“…and congratulations! You're gonna be the new manager of this branch!” Jo Bennett declares.
This can’t be real.
He just wants to provide for his family. He’s only in this for the money, nothing more. But this was beyond just selling paper. Not only is he climbing the chain of command of a company he doesn’t care about, he’s doing it without any of the monetary advances.
Now the co-manager — his employee, rather — made sure of that.
He wanted to do a multitude of things at once: put his head in his hands in defeat, walk out of the office and drive to nowhere, slink hopelessly back to his new office, punch Michael in the throat. However, he knew that none of these will get him anywhere.
But he needs an out.
So, like an idiot, he goes for it.
“Yes, what is it, hon?” she asks, wondering why he’s still here.
Jim Halpert deep breathes and starts his plan.
As Michael relaxes at his new desk and Dwight and Ryan prepare their vengeance against Jim, Pam peers into the conference room, noticing Jim’s still talking to Jo. She initially thinks nothing of it… until Gabe walks in. Her curiosity peaks when she spots Jo break out an egg timer.
What the hell?
The day only gets weirder when after the timer goes off he practically jogs out of the conference room and goes to Michael’s — well, his — computer, finding something to print out so quickly that he doesn’t bother to sit down. He immediately leaves and speed-walks to the printer.
Pam swivels to him, “Hey.”
He nervously turns to her, “Oh, hey.”
“What’cha… What you got there?”
“Ah, nothing important.” He taps his foot, waiting for the printer to finish the entire thing.
She wonders, “You’ve been talking to Jo for awhile.”
“What was that about?”
“Oh, just how we can improve productivity in the workplace, standard… manager stuff.”
A beat. “Manager stuff, huh?”
“Wanna go into more detail?”
“It’s nothing to worry about—”
“What does that mean?” she starts to get concerned.
“Um…” once the piece was done, he takes it and briskly walks back to the conference room. She spots him hand over the documents to Jo, who looks at them intently.
Her thoughts are interrupted by Michael, “It will be a pleasure doing business with you. Thanks, bye,” he blows a train whistle, “I just got a new account for the gentleman’s club in Carbondale. It is called ‘Curves.’”
As Pam eats her lunch at the break room, she peers out the window and sees Jim approach Toby. She can’t hear the conversation, but the two smile and shake hands.
Thankful that he didn’t catch her gaze, she suddenly slinks over to Toby the moment Jim’s out of earshot. “Hey!” she smiles wide.
“Oh, hey, Pam,” Toby smiles back.
“So, um, I was curious, what you guys talking about?”
“Uh, y’know… business.” In the middle of his response, she peers all the way across the hall where she spots Jim talking to Erin, of all people.
“What kind of business?” she asks impatiently.
“I’m— really not at liberty to say—”
“God, Toby, you’re useless!” she storms off in a huff.
Toby just sighs and does what Jim asks of him.
She strides back to confront Jim, who’s already back in the conference room. Frustrated, she decides instead to walk to the front desk, “Erin, can you tell me what—” before she can even finish her statement, Erin grabs a sticky note, crumples it up, and shoves it in her mouth, looking up at her.
Pam gives up, puckers her lips and balls her hand into a fist, banging in on the table before heading back to her seat. Erin spits out the sticky note and does what Jim asks of her.
It doesn’t help that Michael starts loudly complaining about a smell.
After a while, Pam sees Jim and Gabe walk out with Jo’s entourage of dogs. “And don't ride ‘em,” she calls from the door, “Lotta people try to ride ‘em.”
Jim tries to make conversation, “So, what kinds of shows do you watch, Gabe?” Jim asks him.
Gabe smiles, “How invested are you in Korean soap-operas?”
“…What kinds of music do you listen to, Gabe?”
Pam’s just shakes her head.
Finally, after ten minutes of those two walking the dogs, Jim is alone in his office. It’s not even a minute until Pam bursts through. She’s clearly annoyed, with her arms crossed. He thought she looked kind of cute like this.
“What have you been doing all day?”
He can tell she’s not in the mood, “Look, I’ll explain everything—”
“Yes, you will. Right now,” she grabs a chair and drags it to his desk. “Well?”
He sighs and then… “I asked Jo for a promotion.”
She widens her eyes, “What?”
“You just met this woman!”
“That’s what she— she said that, yeah.”
“How did you even talk her into it?”
“Well I explained who I am, my qualifications, where I want my career to go, what role I should play in the company, how I, in said role, could benefit the company, etc.”
“And I had to do all of that in three minutes.”
She gasps as it hits her, “The egg timer!”
“Exactly. Then she wanted my entire sales catalogue,”
“Yup. Then she asked for two letters of recommendation from people in this office,”
“Toby and Erin.”
“And then she asked for one more favor.”
“Walking her dogs.”
“With Gabe. Who, by the way,” he leans in to whisper, “has an asian fetish.”
Pam could barely contain her laughter, “Oh my God.”
“Right?” he chuckles.
“So did you get it?”
“She’s on the phone with the Board now,” Jim shrugs, “Something might come out of this, or nothing, who knows? I just… I can’t take it anymore, Pam. Manager or salesman, it feels like I’m trapped either way. And if I’m gonna be stuck in this company, I at least want to do something worthwhile.”
“And that is?”
“Marketing. Something along those lines.”
“She said I could keep this job if it doesn’t happen, so no real risk there.”
“Why didn’t you tell me all of this?”
“I was scared that it’d all blow in my face, and… I didn’t wanna worry you.”
“Well, I ended up worrying anyway. And if you just told me the truth we could have at least worried together.”
He’s ashamed, “I’m sorry, Pam, I really am. It’s just we’re about to be a family now and I have to provide for you guys. I… I wanted to protect you.”
Her face softens as she reaches over to grab his hand, “You can’t protect us from everything.”
He smirks, “I know.”
“We’re a team, remember? No matter what, I’m with you. You don’t have to hide anything.”
He nods, “Yeah,” he thinks out loud, “Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I took that job in Honesdale…”
Seeing why he asked for this promotion in the first place, she tightens her grip. He looks up and they exchange small smiles.
Suddenly, as they let go, a crestfallen Michael enters, “Hey.”
“Hey,” Jim greets back.
“You know, it's funny,” Michael starts, “I used to stand in here and wish I was out there. Now I’m out there, and I wish I was in here.”
“Well, the grass is always greener,” Jim reminds him in his most ‘I-told-you-so’ tone.
“Yeah. Except there’s no grass out there. It’s just a farty dirt patch.”
“Well, it’s what you wanted,” Pam points out.
“I really need my job back. We made a terrible mistake here.”
Jim gets annoyed, “For the record, I fought this. Alright?”
“The hell’s goin’ on in here?” the three spot Jo peering into Jim’s office.
Jim tries to explain himself, “Well, we were just—”
“Whatever. Get your asses into the conference room, important announcement. Jim?” she looks at him with a smile, “You’re gonna wanna hear this.”
Both Michael and Pam turn to Jim, whose mouth is agape.
In the conference room, Jim stands next to Jo and Gabe. Jo starts, “Well, everyone, as it turns out, Jim will no longer be Regional Manager.”
“YES!” Dwight suddenly gets up, “Whoo-hoo!” he starts to clap enthusiastically. No one joins him and he awkwardly sits back down, though Ryan wears a very proud smirk.
“Anyways,” Jo continues, “He instead is going to act as Advertising Director of the company.”
The room gasps, actually impressed. Especially Ryan.
“Wait, we won’t have to move, right?” Pam asks Jo.
“Nope, he’ll be stationed right here in good ol’ Scranton.”
“Acting as the second corporate liaison besides yours truly,” Gabe chuckles awkwardly.
“So he’s no longer our direct superior?” Oscar asks.
“He’ll actually be working in the Marketing of our Sales and Marketing department,” Gabe explains, “so no, he isn’t.”
“Thank God,” Oscar mutters.
“Love you too, Oscar,” Jim says.
Jo continues, “But that does mean we are short one branch manager. Michael, you willing to step back up and—”
“Yes!” Michael gets up from his seat, “Yes, I am,” he grabs both Jo’s and Jim’s arms and raises them up with his in victory, “We did it!”
As Jo looks at Michael like he’s an alien, Gabe gets the entire room to clap; they’re all supportive (Even Dwight gives Jim a slight nod of approval) except for Ryan, who just sits there with a thousand-yard stare.
Pam beams at Jim with pride as she claps, near tears, and he beams back at her.
After Jim dunks Dwight’s tie into his coffee, Jim and Pam smile at each other once again as he picks up his belongings, carries them to the annex, and never looks back.