Unlike most of you, I work for a huge company. It has its good points and its bad points.
One drawback is that important decisions in my life are decided by people who do not know me or care about me at all.
One of these days, a bigwig in Charlotte, NC is going to order my division to return to the office after 18 months of working from home.
The executive who makes this momentous decision has no idea how much it will affect me and my family. Working from home has been a wonderful thing for my three cats. They are blissfully happy to have their dad home with them.
The awful day that I am expected to report back to the office, I am going to have a difficult decision to make. How much am I willing to sacrifice for my company?
“The Apartment” is a mature film that asks tough, relevant questions about modern business culture.
Jack Lemmon stars as CC Baxter. He is a low-level office worker for a big Manhattan insurance company. He wants to be promoted to executive and he knows just how to make it happen.
He has given the key to his apartment to five unfaithful managers in his office so they can use it to fornicate with floozies. Baxter is unpopular with his neighbors and hardly gets to sleep, but he’s moving up in the company.
One of the floozies is plucky elevator operator Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine). Ms. Kubelik is certainly smart and beautiful enough to find a guy who loves her, but she is hung up on Baxter’s slimy boss (Fred MacMurray).
Writer/director Billy Wilder has painted a relatively simple world of users and the people who get used. All the executives are some variation on Don Draper except with no feelings or redeeming qualities.
Baxter and Kubelik are victims because they have internalized the self-destructive values of the corporate world. Baxter assumes that success is a promotion to executive without considering whether it will make him happy. And Kubelik assumes that success is marrying an executive without considering whether it will make her happy.
Obviously, true love is right in front of their noses. Will they or won’t they realize it? “The Apartment” is the prototype for the modern Romantic Comedy. Young Shirley MacLaine is amazing. Every romcom leading lady – from Julia Roberts to Renee Zellweger – has been directly following her lead.
An unexpected surprise about “The Apartment” is how sexually liberated all of the characters are. The office Christmas party is practically a Roman bacchanal. If an office party like that happened today, it would make the New York Post scandal section and several men would be fired in disgrace.
There’s a misconception among young people about the supposedly straightlaced 1950s. The more I learn about the era that my parents grew up in, the more it seems that people today are the uptight prudes.
One thing that hasn’t changed since “The Apartment” is the brutal dilemma that corporate workers face of whether to bow down to their Wall Street overlords. Someday soon I am going to have to choose whether to say good-bye to my beloved cats for 10 hours a day like the bigwigs demand or whether to quit and stay home with my family. Unfortunately, I already know what I’m going to choose.