I realize I may be the last one to the Walking Dead dance. Don’t rub it in. I just started watching the show a little while ago and have meant to write about it but with the season finale last night I thought I’d better do so while it’s still relevant. I realize as well that it’s April Fool’s Day so writing about a show built around a zombie apocalypse seemed appropriate.
Seeing as the screed usually covers business, I know you’re wondering how this could, in fact, be an appropriate topic. If you need to ask you must never have worked in a company of more than 10 people. If you have worked in that larger environment you’ve probably encountered zombies on many occasions Maybe you’ve never recognized them as such?
On the Walking Dead, the zombies are portrayed as slow-moving “walkers” with an insatiable appetite for human flesh. Of course, they themselves were once human and productive members of society. Now, they roam the planet spreading disease and death and living as parasites on the dwindling numbers of humans around them. Not to sound deranged, but I’ve seen this exact thing in a business environment. There are the “undead” staff members who roam the halls, attracted by loud noises and movement (on the show, a sure-fire way to attract walkers is to fire a weapon). These zombie workers might once have been alive and productive but now their work life is gone. Maybe it was a stifling boss that strangled them to death or maybe it was terminal burnout from pushing themselves too hard.
Just as the zombie apocalypse is destroying the planet on the show, so too are the zombie workers killing many businesses. Once the zombies show up they infect others. In fact, they’re aggressive about doing so. They spread rumors, they bad-mouth bosses and coworkers. They denigrate everyone else’s work. They don’t seem to have any feelings and they rarely contribute.
Obviously I’m not advocating removing the zombies as they do on the show (you need to destroy their brains – even cutting off their heads doesn’t kill them). I am, however, encouraging you to look carefully at those who appear to be human all around you with an increased sensitivity to zombie infection. Sometimes the infection hasn’t turned them yet and you can intervene. Sometimes you can put up enough barriers between you and the zombies that they can’t get near you. Most of the time, you’re better off just running away. Remember – the title of the show refers to the humans that are left, not to the zombies!