It’s tempting to look at organisations in movies and think “wouldn’t it be great to work there?”
There’s often a huge chance of workplace injury, dismemberment, or death, but the many perks would make it all worth it. Most of us would do anything to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, even if we were one of the incompetent ones in the background being called out for playing Galaga.
But it’s not all cool gadgets and boldly going where no man has gone before. Take a look behind the scenes, and you’ll find that so many fictional workplaces would be health and safety nightmares. Here are just a few companies where you’d never want to be an employee…
A job at a dinosaur park sounds like a dream gig. The safety measures are exhaustive, the scenery incredible, and there’s also the small matter of working alongside the most awe-inspiring animals ever to walk to earth. Most of us would make a career out of shoveling waste just for a chance to get close.
Why It’d be the Worst: The events surrounding the first Jurassic Park only got started because one of the workers was killed by a dinosaur. As it turned out, they should’ve taken the hint; the resident game hunter gets his face eaten and the IT guy is mauled by an screaming, venom-spitting lizard.
But they had it coming, right? The whole thing was a logistical nightmare from the start. The newly-revived Jurassic World takes safety seriously by installing dinosaur-sized doors in its enclosures, allowing pterodactyls to escape and wreak havoc on the public, then releasing a bunch of velociraptors with no plan for getting them back.
Oscorp is one of the most profitable companies in the world, and any position there is probably a great step-up in your career. Their products tend to be wildly successful, and your boss is an actual genius. An evil genius, but hey…as long as you get your paycheck at the end of the week, whatever the CEO does in his spare time is none of your concern.
Why It’d be the Worst: Quick question: what does Oscorp actually do? It’s kind of a running gag in comics to have a large corporation with only a vague, ambiguous purpose. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Wayne Enterprises is the world’s chief exporter of impractical tank-cars, and Queen Industries seems to change its main product depending on the writer. Oscorp, on the other hand, seems to exclusively cater to super-villains. They’re most famous for a serum that turns whoever uses it into super-strong, murderous psychopaths. Other quality products include improbably tricked-out gliders (that are used by said murderous psychopaths) and a number of killer-robots (see ‘used by psychopaths’ above).
The Death Star (Star Wars)
Let’s look past the name for a moment. This thing is a pretty cool bit of tech. Not only does a job on the Death Star mean that you’re solidly on the winning side, it also offers pretty amazing job security. No one’s going to mess with a moon-sized space station with enough firepower to roast planets like ants under a magnifying glass. We also only saw a small glimpse of the place during the movies; the Death Star presumably goes all the way to the center, giving it about a million times more floor space than your average office. It’d almost be more surprising if there WASN’T a karaoke bar somewhere inside that thing.
Why It’d be the Worst: Well, there’s the little matter of your workplace being the size of a moon. Imagine working in recruitment and having a meeting in HR. Let’s hope the elevators are well-stocked with Empire propaganda pamphlets, because it’s going to take you about two hours to get there. You can forget about visiting family on the weekends, and we have a hunch that ‘soul-crushing grey’ is the color you’ll have to get used to for the duration of your stay.
There’s also the little matter of your workplace blowing up. Twice. It’s probably best to just take that traffic control job on Coruscant and wait for the whole ‘tyrannical dictatorship’ thing to blow over.
S.H.I.E.L.D. (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
A day at S.H.I.E.L.D. could never be boring, even in the slightly more grounded MCU version. The uniforms are cool, the terminals come equipped with old school video games and you could end up working in a flying helicarrier. Plus there’s always the chance you’re going to bump elbows with Captain America.
Why It’d be the Worst: In terms of job security, S.H.I.E.L.D. might just be the worst. Assuming that you genuinely work for S.H.I.E.L.D., there’s a very good chance that the guy you went for drinks with last night is a Hydra agent who won’t hesitate to shoot you dead. Highest-tier leadership? Hydra. The guy who services the coffee machine? Totally Hydra.
Outside of that minor inconvenience, you’re tasked with handling some of the most volatile people on the planet, from arrogant billionaires with robot suits to upstart college kids with freezing powers. Regular jobs are stressful enough without having to keep tabs on the actual god of thunder.
THE UMBRELLA CORPORATION (Resident Evil)
The best that can be said about the Umbrella Corporation is that they’re consistent. You show up to work on a Monday, you know exactly what the schedule is for the week: develop biological weapon, release on unsuspecting population, reap unknown benefits.
They also seem to have some of the best lawyers in the world, given how long they managed to get away with what is essentially bio-terrorism for fun and profit.
Why It’d be the Worst: See ‘bio-terrorism’ above. The Umbrella Corporation has plenty of benign departments, such as cosmetics and food, but once what goes on in the basement hits the fan, you’re all going down. Even before then, you have to wonder what the workplace environment would be like when most of the world is pointing fingers at your company for causing the actual zombie apocalypse.
The Impossible Missions Force (Mission Impossible)
The IMF might have a goofy name, but there’s no denying they get results. In fact, they’re so good at it that they’re allowed have ‘impossible’ in the name of the organisation, with the expectation that they turn their missions into ‘possible’. They’re probably the world leader in ridiculously effective face masks, and that’s only the tip of the cool gadget iceberg.
Why It’d be the Worst: As with the S.H.I.E.L.D. example, workplace relations in the IMF would be a bit tense due to the fact that agents betray the organisation every other week. Exactly why this happens is anyone’s guess (there’s a lack of decent coffee, according to the first movie), but you have to wonder exactly what keeps making all these agents go rogue.
Even when you do all the right things, there’s still a very good chance the IMF will come after you anyway with the flimsiest of evidence, as Ethan Hunt knows all too well. Apparently the organisation has never heard of team-building exercises. They might help to cut down on the rampant treason.
HOGWARTS school of witchcraft and wizardry (Harry Potter)
This one might cause a few fans distress. After all…it’s Hogwarts. We’re talking about a castle full of adventure, magic and excellent free meals created by cheerful slave labor (no washing up!). The scenery is splendid, they’ll throw a feast at the drop of a hat and since you’re an employee, you can explore the rich history after dark without losing points for whatever house you’ve decided that you’d be in.
Sure, you’d be living without internet and a stroll through the forest can get you killed, but that’s all part of the magical experience.
Why It’d be the Worst: Despite being revered as one of the safest places in the world, the school has a horrible track record. We follow Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts over seven years, and not one of them passes without a major incident. There’s no evidence that it’s different at any other time, either; stories abound of people being killed by trees, roaming monster snakes and cursed teaching positions.
In book order, if you were to take a job at Hogwarts, you’d find yourself dealing with: invading trolls, one of your co-workers carrying Voldemort around on the back of his head, a roaming monster snake (again), multiple intrusions by a mass-murderer, another one of your co-workers turning out to be a Death Eater in disguise, Dolores Umbridge, a Death Eater invasion by night and a full-scale war inside the school.
MORDOR (The Lord of the Rings)
Mordor is a nasty place for the average human. You might have heard that you can’t just simply walk in. Still, it’s probably fine for orcs. If you don’t mind the brimstone, 100% cloud cover and your daily meal being that emaciated rat you stepped on that morning, it might not be such a bad place to work. Once again, you know you’re on the winning team, and a bit of morale does wonders for the workplace.
Why It’d be the Worst: One reason: Sauron. If you think regular bosses are bad, they’ve got nothing on the guy who is an actual eye that sees pretty much everything (except the One Ring, when it’s right in front of him). Imagine trying to shut your Facebook tab before Sauron sees you’re not working. You’ll never make it in time.
THE ENTERPRISE (Star Trek)
At first glance, it seems like absolutely everyone in the Star Trek universe has it made. The Earth is a utopia, technology fulfills your every need and the universe is an open book, full of endless wonder for you to explore.
The crew of the Enterprise have all these perks, along with constant excitement and the thrill of seeking out new life for a career. If you ever need a change of scenery during those long stretches in space, there’s also a holodeck on board that can take you anywhere else you’d like.
Why It’d be the Worst: You might be needing that holodeck more than you think, mostly to escape from the existential horror. You’re travelling on a ship subject to constant attacks by extra-terrestrials, and the overall effectiveness of your on-board security ranges from ‘non-existent’ to ‘Worf’.
That’s not a wide gap.
Every week seems to bring deadly viruses, hostile life forms and ship-to-ship combat that will send your attractive, jumpsuited self tumbling across the bridge before you can say ‘inertial dampeners’.
ARKHAM ASYLUM (Batman)
There’s never a dull day at Arkham. Sure, the weather is awful 365 days of the year and you live in a city overrun by crime and decay, but you get to work with some of the world’s most interesting people. You also never need to worry about inmates escaping, because…nobody else does. Thanks to the Batman, they’ll almost certainly be back in their cells by morning.
Why It’d be the Worst: The job satisfaction rate at Arkham seems to be fairly low, mostly because the people who work there either wind up as super-villains or going insane themselves. Sometimes both, if the trailers for Suicide Squad are to be believed. The high conversion rate of employees to inmates just can’t be good for the team ethic, and the frequent mass breakouts create what you might call a disruptive atmosphere. Imagine trying to get a report done by the end of the day while Mr Freeze is rampaging through the complex and The Joker is gleefully trying to murder you. It’s probably a good career step to just avoid the place entirely.
You might think the drudgery and boredom of the corporate cubicles of Office Space sound bad, but just imagine risking your life every day as the henchman of an evil supervillain. All things considered, our universe isn’t all that bad. Did we miss anything? Are there worse movie workplaces out there? Let us know in the comments below!