Office Space

November 04, 2018

Office Space is coming up on its 20 year anniversary: almost old enough to drink.

I'm not surprised Mike Judge went on to create "Silicon Valley"; his depiction of technology work is so spot-on, so utterly right, it could've been written today, in late 2018.

Some of the highlights:

  • The traffic: the movie opens with a scene of soul-crushing commuter traffic, just like the kind every weekday on 280 or 101. There's a reason I've avoided driving to work
  • Peter lives in a bland, dystopian box of an apartment; my friend John used to live in one of these places, while working at Intel, in Sunnyvale.
  • Peter has eight bosses: the joys of matrix management!
  • The office is loud, cramped, and requires fighting off a never-ending stream of interruptions ("Corporate accounts payable speaking, just a moment!")
  • "No one in this country can ever pronounce my name right. It's not that hard: Na-ghee-na-na-jar. Nagheenanajar"
  • The emotional tone: great people, somewhat meaningless work, and the sense of sameness: every building looks the same, every day starts and ends the same way, an identical sea of cubes.

Not all tech work is like this, but if you spend any time doing it, you're certain to see a few things you'll recognize.

20 years has passed, and I can't believe how little change there's been.

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