Bill Lumbergh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
William Lumbergh
Office Space character
Gary Cole as Lumbergh in Office Space
Created byMike Judge
Portrayed byGary Cole
In-universe information
OccupationDivision Vice President, Initech (formerly)
Division Vice President, Initrode (currently)

William "Bill" Lumbergh is a fictional character, who appeared initially in the Milton animated shorts, and later was portrayed by Gary Cole in the 1999 film Office Space as the film's main antagonist. A caricature of corporate management, Lumbergh is a division vice president of the Texas-based software company Initech, and serves as the main antagonist of the film. He drives a blue Porsche 911 SC with a vanity license plate "MY PRSHE". He wears formal, solid-color day dress shirts with Winchester collars and suspenders with a belt — a fashion faux pas — as well as an MIT college class ring. According to his Initech employee's personnel file, Lumbergh graduated from MIT with a BS in physics.

Lumbergh is a micromanager who is focused on busy work and paperwork, notably TPS reports. He has been described as "the antithesis of the motivational management leadership ideal".[1] He greets subordinates with an unenthusiastic "What's happening?", and when asking an employee to do an unpleasant task, starts the sentence with, "I'm gonna need you to", or "If you could go ahead and", as well as ending these requests with "that'd be great/terrific" and "mmmkay?" A Wharton Journal article said that the character "brilliantly exposed the emptiness of linguistic conventions at work."[2] Social historian Joe Moran writes that Lumbergh's "non-confrontational" communication style "masks the reality of management coercion".[3]

Role in the film[edit]

In the film, Lumbergh is presented as a micromanager, whose favourite targets are programmer Peter Gibbons (the main protagonist, played by Ron Livingston) and collator Milton Waddams (Stephen Root). He makes Peter work nearly every weekend and belittles him for not including a new-design cover sheet on a TPS report, and assigns Milton an ever-increasing number of menial tasks and constantly makes him move his desk, farther and farther from the window.

After Peter sleeps throughout the weekend after being hypnotised into not caring about his job, Lumbergh leaves seventeen messages on Peter's answering machine.

Despite being a vice-president, Lumbergh is shown to be spineless when business consultants Bob Slydell and Bob Porter are brought in to help with downsizing Initech, and eventually start questioning Lumbergh after his poor management comes to their attention. He also does not know how to respond to Peter's flippant attitude when he comes to work while hypnotised; Peter's actions include removing a door handle that constantly gives him static shocks, preparing fish at his desk, playing Tetris, and messily knocking down a cubicle wall blocking his view out the window. Furthermore, when Milton is revealed to have been made redundant five years earlier, but still receives pay and comes to Initech (as neither he nor the accounting department were told), the consultants tell accounting to stop paying Milton without telling him and Lumbergh laughs, as well as confiscating Milton's beloved red Swingline stapler and eventually moving him and his desk downstairs to the basement storage areas, where he is told to tackle the cockroach problem.

After this, Lumbergh's fate is never elaborated on, though the deleted scenes reveal the filmmakers considered having him die in a fire started by Milton in revenge for being mistreated, and Peter, alongside coworkers Michael and Samir, discuss attending his funeral. In deleted scenes Peter's boss at his new construction job behaves exactly like Lumbergh.


  1. ^ Green, Doyle (2010). The American Worker on Film: A Critical History, 1909-1999. McFarland & Company. pp. 191–92. ISBN 978-0-7864-4734-3.
  2. ^ Cole, Douglas (February 12, 2007). "Why we should remember Bill Lumbergh". The Wharton Journal. Wharton School. Archived from the original on 12 March 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
  3. ^ Moran, Joe (2005). Reading the Everyday. Taylor & Francis. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-415-31708-5.

External links[edit]