People consult the tarot for many reasons, and while love is certainly near the top of the list, finding the answers to career questions is also a common goal. Whether your work is going swimmingly, and you’re simply wondering how soon that promotion will be coming along, or you’ve just interviewed for a new position and want to know what your chances are of landing the job, the tarot can be extremely helpful in sorting out matters that pertain to employment…or lack thereof.
In this tough economy, many job seekers find themselves out of work for extended periods of time. It’s especially rough on older members of the workforce whose years’ of valuable experience are sometimes overlooked in favor of candidates who fit into a more youthful corporate culture.
When I first spoke with Susan from Skokie, she was in just such a quandary. She’d spent years as an art director with a large advertising firm in Chicago. While Sue had been extremely proactive with keeping her skills up to date with the industry’s ever-evolving technology, when her company merged with another agency, her position was made redundant. The new regime favored twenty- and thirtysomethings whose mindsets were more aligned with the younger demographic that the agency planned to target.
Initially, Sue had considered filing an age-discrimination lawsuit, but there really was no tangible proof. The art director from the other agency who landed the job came in at a much lower salary. At the end of the day, the higher-ups had said as much as they appreciated Sue’s talent, it had simply been a budgetary decision.
“There are a lot of people my age in the same boat,” Sue lamented. “I’m either overqualified for junior jobs, or the HR people take one look at my last salary and won’t even consider me because they don’t think I’d be satisfied taking so much less. It’s just so frustrating.”
“And even more frustrating because you feel you have no control?” I ventured.
“Exactly,” she said.
It seemed to me that the first thing we needed to focus on was what Susan could do to put herself back in the driver’s seat. “We’re going to start with one card,” I told her. “Let’s meditate on your career and try to focus on figuring out what force you need to bring into that sector of your life that will help you the most.”
After a moment’s reflection, I drew a card: The Magician. This card, one of the most potent in the deck, often surfaces in readings where control over one’s destiny is at issue. The magician, his wand raised, is depicted in the midst of casting his spell. Before him on a table rest a symbol from each suit in the tarot deck–cups, representing emotion; pentacles, representing finance; swords, representing thought, and wands, representing the creativity–indicating that he has the power to influence every aspect of the human condition.
“As ironic as it may seem,” I told Susan, “rather than having no power, you actually have the ability to not only take back control of your destiny, but to get to a level you never even dreamed of.” Now, we had to determine what Susan must do to channel that power.
“Now, keeping the Magician in mind, let’s concentrate on what your next step,” I said. The card that turned up next was the Ace of Wands. Here, a hand emerges from a cloud bearing a wand that is budding with new foliage, indicating extreme creativity. Power emanates from the hand as well, depicted by glowing shafts of light. Beneath the main image, the landscape is a verdant green backed by rich purple hills and a flowing river. On the hillside sits a gray castle, which is a bit of a mystery. It may be representative of the location of the querent’s future kingdom, but as yet, it is awaiting color and life.
The Ace of Wands suggested that perhaps the best path to harness Susan’s creativity and skills did not lie in working for others, but rather, in reinventing herself. “Susan, have you considered starting your own agency?” I asked.
“You know, I have thought about it,” she admitted. “Not every consumer is 20 years old, and a lot of us ‘old farts’ have disposable income, but I don’t have the business background to launch an agency.”
“You did say there were a lot of people in the same boat as you,” I said. “What about hooking up with someone from the account side?”
“There are several people who might be good, actually,” she said.
“All right, let’s see if we can picture someone to help make this happen. Think about the first two cards, and focus on that part of the puzzle.” The card revealed was the Ten of Pentacles. In this card, an elder statesman sits in the marketplace. He is richly garbed in a coat of gold, greenery and flowers. A man is departing, perhaps someone who has just received advice, while a woman and her young child approach seeking audience. At his feet, two dogs, aware but un-menacing, await his command.
“I see a man who is immensely fair and knowledgeable,” I said, “He isn’t threatened by the creativity or accomplishments of others. He’s someone who gives the best and expects the best in return. He’s a true mentor, guiding with a firm hand; generous with praise and not cruel with criticism. Does that sound like someone you know?”
“It’s Phil,” Susan said. “That describes him perfectly. He’s an account executive who was let go at the same time I was. It seemed such a shame, the clients loved him.”
“Well, perhaps you and Phil might be able to get something going?” I asked.
“We’d have to find a copywriter,” Susan said, “but I think there are more than a few who might be willing to give it a shot, especially with Phil onboard.”
“All right, now, keeping the other cards in mind, let’s focus on that possibility,” I said. The final card we drew, the Seven of Pentacles augured extremely well for the proposed venture. In this card, a figure stands surveying a rich crop of pentacles, ripe for harvest. It should be noted that the fruits of his labors were likely hard-earned, rather than handed to him, but the bounty of this crop is unmistakable.
“It’s not going to be easy,” I told Susan, “but if you pool your energy and talents with like-minded people, and find your niche, I predict there’s every chance that you will succeed.”
“I’m going to call Phil today,” Susan said. “Even if he isn’t able to go into business with me, I bet he’ll have some great ideas.”
When I spoke with Susan about three months later, it sounded as if her career was back on track and gathering momentum. “We did a lot of research, and the baby boomer market is very much under-targeted by advertising here,” Susan explained. “That’s going to be our target demographic. We’re starting small, but we’ve already got three pretty big clients.”
If the cards were right, I had no doubt Susan’s optimism for her future was going to pay off with major dividends, but only time would tell.
If you’ve reached a career impasse and can’t seem to get your employment mojo going, why not let a KEEN advisor help you work things out on the work front?