Created By: XFllo on February 11, 2018 Last Edited By: XFllo on yesterday

Standard Office Setting

Cubicles, bullpens, nice offices — common workplace for white collar workers

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Grab coffee. Go to work. Arrive at office building. Say hi to security. Ride elevator up. Arrive at work. Say hi to the receptionist. Walk to desk. Arrive at desk. Sit down at desk. Say hi to your coworker. Look around. This is a Standard Office Setting.

Describe the Standard Office Setting on Line 5 of the TP-1090 form.

For starters, this is a white-collar workplace, with cubicles and fluorescent lighting that never turns off. Most of the members of upper-management have their own offices, which may or may not be luxuriously furnished. The main room will most likely have a bullpen style setup to make it easier for characters to interact with one another. Everyone is either busy or non-existent. There are piles of papers on every desk and though people should be working, this is a work of fiction. Obviously nobody is doing exactly what they should be doing.

This could be a law firm, publishing firm, newspaper agency, advertising agency, or architectural company. This could even be a politician's campaign office. In fact, the specific type of business doesn't always matter and may not even be known. It just needs to clearly be white-collar.

Most of the characters here are White Collar Workers, though somebody's secretary is either the Sexy Secretary or Sassy Secretary. There may be a Plucky Office Girl and a Bunny-Ears Lawyer or two.

When there's an Office Romance, it's usually a case of Will They or Won't They?. If anyone is in danger of being terminated, it's never our main cast. Firings are usually equivalent to dying or being Put on a Bus, and if a character isn't fired but needs to be put out of the way, they get Kicked Upstairs.

Especially if this is a Work Com, expect Swivel-Chair Antics to ensue at some point and someone to use the photocopier in ways they shouldn't. If there's The Red Stapler, most people around the office will probably use the same one, and you'll probably end up buying one in Real Life because you keep seeing it in the work.

Contrast Adminisphere for a non-white-collar setting that's also an office. A Desk Jockey works in a totally different industry than this.

Indexes


Examples:

Comic Strip
  • Dilbert primarily sets itself in the unnamed office that Dilbert works. The office itself is a caricature of real life offices, with grossly incompetent managers, borderline insane HR employees and a marketing department that seems to be intentionally running the company into the ground. While there are fantasy elements (the HR manager is a cat, one of the employees is a robot), the work is generally grounded in reality.

Live-Action TV
  • Mad Men is set in a New York advertising company. Secretaries sit in a secretarial pool, men leading a department or dealing with clients have their own offices, sometimes shared among more people. Meetings are held in big rooms or people's offices. Sometimes we see characters trying to get a better office or being envious of each other.
  • Ally McBeal is set in a Boston law firm Cage and Fish. Most people have their own office and lots of the episodes happened in meeting rooms or in the court room. Quite legendary is their unisex bathroom. People who work for Cage and Fish frequent an idealized bar that is in the same building as their office.
  • Friends:
    • Chandler works as a data analyst in a cubicle. Later he's promoted and gets his office. One episode deals with his feeling to having to be a boss to his former pals, or dealing with his superior whom he doesn't perticularly like, but he keeps inviting him to various activities.
    • Rachel works in an office in fashion industry. She starts a girl-for-everything, but gets up the company ladder and works as an assistant buyer. Some episodes have her struggle with being the only non-smoker in their department, finding a secretary (actually a guy Tag she has a crush on) or being a new mother who must coordinate the care for a baby and work.
  • NewsRadio takes place in a New York news radio station. Manager Dave Nelson has his own office, while the others work in an open work room with desks and a communal table for staff meetings. (One episode has anchorman Bill McNeill install a cubicle for himself, which doesn't last.) There's also a broadcast booth behind soundproof glass and a break room (which was a control room in the pilot).


ZCE pulled from an old page Office, which was cut after discussion in TRS

Live-action TV
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • February 11, 2018
    jamespolk
    People Sit On Chairs in an office.
  • February 11, 2018
    Xtifr
    ^ Heh, funny, but no. This is definitely a valid setting trope. However all the examples still need context.

    (This is coming out of a repair shop job; it's fully endorsed by TRS folks.)
  • February 11, 2018
    alnair20aug93
    ^^ Office Workers Sit on Swivel Chairs
  • February 12, 2018
    Arivne
    Zero Context Examples have been marked as such. They need more information to show how they fit the trope. Please don't remove the marking unless you add enough context.
  • February 12, 2018
    TonyG
    News Radio takes place in a New York news radio station. Manager Dave Nelson has his own office, while the others work in an open work room with desks and a communal table for staff meetings. (One episode has anchorman Bill McNeill install a cubicle for himself, which doesn't last.) There's also a broadcast booth behind soundproof glass and a break room (which was a control room in the pilot).
  • February 12, 2018
    XFllo
    Xtifr, thanks for that comment. This draft indeed originated in the Trope Repair Shop, and lots of people suggested this could be a valid setting trope, though to be fair, some also said that they didn't think it was trope-worthy or needed. I'd just like to point out that there is a difference from Truth In Television and People Sit In Chairs.

    Arivne, thanks for marking ZCE — I thought it was ssufficient to leave a note at the top of the list. This TLP is just a draft, after all, but it never hurts to emphasize that ZCE are not ok on the main page.
  • February 12, 2018
    WaterBlap
    Don't forget to add this to the index called Settings.
  • February 12, 2018
    bitemytail
    Adding context:
    • Dilbert primarily sets itself in the unnamed office that Dilbert works. The office itself is a caricature of real life offices, with grossly incompetent managers, borderline insane HR employees and a marketing department that seems to be intentionally running the company into the ground. While there are fantasy elements (the HR manager is a cat, one of the employees is a robot), the work is generally grounded in reality.
  • February 12, 2018
    XFllo
    Added, thanks!

    The description is kind of clunky and not very smooth... Some of it was taken from the Office page (now cut), but it was not a very quality description. Any idea what to cut, what to add?
  • February 12, 2018
    WaterBlap
    Description suggestion:
    Grab coffee. Go to work. Arrive at office building. Say hi to security. Ride elevator up. Arrive at work. Say hi to the receptionist. Walk to desk. Arrive at desk. Sit down at desk. Say hi to your coworker. Look around. This is a Standard Office Setting.

    Describe the Standard Office Setting on Line 5 of the TP-1090 form.

    For starters, this is a white-collar workplace, with cubicles and fluorescent lighting that never turns off. Most of the members of upper-management have their own offices, which may or may not be luxuriously furnished. The main room will most likely have a bullpen style setup to make it easier for characters to interact with one another. Everyone is either busy or non-existnt. There are piles of papers on every desk and though people should be working, this is a work of fiction. Obviously nobody is doing exactly what they should be doing.

    This could be a law firm, publishing firm, newspaper agency, advertising agency, or architectural company. This could even be a politician's campaign office. In fact, the specific type of business doesn't always matter and may not even be known. It just needs to clearly be white-collar.

    Most of the characters here are White Collar Workers, though somebody's secretary is either the Sexy Secretary or Sassy Secretary. There may be a Plucky Office Girl and a Bunny Ears Lawyer or two.

    When there's an Office Romance, it's usually a case of Will They Or Wont They. If anyone is in danger of being terminated, it's never our main cast. Firings are usually equivalent to dying or being Put On A Bus, and if a character isn't fired but needs to be put out of the way, they get Kicked Upstairs.

    Contrast Adminisphere for a non-white-collar setting that's also an office. A Desk Jockey works in a totally different industry than this.
  • February 12, 2018
    alnair20aug93
    Ordinary People Sit On Chairs, but in the office, where there are swivel chairs, expect antics.
  • February 12, 2018
    XFllo
    Thanks, Water Blap, I like that draft a lot! :-)
  • February 12, 2018
    WaterBlap
    ^ Glad to help!

    RE: "It's PSOC.": It's clearly not People Sit On Chairs. Can anyone who disagrees please provide an argument as to why they think it's chairs? Do you believe that all setting tropes are People Sit On Chairs?
  • February 13, 2018
    bitemytail
    ^You should probably re-read that post. He's making a swivel chair joke.
  • February 13, 2018
    WaterBlap
    Was unsure whether it was a continuation of the above comments that it's PSOC. But yeah there's clearly Swivel Chair Antics potholed in there.
  • February 15, 2018
    Larkmarn
    We need a mention of Work Com, and examples could likely be mined from there as well.
  • February 16, 2018
    alnair20aug93
    Other stuff you'll find in an office:

    • Swivel chairs, where you'll expect some antics.
    • Photocopying machinces, where you'll be tempted to put your hams on it.
    • Staplers; the thing that puts your paperwork together. If red, all of your coworkers will want it .
  • February 16, 2018
    WaterBlap
    Here's my suggestion for adding all that (at the end of the paragraph that begins with "When there's an Office Romance..."):
    Especially if this is a Work Com, expect Swivel Chair Antics to ensue at some point and someone to use the photocopier in ways they shouldn't. If there's The Red Stapler, most people around the office will probably use the same one, and you'll probably end up buying one in Real Life because you keep seeing it in the work.
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