Welcome to the Workology Podcast, a podcast for the disruptive workplace leader. Join host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founder of Workology.com as she sits down and gets to the bottom of trends, tools, and case studies for the business leader, HR, and recruiting professional who is tired of the status quo. Now here’s Jessica with this episode of Workology.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:00:26.62] This podcast is powered by Ace the HR Exam and Upskill HR. These are two of the courses I offer for certification prep and recertification for HR leaders. New Year, new You. What resources, tools, and information can you have access to, to make this your best year ever as an individual, as an HR professional, as a leader in business? Today’s guest is going to walk us through some new, interesting, and exciting ways to be able to do just that. But before I introduce our guest, I want to hear from you. Please text “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005 to ask questions, leave comments, and make suggestions for future guests. This is my community text number and I want to hear from you. So on today’s podcast, we are talking with Jessica Munson. She’s a Master’s in Education, SHRM-CP, SPHR, and a certified career counselor and vocational astrologist. Jessica has a master’s of education and has extensively studied general counseling, career counseling and psychology. She is a certified career counselor and holds several certifications for her work in Human Resources. She has worked as a professional astrologer for three years and blends her expertise in career development with vocational astrology. Her industry acumen and professional background complement her holistic approach and balances that experience with creative and spiritual tools such as tarot mindfulness and Reiki. Jessica, welcome to the Work oLogy podcast.
Jessica Munson: [00:02:04.91] Thank you. I’m so excited to be here.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:08.05] I just got my master Reiki certification, so.
Jessica Munson: [00:02:11.98] You did?
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:12.34] Yeah, in angelic Reiki, actually. So I have been loving all this and I love watching you on, on Tik Tok also, it’s, I just, it’s such a different conversation, I think, than most of the other HR Tik Tokers.
Jessica Munson: [00:02:28.39] Yeah, it’s been difficult for me to explore that niche and really find the intersection between these worlds of being very HR, very corporate and in some ways compliance driven, but then opening up the community to things which aren’t necessarily those things like spirituality, like tarot, like Reiki and some of these other holistic practices. So it’s been a lot of fun for me to explore that and then find the people who resonate with that work and connect with them.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:56.11] Well, we’ll link to your Tik Tok over in the show notes, but let’s go back a little bit and talk about your career path and what led you to the work that you’re doing today.
Jessica Munson: [00:03:07.81] Yeah, it’s so funny because the last couple of days I’ve been in university with students talking about my career and I found that every class I was speaking to, I started it differently because I’m not sure, like when did my career begin? I’m a true Capricorn and I started working in exchange for money at a very young age, and I’ve always been super industrious. And so I found that in every job I’ve ever had, I just wanted to climb to the top. I wanted to achieve. I always wanted to run things like I felt like I would be really good at being in charge even when I was a child, much to my mother’s dismay, actually. And so I found that when I was in roles where I got to be like a policy expert, where I found myself getting to train people on different things or where I was able to help de-escalate angry people, I shined, and that’s when I really found those opportunities to climb the ladder or to be promoted and find myself in different positions of power, you might say. And so it started really, I was in undergraduate getting my degree in psychology and leadership, and I was working for a really, really small company. So, naturally we had no one in HR. There was no HR person. We didn’t have enough full-time employees to offer benefits or anything like that. And I just started accidentally doing HR tasks. A lot of the training, I was hiring, I had my first experience with firing somebody and what that looked like and I really enjoyed it and I found that I really enjoyed working for that company where I got to do a little bit of everything and explore my different areas of expertise.
Jessica Munson: [00:04:37.54] And where I really started to shine was in development, and that played into what I was studying in school, right? And it filled me up. I’ve always been so curious about people and fascinated with people, and so I like to refer to that as like me working in the Wild West. It was very lawless, it was very unregulated, and that meant I got a lot of creative freedom to work on that, which was important to me. So I started writing policies and I wrote an employee handbook before I realized it was an employee handbook. It was just like, Here’s what you need to know while you work here. And so after some time and after I graduated, I decided that that’s really what I wanted to do. I wanted to work in environments where I was developing people and where I was helping them explore their career. Like, Do you want to grow in the company? Or, the nature of our work was seasonal, so we always had a series of layoffs at the end of summer. And helping people identify like, you know, that your job isn’t permanent, so what do you want to do next? And how can I help you connect with that? So I decided to go to Colorado.
Jessica Munson: [00:05:34.75] I got accepted into a Master’s program out there at Colorado State University, and I was actually studying career counseling and I thought I might find myself upon graduation, working in academic advising, like working with university students. And while I was at CSU, that’s a lot of what I did. I had HR jobs that sustained me while I was a student, but I was also an intern at a career center at CU Boulder in Boulder, Colorado. I worked as an intern for the Student Wellbeing and Resiliency Center at Colorado State University, and that’s where I got formally trained in mindfulness facilitation. And that’s actually when I started, like formally becoming an astrologer. Like I was an astrology fan and enthusiast and I was all about learning about moon signs and sun signs and everything. But at the beginning of my Master’s program, I remember exactly like where I was sitting in the classroom. It was one of those divine moments, if you will, sitting in the classroom listening to my professor introduce us to the program, what we could expect as students and just knowing to my core, I will be doing this with astrology. Like that is what I saw in my future. And it took me some time to get there. I didn’t actually start professionally offering astrology readings until after I had graduated, which at that time I re-entered corporate. I got hired as an HR generalist at a tech company. After I graduated, I was done with higher education and started doing like resume writing and interview prep on the side, as well as tarot readings and dream interpretations.
Jessica Munson: [00:07:07.45] And I was kind of just exploring a little bit of everything. I found myself just really loving human resources, but not more than I loved astrology and not more than I loved career development. And so I experimented trying to figure out like, how how do they intersect? Like, what is this combination? And how do I find a meaningful way to offer all of it to people? And so I moved back to Utah. I got my HR certifications. I already had my career certification, my career counseling license, and I registered my LLC, and I just started becoming that witch from work. And I like to help people align their life with the career that can be meaningful to them, where they can find a true sense of dignity in their work and feel like their work has purpose and that it matters. But I also realized that no matter how much I worked with individuals, if companies were not ready to receive incredible talent and take care of them, it was all for naught. So I love the work that I do in HR as well because I really get to make a difference for the employees coming in. I sit on a few different boards in my state for HR where I get to help influence legislation and ensure that employees are happy once they get to the employer of their dreams.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:08:19.42] Those of you who are listening near like ok, now I understand why, why Jessica is on this podcast. It’s such an interesting background. And when you said employers are willing to receive that is such a critical thing. I was talking to my friend Kim Crowder, who’s been on the podcast a couple of times in the past. She does DEI work and that’s one of the biggest challenges for her is employers receiving that feedback and being willing to make the change to be able to have the outcome that they want.
Jessica Munson: [00:08:53.17] Mm hmm. Yeah, absolutely.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:08:55.93] So let’s talk about what vocational astrology is, why don’t we get started here.
Jessica Munson: [00:09:02.29] Yeah. So vocational astrology. I actually love the way that Bryan Clark summarizes it in his book, Vocational Astrology. He says vocational astrology is the astrology of career calling and creativity. So what I do with individuals is we look at their natal chart, which is just what were the planets doing and where were they at in the sky at the exact moment of your birth? And through that we can get insight into a lot of things about the life of the individual that we’re looking at, and that includes certain things that influence vocations, such as money. How do you generate income? What is your relationship to money and how can you make money in this world? As well as service. What work environments do you like to find yourself in? What types of tasks might you enjoy doing day in and day out? Because that’s a lot of what work is, is just the daily grind and hustle that we find ourselves in. As well as, What is your broader career like? What does it look like when you consistently find yourself engaged in service and you’re receiving value for that work, which is often the form of a paycheck or a perk or a benefit package or something like that. The consistency that we find between those two houses ultimately becomes your career, the body of work that you do, and you can find those in very specific pieces of an individual’s natal chart. But I like to quote John Holland all of the time. He’s one of the career theorists that I work with primarily when I’m working with clients, and he said that career choice is an expression of one’s personality. And because of my background in career counseling, I’m trained to look at not just job search strategies or more than your LinkedIn profile. It’s how does your entire life influence your career decision and where does that show up in your natal chart. And how can we get bigger insight into when my career transitions happen? What values do you have? What values did your parents give you and how does that influence the way that you navigate career.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:10:56.18] Are you seeing a lot more interest from people right now? Because layoffs are happening, restructures are happening. I feel like we’ve been in a transitional time and it might be continuing for some because they’re coming out of COVID and now they might have a new job search on the horizon.
Jessica Munson: [00:11:13.61] Yeah, and I think I started noticing it before. A lot of like the trending layoffs. I mean, definitely through the pandemic. That’s when I decided to, like officially register my LLC because I was making enough money that I needed to start figuring out taxes and stuff like that. But I think it really came with a clarification of values and priorities. We became very aware of what we needed from an employer, so we either chose to leave an organization because there was a mismatch in our values or there we were out of alignment in some way. But there’s definitely been an uptick in people either impacted by layoffs or fear of layoffs or just realizing like, I’m unhappy here and I don’t want to be here, whether it’s their choice or it’s forced upon them, I think people are realizing that they want to work from a place of their own creative authenticity and experience, a sense of freedom of choice in the way that they work and who they work with.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:12:07.91] Can you talk a little bit about your journey as an HR professional? You’ve done lots of different things, but thinking about HR specifically and maybe the lens by which you view development and design. How has that changed for you?
Jessica Munson: [00:12:23.81] Yeah, So I mean, starting with just my HR journey, I mean, consider again, all the way back I was doing HR tasks without having an HR role and without really having a clear idea of what HR even was or what value they brought to the organization. I was a psych major, you know, I studied psychology and organizational behavior and leadership, so I have always had more of a person-centered lens. But then after doing the work in finding myself in formal HR positions, you know, I’ve worked at really, really big companies that had been around much longer than I had been alive and got to learn from professionals who had been in the industry for a long time to being a Department of one and actually owning the function and scaling it within the organization. And now I find myself niched down into learning and development. But I think ultimately my journey through that, I’ve always come from more of that psychological background. You know, I’m very person-centered. I think about human development and life development before I think about systems. And sometimes that’s difficult for me in a work environment depending on the values of the people that I’m working with.
Jessica Munson: [00:13:31.13] But I’ve also started bringing in the way that I understand human development just overlays so beautifully over the Zodiac wheel. And so I’ve started thinking too, about it’s not just, you know, what phase of life am I in? It’s almost like what season of the Zodiac Wheel am I in. And thinking about the cyclical pattern and nature, because that’s all that astrology is, right? It’s just observing the natural cycles and rhythms of life and thinking about like what part of the cycle am I in and how is that influencing the way that I’m interacting with this person, but also how is that influencing what the company is experiencing as well? Much like a lunar phase cycle, we see it grow in light and then lose light and we experience that as individuals. But companies definitely go through growth cycles and then shedding cycles. And so when you can scope out and think of it really big picture, I find it it’s a little bit easier to work with. And that has moved me, I guess, from being more like stuck in being very person-centered and always having that psychological perspective, but being able to zoom out a bit.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:14:32.39] I love all this. I, I am so person focused and feeling focused on a lot of things and I kind of really like to understand the different maybe light science reasons, I guess, or just influences that, that might be impacting my life or, or my business or my people. And, and people tend to think of astrology as a light science. I’m using air quotes when I say science, but many of the personality assessments we take for work are actually based on astrology. I was surprised when we started talking about this, but can you share some examples of this?
Jessica Munson: [00:15:16.01] Yeah, absolutely. I think my favorite example is the MBTI, because so many people, especially in corporate work environments, are really familiar with this. And also I’ve used the MBTI quite a bit, both with students as well as professionals and leadership development and high-performing teamwork. But for those of you that aren’t familiar, the MBTI is the Myers-Briggs type indicator, and this is an assessment that was developed around the 1940s by Isabel Myers and her mother, Katherine Briggs. And I did actually look at their zodiac signs while I was looking into this. They’re both Libra and Capricorn, for any astrology fans out there that were curious, and a lot of their work was actually taken from all of the research that Carl Jung had done. And not a lot of people are aware of this, but Carl Jung was I don’t know if I would call him an astrologer, but he was definitely an astrology fan or very astrology curious. And a lot of his work with the unconscious and the archetypes and these really early childhood experiences, a lot of that was rooted in his understanding of astrology. So when Myers and Briggs took his work and built this assessment to help people get clarity around their personality preferences, it’s actually all done off of the research that is heavily rooted and steeped in astrological knowledge and as well the ASVAB, which is the assessment that the military uses to place people in the different branches of the military is based off of that exact same research.
Jessica Munson: [00:16:44.28] And so it’s interesting that we find this some it feels woozy, it feels kooky in some sense, you know, astrology, but it’s actually like the, the foundation of a lot of what we do around personality and preferences, which have become so commonplace and really useful in the workforce. And to be fair, I would say that when I’ve heard criticisms for astrology and I’ve shared this, that same individual will share criticisms of psychology as well. But with both of these, it’s not about believing it to be true. They’re just like languages that we speak to help describe our experiences in life. And so the quotations like the light science, whatever it is, there are things in this world which are intangible and maybe difficult to put through the scientific method, but can still be so valuable when you look at the way that we work with one another. And I think that’s why you see it is so popular in work settings and why it can be so useful in the workplace as well.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:17:43.47] But like everybody knows what they’re Myers-Briggs. I mean, most people in HR, I feel like it’s so common and to think that this was built and created with influences from astrology is fascinating to me, and it’s not something that I’ve ever heard anywhere at your local SHRM chapter meeting or conference.
Jessica Munson: [00:18:03.96] So yeah, yeah, I do think that, you know, I don’t know if I see a future where instead of asking someone like, What’s your MBTI? They ask, What’s your sun, moon, rising? But I do think that it’s, it just helps contribute and it adds more in the way that we understand and interact with each other.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:18:21.42] I know, and I think more information allows for better relationships, better conversations, outcomes for, for both groups of people, whoever it is.
Jessica Munson: [00:18:32.01] Yeah.
Break: [00:18:33.36] Let’s take a reset. This is Jessica Miller-Merrell and you’re listening to the Workology Podcast. It’s sponsored by Ace the HR Exam and Upskill HR. Today we are talking with Jessica Munson, HR leader, certified career counselor and Vocational Astrologists. Before we get back to the interview, I want to hear from you. Text the word “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. Ask me questions, leave comments, make guest suggestions. I want to hear from you.
Break: [00:19:02.31] Personal and professional development is essential for successful HR leaders. Join Upskill HR to access life training, community, and over 100 on-demand courses for that dynamic leader. HR recert credits available. Visit UpskillHR.com for more.
Vocational Astrology and Career Coaching
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:19:18.18] So let’s get back to the interview. And I want to, I want to dive more into the vocational astrology and talk about how you’re using this vocational astrology when working with career coaching clients.
Jessica Munson: [00:19:30.03] Yeah, it depends. I mean, always depends. That’s such a classic counselor HR thing to say, but there’s truth in it, right? So I’ve done this a few different ways. I think the most straightforward way that I’ve used it with clients is that people will book with me specifically for vocational astrology readings because they’re looking to make a career transition. They’re finding that they are dissatisfied in their current role, but they don’t know what to do next. I think that oftentimes people turn to astrology when they feel like they need some type of divine permission. They need some external authority to give them a sense of like, it’s okay to do something different. It’s okay to make this choice, it’s okay to make a transition. And so that’s one of the most straightforward ways that I work with people, is that they’re coming to me specifically because I have that vocational astrology acumen. And then after that reading, we do a few different things so we can identify career themes, preferred work environments. This is especially helpful for people looking to make a career transition, and they’re coming to me to help identify like, I don’t know what I want to do next, but I know it isn’t this. And so we look at, Well, what problems do you like to solve? Where do you derive a sense of meaning and mattering? I think the work environment is really key? Because as we know, thanks to exit interviews, so many people leave because they’re dissatisfied with their coworkers, dissatisfied with their managers. And then I think also helping people get really clear on what their values actually are. Compensation is a huge thing that we talk about with people, but your total compensation includes a lot more than just your annual salary. And so being able to have that conversation with people and talk about the second house, for example, in their natal chart, there’s more nuanced ways that I find myself incorporating this with individuals, and some of that is using their natal chart to actually inform job search strategies.
Jessica Munson: [00:21:15.24] For example, not everyone has the same networking style or networking preferences, and you can start to glean some of that based on the relationship houses in someone’s natal chart. We’ve also done timing transits of I’ve been in job search for a while. I don’t feel like I’m having any luck. And so we’ll actually look at like, well, what’s going on with your mid heaven and your 10th house and what transits do you have happening now? But also what are future transits of when you know, Jupiter, the Planet of Luck and Opportunity might be visiting that area of your chart, for example. I also really love to use the natal chart for people’s personal and professional branding. This is something that I think I’ve had the most fun with and I did a little Tik Tok series a while ago where I had people drop just little pieces of their natal chart in my comments and then I pretended to be them in a job interview and I answered the question, So tell me about yourself. And I just started embodying a Gemini son with a Taurus Moon. How might they answer that? And that was a lot of fun and people really resonated with some of the things that I pulled out. So we update their resume, we update their cover letter, we look at their LinkedIn profile and we practice telling the story in a way that they feel really confident in themselves. Like how do you really own your resume experience? And answer confidently the Tell me about yourself question.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:22:31.65] I love all this. I have a friend of mine, she does HR consulting and she’s also Reiki certified and does card readings as well. And, so, and crystals, we were actually talking about this over text last week. And, how do you put that into your business without making it front and center? Like, I’m not going to be doing Reiki healings available to the public. But if a friend or a family member says, Hey, this is what I need, sure thing. I enjoy doing that. And it’s been an interesting and fun learning process. So I find it fascinating and how you’re placing it in, in the work that you do, and it’s totally relevant in my mind, like it helps so many different, different people in different ways.
Jessica Munson: [00:23:24.21] Yeah, absolutely.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:23:26.34] Let’s talk about using the elements of vocational astrology now to improve our workplaces. Talk to us about that.
Jessica Munson: [00:23:34.62] So I am filled with ideas. I was, it was, it’s hard for me to compartmentalize because I feel like there’s just so many opportunities, and you can take it down to something very granular and understanding that, you know, every Zodiac sign or even elements of lunar phases and the qualities of the planets are associated with the four elements. And then you can bring in like feng shui in the workplace and how do you honor these the different elements. So there’s really, really big scale, but then you can also get a little bit more granular. Like for me, the first thing that I thought of was people analytics. This is the future of HR. If you’re not living there already, then people analytics and data around like your health metrics of the organization, retention, and all of this is really like, it’s going to be such a heavy emphasis going forward and really strong. HR is going to need a lot of this data acumen. But we have a lot of information as HR practitioners and some of that is birth data for employees, right? So how interesting would it be, for example, we talk about generations in the workforce. We have five generations in the workforce right now. But instead of talking about what do we do with the millennials? What if we say, what do we do with the Pluto and Scorpio generation? Because Pluto is one of those generational planets where you can lump people together and the majority of millennials are the Pluto and Scorpios. So if you know that Pluto and Scorpios value, you know, tattoos in the workplace, we want to have colored hair.
Jessica Munson: [00:24:57.99] We don’t want things to be taboo. We want you to be honest. Talk about pay transparency, right? Pluto and Scorpio has this weird relationship with the idea of debt. And that’s a lot of what millennials talk about. Like, these are the resources that we need. This is how we need to be compensated. So when you’re building benefit packages, when you’re creating engagement projects and stuff like that, instead of thinking, Oh, what are we going to do with these millennials and their avocado toast? You’re thinking, No, it’s Pluto and Scorpio. Similarly, Gen Z is the big question mark for so many people because they’ve been in the workforce a little bit longer now. But we’re kind of like, you know, they haven’t been in the workforce long enough for us to really get a clear idea of what some of those values are, unless you’re on Tik Tok and then we’re loud and clear on that. Right? But if you look at it as the Pluto and Sagittarius generation, well, what does Sagittarius value? Freedom. They want to work on things that are creative to them. They don’t have the same psychology around money that Pluto and Scorpio does. So they’re not going to be attracted with these really, really high salary packages if that means that they are going to be forced into sitting button chair in a workforce. They want to work from Bali, you know what I mean? They want to be entrepreneurs and they want to do things that are really creative and passionate and exciting for them.
Jessica Munson: [00:26:11.28] So if you think about just like generational in the workplace and what do we do to engage them, what do we do to attract them and to retain them, and how do we need to adjust the benefit packages that we’re offering are compensation philosophies, but also growth and development plans. There’s an astrologer that’s actually doing this with students in the classroom, and this would be fascinating to bring into the workplace is looking at people based on their Jupiter sign because Jupiter stays in the same sign for about 12 months. So the way that you teach somebody with a different Jupiter placement is really fascinating from learning a development. I’ve thought about, for mentoring programs, instead of matching people up based on some random algorithm that you’ve tried to create, match them up based on Jupiter signs. Every 12 years, you’re going to find someone with the same Jupiter placement as you, and that’s going to be a big gap in their career development as well. So senior leader, incoming person, both Jupiter and cancer, this makes sense. You’re going to have some of these same values and signatures and you’ll just have this synchronicity in the way that you work. On top of, I mean, look at all the ways that we use MBTI or the TKI or the strengths finder for personal development, high performing teamwork. It’s all astrology. It’s all astrology anyways, so let’s just lean into it, right? I mean, I think that the possibilities are endless.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:27:26.73] I feel like just packaging your message like you’re talking about with, like Pluto and these areas might resonate with a different group of people in a different way and start conversations versus, you know, oh gosh, it’s the five generations in the workplace presentation. I feel like it’s a new way to share a similar message. I mean, obviously repackaged with new information and perhaps it’s the time that that message is going to get to that manager or to that group of employees and really resonate with them. And I mean, we do that in marketing and branding anyway. Why not do that in how we communicate or position or train or develop our people?
Jessica Munson: [00:28:15.96] Yeah, exactly. And that’s where I think that it would need to be done ethically, of course, because similar with some of these other assessments, you open up for room for discrimination, like, Oh, I can’t hire them, they’re an introvert, they’ll never be good at sales or something like that. So I think that it would need to be done really consciously and with a strong integrity. I do think it would be a really fun and unique way to approach the workplace.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:28:38.47] I agree it’s been a couple of years ago, but chart hop and myself work together and they had an astrology guide for hiring that they sent out. I think I told you this on the prep call. And we did an email blast for them and some social media promotion and it, and it came out on April Fool’s Day. But I was really interested. It was really interesting to see the reaction from people, like it’s similar to like Tik Tok. You’ll get like really positive reactions or really negative ones, and a lot of people don’t really have a sense of humor, in particular on LinkedIn because those were the most strongest reactions that I received. And I’m like, It’s April 1st, just chill. Like I didn’t write this, is for a promotion. If you don’t like, don’t read it. But I feel like when it comes to astrology, it’s very, you’re either a believer or you’re totally closed off. There’s not a lot of input in between, but I think it’s a fun way to maybe generate some conversation. Like I said, packaging things in, in a new way. It doesn’t hurt anybody. That’s the fun part.
Jessica Munson: [00:29:50.47] Well, and, you know, to quote another astrologer, Colin Bledel, he said something to this recently. He was talking about how astrology isn’t something that you can believe in. Astrology just happens to you and it’s irrelevant to your own belief system. And I think psychology, again, is very similar. Whether you believe in Piaget’s birth or birth order theory, it doesn’t matter. Most middle children still end up the same way. So it’s just a way that we experience the world and the way that we experience other people, really.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:30:20.20] And it’s, I don’t know, I’m the oldest. So when I think of birth order like my, my middle sister is all about it. So she’s always, always running in the middle. And I want to switch over to mindfulness training. So you are also trained as a mindfulness facilitator. How is, does that work in your practice right now?
Jessica Munson: [00:30:43.06] Yeah, I mean, I had a meditation practice long before I started getting trained in it and before I started really getting into astrology or anything like that. And so the idea of using like meditation and mindfulness as a way to reduce stress and, you know, just maybe like find a sense of peace in the world is always been really important to me and a big value of mine. While I was at CSU and this is when I was working as a student coordinator in the Student Wellbeing and Resiliency part of the school, I got trained on the crew curriculum that came out of Duke University, and I was just working with students and different staff members on different mindfulness techniques in an effort to reduce stress for people. And, you know, I was in a counseling program, so I had to write like big proposal proposals for stress reduction-based group counseling programs using mindfulness techniques. And for me, like one thing that I really love about it is that when we say mindfulness, people just assume it’s meditation that, that they’re interchangeable. And there’s some overlap, definitely. But we’re mindfulness is different is that you don’t need to have like this quiet, serene setting with like the sound of a babbling brook and you’re sitting in full lotus, you know, just emptying your mind of everything like it’s actually something that you can do when you were doing the dishes. It’s something that you can do when you’re in the middle of a heated argument, like it’s so accessible and it doesn’t require any level of like physical ability. You don’t need to be like an expert in anything. Like sometimes it’s as easy as just one conscious breath in and out.
Jessica Munson: [00:32:22.78] And so I really love it. Like I will often invite this. I’ve used this with clients of, we’re talking and things are getting really heated, or I can tell that their nervous system is starting to become overwhelmed and we’ll just invite a moment of stillness. We’ll do thought-labeling exercises. I was actually doing a half-day training with a talent acquisition team because let’s give it up for our recruiters. The last couple of years, if anyone has been suffering in HR, it’s the TA teams, right? And so I was helping them just figure out like how do they incorporate mindfulness in between interview calls, we did a mindful eating practice where you just eat something very consciously and slowly and we turned everyone off of Halloween candy for the rest of their life. But it’s so easy and it’s so accessible. So I’ll start meetings this way. I will just like randomly invite it into the moment. The other day, my entire team was feeling really exhausted, so I was like, Does anyone want to do dynamic breathing with me? Or we can go get an energy drink, whatever they were feeling. But it’s just, it’s so easy, it’s so accessible, and I really love incorporating it and introducing it to people because it’s not the same as like, again, I have to be in a quiet room. I need to have the crystals around me. It’s actually just, wherever I am right now, I can bring this into my practice as a way to kind of cope and build up that resiliency to kind of get through whatever we’re working through.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:33:45.04] As you’re talking, it’s killing me because I have been reading this Buddhist monks teaching on audiobook. And I, and it’s, I probably read like six of his books and he has this really effective way to bring in mindfulness. And it’s just a bell. So any time there’s a bell, he calls it the bell of mindfulness. I am so sorry that I’m having a brain fart around it, but I’ll put it in the show notes when I remember it later on after this recording. But it is, it’s just a small way. You can pick anything. You can pick when your ring doorbell goes off, right? Because it does on your phone. He also recommended, like when your phone rings, I mean, my phone doesn’t ring. It just goes on vibrate. But there’s different things that you can bring in to just be mindful of the moment and take a deep breath and, and that’s and appreciate. And then you can move on to the rest of your crazy life.
Jessica Munson: [00:34:40.44] Yeah. I’m thinking of so many of us that for us, it’s the team’s messages. Like when we’re getting a call in Microsoft teams instead of it immediately putting anxiety into your body, like let that be an invitation to become present in the moment and get ready for whatever’s in front of you.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:34:55.89] Yeah, I think it’s a great, it’s a great practice and something that doesn’t cost any money to do or take a lot of time. And you don’t have to be surrounded by crystals with a bunch of candles and, you know, whatever, to be, for it to be effective. And I think that’s kind of a misnomer when it comes to like mindfulness. They think you need to be like a yogi guru, you know, person traveling to, to Bali or India. And it can just be a minute of time to just, to just rest and reflect.
Jessica Munson: [00:35:31.08] Exactly.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:35:32.82] Well, let’s talk a little bit about 2023, all right? What things should we be paying attention to when we think about astrology through the HR lens?
Jessica Munson: [00:35:44.94] Yeah. So transit wise, there’s a few big ones that are coming up that I think a lot of astrologers are talking about and getting really excited about. There’s been a lot of buzz around it and that is Saturn will be moving out of Aquarius and into Pisces. That’s going to be happening in March. Jupiter is going to be moving out of Aries and into the sign of Taurus. The lunar nodes are shifting from Taurus and Scorpio and into Aries and Libra. So that means that the next couple of eclipses where everyone’s going to be getting crazy, right? It’s going to be in the Aries and Libra axis. And then I think that the biggest one is going to be Pluto moving into Aquarius. And that’s because Pluto, again, is so slow moving that that has a lot of strong implications and we experience it more on a collective scale rather than individual, which is why I think that HR practitioners will probably be most interested in pluto shifting into Aquarius. Do you want me to talk a little bit in detail of, like, what that might feel like?
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:36:39.18] Yeah. And then when, when is this happening? So I can put it on my calendar and be prepared?
Jessica Munson: [00:36:43.86] Yeah, I actually have my spreadsheet. I was just like taking notes on this. So Pluto is going to move into Aquarius on Friday, March 24th. Now, Pluto has been in Capricorn since 2008 and is just barely going to be making its way out of Aquarius. So I want to be clear that just because on that day Pluto is shifting into Aquarius, don’t expect this like overnight shift in the experience because it’s a very slow-moving planet. But we will start to see some clues or like maybe seeds being planted of what the rest of that transit is going to feel like. And actually Pluto will move forward a few degrees and then retrograde back to like the later degrees of Capricorn before moving forward again into Aquarius. But when we think about Pluto and this is why I think it’s especially interesting for HR practitioners, if you think about some of what Saturn in Aquarius has been doing. Pluto is the planet of power. We think about who has the power, who has the authority to say what is and what is not. And Pluto in Capricorn, we think about monarchs, we think about presidents, we think about CEOs, and we think about government and these big federal institutions think about like higher ed or health care, like these big established like organizations that have persisted through time.
Jessica Munson: [00:38:04.80] That’s very Capricorn, right? The sustainable structures. So we’ve seen a lot of conversation. And this is also the United States chart. The Sibley chart has Pluto and Capricorn. So the Pluto return of the US has been a big conversation. What is going on with our government? What is going on with our health care? Who has the right to dictate what laws you’re supposed to follow? I know this is a big thing with the pandemic, right? Like, well, which law triumphs in the workplace? Is it federal? Is it state? Like who has the power? And then I thought what was most interesting is in terms of hiring, we started realizing that employees held a lot of the power, don’t they? And Saturn and Aquarius, we saw, you know, the great restructuring, the turnover tsunami. We saw a lot of people exiting the workforce and coming back in feeling like, hey, as the job seeker, I have the power here. You have to give me the salary that I desire. You need to give me the freedom to work and all of this. So I think that when we consider Aquarian, Aquarian is the people, right? Aquarian is the collective Aquarian Energy is radical.
Jessica Munson: [00:39:09.95] And it’s really driven by freedom. So this is again, like the freedom to work wherever we want, the freedom to have a side hustle, the freedom to choose our own benefit plans. I think it’s going to be really interesting for HR to think about the continuation of this theme of like unions, like, I should have whispered that. Trigger warning to all HR practitioners. Unions are going to continue to be a really big theme in this because we’re going to see the power shift from the one, the one head of the company, the one head of the country, or whatever it is, and shift back into the hands of the people, which will be really exciting. But we all know that change management can be a nightmare if it’s not done well. And so one piece of advice I would say Aquarius is an air sign. Air signs are about intellectualizing and it’s about communicating. So be really clear on what plans you have to communicate, communicate early, communicate often, and stay in touch with people, but prioritize the idea of autonomy and freedom and be willing to open your mind to new paradigms and new ways of doing things. Because that’s what Aquarius wants, is the radicalization of what has already existed.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:40:20.00] I think that’s really hard for HR people because outside of maybe you and me and a handful of others were not really very radical.
Jessica Munson: [00:40:28.70] I think we want to be.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:40:29.87] But we should be. Let’s do it. Let’s do it.
Jessica Munson: [00:40:33.08] Right. And isn’t it? I was just talking with students about this just the other day of like so many of us go into HR because we love people. We’re people people, but then we find ourselves in positions where all of a sudden we start feeling like police officers. We start feeling like the authority, we start feeling very Capricorn in the way that we work, right? And so it’s almost like, Oh. That’s done now, right? We’re hiring people that are self-led, that are autonomous. And yeah, we’re there to introduce resources, but we have legal, we have compliance, we have other departments that are responsible for a lot of those things. Our job is to help prepare the world of work again to receive amazing talent, to build up our leaders in a way that they can trust their teams, that we can have psychological safety in the workforce. And I think that the DE&I movement, I am so grateful for the work that everyone has done and I am really excited to see what that looks like in the future because I think that we have only scratched the surface on what that really can look like in the workplace.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:41:32.32] Well, Jessica, thank you so much for, for talking with us. Where can people go to connect with you and learn more about the work that you’re doing?
Jessica Munson: [00:41:42.22] Yeah, so actually a few different places. As a professional vocational astrologer, you can go to www.ThatWitchFromWork.com. All of my handles are @ThatWitchFromWork. But I’m also a network astrologer for accessible astrology. And if you want to learn more about the upcoming transits then myself as well as some other astrologers that have a background in psychology, we have an EMDR certified therapist, we have a grief and art therapist. We’re creating the 2023 launch kit that will give you an overview of all of the trends that’s happening in 2023, as well as different resources, books to read, videos to watch, to help you prepare to embody the Aquarian energy that we’re going to be steeping ourselves in next year.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:42:24.55] Awesome. Well, thank you for, for taking the time to chat with us. I love watching you on Tik Tok, and I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do in the New Year.
Jessica Munson: [00:42:36.22] Me too. We’ll find out together.
Closing: [00:42:39.19] I so appreciate Jessica for sharing her expertise and experience with us today on the podcast about vocational astrology predictions for the New Year, all the things. I absolutely love the subject. And if you follow me on social media, you might know that I recently became a Reiki master teacher and I’m also studying angel card readings and crystals. If that’s not for you, cool, cool, cool. But it’s something that I love doing. The show notes and all the resources that we talked about on today’s podcast are over at Workology.com so go over there and check them out. Thank you for joining the Workology Podcast sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace the HR Exam. This podcast is for the innovative and disruptive workplace leader who’s tired of the status quo. Let’s change the workplace better together. My name is Jessica Miller-Merrell and I want to hear from you. Text “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. Ask questions, leave comments, and make suggestions for things like future guests. Until next time, you can visit Workology.com to listen to all our previous podcast episodes. Have a great day.
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