursday night.

Many fans are positively verklempt over the end of this gem of a sitcom. Others are bummed that it's gone on long enough to dull the show's once blindingly hilarious sheen. But everyone should take heart. The Office leaves behind a prodigious legacy: trailblazing comedy, an indelible performance from Steve Carell as Michael Scott, the popularization of the now-inescapable mockumentary genre, and a new generation of comedy stars in John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, and Mindy Kaling.

Another perk: The Office gave us a lot of advice — useful or otherwise. So as we mourn the end of this workplace comedy, let us remember some of the show's best and most hilarious workplace advice — straight from the mouths of Dunder-Mifflin's finest. Here, office tips to live by, from the sage characters of The Office:

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Never trust your HR rep.

Michael: Toby is in HR which technically means he works for Corporate. So he's really not a part of our family. Also he's divorced so he's really not a part of his family.

Don't waste too much time on research.

Michael: Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know you are getting the best possible information.

Know when it's time to take a break.

Kevin: I do deserve a vacation. Sometimes Batman's gotta take off his cape.

Never trust technology.

Michael: Everyone always wants new things. Everybody likes new inventions, new technology. People will never be replaced by machines. In the end, life and business are about human connections. And computers are about trying to murder you in a lake. And to me the choice is easy.

Stand your ground against ambitious work rivals.

Gabe: Hey Andy, how about you don't steal my business strategies, and I won't dress like life is just one long brunch.

That "what are you weaknesses?" job interview question is a trick. Don't fall for it.

Michael: Guess what? I have flaws. What are they? Oh I dunno, I sing in the shower? Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally I'll hit somebody with my car. So sue me — no, don't sue me. That is opposite the point I'm trying to make.

Don't fraternize with the grunt workers.

Michael: There's always a distance between a boss and the employees, it's just nature's rule. It's intimidation mostly. It's the awareness that they are not me.

But make sure they still like you.

Michael: Do I want to be feared or loved? Um... easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.

And make sure you have a social life outside of the office.

Michael: I'm friends with everybody in this office. We're all best friends. I love everybody here. But sometimes your best friends start coming into work late and start having dentist appointments that aren't dentist appointments, and that is when it's nice to let them know that you could beat them up.

Know how to work the system.

Phyllis: Yes, I put Michael in my wedding, it was the only way I could think to get six weeks off for my honeymoon. No one else has ever gotten six weeks before.

Use what you've got.

Phyllis: I wonder what people like about me. Probably my jugs.

Fight for the things that are important to you.

Creed: The only difference between me and a homeless man is this job. I will do whatever it takes to survive. Like I did, when I was a homeless man.

Know the value of company loyalty... to a point.

Dwight: Would I ever leave this company? Look, I'm all about loyalty. In fact, I feel like part of what I'm being paid for here is my loyalty. But if there were somewhere else that valued loyalty more highly… I'm going wherever they value loyalty the most.

Always take time out to teach co-workers new things.

Kelly: Look, I know the reason that you guys became accountants is because you're not good at interacting with people. But guess what? From now on, you guys are no longer losers! So give yourselves a round of applause.

Oscar: I wonder how many phone calls you're missing while you're teaching us to answer calls.

Kelly: I know, right? Probably a lot.

Crisis management is tricky.

Michael: Here's the thing. When a company screws up, best thing to do is call a press conference. Alert the media, and then you control the story. Wait for them to find out, and the story controls you. That's what happened to O.J.

Nurture your employees.

Michael: I think the main difference between me and Donald Trump is that I get no pleasure out of saying the words "you're fired." "You're fired." Oh, "you're fired." He just makes people sad. And an office can't function that way. No way. "You're fired." I think if I had a catchphrase it would be "you're hired, and you can work here as long as you want." But that's unrealistic, so...

Don't settle.

Jim: Right now this is just a job. If I advance any higher in this company, this would be my career. And, uh, if this were my career, I'd have to throw myself in front of a train.

Follow the example of American heroes.

Michael: Abraham Lincoln once said that "If you are a racist, I will attack you with the North," and those are the principles I carry with me in the workplace.

Don't take your job too seriously.

Jim: My job is to speak to clients, um, on the phone about, uh, quantities and, uh, type of copier paper. You know, uh, whether we can supply it to them, whether they can, uh, pay for it. And, um... I'm boring myself just talking about this.

Be proud of your work.

Ryan: When people see this presentation, they're gonna c** in their pants.

Know how to motivate.

Robert: There's something about an underdog that really inspires the unexceptional.

Make the most of everything.

Stanley: Life is short. Drive fast. Leave a sexy corpse. That's one of my mottos.

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