Does Your Workplace Feel Like the ‘Hunger Games’? Here are 5 Ways to Survive

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.

coworkers gossiping

“Did you hear the rumor that Gary is going to ban rumors?”

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.

polar bear good buddies

“Bro, you know I got your back, right?”

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.

guy at window

“Hey, can you help me, outside person? The door is locked.”

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?


Mandy Kilinskis

Mandy is proud to be a part of QLP’s content team. A self-professed nerd, her interests include video games, sitcoms, superhero movies, iPods and iPhones but never Macs, and shockingly, writing. Her claims to fame are: owning over forty pairs of Chuck Taylor All Stars, offering spot-on coffee advice, and knowing an unbelievable amount of Disney Princess facts. You can connect with Mandy on


  1. Rachel

    I had to skim this post since I’ve only gotten about 4 chapters into the first book … but, yay Hunger Games! These are all great tips–thanks Mandy 🙂

  2. Jill Tooley

    Oooh, so many valid points! 😀

    I love the correlation you’ve made between unexpected issues and a positive attitude. Katniss wasn’t exactly upbeat about the crazy things that were thrown at her, but she did develop a tougher skin by accepting the situation instead of expressing utter hopelessness about it. Sometimes, you’ve just got to face the negatives and figure out a way to roll with them whether you like it or not! That’s a sad truth. I’ve dealt with my share of crappy co-workers (not at QLP), and there’s never been a “one size fits all” solution to problems that arise. The trick is to be a quick-thinking and resourceful person who deals with problems diplomatically, not violently (unless your life is in danger…then all bets are off). It’s not very professional to come to blows in the office!

    Fantastic post! The Hunger Games is my favorite book series in years! 🙂

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Precisely! Sometimes things suck. And when that happens, you have one of two choices: you can grit your teeth and keep going, or you can roll over and give up. You can’t control bad things, but you can control how you react – and as we learned from Katniss, sometimes that makes all the difference!

  3. Jaimie Smith

    Oh Mandy, you and your Hunger Games obsessesion! lol 🙂
    You honestly did an AWESOME job covering this. I have not read the series, but, by reading this post you can def tell that you know your stuff, and that you took a lot of insight from it. These are great tips to have in the work place, Thank you 🙂

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Jaimie, I’m not even the most obsessed person in the office. Like, not even close.

      I’m glad that you found it valuable even without reading the book series! If you do end up reading it, you’ll probably like it even more!

      • Jaimie Smith

        lol oh gawd, if you aren’t then who is? by the looks of Jill’s comment maybe her? lol

        But yeah, my mom is trying to get me to read the books. But i might just watch the movie instead 🙂

        • Mandy Kilinskis

          Jana is the biggest fan. If she comes in during her spring break ask her about them. 🙂

  4. Jen

    Awesome post Mandy! I like the “Plan your alliances carefully” comparison. It’s true that having friends in the office is essential, just like it was for Katniss in the arena. You can teach each other new things and rely on their support on bad days. But pick a buddy carefully, get some background information before committing to them fully. You don’t want to make a two-faced friend who will stab you in the back (it literally could happen in the Hunger games).

    Love this post! I can’t wait to see the first movie tomorrow 🙂

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      That’s an excellent point – if your work environment really is hostile, definitely spend some time getting to know the person before running right into a friendship with them.

      I’m glad that you liked the post and the movie is going to legen – wait for it – dary!

  5. Jeff Porretto

    So many great thoughts! Lets see:

    Prepare for Battle: You gave me a lot of sinister ideas here, mwahaha.
    The Unexpected: Bret has prepared us well for this one.
    Alliances: If you’re prone to geeking out, we’ll probably get along.
    Connect with Supervisor: I’m very friendly! And my stature is unintimidating!
    Outside Help: There’s a world outside QLP?? Blasphemy!

    Thanks Mandy! I’m on the road to success now!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Oh boy, did I just help aide you with world domination? Keep that in mind when you’ve claimed the title of “Grand Master Overlord.” 😉

      • Amy Swanson

        Haha, I think “If you’re prone to geeking out, we’ll probably get along” is QLP’s unofficial motto, isn’t it? 😉

  6. david k waltz


    Having lived in the corporate environment for awhile, I came to realize a while back that understanding the political elements is necessary. Fiction that I have read that is most applicable has been historical novels set in Medieval times. But this post makes me think I should give the Hunger Games a try. Thanks!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Hi David!

      You’re right, political elements are definitely necessary in corporate environments – and just about anywhere, actually. I had to play a whole bunch of political games in college. I was the editor-in-chief of the campus’ humor magazine, and the finance committee kept trying to kill our budget. If I didn’t know the right people to talk to and the right things to say, they might’ve axed the whole publication!

      Give the Hunger Games a try. It’s YA lit, but very well-written. And it’s a quick read, too!

  7. Bret Bonnet

    This movie was so, So, SO slow… It also insulted my intelligence.

    • Jen

      The book is way better!

  8. Eric

    Get back to ya on this one, Mandy! 🙂

Leave a Comment

Copyright 2003 - 2016 Quality Logo Products, Inc., Registration No. TX7-524-201. All Rights Reserved.