The first season of Game of Thrones launched my senior year of college. Earlier generations of grads watched “Friends” or “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” as they learned the ins and outs of full-time office politics. I, on the other hand, am of the GoT brethren who (I hope) learned as much what not to do as what to do from watching the show. As we reach the final season, here’s what I’ve learned. Warning, spoilers abound below, so if you’re not a fan get your life together and watch the show.
1. Scheming Catches Up with You (AKA BCC Benefits No One)
You know what doesn’t work? Stirring the pot. Yes, there are some people at the office who do this, but have you noticed by now that they tend to hit a glass ceiling they just can’t rise through after middle management? Look at Littlefinger. In a healthy team—emphasis on healthy, because there are a lot of unhealthy teams in Westeros! Trust is absolutely critical. Trust builds effective, on-going working relationships, and is earned by working hard and generally not stabbing people in the back. This is why Littlefinger thrived on the High Council, perhaps the unhealthiest team I’ve ever seen, then got axed in Winterfell. So, leave the BCC (blind carbon copy) out of your toolkit, and handle your problems directly—because if you’re somewhere that this isn’t best practice, you should be polishing your resume anyways.
2. Don’t Overreact
Blowing up the Citadel was cool and dramatic and, I too, have the instrumental from that scene saved to a Spotify playlist or three, but let’s talk about the results. Circe killed a bunch of people, created a culture and power gap, and ultimately destabilized the country by driving the sitting king to suicide. Big picture, people. That doesn’t mean you don’t excel as an individual, but you do it the Jon Snow way – by working hard and inspiring people to work hard with you. Put another way…play nice.
3. Find Your Strengths
It’s great to be different—if you can take what makes you unique and turn it into a strength. If you spend all your time trying to be good at something you’re not, you’ll just lose your sense of self. This takes guts, but it feels so much better to find your niche than to grind away at what other people expect you to do. Being different isn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile is.
What about you—what have you learned about life from Game of Thrones? I intentionally decided to leave the leadership lessons out because they’re so debatable. Also, bonus life lesson that’s also applicable during your early career: don’t go to political weddings. There’s just too much risk that the terrible DJ will kill you.
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When Savannah isn’t developing marketing strategy or building out experimental ventures for Guernsey, you can find her traveling, eating, reading, watching classic movies, eating, doing yoga, or watching terrible reality television. Also eating is a favorite pass time. Sometimes she writes blog posts about how to work better, faster, stronger and generally live your work life like a Kanye song.