Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a fan-favorite Seinfeld character, and unlike her friends, she has a strong work ethic and holds several jobs throughout the sitcom’s nine seasons. While Kramer (Michael Richards) chooses not to work and George Costanza (Jason Alexander) spends much of his time unemployed, Elaine wants to succeed and sticks to one industry. She is a great contrast to her good friend and ex-boyfriend Jerry Seinfeld, as he is a comedian who has wealth and security despite the instability of this career choice, as she has to work to support herself.
Although the series mostly focuses on petty problems like not remembering a parking spot, Elaine’s most famous Seinfeld episodes revolve around the highs and lows of her romantic relationships, However, she also has many major storylines that are about her work life. Every position that the character holds is meaningful and compelling, fleshing out her best personality traits along with the flaws that she should work on.
Elaine Is A Pendant Publishing Editor From Seasons 1-5
Split image of Elaine at her office and talking to Mr. Lippman on Seinfeld
Elaine works as an editor at Pendant Publishing from seasons 1 through 5 of Seinfeld, and it appears to be a dream job for her as she enjoys working on stories. This job emphasizes Elaine’s desire to succeed and have a meaningful profession she is good at, but she also tends to become angry when receiving criticism, as she doesn’t like when her boss, Mr. Lippman (Harris Shore) disagrees with her work. While it’s humorous that Elaine doesn’t like most people, a trait she shares with Jerry, her unfriendly nature can be a problem at the office.
Elaine dates several people on Seinfeld, including Jake Jarmel (Marty Rackham), whose book she edits in season 5, episode 4, “The Sniffing Accountant.” When she puts several exclamation points into the book, Mr. Lippman thinks that she has made a mistake. This is a hilarious nod to when Jake doesn’t add this punctuation to a phone message about a friend having a baby. Elaine is unable to move on from Jake’s dislike of exclamation points, and this is one way that her job creeps into the rest of her life, as she finds herself single once again because she focuses on a petty problem.
Elaine’s Pendant Publishing job also emphasizes the tricky and complex relationship that she has with George. Elaine and George aren’t actually friends, as they only spend time together when Jerry is around. In Seinfeld season 3, episode 12, “The Red Dot,” Elaine helps George get a job at Pendant, but he gets fired after sleeping with a cleaner in the office. In contrast to George, who doesn’t always take his job seriously, Elaine wants to be considered a great employee wherever she works.
Elaine Works As Mr. Pitt’s Assistant In Season 6
Mr. Pitt holding an object in his office on Seinfeld
Elaine begins working for Justin Pitt (Ian Abercrombie) in Seinfeld season 6, and while she has a lower position than when she was an editor, he’s a Doubleday executive, which she feels will help her move up in the future. Mr. Pitt is a tough boss who wants Elaine to keep his pencils as sharp as possible and buy him the best socks. He is a side character as impactful as the main cast as he has as many quirks as Elaine, Jerry, Kramer, and George. Elaine learns lessons in patience and remaining calm because while she doesn’t like the work, she hopes that it can land her a better opportunity.
Mr. Pitt is part of one of the funniest Seinfeld storylines, which makes this one of Elaine’s most memorable jobs. In season 6, episode 3, “The Pledge Drive,” he eats a Snickers bar with a fork and knife, and this starts a trend in New York City. Mr. Pitt is unaware of the effect that he has, which makes this a fan-favorite plotline. While another sitcom might feature Mr. Pitt in a wilder and more chaotic storyline, the fact that this episode is about him enjoying a chocolate bar in his own way is what makes Seinfeld so notable.
Elaine Is A J. Peterman Copywriter Beginning In Season 6
Elaine about to eat cake in her office and J. Peterman holding a cup of coffee on Seinfeld
The best J. Peterman (John O’Hurley) Seinfeld episodes are some of the sitcom’s most unforgettable, and they’re the result of Elaine going to work as a copywriter for his catalog in season 6. This is a complex job for Elaine, as while she does well and receives a promotion two seasons later, she makes many mistakes during her time at the company. Elaine’s decision to lie about a co-worker named Susie in season 8 is problematic, as she finally says that Susie has taken her own life, which is a harmful and offensive comment to make.
Because J. Peterman is a fast-talking and quirky character who tells stories about his travels, Elaine doesn’t always take the job as seriously as she could. This job emphasizes that while Elaine cares about the positions that she holds, she can sometimes be immature and petty, just like Jerry and George, and she is easily influenced by a more casual environment.
Elaine wearing the urban sombrero hat on Seinfeld
J. Peterman is a lackluster supporting character in some ways and isn’t always fully fleshed out, and his arc concludes with a chaotic trip. In Seinfeld season 8, episode 1, “The Foundation,” he travels to Burma and wants Elaine to run the catalog. She ends up becoming the president of the company. Elaine is known for coming up with a new product idea, but when no one wants to purchase the Urban Sombrero hat, she realizes it wasn’t the most logical item to put into production. She also learns the valuable lesson that being in control of a company is more difficult than she imagined, and she can always improve.
Elaine’s promotion at the J. Peterman Catalog sheds light on her desire for success but also one of her biggest flaws, which is how stressed she sometimes gets. Elaine is a relatable Seinfeld character in many ways, and that includes her journey at this company. She is proud to be given such a high position but also lets the pressure of being the one overseeing every aspect of a catalog get to her. If Elaine learned from her co-workers instead of finding them frustrating, or she asked for help more often, she would succeed more at this job.