Study Guide

Glengarry Glen Ross Dissatisfaction

By David Mamet


LEVENE: Then how do they come up above that mark? With dreck…? That's nonsense. Explain this to me. 'Cause it's a waste, and it's a stupid waste. (1.1.116-119)

It's not just the bad leads that Levene is dissatisfied with, it's the fact that the low guys get the bad leads, so they never have a chance to move up. He's dissatisfied with the catch-22 situation they have going on in the office.

LEVENE: I'll tell you why I'm out. I'm out, you're giving me toilet paper. (1.1.151)

Once again, Levene cannot handle the fact that there is no one giving him a shot. If he at least had a shot, he might be satisfied with the job… and his life. This is a recurring theme for Levene. What's important to realize is that Levene (like the others) connects his worth to the job. Sure, he probably needs the money, but it's more than that—he sees himself as his job, and if his job is a failure, then he's a failure too.

LEVENE: I can't close these leads, John. No one can. It's a joke. (1.1.191)

You ever do something stupid while playing a video game, and you look at the controller as though the controller is somehow to blame? Maybe Levene has a point about the leads, but maybe he's just blaming the equipment for his own shortcomings. Maybe he just can't admit that he doesn't have the skills to pay the bills anymore.

MOSS: The pressure's just too great. (1.2.48-49)

Nothing confusing about this statement: Moss is dissatisfied with the job because there is just too much pressure on them all of the time. Pressure leads them to take foolish risks, to sell each other out, and to flat out break the law.

MOSS: Some contest board… (1.2.73)

It's possible that all of the dissatisfaction in the office comes from that contest board. You might feel like you weren't in the best spot if every day you had to come in and fight for some spot on the board just in order to keep your job.

MOSS: "You lose, than we fire your…" It's medieval…it's wrong. (1.2.102-103)

Hyperbole is the friend of the dissatisfied. Moss has some legit points, but he's also good at making his (and the others's) situation seem like it is the most brutal, vicious situation ever. It's not just a bad job, after all—it's medieval.

MOSS: And it gets me depressed. (1.2.173-174)

Let's not beat around the bush: Moss's dissatisfaction with his situation is not a fly-by-night kind of thing. He is depressed, and he has had it. So much so, that he plots a robbery of the office.

MOSS: Look look look look, when they build your business, then you can't f***ing turn around, enslave them, treat them like children (1.2.190-192)

Woo, boy—now Moss has gone from being dissatisfied with his medieval work situation to being dissatisfied with the fact that his work situation is on par with enslavement. Melodramatic much?

ROMA: It's a waste of time.

Moss isn't the only one who has problems with the way things are run. Roma sees those junk leads going out to the guys who are low on the board, and he knows there's nothing there worth spending any time or effort on.

ROMA: How am I going to make a living […]Where did you get this, from the morgue?

Blaming the leads is what a lot of these guys do throughout the play. However, Williamson is the one who handles the leads, so it might be safe to say that a lot of the dissatisfaction in the office really stems from their undying dissatisfaction with Williamson.