Career Lessons Learned From “The Hunger Games”

Move over Bella Swan, there is a new leading lady in the world of teenage fiction! 

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Katniss

Her name is Katniss Everdeen – the fictional star of the extremely popular trilogy, The Hunger Games. 

Oddly, while watching this (super realistic) story about a country who forces its children to kill each other, I couldn’t help but think there are some valuable career lessons to be learned from Katniss’s adventure.

1. Let Others Help You

Katniss is understandably wary of the adults who surround her during her trip to the Hunger Games. However, she soon realizes the value of her mentor, Haymitch, who may be a stumbling drunk most of the time but won the Hunger Games himself as a younger man. Clearly, Haymitch knows exactly what to teach promising young “tributes”. Along the way, Katniss meets others willing to help her succeed in her endeavors; once she opens up to the idea of receiving advice, she finds their counsel valuable.

Letting others in on your job search journey can be scary, but it is absolutely necessary. There are people who have been in your place before you ready to help you find your career path. Take advantage of their knowledge!

2. Embrace Your Strengths

When first heading to the Hunger Games, Katniss doesn’t know how she will become a real contender in the fight to the death – let alone win. Before simply giving up, however, Katniss reflects upon what she has learned in her young life that might help her succeed. It turns out that all of those hours spent hunting small game for survival will aid her greatly in her fight at the Hunger Games.

It can be difficult to realize what you are truly good at – but once you do, take advantage of the skills you already have developed. This will make your career path easier and you will ultimately be a more effective employee.

3. Look Out for Yourself

One of the most valuable lessons Katniss Everdeen teaches us throughout The Hunger Games is that you must look out for yourself. When she was young, her father died, and Katniss immediately took over the duties of hunting and gathering food to provide for her younger sister and mother.

When it comes to your career, you are your own advocate. Others will be happy to help you along the way – but you must make the big moves on your own.

Spoiler Alert: All of these skills helped Katniss Everdeen ultimately win the Hunger Games. By following her lead, you can find success and happiness in your career – and win your job search competition.

Dear Employers: An Open Letter From Your Interns

Dear Employers,

As a young professional entering the workforce for the first time, I have heard one too many horror stories about what to expect from you.

I’ve been told to be cautious; to work with my head down; to put my emotions on hold and “wait my turn”; and to simply cross assigned tasks off a to-do list. I am no longer listening to any of this advice. I am too eager to contribute to a high-quality organization’s success to just keep my head down and wait for you to employ my skills!

I refuse to remain an under-utilized, misunderstood cog in the machine simply because I am young. I refuse to see myself the way you see me. Recent grads are often treated poorly because we have limited experience and are said to be “desperate” for employment. Too many millennials are given useless, menial tasks to complete, instead of being given real responsibility that many of us can manage easily, and are eager to take on right now.

You may think interns are only hired to accomplish tasks that are “beneath you”. You may see me as an intern in a bad economy who will do anything to keep a position. You may take me for granted because you (and I) know there are 1,000 people lined up behind me ready to work. You may see me as someone whose purpose is to get you coffee, schedule your ride to the airport, and pick up your dry cleaning…

I am so much more than that.

I am hungry to learn from you. I am itching to work hard to help you succeed. I am absorbing all of the (valuable) information you will impart to me as my mentor. I am willing to bust my ass to help strengthen your brand. And I would love to show you how much passion and energy I can bring to your organization. And… I am happy to complete tasks you don’t have time for – if they add value to the company I am helping you grow.

I chose to apply to your position not because I just need any internship. I chose to apply to your internship specifically. I am rooting for your success. I have the talent and ability to help you build your company.

If you treat me with the respect I deserve, and allow me to have some creative freedom and responsibility, I will prove myself to you.

Sincerely,

- Interns

Work After Dark

Relationships in the workplace.

It’s something that a lot of companies have very strict policies against; I’ve always thought it interesting to get people’s opinions on this general guideline. I’ve heard everything from “It shouldn’t be an issue” to “They can destroy everything.”

I can understand that relationships at work can be damaging if one of the partners is in a power position. This is something I’ve been warned about since I was nineteen – don’t date the boss. I’ve heard stories of people quitting their jobs so that they could date the boss; but I think that a dream career would be difficult to give up for a hopeful relationship. It’s different if you’re in an arbitrary position, a part time gig, but a career? I think I would have a seriously difficult time making that decision. What if the connection only works when you’re in an office, not in real life situations?

Maybe I place too much value on work. I’ve been called a work-a-holic since my first job. (Scooping ice cream at Haagen Dazs – I actually learned a lot about branding from that position.)

Can relationships still negatively (or positively) impact your work life if you are in lateral positions?