Monday, May 6, 2013

The Office Zombie

Updated May 16, 2016


This is serious, reader - Beware of Office Zombies! In every organization across the United States and in some parts of Canada and New Zealand, offices are being infected by a wave of zombies. These are not the actual zombies that stumble and eat human brains - they are devious, sinister office zombies that zap the energy and life out of their coworkers' minds and hearts, causing havoc wherever they go.

Come on, you know who I am talking about. Think of coworkers in your office that make everybody feel depressed, angry, and upset. These toxic coworkers literally steal your capacity to do your work with a positive attitude, infecting you with warped, debilitating negativity. I ought to know - I have been infected from time to time as an office zombie, and I have learned some important methods for healing myself and others of this highly infections state.
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A 1950s Office Zombie, courtesy Wikipedia

Actual Zombies
To combat the office zombie, you need to consider what we know about their distant cousins: actual zombies. If you talk to a zombie expert, you will learn very quickly that there are many types of zombies: viral, radioactive, toxic, etc. But regardless of their type, actual zombies always follow a very specific pattern:
  1. Actual zombies are undead, and they don't necessarily realize that they are zombies and that they are infected
  2. They are lifeless and they suck life out of others
  3. They are infectious - coming in contact with an actual zombie can infect you.
  4. They eat brains, immediately stealing the mind of their prey.

The Office Zombie
Office zombies follow a pattern which is very similar to the actual zombie:
  1. undead - office zombies often don't realize that they have entered a negative, zombie-like state. This is particularly problematic because they often spew out their toxic, infectious ideas and attitudes to everyone they meet, not realizing that they are infecting others with their disease
  2. lifeless - office zombies very often go through the motions of their work, not realizing that they are giving little or no energy or life to their work. And in this state, they act as energy black holes, performing their work poorly and sucking life from others.
  3. infectious - office zombies often infect the people they interact with through their negative, toxic, viral attitudes.
  4. eat brains - office zombies don't eat actual brains, but they certainly poison the minds of the people they infect, rendering them powerless in their work.

Dealing With Office Zombies
So, how can we avoid being infected with the poisonous ways of the office zombie? Here is a set of strategies:
  • Avoid Office Zombies! Stay away from them at all costs, and if you must interact with an office zombie, do one of the following.
  • Distract the Office Zombie! If you must interact with an office zombie, keep them on the topics that you must discuss and keep them from entering the zombie state of negativity in your presence.
  • Heal the Office Zombie! The negative, twisted, self-defeating office zombie can sometimes be healed. However, an office zombie must want to be healed, and some office zombies do not. If your zombie friend cannot be healed, see the strategies above. Otherwise, here are strategies for helping an office zombie, to be used in sequence:
    1. Acknowledge - Acknowledge to the zombie that they are infected and that they need to be redirected.
    2. Redirect - Help the zombie view what they have been talking about from a more positive perspective. Instead of negative, defeatist thinking, focus on the positive aspects of work. Have the zombie generate their own set of reasons they like their work or situation.
    3. Affirm - Help the zombie realize that they are actually a positive human and not a zombie, and that you are confident that they can move forward with positive, healthy attitudes and actions. You may want to note past times that the zombie has acted and communicated as a positive human as evidence that he or she is not stuck as an office zombie and can be healed.
What If You Are An Office Zombie?
It is highly likely that you will be infected as an office zombie sometime in your career. When you are infected, you will likely find yourself spewing toxic negativity to the people around you. This is not a good thing since this negative, warped view can cause infect others and can inhibit your own potential and growth. If you are infected,
  • Use the Acknowledge - Redirect - Affirm strategy (described above) on yourself.
  • Flood your mind with positive ideas and motivation. This can be done by listening to motivational speakers, talking with positive coworkers, reading inspiring or sacred literature, or engaging in prayer or meditation.
  • Take a vacation! Get away from the toxic environment and allow yourself to release the poison that is infecting you.
This is serious, my friends. office zombies are real, and you must be prepared to deal with them in healthy, positive ways.

How do you identify and deal with an office zombie?
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