[-[[caption-width-right:350:[[http://karanak.deviantart.com/art/Office-Lady-152901233 Image]] by [[http://karanak.deviantart.com/ KaranaK]]]]-]

A GratuitousEnglish Japanese term -- often abbreviated to "[=OL=]" -- for a low-level female employee in a corporate setting. Although she may have higher aspirations, the misogynistic atmosphere of the usual Japanese corporation frequently conspires to keep her [[YouGetMeCoffee fetching coffee]], fending off sexual harassment, and forever clinging to the bottom rung of the office ladder. The Western equivalent would be the "glass ceiling".

Traditionally, the "[[http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/japans-office-ladies-wont-file-and-forget-1318393.html office flower]]" was selected for being attractive and gracious to clients and expected to work for only a few years [[QuittingToGetMarried (just long enough to meet a nice young executive to marry)]], so it was not considered a "real" career. Some companies have [=OLs=] on separate career tracks to their "real employees" (who would generally be expected to stay with the company for their entire working life, and progress up the corporate ladder accordingly) -- and give female hires a choice of which track they want to be on.

Generally treated as the expected employment path for a respectable young woman, Office Ladies are often used as shorthand for an employed, responsible adult woman (in contrast to the teenagers who populate most manga).

In works for teenagers, the CoolBigSis or [[PromotionToParent the one taking care of her younger siblings]] is likely to be an OL, while in {{josei}} (women's manga), it's a likely career for TheProtagonist. In {{seinen}} (men's manga) there is also often a titillating aspect to OL characters, since [=OLs=] are traditionally supposed to be good-looking, attentive to men and unmarried, so it's a likely choice for MsFanservice or the LoveInterest. She'll also likely [[ChristmasCake worry about trying to find a husband]] and [[MyBiologicalClockIsTicking having children]].

Office Lady characters played straight are a bit more common in ''dorama'' (Japanese "soap operas") than they are in anime, although [[PunchClockVillain Punch Clock Villains]] and female Mooks are sometimes depicted this way.

In SpeculativeFictionSeries, [=OL=] characters are frequently employed as BridgeBunnies.

If [=OLs=] are in a particularly violent anime or manga series, regardless of their allegiance, [[DisposableWoman don't expect them to live long.]]

Compare GirlFriday and PluckyOfficeGirl.


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* Ebichu's owner ('the Mistress') in ''Anime/OruchubanEbichu'' is unnamed, but otherwise referred to as ''O.L.'' in source material. She's also her "boyfriend"'s [[TheChewToy Chew Toy]].
* In ''Manga/MidoriDays'', Seiji's sister Rin dresses like an Office Lady, although she leads a biker gang. God help the poor fool who tries to pinch her butt!
* The {{Punch Clock Villain}}s in ''Anime/AllPurposeCulturalCatGirlNukuNuku'' aren't office ladies, but at least one of them thinks they are:
-->'''Arisa:''' We office ladies can get really stressed out, you know.\\
'''Kyouko:''' Where do you get off calling us office ladies?\\
'''Arisa:''' Simple, we're the Secretarial Department's Flying Column, which abbreviates down to O.L.\\
'''Kyouko:''' Just how do those words abbreviate into O.L.?\\
'''Arisa:''' I guess they don't.
* Kaneru from ''Manga/DoujinWork'' is a rather bored office lady who only finds joy in making {{doujinshi}}, even though she claims to be the owner of a tea salon.
* Wendy in the ''Anime/ReadOrDie'' OVA seems to be an OL, [[spoiler: although this [[TakeALevelInBadass changes]] when she appears in the Read or Dream TV.]]
* In ''Manga/KimiWaPetto'', career woman Sumire is envied by her OL coworkers.
* Izumi in ''Anime/AndroidAnnouncerMaico2010''.
* Found in ''Manga/HotaruNoHikari''
* ''Manga/ButterfliesFlowers'': The heroine, Choko.
* Emilia Justina in ''LightNovel/TheDevilIsAPartTimer'' turned from TheHero in [[StandardFantasySetting Ente Isla]] to a contract worker named Yusa Emi working in a call center upon her arrival on Earth. She still has yet to give up on her quest to defeat the demon lord, who is actually [[BurgerFool living poorer]] than her.
* In ''Manga/LiarGame'', one of the players who makes it to the fourth round is Mika Mikamoto, who goes by the nickname of "Office Lady". [[spoiler: She's a follower of Harimoto's cult and thus one of his loyal minions.]]
* Both main characters in the GirlsLove {{manga}} ''Manga/EbisuSanAndHoteiSan'' are office ladies.
* The duties of Mai from ''Manga/GhostHunt'' when Naru doesn't have a case are similar to that of an office lady. She even comments that her pay is roughly equivalent to what an office lady makes - which is really generous for an after-school part-time job.
* Linna Yamazaki in ''Anime/BubblegumCrisis Tokyo 2040'' (not to be confused with the OVA version of her character, who was an aerobics instructor and later a stockbroker.)
* The very unusual ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' spinoff manga ''Gunnota no Onna'' combines this with GenderFlip, starring a female [[CharClone Char]] named Gunnota who tries to hide her {{Otaku}} tendencies while being in a LoveTriangle with Fem!M'Quve and Man!Kycilia.
* An interesting subversion/aversion in ''Franchise/GhostInTheShell'': Section 9 employs an army of identical androids in the guise of attractive young women who do everything from answering the phones to flying the helicopters. ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'' reveals that other government services have similar groups of assistants, with different designs (e.g. Section 9's wear red suits and have brown ponytails, while the mundane military's come with glasses and wear military fatigues).
* Kaya in ''Manga/MidnightSecretary'', who takes her secretarial duties extremely seriously, and her employers acknowledge and appreciate her hard work.
* In ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'', the Commission of Counter-Ghoul employees quite a few of these to handle interaction with the public. When Kaneki and Touka go to the headquarters to give false information, they are greeted by a cheerful and attractive young woman. She spends time fawning over the TallDarkAndHandsome FairCop that just transferred to their branch, establishing her firmly as one of these. In the sequel, Sasaki is introduced being fawned over by another such standard cute Office Lady.
* Kaoru from ''Manga/ICantUnderstandWhatMyHusbandIsSaying'' works at some unnamed company. To her annoyance, she makes less money than her husband (he does web design).
* {{Deconstructed}} in ''Manga/CatsEye'', where Mitsuko Asatani, an ambitious police officer with the investigative and [[ActionGirl combat skills]] to back it up, finds herself thrust in the role because she's a woman in TheEighties' Japan, [[OnlySaneWoman even if she has more common sense than all her squadmates put together]]. Her frustration with this and [[NoGuyWantsAnAmazon its influence with her wedding chances]] plays a large part in her short temper, not helped by [[LethalChef her cooking having laxative and potentially lethal effects]].
* Parodied once in ''Manga/CityHunter'' (from the same author as ''Cat's Eye'' above): during one arc [[ActionGirl Kaori]] was to bodyguard a woman, actually her long lost older sister, who, being the director of a newspaper and wishing her sister to abandon her rather dangerous life, asked her to take the role, justifying it as a cover. [[HilarityEnsues Kaori's attempt at using a photocopier (who hadn't the plug in place) ended with her smashing it with a giant hammer, and it was only the beginning]].
* The titular character of Creator/{{Sanrio}}'s ''Anime/AggressiveRetsuko'' shorts, who sings death metal internally when she gets frustrated with her life, which is often.
* Played with in ''Manga/MissKobayashisDragonMaid''. Elma mainly gets everyone tea at work, but that's only because [[EpicFail she got a job as a programmer without even knowing what a computer was]]. She gets elevated to {{Salary|man}}woman once she learns how to code.
** Kobayashi is also referred to as an office lady in the anime's trailer, but she's actually a senior programmer (and is described as the pillar for the entire department).
* ''Bijin Onna Joushi Takizawa-san'' centers around office employee Kyouko Takizawa and her GagBoobs.

[[folder: Literature ]]

* An interesting take on the trope in the allegedly autobiographical novel ''Fear And Trembling'': Westerner Amelie Nothomb moves to Tokyo and takes a job as an OL in a large Japanese company, but finds herself completely out of her depth in the harsh corporate environment and makes blunder upon blunder.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/KamenRiderFaiz'' features the creepy Smart Lady, representative of the Smart Brain company run by the villains. She never has a name beyond that and her role seems to be to cheerfully welcome guests and cheerfully threaten Orphenochs who turn down the MonsterOfTheWeek gig.
* ''ShomuNi'' is a WorkCom centered around a group of office ladies designated to do the company's menial tasks, but the natures of these girls lead them into situations that result in them getting tangled up in much bigger plots.
* Yoko Yagami/Pink Racer of ''Series/GekisouSentaiCarranger'' is one of these.
** It's also Yumeria's day job in ''Series/HikoninSentaiAkibaranger''.


[[folder: MMORPGs ]]

* ''Website/GaiaOnline'''s Meredith, a cute, young, redheaded bank teller who in the old days taught new users how to set up trades and transactions.
** RIG character [[LampshadeHanging OL-runa]] is [[HornyDevils Alruna the succubus]] as an office lady.
** RIG prize Gaia-sama is [[MoeAnthropomorphism Gaia-tan]] as an office lady. ''Gaia Online'' loves this trope, apparently.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* One level in ''VideoGame/OsuTatakaeOuendan'' has Sachiko, the overworked secretary. She is forever being bullied by a group of three other office ladies. The cheerleaders help to get her work done so she can go to the company's anniversary dance and win over the company president's son.
* Two [=OLs=] meet a very disgusting end in one of the ''Bible Black'' shorts, by way of cleverly-applied shotgun.
* Appears as a trainer class in ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite''.