Capricorn at Work
Every so often a project goes spectacularly, unaccountably, but completely wrong. Usually the signs are there early on- meetings where the stakeholders sit mindlessly through planning meeting after planning meeting, saying nothing, contributing nothing and agreeing to all milestones without question. “A quick meeting is a good meeting,” I hear you say, but when silence equates to non-engagement, we all know that the end result will be many long hours of repair work and endless teleconferences after the fact.
What no Project Sponsor wishes to hear in the aftermath of a mess is the following conversation:
“If you had asked me, I would have told you that this could happen,”
“If you knew it could happen, why didn’t you make mention of it?”
“Because you didn’t ask me.”
“But, you were at the meetings, every week we walked through a risk log that you had the ability to contribute to.”
“I know more about this stuff than anyone else in the organisation- you should have asked me to run the project- then this wouldn’t have happened. That upstart has been here 5 minutes, she doesn’t have half the experience I do.”
“You could have applied for the role.”
“Management know that I am here, I do the hours, they should have asked me to apply.”
This is the shadow side of Capricorn. The sunny side is, thankfully, so much more positive and, at least in my workplace, more common.
Capricorn has a hardworking, self controlled, dependable, goal orientated reputation, but this sign is far from boring. Check out the celebrity birthdays on this site and the people you see are people like Rod Stewart, Bradley Cooper, Nicholas Cage, Nigella Lawson & David Bowie. Hardworking yes, dedicated yes, goal orientated yes, but boring? Nope. All of them focused and enduring... surprisingly so in some circumstances, and getting better with age.
I read an article recently in an Australian magazine about Nigella Lawson and her assertion that she intended to ensure that her children learned about the importance of a work ethic and setting goals and the ability to overcome the roadblocks that life sends you- Capricorn in action.
In the workplace, Capricorn is practical and relatively conservative. The Sea-Goat understands that opportunities will not just drop into her lap- anything worthwhile having is worth working for and worth waiting for. Capricorn careers often mature later than those of her more obviously charismatic colleagues, but the success is more likely to be deep rooted, practical and lasting.
Capricorn has the enviable ability to be able to detach emotionally from colleagues and whatever crisis might be happening outside the office in order to focus on what has to be done. This, and the Capricorn ability to organise themselves (although I have seen some Capricorn desks which rival mine for mess!) makes them a highly valued employee.
Image is important to Capricorn, as is the separation of home and work. As such, Capricorn likes to continue this separation into their wardrobe- their work “uniform” is professional and respectable. Capricorn also prefers traditional work practices, and treats “flexible hours” and “working from home” with suspicion. Whilst she may understand the business rationale behind these moves, to Capricorn if you have a workplace to go to, you should go to it- work is work and home can intrude into what needs to be done.
Unlike other signs, Capricorn does not require an admiring following in the workplace- her focus is on what management think of her. She relies on hard work and results to get ahead and is at her best when managing perceptions upward. Capricorn is a brilliant networker and understands that connections are vitally important, but is smart enough to keep such connections as strictly business.
The danger for Capricorn is when she doesn’t manage perceptions- when she assumes that the hours she puts in, the dedication she shows and her loyalty to the status quo will be enough to send her up the ladder in front of her flashier and noisier colleagues. When she thinks she will be noticed simply because of age, experience and knowledge. In a perfect world that might be the case, but in todays workplace, one is rarely tapped on the shoulder and opportunities do not come neatly labelled as such and need to be recognised and accepted. As Indiana Jones would say, “X never ever marks the spot.”