Life Lessons From Popular TV Shows

Written by Victoria Bible

Victoria is an alum of The Selling Factory and a junior at the University of Florida pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She is passionate about mass communications in business and having a positive outlook on life.

Photo by Ben Griffiths

I’m an expert in TV sitcoms. Yes, you read that right. I’ve seen just about every sitcom out there. Some of my favorites are The Office, Schitt’s Creek, and Friends. While TV sitcoms are fictitious and for entertainment, they surprisingly offer valuable stories about life lessons. 

Here are a few stories about life lessons that you can apply to your work life from your favorite TV shows.

‘The Office’ teaches you the importance of relationships in sales

Although ‘The Office’ became popular for its dysfunctional workplace, the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin still satisfied (somehow) its sales quotas. This was because Branch Manager Michael Scott was a great salesman. He focused on developing relationships with clients.

In the episode “The Client” (Season 2, Episode 7), Michael Scott and Vice President of Sales Jan Levinson set up a client meeting with a representative from Lackawanna County. Contrary to Jan’s approach, Michael told the client jokes, talked about the Chili’s menu, and got to know the client’s interests. Although Dunder Mifflin was above Lackawanna County’s budget, the client knew that Dunder Mifflin puts their clients first and they signed the deal.

‘The Office’ teaches us that relationships have a significant role in business. Try forming genuine relationships with clients and coworkers. Show that you value them and will go the extra mile.

‘Schitt’s Creek’ teaches you to explore your passions

Oddly enough, ‘Schitt’s Creek’ is quite an inspiring show about life lessons. The Rose family went from riches to rags, then back to riches. If not for Johnny Rose losing the family money and moving to Schitt’s Creek, children David and Alexis Rose would have never found themselves. 

David decided to start his own business, and learned the importance of hard work and the satisfaction from entrepreneurship. For Alexis, she finally found her passion in public relations after trying multiple jobs and graduating high school as an adult.

Overall, ‘Schitt’s Creek’ teaches you to explore your passions. If you really want something, work hard for it. Start that business. Make that career change. It is never too late to pursue your dreams. If you need a sign, this is it!

‘Friends’ teaches you to embrace your skills

All of the characters in ‘Friends’ have interesting career paths, to say the least. Rachel had many odd jobs, Joey went to hundreds of auditions, and Ross pursued his love of dinosaurs.  

However, the character with the most stable and happy career was Monica. She always loved being a chef, and she was a good one too. By embracing her talent for cooking, as well as attention to detail (or crazy perfectionism) and ambition, she got her dream job as a head chef. Even when her job got tough, like when the staff at Alessandro’s antagonized her daily, she stood her ground and showed off her skills. 

‘Friends’ teaches you to truly embrace your talents, especially if you’re looking for a career change or unsure of what to do. If you’re analytical, consider finance, or if you’re creative, consider marketing. Pursue what you’re talented at and you’ll perform better.

‘Brooklyn 99’ teaches you that adversity can be a powerful thing

Working for the NYPD at their 99th precinct is hardly relatable, but the characters of ‘Brooklyn 99’ are. Many of them have gone through hardships in life, such as Jake Peralta with his parents’ divorce, Charles Boyle’s disastrous love life, or Captain Raymond Holt being an openly gay black cop. 

Captain Holt faced a lot of racism and homophobia while working for the police in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but that didn’t stop him from rising in the ranks. Then, when he became a successful captain, he used his past discrimination to make a difference for others, like helping Amy Santiago become a captain as well. 

‘Brooklyn 99’ teaches us to not let the hardships you’ve faced define you. Prove everyone wrong that has ever doubted you, and help uplift others. 

‘New Girl’ teaches you to recognize toxic workplace cultures

‘New Girl’ follows four roommates living in Los Angeles, CA. One of the roommates, Schmidt, works at a marketing agency, mostly run by women. In fact, he’s mocked occasionally for being the only man in the office. Because it’s so difficult for him to find his place, Schmidt works insanely hard in his role. Honestly, too hard.

For instance, Schmidt develops an ulcer and ignores his doctor’s orders of staying home. Instead, he sneaks off to work, even though his ulcer causes him intense pain. While at work, Schmidt’s boss tells him that she plans to always keep him by her side, as it seems he’ll do anything for her. This upsets Schmidt because he thought he had been proving himself and trying to move up the corporate ladder. Once Schmidt comes home, he realizes the signs of toxic workplace cultures and that he wasn’t valued at his company. 

‘New Girl’ teaches viewers to notice the signs of toxic workplace cultures. At a company, you should feel valued and develop your career to prepare for advancement. I encourage you to work hard, but *do not* overwork yourself to the point of getting an ulcer!

Take these lessons to work!

As you’ve just read, TV sitcoms are not only entertaining, but offer valuable life lessons! If you forgot everything you just read, here are some key takeaways: build those relationships with clients, embrace your passions and skills, and overcome adversity and toxic workplace cultures.

Good luck on your future work endeavors. You’ve got this 😉

Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.

Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

Josiah Blakemore

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.