‘The Office’: How Did Michael Scott Get His Job?

When fans finally get to meet Michael Scott, he’s a regional manager for Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. With a laidback management style, it’s hard to understand how Michael got his job in the first place. Jim Halpert once suggested that Michael spent 80% of his time distracting others, 19% of his time procrastinating, and roughly 1% of his time utilizing his critical thinking skills. That says a lot coming from Jim, the office’s resident slacker. So, how did Michael land his management job in the first place? The story is actually pretty weird.

How did Michael get a job with Dunder Mifflin in the first place?

Michael, as a manager, is a bit unorthodox. He’s not out to manage people, and he’d rather be friends with his team than their boss. There is a good reason for it though, Michael never intended to be a manager in the first place. In fact, it seems he never intended to work at Dunder Mifflin at all.

Steve Carell as Michael Scott
Steve Carell as Michael Scott | Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

In Season 5, it is revealed that Michael ended up with a job at Dunder Mifflin when he saw an attractive woman and followed her into the office park. Somehow, perhaps through kismet, he left the office park with a job as a salesman. The identity of the woman is never revealed.

Was his rise to management deserved?

So, Michael may have accidentally walked into a job as a salesman, but his rise to management was not an accident. Apparently, Michael was such a good salesman that it was assumed he’d make an exceptional manager. That’s not always how things work, though.

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As the story goes, Michael consistently racked up impressive sales numbers early in his career with Dunder Mifflin. He was, allegedly, the number one salesman in the branch month over month, and slowly rose up the corporate ladder. This is a likely story. In fact, that’s often how the sales world works. A great salesman eventually is given people to train and manage, and if they do that well, they can rise further into management, as Michael did.

A good salesman doesn’t necessarily make a good manager, though. The talents needed for sales don’t always translate into the management of people. According to Forbes the data supports the notion that great salesmen actually make terrible leaders. Discontent and ineptitude are common, even among sales professionals who were once the darlings of their team.

How much money did he make as a manager?

Michael was pretty handsomely rewarded for his inept management style. According to Payscale, a regional manager like Michael can expect to make around $79,000 in base salary. Additional bonuses and profit-sharing options are expected for someone in Michael’s position, raising his pay an additional $20,000 to $30,000 a year.

Because Scranton is a relatively low cost of living area, Michael could easily survive and even thrive on his salary, that is, as long as the company continues to do well. Because Michael is the manager of his team, their successes are considered his accomplishments, and thus their failures are considered his shortcomings, as well. Low sales numbers could severely impact any bonuses that Michael would receive, so his inept management style may have shorted him out of some extra cash.