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Career Lessons from Game of Thrones: Working with Joffrey Baratheon

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by Lisa Johnson

about 3 years ago

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As a job seeker, what can you learn from Game of Thrones? Well, the obvious one is that you DON'T want to work for Joffrey Baratheon.  Interestingly, it is not uncommon for sociopaths to rise quickly through the ranks in a company.  They have no empathy for others and often a very clear idea on what is needed to get a desired result.  Ruthless and willing to a) take credit for your work and b) throw you under the proverbial bus when it hits the fan (how's that for a mixed metaphor?), this is the manager or colleague who will make your life hell.

How can you spot Joffrey from a distance?

Be smart.  When considering a new role, ask the recruiter about the hiring manager and culture of the organisation.  There is a reason that the vacancy exists, and if you find out that the role turns over on a regular basis (employees are running screaming from the company), there is a very good chance that there is a manager or employee in there who is busy terrorising the workforce.  Now, they may be doing that for a very good reason, and the top brass may have deliberately put this person in a position to ignite change in the organisation, but you do NOT want to go unprepared into a role with that type of  company.

What if it's too late and you have started the job but it's all going horribly wrong?

How to avoid Joffrey Baratheon in the workplaceHmmm, so nobody told you Joffrey would be leaning over your shoulder and criticising everything that you do, huh?  Your first step is to talk to HR.  They will probably already know that Joffrey is a monster, but unless people consistently complain and provide specific details of where he has been chopping off heads, they are powerless to do anything. Don't whinge, though – ask for help on how you can manage the situation and suggestions for how you can work with good old Joffrey.  You may still find it impossible, but if you are putting into practice every suggestion given and it's not working, then HR will have an excuse to sit down with Joffrey and suggest he might be the problem.  It's a shame not enough people did that with the real Joffrey, frankly.  Let's face it, the Lannisters need a darned good HR team!

What if you want out, now?

Talk to your recruiter. Tell them what has been happening and what you have done to try to remedy the situation.  Let them know you have talked to HR or other managers about the situation and why you need to get out.  Talking with the recruiter will a) allow you to get access to new vacancies and b) educate the recruiter about the challenges within the company.  In extreme circumstances, the recruiter will make the decision to no longer recruit for this company until the situation with Joffrey is resolved. Next week I will bring you more Game of Thrones hints for finding your next job…and in the meantime, stay away from the Moon Door!

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