Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It worked for Joshua Ferris.

While an uninspiring office environment can strip you of your creativity and drive, at the same time, it can also be the source of some of your best stories, or, if you’re a writer, some of your most promising material.

Let’s face it: Never in our lives do we encounter stranger people than in our work spaces. In my first job out of college, I sat next to Nancy. Nancy was 45 and lived with her mother; she sported thinning hair and a thick, dark mustache; she didn’t drive, had never been to Target, and refused to set foot on a plane. She kept six pairs of shoes under her desk. They smelled.

The office is rife with interesting, bizarre, and, yes, compelling characters to be used and exploited for the sake of a good story.

As illustrated by popular TV shows, movies, and books, nowhere is the relationship between humor and pathos more apparent than in the office. The disillusionment of the American dream; birthday cake in the kitchen; the importance of work; the unimportance of it all. People like Nancy, who ask, “Did you guys know that bookstores have coffee shops now?” People like Nancy, who live for their jobs because they have nothing and no one to come home to.

If you’re smart about it, writing about work could be your ticket out of your cubicle. At the very least, it’ll make that dreaded Friday morning staff meeting seem just a little more meaningful, not to mention entertaining.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please write a better book than he did then - otherwise you end up with a book just as dull as being at work, which is pretty grim and pointless.