The Jerry Gergich Guide to a Wonderful Life

Jerry Gergich is my idol.

Jerry Gergich, played by Jim O’Heir, is also a running joke on Parks and Recreation (NBC’s satirical comedy about a mid-sized town’s municipal parks department). He personifies chubby lovableness, but he also endures cruel ridicule by his parks department coworkers in every episode.

But Jerry, as difficult as everybody tries to make his life, holds the key to a wonderful life.

Home to Christie by 5pm Everyday

Jerry and Christy

The old Sesame Street song ‘Which one of these is not like the others’ plays in your head when you meet Jerry’s family: His wife is played by Christie Brinkley and his daughters are drop dead gorgeous. How did this goofy guy end up with this family?

While I can’t speak to the genetics and Jerry’s game with the ladies back in the day, his general joy is hinted at in the video clip above:

He promised his wife he’d leave work by 5:00. Everyday. No matter what. He committed to being home.

It’s that simple. Jerry prioritized his family. The reason why he loved his job was because he could leave every day at 5:00, go home, and eat with his family.

This ability to shake off the day and head home is lost on his workaholic boss, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler).

Leslie spends Jerry’s retirement day trying to give him a few experiences to make him less miserable about having spent 40 years as a lame civil servant. But she fails to realize something.

His Worth Didn’t Come From His Work

Gergich Group Hug

Leslie visits Jerry at home and thumbs through the family scrapbook. Inside is photo after photo of trips, memories, and free time with his family.

While others were building careers, Jerry had been building a family.

Further, he and his wife built the family on tradition, such as a daily breakfast rendition of Eggs, Bacon and Toast.

Breakfast Traditions

Clarity on the Important Creates Quality Legacy

It’s that simple. I know there is a lot more that goes into building a family and creating a wonderful life. But I have to think that the clarity about what is important – and acting on that clarity – is central

We might do well to get some wisdom from the Jerry Gergich that we work with. The person who doesn’t play politics or seem to live for the approval of the workplace or to climb the ladder. Yet somehow, that person seems to have things together and be slightly more content than the rest of us.

Jerry serves his office mates to a fault and is absolutely never appreciated, but he also has a pretty sweet life.  He serves daily and then he goes home.

What a way to live a life: Serve people then spend time with the people who are the most important.

That’s the Jerry Gergich Guide to a Wonderful Life. A little perspective that would probably help us all.

 Photo Credit: NBC Universal, IMDB


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  1. I am early in the start of my working life, but when I need some perspective on what’s is truly important, I always come back to this story. Gerry/Jerry is a wonderful example of the balance that becomes more important in an increasingly frantic world that often focuses too much on the ‘next level’ and chasing things that, in the end, often leave us unfulfilled.

  2. Jerry goes with punches. He takes criticism laughs at himself and gets the job done. Being called a bozo by Gail is his worst fear. He’s an American dad. He fell backwards into a wonderful life! I know every episode of parks and rec by heart. They should bring the show back with a twist of some sort.

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