post-apocalyptic settings and stories are abundant in books, movies, television shows, and video games. from zombies like the walking dead to nuclear war like the fallout series of games, we’re gripped by tales of the last humans and how they deal with the struggles of life after civilization ends. a common theme through some of the most critically acclaimed of these tales is seeing how much humanity is lost when faced with these abnormal circumstances.

it’s the tension between who these people were before the zombie epidemic hit and what it takes to survive in a cruel, harsh world that keeps us tuning in week after week and turning page after page. it makes us face our own selves and ask, if the zombie apocalypse can turn joel from a loving father into a callus black market dealer, what would i do? how much will i change and how far would i go to ensure that i survive?

organizations face the same struggles when markets fall. abnormal circumstances start to strip away the parts that make that organization what it once was. little by little—choice by choice—cuts are made, policies are changed, and people are let go. the culture begins to decay over time, sometimes without you even realizing.

but when the new direction is ‘survival at any cost’, when do we start paying a price that we can’t afford to pay?