On February 19, 1999, the world changed forever. Office Space came out. It wasn't a box office sensation. It only made $12 million. But the VHS (the what?), DVD, and all the different streaming versions of it would change workplaces forever.
Oddly enough, one of the workplaces that Office Space perfectly captures is the military. Whether it's on a movie screen in a base theater or a laptop in troop berthing, service members have seen themselves in Office Space for 20 years now.
A movie meant to mock the daily drudgery of office drones also captured the lives of everyone from admin clerks to grunts to pilots.
At the beginning of 2017, the U.S. Army changed regulations to allow Sikh soldiers to grow beards under a religious exemption to male grooming standards. The surprise decision naturally inspired some service members to wonder, “If a small group can get an exception to the rules and grow beards because of their deeply held religious beliefs, why can’t I grow one because I think it looks badass?”
Recently, the term “toxic leadership” has broken into mainstream culture. Where it used to mainly occupy wardrooms, ready rooms, and professional journals, it’s now entered the lexicon of pop psychology and management consultants. The military, to its credit, has devoted much time and energy to the study of leadership, probably much more than the civilian world. It has been trying to address the toxic leadership problem for years, with little success.
An O-4 is a strange military bird. Majors are no longer “one of the boys.” They’re middle management. They’re the adult supervision. Making major is like going from single-A baseball to AAA. It’s kind of a big deal, but you’re still not in the major leagues just yet. Making captain requires a pulse; making major requires a functional cerebellum. It’s the stage when officers either stall out and crash, career-wise, or set themselves up for reaching the next level. Because of this, it doesn’t necessarily make once normal individuals into lobotomized morons, but it often reveals the moron inside. Promotion to major breaks up the once mighty pack of company-grade officer peers into several distinct breeds, each with unique characteristics. Here’s Task & Purpose’s illustrated guide to the six types of majors you find across the military.