I love The Office. It is my favorite TV show. I have seen every episode multiple times and know WAY too many lines by heart. Regardless about anything else, if someone else thinks The Office is awesome, we can be friends.
There are many reasons I love The Office so much; it’s funny, witty and generally isn’t crude. It is entertaining but also can be deep and creates drama without being a soap opera. I love that the characters are believable, especially Jim and Pam. They are just average people working in a paper company living ordinary lives.
The more I watch the show the more I find myself relating to Pam. She is kind and warm and funny, but she isn’t perfect. Sometimes she loses it, sometimes she makes bad decisions and sometimes she doesn’t achieve what she set out to do.
As someone who likes to look up to people who have it all together, it is nice to see someone who is awesome but not perfect. No one actually is perfect, but through social media and the natural human tendency to hide anything that is wrong, it sometimes feels like everyone else is doing a lot better than you.
Here are some life lessons I learned from Pam Beesly:
It’s okay to lose it sometimes.
Generally Pam isn’t very dramatic but there are times when something is just too much. For example when Michael dates Pam’s mother she (understandably) releases a previously unseen wrath upon Michael that culminates in her slapping him. I do not advocate violence but I do think emotional health is crucial to our general well-being, and this includes expressing our emotions and not just trying to subdue them all the time. While losing our temper isn’t the healthiest or most effective way to express ourselves, (even Pam admits it wasn’t satisfying), it happens to all of us and it doesn’t mean we are crazy or unbalanced, but rather that we are human.
Watch the famous slap here.
Failure isn’t always a setback
Pam decides to go to art school and after failing a class she decides to come back to Scranton instead of staying in New York to re-take the class. Later in the series Pam becomes a saleswoman at Dunder Mifflin and doesn’t succeed in making many sales. At this point she confides in Jim: “I don’t want to fail. Again.”
No one wants to fail, it doesn’t feel good and often it doesn’t make us look good either, which in turn makes us feel worse. But when Pam moves back to Scranton after failing out of art school she is able to move forward in her relationship with Jim. They get married and start a family. Pam understood that staying in New York away from Jim would prevent her from advancing in her relationship with him. She chose to prioritize love over her success in art school.
After not doing well in sales, Pam becomes the office administrator, a position she feels much more suited for and in which she thrives. Her trying and failing in sales enables her to find a job which she enjoys much more.
I failed to graduate in May this past school year. Even though it was what I had planned and what I had told all my friends and family I was going to do, I became too overwhelmed with my work load and had to extend my college career a summer session. It did not feel good to drop the classes and it felt even worse telling my family and friends about my decision to do so. But I knew pretty immediately afterward that I had done the right thing. I was much more relaxed and well-rested the rest of the semester. I was able to enjoy my last few months on campus and did better in everything in which I was involved.
Failure isn’t always a setback, sometimes we have to try something and fail to find a better way.
You don’t have to be perfect to be worthy
What I love most about Pam is that sometimes she does or says something dumb. She makes mistakes and she fails. She doesn’t eat only what is healthy or wear what is most fashionable. She loses her patience and dates (and almost marries) the wrong guy. But she is also kind and warm and funny and helps people that she sees need it, she never loses sight of who she is or gives up trying to be better.
It is hard for me to accept myself and my worth when I know my shortcomings. I know that I lose my patience many times a day, I know that I care too much about what others think, I know that I make stupid grammar/spelling mistakes and am not good at math. I know that I have hurt people who love me and trusted people I shouldn’t have. How is it that I am still worthy of being loved?
Pam helped me see that though we are not perfect and will always fall short, we are still capable of doing good and deserving of love.
In the end it isn’t what we do or don’t do that makes us worthy, it is the dignity we have as human beings. We were made with love to be loved and to give love.