Well, If I was at work when the apocalypse hit I’d probably run right out into the street to die. Or, I’d sneak myself into the building next door and say I’m the temp who just started that morning1.
Most movies give us the impression that the apocalypse will hit when we wake up at 10am on Saturday morning. Upon seeing carnage in the streets or feeling tremors shake our house, we’ll pack up our families and our prized possessions. Then we’ll get in the car and frantically loot the well stocked stores nearby and team up with a nurse, criminal, and police officer at the local mall.
That’d be nice…
Unfortunately, most of us spend about thirty percent of our week getting to or being at work. If you’re in college then you could be any number or places on or around campus, but colleges do have amazing hideout potential (some even underground networks).
If you find yourself at work during the apocalypse and choose not to exile yourself, your first priority is saving yourself. Your second priority, however, is choosing your role. Not what you were at work, but what you want to be in this situation. It might be to your advantage to play up some stereotypes or lie a lot about who you are and what you’re capable of.
You might be an assistant today. People look to you to execute lower level tasks or things they’re just too lazy to do or learn to do. But when the apocalypse hits, the last thing you’ll want to be is the go-to gopher. As soon as you’re safe, turn on the hysterics. Not to a level where someone feels the need to slap you or lock you in a closet. Just to the point where you’re useless and it’s not unreasonable for you to calm down once the shitty jobs have been handed out, or just in time to volunteer for something helpful but not dangerous.
You might be in IT today. Who wants a geek in their party fighting zombies and saving then from an alien invasion? Everyone, if you spin it the right way. Run around grabbing gadgets and laptops and logging into security systems. Set up a messy mission control situation. Mumble to yourself about things no one will understand. If you can turn the HVAC on and off, do that. If you can actually assist in securing or surveilling the building, do that. If you can’t do these things, curse loudly and maybe throw something small across the room and explain why you can’t complete this impossible task using every jargony word you know, then pretend to have an ah-ha moment and try (or pretend to try) something else. Also, knowing how to rig radios, bombs, Molotov cocktails, and trip wires is helpful.
Today you might be an intern or New. People will assume you’re shiny and optimistic and ready and willing. Cut that shit right off at the head. You could be any one from a hobby linguist2 to Chuck Norris3. What you shall not be is the loyal intern taking orders for bitch-work from everyone and their mom. If you stick with the role of disposable, no-name, nobody you’re going to be the second4 to die. Make sure people know your name, too. Folk are less likely to send someone to their death if they know their name. Also, humor goes a long way in life and death situations. However, too funny also carries a death sentence; level-headed and playful is the goal. You want to be the person who calms the hysterical secretary and refocuses the IT guy without making threats.
Some fun research material on the subject? Highschool of the Dead, an anime series following a group of people who are caught in the midst of a zombie AND nuclear apocalypse while at high school!
Plot Summary: Takashi Komuro is a normal highschool boy, until an infection breaks out that turns people into zombie-like creatures. Along with his friends & the school nurse, they fight their way out and continue their journey to find out what exactly has happened to the world. (Source: animenewsnetwork.com)
You can buy each episode for 99 cents if you have Comcast with OnDemand… Or, you can watch all of season one for FREE on Hulu.
First 5(ish) minutes of episode 1 “Spring of the dead:”