B.J. Novak reveals the most valuable lesson he learned from 'The Office'

BJ NovakGetty ImagesCo-founder of li.st B.J. Novak.

B.J. Novak has gone from working in a fake office to running a real one.

Novak first gained recognition for playing Ryan Howard on “The Office,” a temp who had an on-again-off-again relationship with colleague Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling). However, Novak was also a huge force behind the scenes, as both a producer and writer on the show. For instance, he wrote classic episodes like “Diversity Day,” “The Fire,” and “Initation.”

The Office BJ NovakNBC via Netflix ScreenshotNovak played Ryan Howard on ‘The Office.’ He was also a writer for the show.

Today, Novak is on a different path.

He recently teamed up with Dev Flaherty (the former Fab.com SVP) and launched li.st, an app that allows users to make lists on whatever they feel like. Think of it as Medium.com, but in list-form.

He works out of the company’s office in Los Angeles’ Venice neighbourhood. Unsurpisingly, Novak says the li.st office is nothing like Dunder Mifflin, the paper company at the center of “The Office.”

When talking to INSIDER, Novak says the li.st office is both “better run” and “less dramatic” than Dunder Mifflin. Yet, Novak believes the show imparted a lot of valuable lessons about work and office life that translate into the real world.

“I think it’s a pretty good what not to do [in an office] in general,” Novak said.

The Office BJ Novak Steve CarellNBC via Netflix ScreenshotNovak says the most important part of any job is liking your co-workers.

Since most people spend the better part of their day in an office, being surrounded by likeable people is key.

“The Office” was mostly focused on the relationships between employees, and after writing about those for nine seasons, Novak realised there was something valuable to be learned about office relations.

“For better or worse, it all comes down to the people you’re working with,” he said.

This lesson helped Novak put together a great, cohesive team, as he hired the kind of people that were not only talented, but that he would want to spend time with.

Basically, if you want to enjoy your job, find a Jim Halpert to befriend.

The web version of li.st will be out sometime this month.

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