Work Experience is the second episode of the first series of the original series of The Office. It was written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. It originally aired on July 16, 2001 on BBC Two.


It's spring cleaning day at Wernham Hogg.

David Brent shows the new employee, Donna, around the office. David tries to tell everyone that their branch will be fine, and there will be no downsizing. David jokes around and introduces Donna, and everyone jokes, and David tells someone to get out. David threatens to take Gareth out as well. David says that being a comedian and a boss are very alike. He is inspired by fellow comedians. Gareth tries to get Tim Canterbury to move so he can be next to Donna, and threatens Tim by firing.

While David is showing Donna the computers, he sees a photoshopped picture of him with breasts on someone's computer. When David asks who saw the filth, everyone raises their hand. The cleaning lady also has one, because everyone printed out one for her. David asks everyone whether they know who the culprit is. David is inspired by Chris Finch's words that he can't be offensive to women, because his mother is one. David says that the photoshopped picture is very offensive to women.

When David types in "sex fetish," he finds a site where people are punished for having big breasts. David and Gareth agree that they should be rewarded. Meanwhile, Tim and Dawn Tinsley continue to flirt. Tim plays with Dawn's hair, however, nobody finds this abnormal for just friends.

David, Donna, Tim and Ricky joke around about Michael Jackson, when Tim imitates him. Jennifer Taylor-Clarke comes into the office to talk to David about the changes he made, like Neil Godwin did in Swindon. However, David forgot to make any changes and Jennifer wants him to name five changes. Jennifer wants David to make people redundant, and Jennifer says that it was a bad idea to tell people they won't be leaving. Gareth interrogates everyone about the photo, so that he can find out who really did it. Keith is the first one to be questioned.

Dawn becomes jealous when Tim and Donna flirt with each other. Jennifer continues to talk to David and says that she will make cutbacks if he doesn't. David says that he fired "Julie Anderton" from the warehouse, however he hasn't, even though Jennifer knows that he didn't fire anyone. Dawn and Tim pull out Gareth's failed signs for his office of interrogation, out and laugh at the signs. Gareth says that office romances are messy, and thus he avoids them, even though he likes Donna.

Jennifer and David go down to the warehouse and see Glyn, the warehouse foreman. Jennifer realizes that David was lying and is angry. Glyn then makes a sexist remark towards Jennifer, getting her extremely angry.

Tim and Dawn wind up Gareth. David then tells Jennifer about the photoshopped picture and tells Jennifer, Tim did it, even though David is unsure. Tim tries to defend himself, and tells him that Chris Finch, did it. David then finds it hilarious, because Chris did it. Jennifer and Dawn demand that David says sorry, but he avoids apologizing to Tim. Everyone goes back to work.

In the closing credits, Tim has his computer say, "Gareth is a Benny."


  • These were the signs that Gareth used for his investigation
    • Interrogation Room
    • Interrogation Office
    • Investigation Room
    • Investigation Office
    • Quiet Please! Invetigation [sic] in Process!
    • Silence! Interrogation!
    • Gareth Keenan Investigates!
    • Investigation and Meeting Room (which is the one he eventually picks)

Connections to the American Office

  • The scene in the conference room is extremely similar to the conference room where Michael is saying that downsizing won't occur. (Pilot)
  • The spring cleaning plotline was used in the American version of the office. ("The Secret")
  • The scene where Dawn and Tim pull out signs from the garbage can, Jim and Pam did the same thing with Dwight Schrute's sign for interrogating people about writing down fake diseases. ("The Alliance")
  • The overall concept of the episode, with the boss not liking a prank pulled on him only to change his mind when his friend does it, is similar to The Carpet.


Main cast

Supporting cast

  • Joel Beckett as Lee (Dawn's fiancee)
  • Stirling Gallacher as Jennifer Taylor-Clarke
  • Oliver Chris as Ricky Howard
  • Ewen MacIntosh as Keith Bishop
  • Sally Bretton as Donna
  • Robin Hooper as Malcolm
  • David Schaal as Glyn
  • Yvonne D'Alpra as Joan
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