Work Is Just Like a Game of Thrones

In the HBO series Game of Thrones, based on the George R.R. Martin bestselling fantasy book series A Song of Fire and Ice, fictional dynasties struggle for power, each with a goal: to rule the Seven Kingdoms. (Check out IMDB for more)

If you work in an office, you have a front-row seat to watch your very own Game of Thrones.

The cube farm likely has less bloodshed, and the Big Boss probably doesn’t sit on a throne, but I’m willing to bet that there are several employees jockeying for power.   

What makes Game of Thrones special is that it offers only a touch of magic, just enough to keep things interesting while keeping the story realistic.  With the season finale here, I’m disappointed I’m going to have to wait a year for the next season.  So in the spirit of Thrones, what can we learn from the show’s characters?  What would the office be like if each character was in charge? And who beloe shoul dbe added to our list of The Worst Fictional Bosses?

Eddard Stark: Wearing honor and justice as if it were armor, working for Eddard would result in long hours and meager pay, virtually destroying and work-life balance.  His stone-like expression would rarely give you any insight into what he was thinking or planning, leaving your standing within the company, mostly in the dark.  The good news is, when you lay your head down at night, you can feel “good” about what you do and who you work for.

Catelyn Stark: See Eddard Stark.
Jon Snow: As the bastard son of Eddard Stark, Jon has had to work harder at his relationships since he is a true outsider.  He would be a boss who knows what it’s like to get his hands dirty and never forgets where he came from. Therefore, both entry-level workers and middle managers would get a fair shot.  But beware of nepotism; Jon’s allegiance to his family runs deep, even if they aren’t true blood relatives.  His commitment (a lifelong one after joining the Night’s Watch) is unquestionable…or is it.


Robert Baratheon: The King has loved and lost, and is in the late stages of his “career,” enjoying wine, women and the spoils of having great power.  He’s the poster boy for people in the twilight of their careers who hang on for too long rather than bow out gracefully. Make his life easy and you could possibly be rewarded.  However, Robert is getting soft when it comes to competition that threatens the livelihood of everyone who works for him. Follow this leader like he’s the Pied Piper and wind up on the unemployment line.


Jaime Lannister: A good looking and skilled knight, with an ego to match.  Known as “Kingslayer” for stabbing the “Mad King” in the back, this is a guy people love to hate.  Having a boss you can’t trust is like jumping without a parachute. On the other hand, Jaime is very capable and excellent at his work – someone that workers can be inspired by.



Cersei Lannister: With a no-holds-bar approach to ascending to power, Cersei, Jaime’s sister, carries a chip on her shoulder because of the “limitations” of her gender.  Many people think she puts the ‘B’ in bitch; others say that is she were a man, she would be king.  Her best interest is what’s best for her.  If you can convince her to get you that promotion or raise, rest assured, she will succeed – failure is not in her lexicon.


Tyrion Lannister: “The Imp” or the “Halfman” is the dwarf sibling of Jaime and Cersei.  Despite his penchant for booze and women, his intelligence helps him worm out of difficult situations.  He has a warm place in his heart for other “misfits,” boding well for employees who come to the table with shortcomings and/or problems.  His workplace leadership would result in a relaxed office environment, someone who is fun to be around.  But if your boss does not get respect from the other bosses, your career mobility could be in jeopardy.


Khal Drogo: Warlord of the Dothraki people, a tribal nation who lives across the river and adheres to an animalistic set of values.  Will his new wife Daenerys Targaryen (not of his tribe) soften his ways – or fire him up even more?  His primitive management style would create a survival-of-the-fittest work environment. Can you handle the stress of being stabbed to death because you left the printer jammed?


 Daenerys Targaryen: The last bloodline of the Targaryen dynasty, “Dany” is getting her first taste of power as a new princess.  This is akin to having a first-time manager; usually a scary proposition. Just because someone married into power or has been with an organization for several years does not mean they are ready to lead. 


 Petyr Baelish: The treasurer of the Seven Kingdoms seems to have one God: the almighty coin.  A boss who is ruled by money can line your pockets, but do you enjoy the work?  Sure the check won’t bounce, but you’ll need to check your conscience at the door and declare your loyalty to a man who believes everyone has a price.

 Of course there are also the children…the Gen Y of the kingdoms.  They, of course, are the future and should not be counted out.  Everyone has their eye on the Iron Throne (READ: Being the Big Boss).  Be nice to the squires of today – they are the bosses of tomorrow.

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