Train to Busan exploded into Filipino cinemas on September 1 and caused a furor to match fellow Korean movie, My Sassy Girl, which turned Pachelbel’s Canon in D into a cheesy romantic, staple over a decade ago. But instead of setting our hearts aflutter to love, Train to Busan made our heats pump adrenaline. The zombie film crammed action, characterization, suspense and plot into two hours of gore and blood.
But aside from the movie’s obvious entertainment value, it also offers insights into surviving the workplace. After all, an office and a zombie apocalypse can be eerily similar. The differences seem minor: one is trapped in a toxic environment surrounded by hostile, mindless drones while the other has zombies. And both have the same overriding goal of coming out alive. Lessons can be easily picked up from Train to Busan.
The first lesson is the most obvious. To survive the office and a zombie apocalypse, people need to cooperate. Alone, the uninfected people had no shot against the zombies but together they found a chance. In the same way, you will need your coworkers for support when the deadlines near. Divisiveness can bring karmic justice quickly, as the people that denied our heroes – Seok-woo and his daughter Su-an, soon-to-be father Sang-hwa and his wife Seong-kyeong, and the others – found out
Be Ready for Any Crisis
The biggest reason for the high body count in the movie is the sheer unpreparedness of the whole society against the zombie menace. The crisis was compounded by the misinformation that was spread in the hope of reassuring the people that everything was in control. Fortunately, the office won’t face something so drastic or unexpected but a crisis can affect a company at any time, especially in PR or social media. Creating preparations for likely scenarios and sharing the truth as much as possible is key to surviving a critical office situation, especially in crisis management.
Cultivate Friends and Contacts
One of the earliest hope spots in the movie was during the train’s arrival in Daejeon. The survivors of the train thought they had gotten through the worst. Seok-woo, the protagonist, had doubts and to ensure that his daughter was safe, he called one of his contacts in the military. In the office, it’s great to cultivate friends who can help you in your career, warn you of danger, and supply favors when crunch time is nearing. And this shouldn’t be relegated to people in your industry; like in the movie, contacts in various walks of life can provide assistance in various ways.
Find Other Routes
In the race to the perceived safety of the first carriage, bludgeoning through the entire train was possible but almost suicidal. Our heroes had to think outside of the box to minimize casualties. They observed the zombies to find weakness, created distractions, and even crawled in the overhead baggage. Surviving the office is similar. Brute force won’t solve some problems. Be prepared to observe your boss’s habits, distract clients from problematic areas, and forge unexpected paths to reach your goals.
Remember What You’re Fighting For
In the penultimate scene of Train to Busan is a deceptively simple exposition and comparison of the personality and motivations of the Seok-woo and Yong-suk, the ruthless businessman who prioritized his survival over everyone else. In the throes of infection, Yong-suk’s thoughts were that of a lost child trying to find his mother. On the other hand, Seok-woo’s last thoughts were that of his happiness at Su-an’s birth. One was a child while the other was a father and in Korea’s Confucian society that distinction neatly explained their behavior in the face of a zombie apocalypse. At work, sometimes the stress becomes too great. It’s tempting to be selfish and lash out but it’s during times like these that you need to focus on what and who you’re really working for so you won’t ever lose perspective.
The film demonstrated that a zombie outbreak is survivable. The office is less harsh and with these tips you’ll be able to keep your head out of the water no matter how hard the day becomes.