If things have felt a little wonky in your life lately, it might interest you to know that we're currently in the midst of the last Mercury Retrograde of the year, which runs from Dec. 3 to Dec. 22, 2017. Although it's impractical to blame all your problems on the fact that Mercury appears to be moving in reverse through the night sky, it also doesn't hurt to be aware of how Mercury Retrograde can affect your life. Because the planet Mercury's godly namesake was ruler of the mind and communication, Mercury Retrograde is well known for wreaking havoc on our earthly communication, which can affect all of our relationships — not just the romantic kind.
"Many workplace environments involve an element of teamwork that requires coordinating with others in an effective way," Professional Astrologer Ichrak Dahou of Atlas Astrology tells Bustle. "Routine things like making phone calls, sending e-mails, attending meetings and making travel plans are all places Mercury Retrograde can potentially step in and make things turn askew. Beyond the routine, in situations where folks are working together on different elements of a project — there may be things that gum up the works and slow things down, making deadlines difficult to meet in a timely way."
Being able to communicate effectively is particularly important in a professional setting, so it makes sense that Mercury Retrograde can mess with your work life — here's everything you need to know to make it through the final Mercury Retrograde of the year with your career intact.
Potential Work Problems To Watch Out For During Mercury Retrograde
If your job is one that requires lots of communication — which many do, whether it comes in the form of company-wide meetings or endless email threads — you might find that, during Mercury Retrograde, you make more little mistakes than usual or have a hard time meeting deadlines that would normally be no problem. If you're crunched for time, it can be tempting to speed through a project just to get it off your to-do list, but Mercury Retrograde is not the time for that kind of careless work.
"With this particular Mercury Retrograde, watch for careless errors due to speedy execution," Dahou says. "Make sure work is divided up evenly — either in terms of quantity or timelines — so that co-workers are not biting off more than they can chew, and bosses are handling only what their attention needs to be on. People may over-promise. People may be unusually carping or critical."
Unfortunately, you can't really control how well (or poorly) your co-workers communicate with you during Mercury Retrograde. But before you panic, there is some good news: regardless of what's happening with the planetary movements, what you can control is how hard you work, and how carefully and effectively you communicate with your co-workers and bosses each day.
What You Can Do To Succeed At Your Job During Mercury Retrograde
Working with others during Mercury Retrograde doesn't have to be a nightmare: all it takes to succeed is a little extra effort to be thorough, up-front, and communicative about any projects or tasks you take on. "If it’s up to you to meet a deadline, but you absolutely need other people to do their parts, make sure you are giving them as advance notice as possible with as complete information as possible to be able to complete their portion of the project in time," Dahou says.
Aside from focusing on how effectively you communicate, remember to be patient and understanding, too — because professional mistakes happen, even when Mercury isn't in retrograde.
"Professional people wanting to keep things moving as smoothly as possible can adopt added patience and generosity with their own little mistakes and the mistakes of others during this time when it's more needed than usual," Dahou says. "In the case of any errors... take personal responsibility and provide timely and substantive redress. Create space for others to provide the same to you. Ask detailed questions. Triple check the decimals, dates, and meanings of your own communications and others’. And have a sense of humor about things!"
How Mercury Retrograde Can Actually *Improve* Your Professional Life
Even though Mercury Retrograde is notorious for creating communication issues that might mess with your work performance, it actually has one huge benefit, too: Mercury Retrograde is the perfect time to revisit your professional past, and then reflect on what you want for your professional future.
"This Mercury retrograde is great for revising, reviewing previous professional performance, and reviewing previous job offers."
"This Mercury retrograde is great for revising, reviewing previous professional performance, and reviewing previous job offers," Dahou says. "It is also a timely transit for professional concerns like do you want to stay in the current job or not or revive a previous professional ambition. [It's] good for re-establishing contact with previous professional partners or professional opportunities."
Sure, you might have to deal with a few more problems in the office than usual during Mercury Retrograde, but with a little extra communication, a healthy dose of patience, and time spent self-reflecting about what you really want from your career, you can use Mercury Retrograde as an opportunity to hit refresh your professional life, and enter 2018 feeling more focused and confident at work than ever.