Job Search Lessons from “Game of Thrones”

If you have not been watching HBO’s series, “Game of Thrones” you have been missing an exceptional series on HBO. As I write this, I am still catching up and have not seen the final episode of the series yet. It is well written, engrossing and has multiple plot lines working concurrently in this medieval story of competition between different houses of the realm for control of the kingdom.

Like “The Sopranos” before it, there is a lot of intrigue and many betrayals (if you have been watching the series, you know I am being very gentile in describing it).

Here are a few lessons you can learn from the show that you can apply in your job search and in your career:

1. Never let yourself get talked into a job you know you don’t want. By far the biggest lesson offered, Lord Stark is persuaded by his friend, King Robert, to accept a role as “The Hand (like being chief of staff with the full authority to act as The King). Lord Stark never wanted to the role but did it as a favor to his great regret.

2. Be careful with choosing your allies when you join. As you would expect in a series like this, there is much intrigue at court and many people betraying others to gain power and influence that are not immediately apparent to Stark. By gambling that honesty and honor will b powerful enough to win the day, Stark places his life and that of his family at great risk. This leads to our third point.

3. Not everyone will be completely honest with what they tell you. Whether it is the HR person who has been in meetings to plan layoffs, the hiring manager who seems perfectly nice but is in fact a micro-manager or the recruiter who seems nice enough but is about to be fired unless she “closes a deal in the next two weeks,” every person you may meet when being interviewed may have an ulterior motive and not your interest at heart.

4. Have an exit strategy in place. Without a plan, Lord Stark is trapped by his principles. Abandoning them at a particularly important moment at the encouragement of one of his daughters, he and his daughter learn that when you trust a tyrant, you will eventually be crushed. Never trust a tyrant to keep their word!

5. Sometimes being lucky is a good thing. One of the characters is the outcast son of the patriarch of “the evil family.” He is forced to be in the vanguard of the soldiers sent into battle with “the good family.” A dwarf (or as he is sometimes referred to in the show, “an imp,” he gives a rousing speech to the men he will be joining and as the rush to battled, he is knocked unconscious by the club one of them is carrying to fight with. Although almost all of the these soldiers are slaughtered, he lives.

Watch the series on HBO or the DVD’s when they are available. It’s hard to explain but completely engrossing tv.

© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2013