Astrology enthusiasts look forward to Mercury retrograde the way you might look forward to flu season — with uncomfortable amounts of dread and trepidation. That's because it seems to strike out of nowhere. One day you're sitting at your desk, minding your own business, and the next you're in full-on damage control as Mercury retrograde affects your career, your love life, and even your technology. The small planet believed to rule all matters of communication, travel, and technology has some wonky side effects when it's retrograde, and it can be a particularly brutal time at the office.
When Mercury is retrograde, it gives off the illusion of moving backwards in its orbit. It's not really moving backwards, but during this time life can feel a little backwards, too. Confusion abounds as messages get misread, or not sent at all. Technology tends to go on the fritz, and if you were thinking of starting any new projects, forget it. Instead, astrologists advise people to use this time to wrap up anything that has currently been in the works. It's a time to look back and see what needs finishing, rather than forge ahead onto something brand new.
So how does all of this impact your career? It's not all bad. I'm not an astrologist, but I do like to know what to expect when Mercury retrograde hits. This period gets a bad rap, but it can actually help you be more productive in some instances. Plus, you can't exactly call in sick for the three weeks Mercury is retrograde, so here are some things to watch out for as you prepare yourself for these trippy mind games the universe likes to play.
1. Don't start a new job
Many astrologists believe that Mercury retrograde is a great time for reflection, and introspection. It's not a great time to start anything new. If you've been thinking about a career change, it might be good to start doing your research and figuring out what next steps you need to take to successfully make the switch, but don't pull the trigger on a new job just yet. During Mercury retrograde, communication can become a little messy, and you're going to want to make sure you've asked every possible question and are 100 percent clear about your new job responsibilities before you sign on to anything.
2. Don't start new projects
Even if you are perfectly happy with the job you have now, don't start any new projects while Mercury is retrograde, if you can avoid it. Many people find it harder to make decisions during this period, and if you are working with a group, that becomes even more difficult as coworkers all struggle to voice their ideas.
3. Don't make any travel plans if you can avoid it
If you travel a lot for work, try to keep your schedule clear during this time. If you've already planned a trip, check and double check your itinerary before you leave to make sure you haven't missed any important details. And, always try to come up with a backup plan, if possible. Chances are that all will be fine, but it never hurts to prepare for the worst.
4. Don't sign any contracts
If you must sign a contract or enter any new agreements, be sure to do so in writing, and double check the fine print. It might help to have someone else take a look for you too, just to make sure there is no confusion whatsoever about what you are getting yourself into. It's too easy to miscommunicate during Mercury retrograde, and you don't want to agree to anything binding you might regret later.
Pssst! Check out our podcast, The Chat Room, for all things internet.
5. Do use this time to tie up loose ends
While you shouldn't start anything new during Mercury retrograde, it is a great time to readdress projects you started a while ago, but just never finished. During this phase, we have a much keener eye looking back than looking forward. You might feel a wave of inspiration you didn't have before, and that could help you wrap things up. This is the perfect time to tie up loose ends.
6. Do use this time to re-evaluate your priorities
Since you're feeling extra contemplative right now, use this time to really think hard about your goals, and what you'd like to accomplish. Spend time reflecting on where you think you're spending too much energy, and where you'd like to improve. Be completely honest with yourself. While you don't want to make any major life changes at this time, you can certainly start thinking ahead about what will make you happier and more productive in the future.
7. Do double check all appointments
Scheduling conflicts often arise during Mercury retrograde, so make sure you are confirming any and all work-related appointments you have ahead of time. You don't want to show up at the wrong place three hours early for an important meeting you have with a client. Set yourself detailed reminders of where you're supposed to be, and when.
8. Do save your work
Electronic equipment can sporadically go haywire during Mercury retrograde. Save yourself a ton of headaches now by backing up important projects and materials you have saved on your computer. Chances are your boss won't think "Mercury retrograde" is a great excuse for a missed deadline. Plus, technological snafus are annoying no matter what time of year, so this is just a good habit to get used to.
Regardless of whether or not you actually believe in Mercury retrograde, it's always a good idea to double check details, and ask questions at work if something is unclear. Your career isn't something to take lightly, and many simple mistakes can be avoided if we all just take time to give everything a second, thorough read through.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle<3; Giphy (8)