Five ways to prevent ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ at work

By: Scott Morefield

The AMC drama The Walking Dead has quickly become one of the most watched programs on cable television. Its unique blend of compelling, easy to root for characters and depressing apocalyptic scenery filled with brain-dead, flesh-eating zombies keeps viewers on the edge of their seats and conversations around water-coolers buzzing the next day. After all, who doesn’t love zombies? (Unless, of course, one is chasing you… then it’s a whole different matter!)

To be sure, a world where a super-virus turns the vast majority of people on the planet into ‘walkers,’ leaving the uninfected in a desperate fight for their daily survival is certainly more fun to watch on TV than it would be to experience in real life. (Here’s to hoping the CDC can keep THAT bug in check!) But what if I told you that zombies really exist? Sure, their hearts may beat and they may not be walking around eating people and causing a panic, but zombies are out there all the same. We all know who they are, and we all know that nobody likes dealing with them, especially in the workplace!

So, in the spirit of this excellent show, let’s explore some lessons hiring managers can learn from The Walking Dead, lessons to keep the zombie infestation safely on our television screens and OUT of our workplaces.

1.) Don’t send a zombie to work – This is, of course, the most basic rule. Although this might seem counter-intuitive given our current climate of equal opportunity, there is one class that is not (as yet) protected under the non-discrimination laws – yes you are allowed to discriminate against zombies. So, NEVER, EVER, under any circumstances put a zombie to work! Just don’t do it, no matter how desperate you are to get that two-week old warehouse position filled. This seems like it would be a rare error, but all too often hiring managers will mistake guttural grunts and glazed eyes for something more between the ears, when in reality there is nothing there. As it turns out, when you try to fill a position with a ‘body,’ often that’s exactly what you get!

Hey, can I have a job?

(Note: Fortunately, zombies haven’t yet organized their own political lobbying groups, or this could all change very quickly!)

2.) Zombies create other zombies – As anyone who watches The Walking Dead or any other zombie movie should know, if you get bit, it’s over. Sure there’s the fever, and the dying, and the waking up part where you get to walk around slowly and moan while your flesh slowly rots off your skeleton, but I think we can all agree that your quality of ‘life‘ will suffer a severe downgrade. The moral of the story for the workplace? Hang with a zombie long enough, and you will become one – not the other way around!

3.) Zombies gravitate to other zombiesThe Walking Dead ‘walkers’ never seem to hang alone. Where there’s one, there’s a dozen or more trying to eat you. In your workplace, you could have 999 great employees and one zombie, but if you make the mistake of hiring another one, that zombie will find the other one faster thank you can say ‘zombie apocalypse.’ Then, they’ll start creating more ‘walkers’ (see point 2) and it’s all downhill like a goo-filled snowball from there!

Me and my friends, we like to party like it’s the Middle Ages!

4.) Getting rid of zombies is tougher than you think – In The Walking Dead the only way to kill a zombie is to penetrate its brain. Anything will do – bullet, knife, screwdriver – but if you don’t penetrate the brain the walking dead continue to walk. Emptying your pistol into their chest will just make them angry. Now here in the real world we certainly don’t go around shooting our zombies in the head, (or anywhere else for that matter), but they are still hard to get rid of all the same. When you discover one working for you, terminate (fire) it swiftly and firmly, before the infestation gets worse.

5.) Test for zombies before you hire someone – It’s pretty easy to tell who the zombies are in The Walking Dead. If you can’t smell them from a mile away, the decomposing flesh and tattered clothing will give them away pretty fast. If you still aren’t sure, you’ll know when they start growling and eating your legs. In real life, it’s a bit harder to tell. It’s not 100% or a fix-all panacea, but a properly administered drug test will weed out more zombies than you might think!

Take action today. Don’t let Zombie Apocalypse happen at YOUR workplace!

It’s all fun and games until somebody gets bit

This article appeared in the April 10, 2013 issue of Staffing Talk.