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Bruzzese: Tips on returning to an old career

Next time you’re confronted with charts and graphs and reams of data at work, you might want to simply shove it all aside and look at the person sitting across the table and ask: “So, what’s your sign?”

While it may sound like a bad pickup line from a single’s bar, talking about astrological signs in the workplace may be gaining acceptance as more people look to develop communication beyond the hard data often continuously spit out by technology.

Steve Weiss, author of a new book on using astrology in business, says that he does believe astrology can be an important communication tool on the job.

“No way, no how, is astrology a substitute for everything else you need to know,” Weiss says. “But I think it can help create a language for us to understand one another better.”

That’s why he says he has written “Signs of Success: The Remarkable Power of Business Astrology,” (Amacom, $24).

Astrology – defined in the dictionary as “the study of positions and aspects of heavenly bodies with a view to predicting their influence on the course of human affairs” – is often only experienced by others through brief astrological predictions in the morning newspaper (Taurus: “Money will come your way this week”).

But Weiss says that by using the “terminology” of astrology for business trends, people can develop a greater ability to understand why people – such as bosses or co-workers – behave in certain ways.

He stresses, however, that astrology should not be regarded as something written in stone, and even goes so far as to say that some aspects of astrology – such a predicting specific events – is “a bit wacky for my tastes.”

“In the wrong hands, astrology is just another form of intolerance,” he says. “It’s not a science. It’s much more like an art – like art wrapped up in the science of math and astronomy.”

The book provides information about each of the 12 astrological signs, and gives examples of traits for those born under various signs. For example, “creative entrepreneurship is the true stamp of the Leo leader, frequently to the point of personality cult as well as to fortune and fame.” Weiss says those born under the sign of Leo include Martha Stewart, Magic Johnson and Mick Jagger.

Or, “a Capricorn is inclined to the more conservative position that a happy destiny is the result of a hard, well-managed, socially-sanctioned climb.” He says that 19th-century author Horatio Alger “was a Capricorn to his very soul,” while founding father Benjamin Franklin’s dedication to hard work and movie star Mel Gibson’s movies about family honor (“Braveheart,” “The Patriot”) show the Capricorn’s traits.

Weiss further points out that by understanding our astrological sign, we can better grasp how we react in today’s business climate, and have a clearer understanding of other individual’s strengths and weaknesses. (To join the blog discussion of astrology and business, check out www.anitabruzzese.com.)

For example, when dealing with an Aquarius: “Try not to take offense at their forgetfulness, which may even include the name of long-term associates. They are easily distracted by their own bullet-train of thoughts.”

Or, “Scorpio plays secrecy of intent as an advantage, so accept that you will rarely be granted a full confidence. But also know that loyalty and competence will be handsomely rewarded.”

Weiss says this ancient tradition of studying astrology has an important role to play in our modern society.

“We are clearly living in an era of metrics. In the last 20 years, it’s been the story of the personal computer and the Internet. We’re great data-sharers. And yet, that doesn’t always drive us to insight,” Weiss says. “Astrology reminds us that…we can’t write an equation for inspiration. Astrology creates those opportunities.”

Weiss says that by increasing our understanding of astrology, we can better develop interactive skills that improve communication and understanding. Still, he cautions that it’s only one tool that should be used by someone trying to survive in the business world.

“I see beauty and precision in astrology, but it’s a very complex craft,” he says. “It depends on the person interpreting it. It can’t make mean people not mean.”

Weiss also points out that as we all try to compete in a global economy, astrology may be another way to build a bridge between cultures.

“There are many places such as South America, India and China where astrology is not that foreign to them,” he says.

Anita Bruzzese is author of “45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy…and How to Avoid Them,” (www.45things.com). Write to her at: anita(AT)anitabruzzese.com or c/o: Business Editor, Gannett News Service, 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, Va. 22107. For a reply, include a SASE.

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