Dilbert’s Hierarchy of Needs
Derrick Idleburg, Jr.

Have you ever watched the show (or read the comic strip) Dilbert? If not, where have you been?! If you have ever worked anywhere ever, this is something that you can relate to. It features tons of hilarious examples of what really happens when working. Want to read more about Dilbert? Visit Scott Adams’ page. Today I’m going to share with you five themes in Dilbert as well as five of Dilbert’s needs. Perhaps there is a connection? We need to pull together a committee meeting to figure that out, though.

Five Themes in Dilbert

1) Committee meetings are where innovation goes… to die a slow, painful death.

It’s a recurring theme in the show. Whenever you watch the show, the intro shows Dilbert creating some cool thing at his house that you will find later he will never build at his company. Besides, he shouldn’t! He should just start a business. Throughout most of the series, Dilbert is working on the Gutbuster 6000 or something. Every single time he tries to make a change, start something, etc., someone calls a committee meeting. In these meetings, they waste more time discussing who will analyze what is wrong than actually fixing the problem! I am sure we have all experienced this. Have you?

2) Bosses with no discernible sense… of anything. They don’t know your name, let alone what you do.

Dilbert’s boss isn’t just an ass. He’s a dumbass. Dilbert’s boss has taken ideas from him, ignored him, would not own up to his mistakes and in general screwed stuff up. Dilbert and his co-workers would fix things time and time again and then the boss would come in, decide what they did was wrong and completely screw up whatever project they were working on. To put it simply, Dilbert’s boss was apathetic, aloof, and self -centered. Let’s just say making sure his employees were okay was not a top priority. We all know that an unhappy employee is less productive (among other things). Have there been any bosses that you loved working for? Or ones that you just liked?

3) Co-workers. They make the day better.

In the show, I think they have it fairly accurate. You like them, but they don’t need to know your personal business. Unless you love what you do. In that case, I guess it’s different. Love and job are words that never sync with one another. Career, however, is a different story.

4) If you really want to do something effective, working for someone else isn’t the way to do it.

We all need experience, sure, but at some point there has to be a hard stop date. I think that Dilbert is an entrepreneur. Or a wannabe entrepreneur. Dilbert’s biggest problem throughout the show, more than anything else, is fear. Dilbert stalls himself multiple times right before a big breakthrough.

If you don’t learn anything else from this hilarious show, learn this. Be like Dogbert. Dogbert has no issue starting something new over and over again. If you weren’t afraid, what would you go for?

Want to know Dilbert’s Hierarchy of Needs? Well first, I need to call a committee meeting to decide who will be on the committee. Then another meeting to create a list of action items and then another one to edit those action items. Then another committee meeting to discuss the plan to decide who will plan what is on the list. Did I lose you yet?

Dilbert’s Hierarchy of Needs

  1. Autonomy. Won’t get that working for someone else.
  2. Friends. Dilbert is lonely. Good thing he has Dogbert. Get some friends (outside of work).
  3. Good pay. A recurring theme is the fact that Dilbert is underemployed. Maybe the Student Loan CPA can help you.
  4. Risk-taking.
  5. Starting a business. Dilbert has lots of ideas, but ideas don’t make money. Businesses do.

Now that you have learned some wisdom from Dilbert, how will you apply it? Share your thoughts about the article below.

Derrick Idleburg Jr., is what happened when he failed at dentistry and realized that he was really a ‘trep. With strong interests in entrepreneurship and marketing, Derrick uses his skills to help others market their businesses or themselves. He consults, is an editor, and co-founded a health focused business. He loves St. Louis Cardinals baseball, marketing, sports, health, gaming, watches, and tech. His goal is to run multiple businesses and he eventually wants to own/run a baseball team one day. Follow his endeavors on his blog, Far From Idle, or on Twitter. Come. Find out why.