22 Movie Quotes About Work

When it comes to a philosophy of working, in recent years, some of the greatest wisdom has come from movie quotes about work.  From Gordon Gecko’s famous paean on the joys of greed to Tyler Durden’s harangue on the condition of modern man, there are movie quotes to inspire or amuse every working stiff.  Here at your favorite career advice blog Jobacle.com, we’ve put together a selection of some of our favorites.

The importance of work:

“A man should be what he can do.” – Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt, From Here to Eternity, 1953

“It’s not about the paycheck, it’s about respect, it’s about looking in the mirror and knowing that you’ve done something valuable with your day.” – Dave Kovic, Dave, 1993

“A job is not just a job.  It’s who you are.” – Remy, Repo Men, 2010

“They say the number one killer of old people is retirement.  People got ’em a job to do, they tend to live a little longer so they can do it.” – Budd, Kill Bill Vol. II, 2004

“I love the smell of commerce in the morning.” – Brodie , Mallrats, 1995

The importance of money:

“24 hours a day, seven days a week.  No job is too big, no fee is too large.” – Dr. Peter  Venkman, Ghostbusters 1984

“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.” – Gordon Gecko, Wall Street

“Show me the money!” – Rod Tidwell, Jerry Maguire, 1996

On career advancement:

“Normally, it takes years to work your way up to the twenty-seventh floor. But it only takes 30 seconds to be out on the street again. You dig?” – J.D. Sheldrake, The Apartment, 1960

Anti-Work quotes:

“My job consists of basically masking my contempt for the assholes in charge, and, at least once a day, retiring to the men’s room so I can jerk off while I fantasize about a life that doesn’t so closely resemble Hell.” – Lester Burnham, American Beauty 1999

“I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables—slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war . . . our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club 1999

“I was called to the bathroom at the cemetery to take care of something. I walked in the bathroom and in the middle toilet right there . . . somebody didn’t shit in the toilet, somebody shat on the toilet. They shat on the wall, they shat on the floor. I had to clean it up, man, but before that, for about 10 to 15 seconds man, I just stared at somebody’s shit, man. To be totally honest with you, man, it was a really, really profound moment. Cause I was thinkin’, ‘I’m 30 years old and in about 10 seconds I gotta start cleaning up somebody’s shit, man.” – American Movie, 1999

“For us to live any other way was nuts. Uh, to us, those goody-good people who worked shitty jobs for bum paychecks and took the subway to work every day, and worried about their bills, were dead. I mean they were suckers. They had no balls. If we wanted something we just took it. If anyone complained twice they got hit so bad, believe me, they never complained again.” – Henry Hill, Goodfellas, 1990

“We don’t have a lot of time on this earth! We weren’t meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about about mission statements.” – Peter Gibbons, Office Space, 1999

Inspirational work quotes:

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” – Howard Beale, Network, 1976

“If you build it, he will come” (often mistakenly quoted as “If you build it, they will come”), – Shoeless Joe Jackson, Field of Dreams, 1989

“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” – Mame Dennis, Auntie Mame, 1958

“Carpe Diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” – John Keating, Dead Poets Society, 1989

“You can bend the rules plenty once you get to the top, but not while you’re trying to get there. And if you’re someone like me, you can’t get there without bending the rules.” – Tess McGill, Working Girl, 1988

“You got to dress for the job you want, not the job you got.”
 – Mitch Gilliam, Head of State, 2003

“Begin each day like it was on purpose” – Hitch, Hitch, 2005

“You can’t respect someone who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.” – Ferris Bueller,  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986

What are your favorite movie quotes about work?  Add them in the comments section below.

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