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.
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.
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!
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.
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’ 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!
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 😉