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By Katherine Kiang
KaTsZoNe Newsletters > KatsZoNe - Issue 93 - The Dead Among Us

1 Oct 2012

Hi everyone,

It is October and Halloween takes place on October 31st.  Although it's only the beginning of the month, I am already reminding you about "The Dead Among Us"!  If you are wondering whether I have encountered zombies recently -- well, yes I have!  Not actual zombies, but, Larry and I "met" some in the latest zombie movie, Resident Evil:Retribution, which was partially filmed in the Toronto Cinespace's Kipling film studio.  I think it is one of the best 3D movies I have seen.  It was very exciting, in fact, it made me feel like I was on a rollercoaster and I felt like my stomach was up to my throat -- oh, it was fun!!!

Believe it or not, the zombies, as well as some other events that happened this past month, made me think about the "dead among us".  It is partly work-related, but, also just in life, in general.  I know I don't get enough sleep throughout the week.  I try to squeeze all the things I want to do into a short time period.  When I am at work, I sometimes feel so tired that I feel like I'm on "auto pilot" and going through the same motions. 

I shared a phrase, "the working dead", with a co-worker and she thought it is such a cool phrase.  It may sound cool, but, it feels terrible.  It is not a unique phrase.  You can find blogs and videos from people about the working dead. 

If I pinch myself and don't react, I know I am in trouble.  So, if something awesome happens at work and I can't get excited about it, or if a terrible thing happens to a co-worker and I am not disturbed or hurt by it, then, I'm equally in trouble.  It's not that I don't care, but, I just feel numb.  That's when I've reached a deadly state and I've become what I call, "zombied" or "zombified".

Zombies attack and eat flesh.  Attack and eat.  Attack and eat.  They won't stop their deadly actions until someone stops them.  So, what if you see zombies at work?  What if you are in danger of turning into "the working dead"?  Caffeine only works temporarily on the working dead.  Chocolates and other sweets are also "feel good" foods which temporarily satisfies working zombies.  To overcome this disease, we need effective solutions.

Here are some of my suggestions on how to deal with "the working dead" and to prevent ourselves from contracting this dreadful disease.

1.  A whack on the head=Stimulating the mind!

In a classic, humourous zombie movie which happens to be my favourite zombie movie to this date is Sean of the Dead.  Not everyone can be armed with machine guns, like the heroine, Alice, in Resident Evil:Retribution, so, Sean of the Dead offers a simple remedy.  It takes practice, but, if you have a strong shovel, just whack a zombie on the head.  That should put him/her out of commission.

I am NOT suggesting that we whack our "working dead" co-workers on the head with shovels.  I am suggesting that we whack their minds with activities and creative ideas.  Trip them up with thought-provoking ideas and suggest that they try and learn new things in the workplace.  There are people who appear to do the same work for years and are afraid to try something new.  It's like being on an assembly line which does not exist.  I use to believe that it is just a worker's personality that makes them comfortable with the same tasks for years and years.  But, I now believe that those people have been "zombied".  They have turned into the working dead.  These people might be afraid to retire because they will have to engage in other activities different than their daily work routines.  What will they do? 

So, before we retire, we must find outside interests.  If you have a dream, a hobby, an interest in learning, then engage in those activities before you retire.  If you don't use certain muscles on a regular basis, you could lose the use of them; similarly, if you do not engage your mind and body in new activities and challenges regularly, you might not be able to get started later on in life.  Give your mind a whack! 

2.  Fight the good fight

I mentioned to Larry that I do not recall seeing Asian zombies in previous movies.  If there were any, they never made an impression.  In Resident Evil:Retribution, which was also partially filmed in Japan, those Asian zombies were great fighters!  Alice used plenty of weapons to fight against them.  I thought it was interesting that these Asian zombies were not dragging their feet like in other movies.  These Asian zombies do not move like they've been up all night!  They are extremely vibrant and in great shape!

Before we turn into the working dead, we must learn to fight the good fight.  Eat well, stay in shape, and don't let the office politics get you down!  Get up and do the best work you can possibly do!  Enjoy yourself because we need to eat, or be eaten!!!  There was a monster in the movie, Resident Evil:Retribution, which swallowed people, including a child.  Fortunately, the child did not die, but, it does make me think about how are lives can be eaten up by unimportant, blood draining things.  We are living things, so, if you stop and allow yourself to die without really living, you've given up too easily.  Don't let your job kill you!  It's time to fight the good fight!  If it's not the right job for you, keep fighting the good fight and do something that will allow you escape and avoid getting "zombied"!

3.  Laugh hard, laugh often

I don't think this expression surprises anyone, "Laughter is good medicine".  A workplace that stifles humour and laughter will result in more working dead people.  The most memorable moments in our work life is not likely a letter or document which we wrote.  If you are a lawyer, you may have some great memorable moments in court.  If you are an athlete, you may remember a great victory on the field.  For me, the most memorable times which I care to remember in the workplace are the relationships with my co-workers.  Clearly, I do not wish to remember those times when I stayed late to meet deadlines.  I do remember walking down Bay Street with my co-worker and we talked about why we should not be working late too often, or, as she said, we'll never date, never mind get married.  I laughed!  She woke me up from my "zombied" state and helped me to realize that I had other priorities in life -- not just my job.

Going to work, going home, looking after the family -- all necessary priorities in life, but, if we cannot take time to laugh with our family, co-workers, or even strangers at the bus stop, then we are going to die sooner than later.  Last week, after work, I was walking down the tunnel towards the subway station.  Walking ahead of me for part of the way was an OPP Special Constable who works in our building.  I don't really know him, but, he turned to me and said, "I'll race you."  I told him, "Sorry, I'm too tired!"  I laughed.  He said, soon it will be the long weekend.  We had a brief chat about plans for the Thanksgiving long weekend.  He told me he was going to his mom's for dinner.  It seems strange that a short, seemingly insignficant conversation could effect me, so that I would even consider writing about it.   I mention this because one day, the way we relate to others, the laughter we experience and conversations with strangers could mean a lot.  Don't just groan and drag your feet like a bloodied zombie every day, acting like you want to chew people's heads and arms off.  This infectious disease can turn others into zombies too -- so, find a cure!  I think laughter is a great cure for zombies who want to become alive again!

4.  Make friends

You may think that zombies do not have friends.  Who wants to be friends with zombies who invite you over for dinner and you turn out to be the main course!  I think it is perfectly okay to socialize with co-workers outside of work. 

Making friends in the workplace can help you NOT turn into the working dead!  Some people act as though they will not work in one place for long.  If you "click" with someone, why not make a friend?  It also helps when your friends at work can recognize the warning signs when you are going to be "zombied" or "zombified".  When the signs are there, they can whack you on the head -- I mean, try to stimulate your mind; they can make you laugh; they can encourage and inspire you to fight the good figh
t.  Be careful who you make friends with at work because if you do start to turn into the working dead, you don't want those people to literally whack your head and kick off your knee caps -- that could kill you!

In previous years, some of my co-workers and I have dressed up on Halloween.  I'm not sure what or if I will dress up this year -- still thinking about it.  I know for sure that I will not dress up as a zombie!  Perhaps, I can dress up like Alice in Resident Evil:Retribution or some form of zombie freedom fighter!  I could walk around with a shovel and fight off the working dead.  Perhaps, I could come up with some stimulating conversations and things to make to make my co-workers laugh.  I think it will be more than just a Halloween project -- it's a year-round project!  Hope you can help me out too! 

Those of you who are retired, I hope some of these suggestions can also help you too. 

I welcome your suggestions on how to defeat the zombies and to not turn into the working dead!


Have a great October!

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