A Chat With the Real Boss of The Office

Executive producer Greg Daniels finds that NBC's faux workplace is all too real.

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Greg Daniels, producer of the NBC show 'The Office'

Greg Daniels, executive producer of NBC's The Office, adapted the show from the British series of the same name. A veteran of Saturday Night Live, Daniels has also written and produced for The Simpsons and co-created Fox's King of the Hill series. U.S. News got his advice on working at The Office.

How much do you think The Office reflects reality?
Most of our episodes are ripped from the headlines of office newsletters, so yeah, it's pretty real out here.

Have you ever worked in an office that bore similarities to the show?
The building I work in now is exactly the same as the one on the show. I pinch myself every day.

For viewers who find themselves working in an office that feels very much like the one in the show, what's your advice on how to be successful in that kind of environment?
First of all, find out if you're the "Michael" in the office. If you are, congratulations. Success is yours. If you're not, just make sure you're not the "Meredith" because she gets hit with a car.

As a boss, Michael obviously has some weaknesses. What should people do if they find themselves with a boss like Michael?
They should count their blessings that they don't have a boss like Dwight.

What do you think Dwight could to do improve his chances of being promoted to top manager one day?
He could try being less of a weirdo. Seems obvious, really.

Jim seems trapped in a job that he's too good for. What should he do?
To tolerate work, Jim's made a cocoon around himself with pranks and games and little jokes with Pam. It would be a bit of a shame to see him waste these rare cocoon-building skills by getting a rewarding, engaging job. If anything, he should get a worse job.

The same goes for Pam—in fact, how could she make herself happier at work? Should she become a full-time graphic designer?
Pam should see if her company will pay for her training or further education courses. A lot of companies do. Yes.

Jan's situation is particularly poignant. She's, at least for the moment out of a job—how could she pull her life together?

Was she doomed when she started dating Michael?