Whether you believe the zombie apocalypse is inevitable, or that it’s just the most recent Hollywood obsession, I think most of us would agree; if we saw a zombie headed our way, we’d high-tail it in the opposite direction.
But, after watching Brad Pitt in World War Z last weekend—from the safety of my home—I realized there were a few things Brad and the undead could teach us about our careers.
Move Fast, Or Get Eaten Alive
It seems obvious that when confronted with a scary situation, we’d all run as fast as we could, right? Well, whether it’s a flesh eating zombie, or an intimidating CEO, sometimes, our fears can mess with out instincts and convince us to stay put, ultimately missing out on some fantastic opportunities for growth and advancement.
While job-hopping often gets a bad rap, there’s no doubt attitudes about tenure and experience are changing rapidly. Brad spells it out for us in the movie, by warning a family that staying in their apartment was a bad idea, and that only those that fled ever survived. The same may be true for your career, too.
Keep your resume fresh, and your eyes open, so when that next opportunity pops up, you’ll be ready to jump aboard, and avoid the doom of getting stuck in a stale position.
Think Creatively, Save the World
As the zombie epidemic devours the world, the smartest people still alive are no doubt working overtime for a solution. So, with all those brilliant minds at work, it’s easy to assume the brains of the operation have it under control, right? Not Brad. Although he’s not a scientist, he uses his powers of observation and thinks creatively to help find solutions.
Your career is no different. I guarantee, there will be times when you’re definitely not the smartest one in the room, but guess what? It doesn’t matter. Everyone has their own super power of sorts, and when you think creatively, chances are you’ll see things everyone else has missed. So, who’s the smart one now?
Remember, the War is Never Really Over
I’m guessing if you were to trace back to some of the biggest “gotcha!” moments in warfare, many of them would be a direct result of the initial victors sitting on their laurels, high-fiving themselves on creaming their enemies. Of course, our hero Brad knows better.
In the movie, he warns us not to get cocky—the war is not over. Well, guess what? Our careers are just the same. With every interview you score, job offer accepted or project won, your victory dance shouldn’t linger too long. Employers and clients have incredibly short attention spans when it comes to accomplishments, and once you’ve made one, they’ll rightfully expect more. And more, and more. Pat yourself on the back too long, and you’ll find yourself flanked by the competition—maybe even out of a job.
There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your accomplishments, you are a rock star after all! But make sure your celebration is brief and humble, and then get back to business.
While most of us will only encounter zombies from the comfort of our living rooms, your career is a full-contact, no-time-outs battle. Stay alert, be nimble, think creatively and always keep preparing for the next round, and you’ll find yourself in good company, right along with Brad, at the top of the food chain.