Saturday, 9 June 2012

taking tarot to work

When you stop to consider the sheer amount of time you spend at work, it's not surprising that the relationships you form with your colleagues often hold huge sway over your happiness level in the workplace. The dynamics that develop amongst a group of employees can be fascinating and, at times, deeply frustrating. Untangling and making sense of the issues that arise as a result of being in close quarters with people you probably wouldn't otherwise have come into contact with is a good opportunity to use Tarot to illuminate, clarify and reassure. There is a huge 'switch off' culture at play when it comes to work. We are so often encouraged to put work-related problems on the sidelines, 'leave work at work' and so on. People who talk about work issues all the time are often considered to be short-sighted, boring, vacuous.. Although it's understandable that people may want to discourage you from wasting time fretting about a work issue once you're on your own time, it should be acknowledged that the amount of time we spend doing something to earn a living determines its importance as an area of life we should feel comfortable with. Misery can crop up fairly quickly and stick around for the long haul if we allow a negative work situation to fester and avoid attempting to understand and deal with it. That's why we have Human Resources departments in many businesses these days - to give the employees a voice and to clear up any tensions and difficulties. Unfortunately, bad blood can still remain after an incident, and no matter how your superiors may believe they have alleviated the problem through the use of official processes, it is much harder for you to alleviate your personal offence or distress. Then there are those very common issues like competitive colleagues, colleagues who work-shirk and let you do everything while they put their feet up, colleagues who backstab and gossip, the ball-breakers, the know-it-alls and the whiners..

I recently joined a new team of colleagues in my full-time job and, of course, first impressions and intuitions kicked in and did their work from the moment we were all acquainted in the training room on the first day. It's natural to gravitate fairly easily towards some people whilst remaining wary or reserved around others. Some personalities gel well with others, some character traits put up big red warning signs for us based on our own experiences and some people are evidently going to make better team mates than others. But sticking with your first impressions is a risky business when you're going to be spending so much time with your fellow employees. Take out your deck and lay out one card for each of your immediate colleagues. Do the cards you've drawn fit in with your impressions of your colleagues? Are there any surprises there? This exercise can help you think outside the box about the people you believe you've pinned down. Most people make use of a particular persona at work and tend to leave other facets of their personality at home. Which dimensions of a colleague's character are you not privy to? What can you learn about the sides of themselves that they don't show in your company? Allow the cards to suggest a much more complete picture of an individual so that you can come to appreciate who they are when they're not at work.

If you're encountering a specific issue with a colleague, ask the cards how best to deal with it. The answers a spread can throw up may be surprising. Make sure you're asking the right questions. It's always better to delve into what you could potentially change or bring to the equation, rather than how you can actively change the other person. Their journey is their own - the only person you are meant to have power over is yourself. So, instead of asking, 'How can I stop her from being so competitive?', try asking, 'How can I learn to accept and deal with her competitive behaviour so that I'm not affected by it?' The cards may remind you that you were hired on your own merit because your employers thought you were worthy of the job, so a colleague's desire to outrun you shouldn't mess with your self-belief. Factoring in things like self-esteem and balance of mind will work much faster than trying to change this problem colleague through subtle manipulation (which is likely to fail and leave you feeling more disillusioned).

When a problem arises which involves colleagues, open questions with lots of scope for thought and exploration are sure to offer you the guidance and inspiration you need to decide on a course of action. Questions like, 'What do I need to know about my own point of view?', 'what do you I need to know about the other person's point of view?' and 'what are the hidden factors in this situation?' can throw a lot of light onto the point of focus and allow you to think about it differently. Scene revision and scene rehearsal may also be good ways of dissecting a work incident and finding more clarity on it. If an altercation took place at work or a colleague said or did something that upset you, try taking out your deck and drawing cards to represent everyone involved in the situation, the actions and words that caused the ill feeling and the outcome that arose as well as what you could learn from it. If you're planning on changing your behaviour in the workplace, either by putting a stop on your own competitive/shy/overtly assertive nature or you plan to stand up to a colleague, try rehearsing the scene using Tarot cards to represent the words you'll say and the pros and cons of the chosen actions.

Finally, it's important to recognise how beneficial Tarot can be if it's used to focus primarily on the self. What kind of colleague are you? In what ways might it be advisable for you to improve? What are your qualities at work and which flaws hold you back? What are your work-related goals? What constitutes a good day at work? What does a bad day entail? What are your needs and how can they be met? How do you meet your challenges? Sometimes, a work colleague is a challenge in that they force you to monitor your reactions and tolerate their behaviour without lowering your own to their standards. Sometimes, a work colleague is just someone who tends to irritate you, maybe by talking too much, by causing drama, by dismissing your opinions or by being unable to grasp a simple concept you're trying to train them on. Whatever the situation is, looking at how you can accept it with grace and encourage progress beyond it will do the most good. Having good relationships with colleagues is something that needs to be worked at - let Tarot do some of the work for you.