If you’ve read the best-selling Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, you know all about the cutthroat, dog-eat-dog environment that heroine Katniss Everdeen finds herself in when volunteers as tribute for the 74th annual Hunger Games.
For those of you that haven’t… let’s just say that it’s a really terrible time and more likely than not, you will probably get killed.
While you’re (hopefully) not in a work environment that will get you killed, you may be in an unpleasant one that has many opportunistic coworkers ready to strike. If getting out and finding a new job is not possible, let’s take some tips from Katniss so that you can survive – and hopefully dominate – in your hostile, Hunger Games-like workplace.
Come prepared for battle.
How Katniss does this: While Katniss doesn’t have a say in her Hunger Games equipment, she’s tossed into the arena with sturdy survival clothes. She quickly commandeers a backpack with a sleeping bag, water purifier, a water bottle, a knife, and some food. All of these things are essential to surviving in the Games.
How you can do this: Adopt an even, neutral stance if other workers come by to gossip or peek at your workload. Bring up the login screen every time that you walk away from your computer and make use of the locked drawer in your desk. Keep your eyes and ears alert for important opportunities to grab or vicious rumors to squash.
Be ready for the unexpected.
How Katniss does this: Since Katniss has watched the Hunger Games all of her life, she knows that conditions in the arena can change frequently. She takes precautions to make sure she’s safe, but when fire balls are tossed into the arena, she reacts quickly to get out of harm’s way.
How you can do this: React to new assignments and projects with a positive attitude. Quickly break down your tasks and get working. While the rest of your coworkers sit around complaining or scheming, you can rise to challenge and get a head start.
Plan your alliances carefully.
How Katniss does this: Katniss ends up making an alliance with another tribute named Rue. Rue is looked over by the other tributes because she is young and small, but she is highly resourceful. Rue helps Katniss discover new food sources and serves as a trustworthy lookout. Closer to the end of the Games, Katniss pairs up with the other tribute from her district: Peeta.
How you can do this: Nobody can survive in a hostile work environment without a friend. Find yourself a buddy, but find yourself the right buddy. Seek out kindred spirits in departments completely opposite of yours. If you’re in marketing, try making friends within the accounting department. Choose people that will help you achieve your goals without a hidden agenda.
Connect with your supervisor.
How Katniss does this: During the games, Katniss realizes that her coach, Haymitch, is still communicating with her. Even though they can’t contact each other directly, Katniss surmises clues from what Haymitch allows (or does not allow) to enter the arena.
How you can do this: Even if your supervisor seems like a terrifying overlord, make sure that you connect with them. You don’t have to be good friends, but let them know that you are reliable and get your job done effectively. This will make them think of you the next time a new project or position presents itself.
Ask for outside help.
How Katniss does this: When in desperate need, Katniss asks Haymitch and her sponsors to send her food, water, medicine, etc. to aide her in the games. Without some of these gifts, she or her partner Peeta would have most likely died early in the Games.
How you can do this: If you have a problem that you don’t want the other members in your department to know, ask your supervisor or coworkers from other departments to offer insight. Without divulging company information, ask real life, online, and/or blogging friends for their suggestions.
As I mentioned before, the best way to deal with a hostile work environment is to leave as soon as possible. But if you’re determined to rise your way through the ranks to be a great leader, or just last long enough to secure another job, these tips from Katniss Everdeen will certainly keep you on track and poised for success.
Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
Are you a fan of the Hunger Games? Have you ever used one of these tactics at your workplace?