The premiere of Catching Fire is almost here! There are so many reasons why the trilogy appeals to us — we're awed by Katniss's strength and pluck, qualities we can all definitely use in the workplace. Although the office isn't exactly a "kill or be killed" environment, there are plenty of lessons we can learn from our favorite heroine.
1. Image matters
Everyone's watching — people will judge you based on how you portray yourself externally, so try not to get too comfortable. Getting drunk at work events and passing along negative office gossip won't endear yourself to anyone. Try to keep really personal topics out of the office, and always put your best professional foot forward.
2. Build solid alliances
One of the reasons for Katniss's success is the strong alliances she makes over time. The key thing to remember here is to forge genuine connections. We've all seen the drawbacks of partnerships with hidden agendas in the trilogy. False partners can end up stabbing you in the back (literally) and will not help you professionally. Don't pretend to be all chummy with someone you have problems with, or your efforts won't seem genuine. And if you do have issues with someone, find a way to give constructive feedback if it's work-related. If it's personal, try to get over it, because as The Hunger Games fans all know, life can definitely be very short.
3. Make sacrifices
Sometimes, you need to go the extra mile to show your true worth. In the first book, Katniss gives herself up for her sister to participate in the games, which makes her a favorite among the Capitol audience. There are times when there will be tasks you don't want to do or when your company enacts changes you don't like. Don't complain and moan about it to fellow colleagues or your boss. Instead, find ways to work around it and to make it work for you.
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4. Display your own mockingjay pin on your desk
The mockingjay is a symbol of rebellion in the series. It's a type of bird that was accidentally created when the jabberjays, birds created by the Capitol to be spies that relay conversations, mated with mockingbirds. It was a slap in the face to the Capitol, because it signified that they could not control their own creations. At the office, display your own "mockingjay pin" in the form of a desk accessory that will put a smile on your face when the going gets tough. It can be a small framed picture of your pals, an inspirational poster, or a desk calendar with cute animal pictures.
5. Don't be too quick to judge
It's easy to think that everyone's out to get you, but remember that appearances can be deceiving. Katniss initially doubts Peeta and thinks he was aligned with the Careers, but she realizes that things are not what they seemed and that he's doing it to protect her. Before you start reading too much into a curt email or a seemingly unfriendly co-worker, remember that everyone has a different way of interacting with people, and there may be more to the story than you realize. Perhaps the person is having a bad day because of a personal event, or maybe she's just not very good at communicating. Don't jump to conclusions before killing . . . err, getting to know her.
6. Fight for what you believe in
Katniss's main concern is for her family, and she always fights for their well-being. If you feel you deserve a promotion or a raise, fight for it. Prepare yourself as if you were battling for your life — do market research to see what pay you deserve, accumulate evidence of your hard work, and carefully craft your pitch. May the odds be ever in your favor.