10 Breaking Bad Quotes That Apply To All Jobs (Not Just Selling Meth!)

Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad

1. “Let’s get something straight. This – the chemistry – is my realm. I am in charge of the cooking. Out there on the street, you deal with that.” – Walter White

The reason why Walter & Jesse were such a great team was because Walter, at least initially, had the foresight to outsource part of the business to someone more qualified than him. He recognized that the business, while contingent on creating the best possible product, needed someone with distribution experience and know-how — someone with and established rapport with the existing clientele —  who could sell that product much better than he’d ever be able to.

This specialization and segmentation allowed the Walt & Jesse Crystal Blue Empire to flourish. That, and Walt’s malevolent pork pie hat.

2. “What’s the point of being an outlaw when you got responsibilities?” – Jesse Pinkman

The cool sounding jobs may sound cool, but they are, after all, still jobs. They still require you to hit metrics, sell product, or get people to write critically-acclaimed reviews about your scene-stealing performance.

As Badger notes after this lamentation from Jesse, “Darth Vader had responsibilities. He was responsible for the Death Star.”

3. “When you have children, you always have family. They will always be your priority, your responsibility. And a man, a man provides.” Gus Fring

We’ve lost this a little bit in the age of “pursue your passion,” in the age of follow your dreams and don’t start a family because the band is definitely on the verge of hitting it big.


But when it comes down to it, jobs are more or less a vehicle to sustain life — not only your life, but those who you bring into the world. The whole “follow your passion” thing might just signify our species has become too advanced for our own good. That, or there’s just way too many aspiring DJs with soundcloud pages that are about to “blow up.”

4. “Everyone sounds like Meryl Streep with a gun to their head.” – Mike Ehrmantraut

This probably applies more to writing college papers than working at a job. Nevertheless, things just magically happen when you’ve got a deadline in two hours.

5. “As to your dead guy, occupational hazard. Drug dealer getting shot? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say it’s been known to happen.” – Saul Goodman

Saul’s obvious-but-sage advice was a staple of Breaking Bad, and here he provides some nice business advice. Know the risks of your business. Have contingency plans when things go wrong. Not matter how pragmatic and cautious you may be, don’t get on the wrong side of Hector Salamanca.

6. “I’m not in the meth business. I’m in the empire business.” – Walter White

Do businessmen and women really get into selling diapers because they just love the rush that comes with selling a new batch of diapers? Perhaps, but I haven’t met one. The ones I have met do it for the money, for the respect, and for the intrinsic reward of building something that’s inherently theirs.


Be it a juice cleanse startup or a steel plant, its not so much about selling the product as it is selling a product with your name it on it — a product whose success or lack thereof becomes a reflection of your self-worth.

7. “You could have shut your mouth, cooked, and made as much money as you ever needed. It was perfect! But no! You just had to blow it up! You, and your pride and your ego! You just had to be the man! If you’d known your place, we’d all be fine right now!” – Mike Ehrmantraut

No matter how much of a genius you may be, it’s very tough to succeed in this world if you are impossible to work with.

8. “If you’re committed enough, you can make any story work. I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it worked because I believed it.” – Saul Goodman

If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, why would anyone believe you?

9. “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really… I was alive” – Walter White

The reason why Walt was so good at building a meth empire, arguably, is that the experience allowed him to reach this level of self-actualization previously unattainable. For Walter, selling meth wasn’t so much a job as it was a vehicle for Walt to prove his self-worth — something that enabled him to show off his smarts, provide for his family, and prove to Gray Matter Technologies that he was just as capable of building an empire himself. Although it was certainly done in an unorthodox and morally ambiguous fashion, Walt’s meth trade success enabled him to establish an undeniable legacy.

10. ” I used to be a beat cop a long time ago. And I’d get called out on domestic disputes all the time. Hundreds, probably, over the years. But there was this one guy — this one piece of shit — that I will never forget. Gordy. He looked like Bo Svenson. You remember him? Walking Tall? You don’t remember? No. Anyway. Big boy — 270, 280. But his wife … or whatever she was, his lady … was real small. Like a bird. Wrists like branches. Anyway, my partner and I got called out there every weekend, and one of us would pull her aside and say ‘come on, tonight’s the night we press charges.’ And this wasn’t one of those deep-down he-loves-me set-ups — we get a lot of those — but not this. This girl was scared. She wasn’t going to cross him, no way, no how. Nothing we could do but pass her off to the EMT’s, put him in a car and drive him downtown, throw him in the drunk tank. He sleeps it off, next morning out he goes. Back home.

“But one night, my partner’s out sick, and it’s just me. And the call comes in and it’s the usual crap. Broke her nose in the shower kind of thing. So I cuff him, put him in the car and away we go. Only that night, we’re driving into town, and this sideways asshole is in my back seat humming ‘Danny Boy.’ And it just rubbed me wrong. So instead of left, I go right, out into nowhere. And I kneel him down, and I put my revolver in his mouth, and I told him, ‘This is it. This is how it ends.’ And he’s crying, going to the bathroom all over himself, swearing to God he’s going to leave her alone. Screaming … as much as you can with a gun in your mouth. And I told him to be quiet. I needed to think about what I was going to do here. And of course he got quiet. Goes still. And real quiet. Like a dog waiting for dinner scraps. And we just stood there for a while, me acting like I’m thinking things over, and Prince Charming kneeling in the dirt with shit in his pants. And after a few minutes I took the gun out of his mouth, and I say, ‘So help me if you touch her again I will such-and-such and such-and-such and blah blah blah blah blah.’ …. Just trying to do the right thing. But two weeks later he killed her. Of course. Caved her head in with the base of a Waring blender. We got there, there was so much blood you could taste the metal. The moral of the story is: I chose a half measure, when I should have gone all the way. I’ll never make that mistake again.” – Mike Ehrmantraut

I think this one speaks for itself. Hopefully, your full measure just involves staying late at the office of something. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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