Warning: This article contains spoilers!
HBO’s hit TV show Westworld, which recently ended its first season, was 2 shows in one. Inside the park, you have a sort of sci-fi western. Outside of the park, one could classify it as an “office drama”.
Now, everyone who has ever been in one, knows that working in an office can be difficult, whether it is in hi-tech or sales, insurance or the service industry, every office job brings with it lots of challenges and conflicts. Real world office challenges, however, are nothing compared to Westworld, where all of those jobs are combined to create a very high-stakes environment.
In a regular, real-life office, apart from having to do the actual job that you were hired to do, you also have to maneuver inside a maze of interactions with your colleagues, finding out new things every day and making hard choices constantly. Not to mention the stress and challenges that come from dealing with lower management (actual bosses) and upper management (the corporate teams at the top of the ladder).
What can we extract from Westworld into our world? Well, people are people, and knowing how to deal with different sorts of people is crucial in order to survive and function in an office environment in the real world. So here are 5 things we can learn from “Westworld” about office politics:
Please be advised that this may contain spoilers if you haven’t watched the show
- Silence is gold
Speak too much, and you’ll be branded either as a babbling fool or someone who’s untrustworthy, or both – as we can learn from Lee Sizemore, creator of the stories in the park. Lee makes a fool of himself time after time, culminating in his encounter with Ms. Hale, the corporate bigwig who he meets by the pool. Being discrete, on the other hand, like Robert Ford – Played by the legendary Anthony Hopkins – his plans, usually works… which brings us to our next point.
- Information is your most important asset
When Maeve decides she wants out, she understands that her current knowledge is not enough, and she raises her bulk apperception to the max, in order to have all the knowledge she needs. It’s essentially the same in an office: know what you don’t know, and strive to get that information. It is important to gain an understanding of your fellow workers, because good intel makes for good decisions, which can lead to promotions and raises later on in your career.
- Have a clear target and pursue it
It’s important not to drift around – decide what is it you want to accomplish and get at it, using your creativity and smarts. There will be diversions, there will be setbacks, but you must always stay concentrated on achieving your goals. It is the same for “the man in black” in Westworld: His purpose is finding the maze, and nothing will keep him from it. Always looking forward, always focused on his destination.
- Never be too impulsive
Good decisions are rational decisions, and a good outcome is the one you planned upfront. When deciding on a course of action to take, keep your emotions in check. Neutralize the emotion before making any sort of decision, and stay calm and composed throughout the decision-making process. Theresa is the perfect example of that; keeping her cool, having a master plan, progressing slowly but surely. But she’s also an example of the opposite since we all know what happened to her when she let her guard down for one moment.
- Everything changes all the time
Office politics are developing constantly, a bit like a kaleidoscope – you keep spinning the cylinder and constantly discover new things. Power shifts, relationships, firings, and hirings, can all cause a stir in the delicate ecosystem of the workplace, or even – in some cases – turn it upside down completely. That’s why you must be both flexible and on top of things at all times. Or, in other words, be like the mighty Robert Ford, who doesn’t want to send out a resume, or go job searching, even though his “bosses” want him to. In the second season they try to manipulate him, he outsmarts them and gains even more control. You can channel this and apply it to your own office life, but please, whatever you do, don’t send your robot minion to kill someone. It’s just not nice.
Do you feel like you have more to learn about office politics?
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