Did you ever find yourself sitting on duty at 3 a.m. and just thinking, “In a given week, I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work”? You’re either in the military, or you’re Peter Gibbons, lead character of the 1999 cult classic Office Space.
The military isn’t exactly like an office, but there are some similarities between greensuiters and the characters in Mike Judge’s sardonic flick, which chronicles the lives of a staff of people who do… something with computers? and hate their jobs. Which Office Space peon best reflects your service? Read on to find out.
Lawrence: for when you decide to go infantry
If you had a million dollars, what would you do? Two chicks at once, probably. You’re the laziest hard worker in the service, but it’s only because you’re the best at scamming. When you’re bored on duty, sometimes you fantasize about growing a mullet.
Joanna: if you join ROTC
You hate your life, but you’re trying so goddamn hard to play by the rules. Don’t forget to show your pieces of flair… er, to keep your uniform to regulation standards, or you’ll force extra Sunday PT on your fellow cadets while they’re hungover from that foam party Saturday night.
Michael Bolton: when you finally get your call sign, and it sucks
You know that embarrassing thing you did during boot camp? Well, now it’s your name until you separate or die.
Milton Waddams: so you’re the new butterbar
You’re new and dumb. Everyone makes fun of you — behind your back and to your face. No one will invite you for cake in the break room. They won’t pay you that well, and they’ll probably take your stapler and stick you in an office in the basement until you get promoted. Just remember rule No. 1 of lieutenanting: Try not to burn the place down.
Tom Smykowski: if you make it to E-6
You’ve made it high enough up the chain of command that you now constantly wonder how you got here, while reflecting on all the stuff you could have and should have done with your life instead. But now you’re too old to change course, and you have a wife and kids to worry about, so this job is all you really have.
Peter Gibbons: when you get passed over for promotion
You just don’t care anymore. There’s nowhere to go from here, and the reality that your military career is over starts to set in. In a given week, you maybe do 15 minutes of real work until you separate and have to return to the real world. But be careful: Be brutally, DGAF-honest with the department head who just got his MBA, and he might promote you to the Joint Staff.
Bill Lumbergh: you can… almost… reach that star
You kissed a lot of ass to get here, and most people hate you, but it’s fine because just about everyone is beneath you. Still, the Pentagon is constantly auditing every facet of your work. You just have to let it happen while somehow keeping all your subordinates in line and making sure your desk doesn’t turn into an endless mountain of paperwork.
The Bobs: when you retire and become a Beltway contractor
You served for 20-plus years and you collect more retirement than your active NCOs made. But now you’re bored. You miss bossing around service members. Be a consultant! You’ll make shit tons of money and get to talk to E-1s and O-1s about the good ol’ days when there were no drones and PTSD was called shell shock. They’ll humor you, but mostly wish you would just stop talking.