‘The Office’: Why Jenna Fischer Became ‘A Very Good Liar’ When She was a Struggling Actor

Jenna Fischer shares her journey to stardom in her 2017 book while giving invaluable tips and advice to those trying to make it in show business. The Office alum revealed that she had to tell her fair share of fibs in order to take on auditions.

Jenna Fischer of 'The Office'
Jenna Fischer of ‘The Office’ | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank

Jenna Fischer’s jobs before ‘The Office’

Trying to make it as an actor in Los Angeles, Fischer held down a wide variety of non-showbiz gigs in order to make ends meet. From office work and catering to transcription and fortune telling, The Office star took on all types of work to pay the bills. Fischer advises aspiring actors to take on assignments that are easy to exit.

“You should pick a day job you can quit with no consequences,” she wrote in her book The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide. “I don’t recommend working for a family member or friend unless you are willing to piss them off when you skip your shift or miss a deadline at the last minute because you booked an acting gig.”

Fischer also warns of letting potential employers know of your acting goals, where they may be reluctant to hire someone who will cut and run if given their big break.

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“A lot of times people are hesitant to hire aspiring actors because they know you’ll leave them in the lurch if a big opportunity comes along,” the Splitting Up Together star wrote. “So, here is the dilemma: Do you tell your day job the truth? … Well, it depends.”

‘The Office’ star went with honesty … at first

Early on, Fischer told the truth of her acting intentions when applying for a job. This transparency led to unexpected responses.

“During my countless interviews, I would always tell them I was an aspiring actor and might need flexibility to attend auditions,” she revealed in her book. “Most of the time the person would have to keep themselves from laughing.”

When Fischer was hired by someone who apparently didn’t expect her to ever land an audition, the budding thespian was given an ultimatum.

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“He said, ‘If you ever get an audition we will deal with it. But I don’t think it will be a problem,'” Fischer recalled, explaining that when she did get an audition and told her boss she would be gone for two days, he wasn’t as understanding as he had promised.

“He said, ‘If you go on the audition, don’t bother coming back,'” the sitcom star remembered. “I said, ‘Okay.’ And on Tuesday at 3 p.m., I left. And I didn’t go back. Nor did I book the acting job.”

Lessons in lying

Fischer’s experiences led her to make a decision which she justified by viewing it as honing her craft.

“That’s when I learned to become a very good liar, which I rationalized by saying it was a way to practice my acting skills,” the Blades of Glory star said. “I found that jobs had no problem letting you miss a few hours for a doctor’s appointment or other errands. … But they hated when you needed the exact same amount of time off for an audition.”

Creating stories from car accidents to OB/GYN checkups, Fischer became skilled at telling tall tales.

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“My cat ran away, my kitchen window was smashed with a rock in the middle of the night, my car got the boot, and I think my grandfather died like four times one year,” Fischer confessed in her book. “To my bosses, I had the worst luck of any person on the planet.”

Despite the rampant fibbery, The Office alum made a point of being a first-rate employee when working at those various jobs.

“My lies were an essential part of staying employed while pursuing my acting career. But it wasn’t just the lies that kept me employed,” Fischer explained. “I’m also a very, very good worker. I always got my work done. … I was a valuable employee, which is an important part of the day job experience.”