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5 Must Learn Career Lessons from Game of Thrones

Nathan Parcells
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Published on April 16, 2015

It’s begun. The Sunday ritual of sitting on the edge of your couch, hoping that your favorite character doesn’t have their head taken off… or worse. Game of Thrones (GoT) is about as close to mindless fun as you can get, but any character who has survived more than two seasons has plenty to offer in terms of life/career advice.

We pulled together the best career lessons you can take away from characters ranging from Arya to the Red Viper. Enjoy!

(Warning there are some spoilers in here from seasons 1-3, none from season 4).

Be Comfortable with Unlikely Alliances:

One of the most interesting partnerships in Season 3 of GoT is betwRed_vipereen Arya and the Hound. While the partnership doesn’t end perfectly, the duo does manage to work together for a while with surprising results.

In the workplace, one of the most valuable skills you can develop is an ability to work with people with different skills and backgrounds. An engineer and a marketer might solve the same problem in entirely different ways. Learn to ask questions rather than push ideas, know your strengths and weaknesses and put in the time to help others achieve their goals so that they will help you achieve yours.

Don’t Celebrate Before it is Over:

Whether you’re the Red Viper trying to exact revenge on The Mountain, or an intrepid job seeker looking to get hired at your favorite company, success is a marathon, not a sprint. The key to winning a marathon is to keep calm and focused all the way through the finish line.

In the case of job seeking, just because you had a great interview and think you are a shoe in for a role, don’t get cocky. Follow-up with everyone who interviewed you, using well-written and professional emails or thank you cards.

House-Lannister-heraldryYour Reputation Matters:

Everyone knows the Lannisters pay their debts. This is the family’s brand and it helps them wield power and it helps individual family members get out of sticky situations. This is a reputation the Lannisters have built for years and one that requires careful maintenance. The second they stop paying their debts, no one will trust them again.

Likewise, when you begin your internship you want to build the right professional reputation. If you commit to completing a project by a certain time, you need to do that, or at the very least let a project manager know if you are not going to meet a deadline. You want to be known as the employee who “always delivers on what they promise,” just like the Lannisters.

Planning is Good, But Be Ready for Change:

In GoT, you never know what will happen next. The second you think that Joffrey and the Lanisters are the nemesis; you get introduced to Melisandre, the Red Woman, and the White Walkers. In your career, you should do your best to plan ahead, bring a positive attitude and result to the work you do, but remember that many career breaks come from unexpected places.

In our MyMomentum piece from Jason Portnoy, former CFO at Practice Fusion and Coupons.com and current Subtraction Capital Partner, he was working hard in Stanford’s graduate school, when he was encouraged to drop out of school by a not so well known entrepreneur at the time named Peter Thiel. Set yourself on the course for success but be mentally prepared to make a big change when your intuition tells you it’s the right time.

And if all else fails…

Get dragons. It’s the only surefire (see what we did there) way to get what you want 100% of the time.

Happy GoT Season 5 watching and happy (internship/job) hunting!

dragon

Nathan Parcells

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