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Michael Scott may think he's the World's Best Boss, but let's face it, his work record isn't entirely stellar throughout his run on The Office. While the branch manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton may have had his faults and shown poor judgment in the workplace to varying degrees, there were a number of times when he really came through at his job.
We're taking a look at some of the times when The Office's Michael Scott actually managed to pull off a major work win.
The Time He Made A Big Sale at Chili's
Michael Scott proved himself to be an exceptional salesman in "The Client," when he and Jan headed off to Chili's to meet Tim Meadows' character, Christian, in the hopes of getting his business. It's a big meeting, one that Michael takes control of from the start, changing the location from a hotel to Chili's and then spending almost the entire meeting telling jokes and ordering more food, much to Jan's visible dismay.
On the surface, it seems like Michael's just being Michael, goofing around and wasting time, but if you watch closely, you can see him intentionally steering Jan away from work talk multiple times, taking his time to bond with Christian so that, after hours of drinks, awesome blossoms and ribs, Christian feels good about giving his business to Dunder Mifflin. This is Michael Scott at his salesman best, and it's only at the end as Michael closes the sale that Jan seems to realize what she's just witnessed.
The Time He Secured A Deal With Hammermill Paper
Michael has his methods, and more often than not, those methods are time-wasting shenanigans. But in "The Convention," he once again proves he can sometimes crush it. While at an office supply convention in Philadelphia, Jan and Josh are busy taking meetings, while all Michael can talk about is the hotel room party he's planning. Unsurprisingly, Jan is unimpressed with Michael seeming to treat the Convention as an opportunity to socialize and collect swag instead of generating business.
While it really does seem like Michael is too distracted with his party plans (and his jealousy of Jim's friendship with Josh) to focus on work, he does manage to take a meeting with a rep from Hammermill, who very politely allows Michael to finish his camera interview about Jim before they get down to business. Previously, Hammermill was exclusive to Staples, but through this casual meeting, Michael manages to secure an agreement to sell Hammermill paper. And then he gets to be a bit smug as he delivers the news to Jan and Josh. As Dwight so eloquently put it, "YES!"
The Time He Made A Big Sale on Pretzel Day
Pretzel Day at the office is a big deal. That it should also take place on the very day Jan asks Pam to log all of Michael's activity for the day is unfortunate. With the distraction of a delicious soft pretzel before him, this could've been catastrophic for Michael. He did spend a large amount of time waiting in line for his pretzel after all, and Pam had very little to include in the log, which is going to be a problem.
Fortunately, fueled by sugar from his pretzel-with-the-works, Michael manages to land a huge sale, with the help of a lot of energy and a Bill Cosby impression. Jan presumably forgot all about the activity log when she saw those numbers.
He also delivered a detailed plan to streamline the efficiency of the office, then crashed in his office for the rest of the day, but that's neither here nor there.
The Time He Showed Up At Pam's Art Show
Maybe it's not part of his job to show up at an employee's non-work-related event, but Michael's a people person and it's unlikely that it even occurred to him to skip Pam's art show, despite everyone else finding some excuse or another not to go. Even Jim didn't show up, as he and Pam had grown a bit distant at this point (he was dating Karen at the time).
Pam's emotional reaction to Michael arriving to view her paintings says everything about Michael's heart and what his affection for his employees can sometimes mean to them.
The Time He Negotiated A Deal To Sell Michael Scott Paper Company
Does reclaiming a job count as being good at your job? I'm going to count this one as a yes, because it's too big a victory to ignore, and it's a victory that Michael made happen. While his tiny paper company was managing to steal business away from Dunder Mifflin, it was also on the verge of bankruptcy. Of course, David Wallace didn't know that when he arranged a meeting to buy Michael out and reclaim the lost clients. After he presents Michael with a monetary offer, Michael almost takes it. Then he considers a better deal: jobs for himself, Pam and Ryan.
Michael hasn't always proven to be the wisest when it comes to money, but somehow he managed to see the value in having a steady paying job over a sizable pile of cash up front, and he made it happen with a fantastic pitch that included essentially threatening to start up an endless number of new companies (or as many as he can name, anyway).
The Time He Distracted The Whole Office (In A Good Way)
Under most circumstances, Michael's distractions are a pretty big waste of time. Consider all of the conference room meetings and other random things he orchestrates to pull people away from their reports, sales calls and other responsibilities. But in "Murder," his distraction has a very clear purpose. When the Scranton branch learns that the company may be going under, everyone's worrying about the fate of their jobs, including Michael.
Jim thinks the best way to get everyone's mind off of the situation is by encouraging them to get back to work. Michael's plan is basically the opposite of that. Games are his coping method, and he uses that with the office by engaging them in a bit of Belles, Bourbon and Bullets, a murder mystery game. Despite Jim's doubts, it works. Maybe no work got done that day, but the Dunder Mifflin staff did manage to run down the clock without panicking while they waited for news. And Jim learned a lesson about the importance of finding a way to keep everyone calm, even when the situation isn't looking good.
As Michael notes in the end, "Today is the hardest I've worked in a long, long time."
As evidenced by the above, Michael Scott had some great moments to prove he was actually good at his job sometimes. I was going to include the time he confronted Stanley in the "Did I Stutter" episode, but since he spent most of that episode trying to navigate around that conversation (including fake-firing Stanley at one point), it was hard to make a strong case, as good as it was to see him step up and do it in the end. The same for the "Golden Ticket" episode, where Michael's Willy Wonka coupon promotion nearly blew up in his face. The fact that it worked out for him seemed to rely a lot on luck, and since he was prepared to let Dwight take the blame for it, no points.
Stream all nine seasons of The Office on Netflix.