Amy Joyce

A Comedy of Terrors

From left, B.J. Novak plays Ryan Howard in NBC's comedy
From left, B.J. Novak plays Ryan Howard in NBC's comedy "The Office," along with Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, Steve Carell as Michael Scott, John Krasinski as Jim Halpert, and Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly. (Paul Drinkwater -- Nbc)

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By Amy Joyce
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 19, 2006

Boss enters room: "Hey, everybody! I think we need a morale boost around here. Don't you? Come on! Come on over. Pull up a chair!"

[Office workers look at one another. Eyes roll. They awkwardly slide into place around a conference table.]

Boss to group: "I know I'm the boss, but that's not saying the rest of you don't bring something to the table, don't have some skills. Today I will tell you what you mean to this office."

[Uncomfortable glances between co-workers.]

Boss starts pointing at people, stopping at one fellow: "You've got a legal background. And you are our IT go-to guy."

Boss turns to Heather Boyce, an employee in human resources: "You bring nothing. . . . " Boss prepares to move on to next person.

Workers gasp. Some interject: "Wait just a minute. . . . " Boyce jumps in: "What are you talking about?!"

Boss stumbles. "Uh, well, I just mean you came straight here from college."

[ Silence. Boyce came to the office two years ago. ]

Boss: "But you've got enthusiasm! Yes, you bring enthusiasm."

After the impromptu anti-morale booster, Boyce retreats to desk to add scenario to the list of bad-boss tactics she and co-workers secretly keep.

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