Work Lessons from The Hunger Games

So by now I’m sure everyone’s tired of hearing about the Hunger Games. But too bad. I’m still going to write about it. Yea, there are a lot of people annoyed by yet another teen love triangle but I have to say, I picked up some essential business lessons while watching the movie and paying $17 for popcorn and a soda.

Here are some of them:

Get people to like you, or you’ll die

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie or read the book, the main characters in the movie have to compete in a fight until the death. Yes, children, because their ancestors rebelled against the capitol, are selected to enter an arena and kill each other in hopes of having one remaining victor. How lovely… Sponsors however, while watching the tournament, assist the tributes in providing them with medicine and food to help increase their chances of winning. But who do they help? THE PEOPLE THEY LIKE. And that’s how it is in the business world. We do business with people we like. We help other people who we like. We do favors for people we like. Is it fair? No. But that’s how it is. So if you want to survive in the workforce, do yourself a favor and make sure people like you.

Be yourself so that people like you so you don’t die

The goal is to get people to like you. We’ve established that. But how do you do that? In the movie, Katniss Everdeen (the main character that has the oh so terrible misfortune of having to choose between two deliciously good looking men) says that she doesn’t know how to make people like her. That’s when her advisor tells her to just be herself. To not try. Look, most people know when they’re being BS’ed. Most people don’t like it when they have to interact with people that are fake. So just be yourself, be relatable, be friendly, and you’ll find that people like you a lot better like that than if you pretend to be someone you aren’t. Besides, being fake takes too much effort.

Be memorable or you’ll die

Before the tournament begins, each competing tribute has the opportunity to show off their skills in order to attract Sponsors. In this case, twenty-four tributes compete for the attention of the Sponsors. So how do they get that attention? By being memorable. Katniss understands this. What does she do? She shoots an arrow into the food that the Sponsors are eating. Catches them off guard… Shocks them. But one thing is for sure, she gets noticed. She gets their attention. In the workforce today, there are so many people competing for the same positions, competing for advancement, etc. The only way to get yourself to stand out of the crowd is by being memorable. By taking some risk. Which leads me to my next point…

Some people will like your guts but others won’t

After Katniss almost decapitates the Sponsors with her arrow, her group of advisors fear that she won’t receive a high rating from the Sponsors. However, she does. For some reason, it appears the Sponsors liked her courage and how out of the ordinary her performance was. She was memorable and they liked that. But at the same time, President Snow (the president of all the districts) was not amused. When he realizes the impact Katniss has on the members of the districts, he feels threatened by her. He understands that she poses a threat to the way things have always been in their society. What does he say? “A spark is fine as long as it’s contained.” You’ll encounter in the workforce that some people are open to new thoughts and ideas. Some management will like that you are the kind of employee that takes risks and thinks outside the box. But some won’t. Some managers will feel threatened by this and will do everything in their power to contain that spark. Don’t let them.

A good mentor will help increase your chances of survival

Each of the tributes competing in the games is given a mentor to help train them and guide them through this terrible process. Each of these mentors has already been in the games and has managed to survive. So they use their past experiences to help these new tributes in hopes that maybe one of them won’t end up crushed by a rock. I don’t think that there’s anything more helpful than finding someone in the workforce that is willing to help guide you during your career. Someone that will push you and help expose you to other people that will help you. The workplace is hard. That’s something that I learned at a very young age. So find yourself a mentor and that should make it a little easier. Or don’t. But then, as a drunken but quite attractive Haymitch says, “embrace the probability of your imminent death.”

Good luck to all of you entering the workforce and may the odds be ever in your favor 😀

33 Responses to “Work Lessons from The Hunger Games”
  1. cullywugs says:

    Hey Kayla, really liking the Hunger Games comparison, probably because I lost an entire weekend basically devouring the trilogy! How did I miss the Hunger Games furore?! But yes basically liking the overall gist of suck it up and do something!! I’ve been ranting on my quarter life crisis thing for a couple of days – well maybe less rant and more discovery, but still it’s nice to read something like this especially when I have my Hunger Games rose tinted glasses on 🙂 Right, I’m off to grab my working life by the unmentionables…I’ll let you know how that goes!! Keep up the good work!

  2. Fantastic post! I have linked it to my Wow Service Mentor blog; I couldn’t resist with your last lesson 🙂 Thanks for sharing your Gen Y insights.

  3. makethea says:

    Reblogged this on makethea.

  4. makethea says:

    I find it amusing that you if do not do this or that, you will die.

  5. Luckily for me, graphic design isn’t as dangerous as being hunted down in a forest by 23 people, but that is still some valuable advice! 😉

  6. Nothing like $17 popcorn and soda to fuel the creative juices…what a mind blowing post…simply awesome.

    Be encouraged!

  7. Erin Caples says:

    I go write about this for hours. This post defines my previous employer and staff to a T! Fantastic use of the story in comparison with the work-world!

  8. rdopping says:

    Good points, all of them. It’s kind of cool how you can take so much away from Hollywood. Is that happening more and more these days? The Lorax, for an animated feature, has a fantastic life and sustainability message not to be missed.

    I have not seen The Hunger games but i really do get the idea. It’s the same in business as you have drawn the parallel. The only real difference is reputation is substituted for death. Hmmmm, kinda the same thing, huh?

    Great post.

  9. kissmysass7 says:

    OMG this is an amazing post!!! Mind if I link back to it on my “Lessons from the Hunger Games” post? completely amazing girl!

  10. Reblogged this on Being Your Brand and commented:
    Love, love, love this blog post! “Work Lessons From the Hunger Games”
    Find out how to survive at work and “win” your dream career.
    I definitely recommend checking it out!

  11. Jillian says:

    Fantastic! I’m entering the workforce soon – and it IS so true! I wish Cinna was my bff… ^.^

  12. dcwisdom says:

    Good study in contrast and comparison, isn’t it? Politically, could this happen in America?

    • Kayla Cruz says:

      You know, I certainly think that it COULD happen if we fail to speak up against things that don’t make any sense. Like really? Having children entered into a tournament to fight for their lives? Not cool…But people just accepted that as a way of life, as the norm, for years. It takes a strong and courageous person to go against that. That’s why I think Katniss is such an amazing character. And so I hope we have more people like her in our society today, that aren’t afraid of taking a stand and challenging outdated practices and institutions.

      • dcwisdom says:

        Having children fight for their lives is happening in places around the world. What happens when one of their own stands for them? What happens when a bunch of Americans stand for them? We can only hope that when things turn south for us, we can band together and stand our remaining freedoms. Otherwise, we could see another form of Hunger Games. Just sayin’. Good thinking, Kayla.

  13. Going to see the movie this coming weekend. Love the idea of teaching how to apply behaviors, concepts and relationships demonstrated in the film into the day-to-day workplace…and life, for that matter. Great post. Great blog. Looking forward to being a repeat visitor!

    • Kayla Cruz says:

      Ahh have fun!! It’s a great movie and the book series is wonderful. Definitely recommend the books if you haven’t read them already. Glad you liked and yes, definitely keep visiting! Have a great day 😀

  14. jomcdermott says:

    I agree with your analysis, Kayla. I would add one more–be adaptable. Katniss used whatever she managed to have at hand to deal with the situation. She formed unlikely alliances to succeed against her enemies. And she learned constantly. Maybe there’s a way to use Hunger Games in a team building exercise. 🙂

    • Kayla Cruz says:

      Thank you, Jo! It’s just interesting to me because the same advice given here is applicable to life in general as well. But yes, absolutely! The ability to adapt is essential. Continuous learning is key. You know, that would be pretty interesting to think about. If you come up with any ideas, definitely let me know 😀

  15. futuredoll says:

    I love the way you wove this movie into understanding business. It is soo true!

    • Kayla Cruz says:

      Thank you! I found it interesting while watching the movie. I was like, “hey, this is applicable to the workforce”. Because you know, we’re all just trying to make it out okay. Love the series! 😀

  16. Greg Zander, the Cultural Architect says:

    Great thoughts, Kayla. Thanks for sharing.

  17. spencertucci says:

    So true. Get em to like you… or you’ll die!

    • Kayla Cruz says:

      Well it’s just an honest reality that if people don’t like you, you’re not going to go very far in life. We live in a society hence the need to be SOCIAL aka you don’t live under a rock and you therefore need to interact with others. The more people like you, the more opportunities you’ll have in life.

  18. Jeyna Grace says:

    LOL!! Just dont die… right?

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