Why the Zombie Apocalypse Makes a Good Analogy for Productivity

I don’t have to tell you – zombies are everywhere.

I do not mean to say that the zombie apocalypse has begun (although that would certainly make for an interesting post). I mean to say the obvious – for the past few years, they have been and remain super popular. For zombie fans, this is great news. And because I’ve been a Z-aficionado since I first saw Romero’s Night of the Living Dead in my grandmother’s basement when I was eight, I’m going to do a post about zombies!

Why You Don’t Want to be the Zombie

  • These workers are slow, or sometimes they are fast (depending on your zombie mythology beliefs). Either way, they are reckless and are often loosing body parts in the pursuit of fulfillment.
  • Zombies are known for their single-mindedness. They are unable to multitask and often get so wrapped up in a project that they don’t quit pounding on that door for days.
  • Zombies are fairly easy to distract. Heck, the smallest noise has been known to draw their attention somewhere else. Due to this, projects (meals in progress, mostly) are often abandoned for the promise of something greater (that family running down the street).

Why You Don’t Want to be the Cannibal Survivor

  • Very few people want to work with someone known for eating their colleagues. Cannibal Survivors have bad reputations and while eating someone else to get ahead may in fact get them ahead in the short term, the victory won’t last. Eventually they will run out of fresh eats.
  •  Let’s not forget that once a survivor turns cannibal, they often begin to ignore the niceties of human society – like keeping a clean workspace. Cannibals often leave a trail of loose innards behind them that could trip or tangle them as they try to move ahead.

Why You Don’t Want to be the Redneck with a Shotgun

  • It’s always good to take pleasure in what you do, but the Redneck with a Shotgun sometimes goes beyond what is acceptable. Taking such glee in zombie elimination can be off-putting to colleagues. It’s never wise to forget that the other side was once human.
  • Like certain breeds of survivalists, some Rednecks think they know it all. It’s always when the Redneck refuses to take the advice of a colleague that all hell breaks loose. Groups in-fight and the Rednecks need to be physically restrained to keep them from making reactionary decisions.

Why You Don’t Want to be the Whimpering Chickenshit

  • Chickenshits are known for hiding from their mistakes by blaming others. This worker, while sometimes seeming-confident on the outside, will be the first to throw open the door and take off running when a tough decision needs to be made or a mistake faced head-on. This can compromise the entire safe house.
  • No one likes a whiner. While watching horror movies, everyone is always cheering for the whiner to be eaten/dismembered/mutated first. Whiners get very little work done and succeed in blocking colleagues from the same.

So What Do You Want to Be?

It’s safe to repeat the old adage: “Everything in moderation.” Take the Zombie’s persistence and apply it to tough problems.  But temper it with a bit of the whining chickenshit in knowing when it’s time to move on. Take pride in your work, much like the Redneck with a Shotgun, but don’t overdo it and end up as a Cannibal Survivor. If we take a look at recent zombie apocalypse scenarios on film and page, you notice that those who survive longest are not those who swing between extremes, but those who can moderate their actions and behaviors, have a number of strengths (that they know how to leverage) and a number of weaknesses (that they know, mostly, how to avoid.)

In many ways, productivity is just as much about the type of person you are as it is the way you get stuff done.

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