The March of the Undead

The March of the Undead

Zombie – a will-less and speechless human held to have died and supernaturally reanimated


Career Zombie – a will-less and speechless human held to have died on the job and marginally reanimated


So what’s the difference in the two? The first makes for good television. The second is very, very real – and chances are good you will become one.


Don’t believe me? I can prove it – and the numbers back me up. Let’s focus on the group must susceptible to becoming Career Zombies – THE MILLENNIALS.


Last year Gallup released what may be the most definitive study of Millennials in the work place. The results were staggering.


Consider that in a survey with over 1 million respondents:

  • Only 29% report they remain engaged in their field of choice
  • 50% plan to leave their place of employment in the next year


This from a group that already constitutes 38% of the work force – and 75% by 2025.


Seventy one percent of Millennials don’t want to be in their jobs – disengaged and dying in their careers.




No longer passionate about their work, unable or unwilling to move, and only going through the motions – and this from arguably the most talented of us.


The future of our country.


Now before you begin to think the Zombification of the U.S. work force is limited to just the youngest workers – think again. The affliction strikes all generations – and costs our economy billions each year.


The march of the employed walking dead.


Here are the five stages of the Career Zombie Descent into Employment Hell.


Watch for them – the symptoms are universal – and the results – devastating.


Stage 1 – Loss of purpose – best characterized as the vanishing passion that once characterized the career vision. Without purpose the career threatens to default to its weaker shadow– a job.


Stage 2 – Loss of direction – minus the purpose that once fueled the role the job suddenly becomes more burdensome. This is where the career oriented professional now fully becomes just an employee – and the blood that once coursed through the veins of that ambitious driver begins to grow cold.


Stage 3 – Loss of interest – the metamorphosis is now taking place in full. Start times suddenly are more difficult to get up for. The reports you once invested more time than necessary on you now begin to mail in. Now every day seems longer.


Stage 4 – Loss of engagement – typified by full sub-human symptoms. You no longer want to be here. You dream of finding a way out. The memory of what was once a bright future seems distant, if it can be recalled at all.


Stage 5 – Total burn-out or said another way, Full Zombie.


They’re real you know – the Career Zombies. And they are on the march. Like the staggering, mindless corpses we see on the big screen and our television sets they are spreading.


The stages are clear.


The defenses are less so – but they are there.



Tim Cole is the founder and CEO of The Compass Alliance. His book, The Compass Solution: A Guide to Winning Your Career offers practical direction to both senior leaders and employees on how to cultivate a rich culture – and ensure a significant work experience. You can learn more at




  • Cheryl Kuhn
    Posted at 17:03h, 27 October Reply

    Love this metaphor, although the fact that it rings true is a bit depressing.

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