Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Choice to Have No Choice


My horoscope yesterday (well part of it...) from the inimitable Jonathon Cainer (www.cainer.com): “Something seems to be out of your control... if you can somehow see it as one which you have no power at all over, you can abdicate some responsibility. You can let whatever is most likely to happen, happen. Then you can say ‘I sincerely wish things were different, but I am powerless.’ Maybe it secretly suits you to feel that this is true. If so, just carry on believing that you have no choice and relax. But do so out of choice, not hopelessness.”

As some of you would already know. I have a lot of Pisces planets in my chart, and I mean A LOT- and they are all in the 1st house. One of the brilliant things about Pisces is that we can float around blindly oblivious to the nets out there waiting to reel us in, but one of our more shadowy sides is that of a self pitying victim. A little harsh? Possibly. Needless to say, I sometimes feel as though I consciously have to fight this attitude every day of my life. (Actually, even saying that makes me sound like I should be feeling sorry for myself).

Fortunately, I also have Saturn in my 1st- and I really do not like him. He makes me take responsibility- sometimes too much responsibility. I also have a tight Sun-Pluto opposition that sometimes helps me convince myself that I can have total control over everything in my part of the ocean. One little piece of reality I still have not learned is that I can only attempt to control my own reaction to what other people say about me, I can’t control what they say, do, think or write.

All this reminded me of a colleague I worked with during the last technical “recession that we had to have”. With Pisces Rising, Cancer Sun, Capricorn Moon and a heap of 6th house planets, Mary (yes, the name is changed) would poke her head out of her office cubicle for long enough to envelope the rest of us in doom and gloom and speculation about the rumoured restructures. Even though no one really appreciated how much she did for the company or how much more than us she knew- if only anyone could be bothered to ask- she was convinced that she would be the first to lose her job. Mary also reminded us (constantly) that she was the only one who really couldn’t afford to lose her job- after all none of us had a family (in those days) so we had no idea what it was like to have to provide for a proper education and a roof over their heads.

One day I stupidly offered Mary some advice. “But it’s hopeless Jo”, she said, “I have no choice to wait and see what they will do with me.”
I assured her that she wasn’t helpless, that there were things that she could do now to control her own reaction should anything happen. She could get her resume up to date and organise current referees so that she would be ready to hit the job market running. She could insure her income against retrenchment or redundancy- this would, with her payout, give her at least 9 months to find a new position if she were to be retrenched, without being any worse off than she is now. She could ensure that her finances were as solid as they could be in the present circumstances.

Mary had an excuse for every suggestion. Finally I snapped, “Mary, if you really want to take control of the situation, why don’t you find another job and resign now?”

Her reaction? “You know something, don’t you...what have they told you?”

Some people truly don’t want a choice, being in control takes away their excuses and that would make the situation hopeless. After all, unless the blame can be directed elsewhere, we have to take responsibility- and that is really scary.

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