Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) is a man of many hats. As a survivalist, a weapons expert, a beet farmer, an over-performing salesman, and a master of seduction, the Assistant to the Regional Manager at Dunder Mifflin Scranton made an impression on everyone he worked with during his time on The Office. Blunt, unashamed, socially awkward, and lacking basic common sense, Dwight didn’t have many friends, but the people he worked with became family and his loyalty and devotion to them grew as the series progressed.
There’s not much we can learn from Dwight in terms of conversational skills or basic human decency, but what we can glean from the lessons he shared is how to be the hero of your own workplace.
Maybe one day you’ll be gifted the opportunity to defend a coworker, solve a case of vandalism, prevent layoffs, or offer up your apocalypse bunker to those in need. If so, let these Dwight Schrute quotes give you the courage and fortitude needed to do your duty to mankind — or at the very least, your officemates.
“People learn in lots of different ways, but experience is the best teacher.”
Dwight takes it upon himself to educate his office mates about the importance of fire safety. Unfortunately, PowerPoints are boring and no one pays attention, so to save his coworkers from potentially burning to death in a blazing inferno, he creates a dummy inferno to test their quick-thinking skills. Sure, Oscar Martinez (Oscar Nunez) ends up dangling from the ceiling and Michael Scott (Steve Carell) chucks an overhead projector out the window, but if the lasting effect of a near-death experience makes a safer, more knowledgeable work environment, the property damage was more than worth it. The next time you’re tasked with ensuring the safety of your coworkers, leading an instructional seminar on the best way to use the copy machine, or any other mundane office-related activity, ditch the manual and the slideshow for something a bit more hands on. Your coworkers will thank you for it.
“Security in this office park is a joke. Last year I came to work with my spud-gun in a duffel bag. I sat at my desk all day with a rifle that shoots potatoes at 60 pounds per square inch. Can you imagine if I was deranged?”
Dwight took his duties as a volunteer sheriff deputy very seriously, so when drugs were found in the company parking lot, he decided to open an investigation. Half a joint might seem harmless enough, but when you consider the symptoms of smoking doobies — slow-movement, inattentiveness, dullness, and constant snacking — you can see how marijuana might hinder productivity. Did Dwight go too far by suggesting Oscar was a drug mule? Sure, but he was only trying to protect Dunder Mifflin. Let his actions be a lesson to us all. Doing the right thing isn’t always cool, and it might result in bullying and harassment from your coworkers and your boss — especially if he’s coming off a bit of experimentation at an Alicia Keys concert — but harshing office vibes is a lot better than watching your branch turn into a drug den. Right?
“I am not a hero. I am a mere defender of the office. You know who’s a real hero? Hiro from ‘Heroes.’ That’s a hero. Also Bono.”
Storing weapons in random hiding places around the office comes in handy when a disgruntled employee flies off the handle. When Roy Anderson (David Denman) tried to attack Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) in a fit of jealousy over his ex-fiancé Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), Dwight sprung into action, whipping out the pepper spray he’d been bringing to work for eight years in order to save his frenemy. He was dubbed a hero, showered with gifts, and fawned over by blonde-haired accountants, but Dwight refused the glory in favor of something better: resting in the certainty that he did his civic duty.
The next time an office romance turns sour and a coworker is about to get pummeled by someone’s scorned lover, or an unwelcome intruder begins harassing your workmates, pull a Schrute and rise up to protect your friends. With great power and pepper spray comes great responsibility.
“It’s a real shame because studies have shown that more information gets passed through water cooler gossip than through official memos. Which puts me at a disadvantage because I bring my own water to work.”
Downsizing is a word no employee wants to hear. When the office learns of rumors that some Dunder Mifflin employees might soon be laid off, Dwight isn’t content to go quietly into that dark void of unemployment. He creates alliances with his fellow office mates, something made difficult due to the fact that the water cooler, the physical conduit of all interoffice gossip, is so far from his desk. He rectifies the situation, but his early miscalculation is a lesson for all of us. If you’re trying to save your job and the jobs of your friends at work, or if you just want to be more aware of the goings-on in your own office , make sure you’re near enough to the watering hole to make a difference.
“I do not fear the unknown. I will meet my new challenges head-on, and I will succeed, and I will laugh in the faces of those who doubt me.”
Dwight’s allegiance to his boss and his company rarely came into question on the show, but when Michael demanded to know why his salesman lied, Dwight couldn’t admit the truth about why he went to corporate. He kept mum in order to protect his fellow coworker and lady love, Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey), who forgot to send in company tax forms when they were due. Dwight took the blame, choosing to spare her some hurt feelings by falling on his own sword, quitting his job, and going to work at Staples. No one recommends lying to cover up another employee’s incompetence, but it’s the thought — that unselfish, courageous, gallant thought — that counts. The next time you’re faced with an impossible decision at work — like whether to let a coworker go down in flames for a simple mistake or lie to your boss about your cubicle mates’ real reason for being half an hour late to that company meeting — think of Dwight Schrute at his most selfless.
“Everyone, follow me to the shelter. We’ve got enough food for 14 days. After that, we have a difficult conversation.”
Having an inept boss like Michael Scott means one must always be equipped to deal with panic-inducing situations. When Michael causes the power to go out in the office by hooking up a space heater and fan to the same outlet, Dwight, as always, remains calm, directing his fellow employees to a fallout shelter he’s already set up for himself.
Being willing to share his panic room with a bunch of annoying strangers definitely qualifies as “hero” status, but he takes it one step further when he helps Jim figure out the password to get the mainframe back online after the outage. The next time modern conveniences like technology and the internet fail you at work take a page from Dwight’s book, stay calm, be prepared, and make sure to remember two things: the location of your bunker and a solid, catchy password.