HR Strange But True!
April 28, 2011

Steve Carell’s final appearance on The Office was everything one might expect. His character, Michael Scott, lived up to his outrageous reputation in the extended episode, making HR professionals across the country laugh and cringe.

For those that missed the episode, Steve Carell’s final appearance as the region manager of Dunder Mifflin was funny, at times inappropriate, and even a little bittersweet as Michael said his farewells.

Not surprisingly, as Michael made his way around the office—imparting presents and advice along the way—some of the antics were completely inappropriate for the workplace. Here a few moments from the episode that would be a bit problematic in the real world:

  1. Cameras in the bathroom. After the “documentary crew” follows an employee into the restroom, Jim questions the camera man, “You guys are filming people when we go to the bathroom now?”
  2. Forced labor. While Michael’s intentions weren’t malicious, forcing Phyllis to finish knitting his gloves, and encouraging her to “power through the arthritis,” was probably not the best use of her time.
  3. Bringing up weight issues. Michael tries to inspire Kevin in his goodbye, saying: “You will be thin. You won’t drool over pizza like an animal anymore.”
    After Kevin explains that he’s pretty happy with who he is, Michael responds: “You should never settle for who you are.”

The inappropriate “good-bye moments” did not end there. From more outrageous scenes like the paintball fight in the alley, to the more realistic workplace issue of Kelly texting, the episode had plenty of moments that would make an HR professional cringe. We’re just happy Daryl, the warehouse manager, didn’t give in to Michael’s final plea to use the baler!

However politically incorrect Michael Scott was, his employees—or at least some of them—were sad to see him go, and it was evident, through Michael’s teary departure, that he was going to miss the office.

“The people that you work with are just, when you get down to it, your very best friends,” Michael reflected during his final moments on the show.

In his usual fashion, he followed it up with a eccentric observation: “They say on your death bed, you never wish you spent more time at the office. But I will. Gotta be a lot better than a death bed.”

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