By Bruce Hall
March 25, 2010
In case you have read the last few installments of this column and were curious, I decided that I needed to take a break from the bleak world of mind warping progressive cinema and take a look at something lighter this week. I think that well done comedy can be just as illuminating as drama and in some cases it can even be more informative. Not to mention the fact that there are only so many weeks in a row you can spend deep-diving the avant-garde before its time to take a breather. So, during a recent viewing of Office Space I became intrigued when a question was posed: What would the world be like if everyone were able to do exactly what they wanted to for a living? The answer of course, was "total chaos."
Roughly half of the population would choose to do nothing, while the other half would find it difficult to schedule a trash pickup or hire a plumber. There are just some things almost nobody would be willing to do for a living if they didn't have to. In reality, few people enjoy the privilege of doing what they truly love for a living. But among the rest of us, even fewer are able to name what it is we'd love to be doing. So I've often wondered – if you don't like what you have but you don't know what you want are you really unhappy with your job, or are you just unhappy with your life? I for one, have always felt that unless you're in your life's calling, your job should be part of your life, but your life shouldn't be your job.
But the sad fact is that for many of us, our job is our life, and that's precisely what we find unfulfilling about it. We get up in the morning, we go to work, we toil all day at a job we don't necessarily like, and we come home, watch television, go to bed, and repeat the process the next day. We have the job so we can afford the house and the car, and we have the house so we have a place to sleep until it's time to go back to work, and the car is just to make sure we get there on time. In fact, I know more than a few people who bitterly resent paying $400 a month for their car simply because it exists only to take them someplace they hate every day. I'll admit this sounds exorbitantly bleak but if you don't enjoy what you do for a living, it doesn't take long for your life to take on an air of utter futility and even despair.
Of course we don't all feel this way but if you do you may find that you feel as though you aren't living, but merely existing. And this makes it hard to look forward to the next 20 years with anything approaching anticipation. The solution to this is pretty simple, but making it happen is rarely easy. And the same could be said for anyone wanting to make a film about it - if you'd like to document the process of freeing one's self from the shackles of corporate drudgery, your options are limited. You could choose to emulate a hyperbolic Michael Moore documentary, a Soviet era propaganda film, an explosively paranoid dystopian nightmare like The Island, or perhaps you'd try a lighthearted comedy.
Thankfully, Office Space is the latter.