A tale of two (work) cultures

Kermit as Bob Cratchit in A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.

— Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

Once upon a time, there was an astro-blogger who tried to make sense of two very different work cultures she experienced while working for the same institution. Whether it was because she was born under the sign of the Twins, or that as a Gemini, she was more sensitive to dualities, she found, soon after she started her new job, that she would be working for two different bosses under two sub-groups within the larger organisation. As time went on, it became clear that the two managerial styles, and thus the group work cultures emerging from under them, could not be more opposed.

One was very Jupiterian (say Group 1) — forward- and outward-looking; the other very (almost too) Saturnian (say Group 2) — always cautious, always fearful, always looking over one’s shoulder. While the larger umbrella organisation was already itself Saturnian (Saturn rules institutions), there was never any danger that the Jupiterian culture of Group 1 would indulge itself excessively (this is the era of budget cuts after all); but it meant that the Saturnian culture of Group 2 found its own paranoia reinforced. Jupiterian optimism in Group 1 meant that meetings with them always ended up trying to look for positive ways to work around budget cuts and other limits, while still trying to maintain standards and produce results; and Saturnian caution in Group 2 meant that meetings with them always ended up listing all the things they could never achieve.

The anonymous astro-blogger has a strong Saturnian signature in her chart, but her Ascendant was in Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius. She soon found herself dreading meetings with Group 2 because the weight of underachievement was becoming too depressing for her far-reaching Sag self-expression. And besides, wasn’t Saturn about pulling up one’s socks and overcoming hurdles? Seemed like a case of not utilising Saturn properly which made her think about the value of leadership. Saturn transiting over her natal Pluto in the 10th house squaring Pluto transiting through her 1st house is making her reconsider her own role in both kinds of structures, and when it may be necessary to exercise her own power (Pluto) without guilt (Saturn).

Group 1 is energising for her, even if the ideas and people can be impractical. Group 2 is draining, not least because co-workers who are constantly suspicious of the system are also constantly suspicious of each other. Ideas that this mercurial blogger throws out to Group 1 tend to be assessed before they are dismissed (and they are rarely dismissed, as her Cap moon and 6th house stellium would’ve been very careful to have thought things through), projects she initiates are supported, senior personnel attend events and offer feedback; in Group 2, co-workers never even acknowledge any event she organises, much less attend them, and she often gets the ‘why-are-you-rocking-the-boat’ look when she speaks up.

Unfortunately, the Saturnian taskmasters of the umbrella organisation do not think very well of Group 1, perhaps resenting their can-do spirit, and is constantly threatening to shut them down, especially when their networks continue to grow. Ironically, Group 2 is probably going to stay the course, and some within it promoted through the ranks. First mystery of the universe a Sag may never understand — how do the wilfully unimaginative get (and hold) positions of power?

A lot has been said about the excesses of the Pluto in Sag era, but this anonymous astro-blogger is frankly quite sick of the fear and paranoia of the Pluto in Cap era. How about a new tale, hey? One that mates the best of Sag with the best of Cap.* Visionary and circumspect, optimistic and prudent, far-reaching and sure-footed. Saturn in fair-minded Libra, will you bring us back to our senses?

Not quite the end.

*I am reminded of Donna Cunningham’s article on semi-sextiles.

Image source: Muppet wiki.


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