From listening to news reports, it would appear that there are hordes of hooded executioners, wandering the corridors of major corporates the world over, wielding very sharp axes – I’m getting Wes Craven-inspired images in my head as I write this. Is there any way to ensure that the hooded man [or woman – who can tell under a hood?] will pass by your cubicle, leaving you unscathed?
Short answer, no. Are there things you can do to improve your chances of surviving, at least until the third reel? Yes there are. I had a good chat about this with the nice folks from Q102.

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29% of respondents in a recent Monster survey indicated that they weren’t going to take any particular steps to try and improve their chances of survival in these axe-wielding times. Hmmmmm. My take on this is that these 29% think that the organisation they work for is going to crumble into ruin should they be struck by lightning or some errant piece of space debris. “I am indispensable!” Hmmmmm.

I’m not proposing that you start running around gibbering like Chicken Licken, nor am I proposing that you suddenly start working 33% more hours per week. But there are some simple steps you can take to improve your chances of survival in these troubled times. To illustrate this point when I’m running seminars, I tell this hoary old chestnut:

RTE [the Irish national broadcaster] were filming a wildlife documentary series some years back. In order to capture footage of big cats in their natural habitat, they had set up a hide in a promising spot in the Serengeti and on the day our story occurs, a cameraman and sound guy were nestled quietly, hoping to catch the predators at work.

Sure enough, a pride of lions returned from a kill, dragging the corpse of a large wildebeest, and plonked themselves down nicely adjacent to the crew’s hide. The cameraman got tremendous footage of the lions tucking into their feast and the sound guy captured all the tearing, bone-crunching and lip-smacking sounds with his top of the range directional microphone.

Then the wind shifted.

A lioness’ head snapped up and the directional mic picked up deep sniffing sounds as she ‘tasted’ this new scent on the air. Then slowly, almost languidly, she stood up from her feast and began walking toward the hide, her iridescent orange eyes fixed on the very spot where the crew were hiding.

“What are we going to do?” the cameraman hissed, almost silently.
The sound guy said nothing. He just turned off his equipment, removed his headphones and began coiling the cables from all his gear. [I don’t know why he did this. It’s a sound-guy thing – they are all inveterate coilers.] Then he hunkered down and began tightening the laces on his sneakers.

“What the hell are you doing!?”
mouthed the cameraman, who had by now divested himself of his camera and bulky battery packs. “There is no way you are going to be able to outrun a lion!” The sound guy said nothing, but continued adjusting his shoes. Then he looked up and whispered, “I don’t need to outrun the lion. I just need to outrun you.”

Don’t be one of the 29%. Take some action to secure your career, even if it is just tightening your laces. Now is not the time to be perceived as easy prey …

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