2018 is going to be my year – at least according to Chinese astrology. I’m an Earth Dog, and February 16 was the start of the Year of the Earth Dog. The Dog symbol, as you would expect, is associated with loyalty and sincerity. “Dogs are loyal and honest, amiable and kind, cautious and prudent. Having a strong sense of loyalty and sincerity, Dogs will do everything for the person who they think is most important.”
If your career totem is the Dog, you probably feel great loyalty to your employer. It’s possible you’ve been in your job for a long time, working hard and asking little in return. In fact, according to one astrology site, Dogs are seen as valuable employees as they put their heart and soul into their tasks. They are easygoing and kind, and are always ready to alleviate the workload of others, which makes them very popular in their work circle.
It may also make them susceptible to exploitation; just consider all the dog metaphors in our culture – almost none of them are positive. If you “work like a dog”, you probably work hard for very little pay. Your employer may “throw you a bone” once in a while with an extra day off or a pat on the head. A competitive culture is a “dog eat dog” place. Not promising.
Woodrow Wilson once said, “If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” Dogs value relationships, and if you act like a dog in the workplace, you may find yourself giving in, even when you know you’re right, rather than risk hurting a relationship. You are willing to trade other kinds of rewards for security and a feeling of safety.
The problem with wanting security in your career is that it’s most likely an illusion. Business is business, and loyal dogs won’t be exempt from being laid off when the market shifts or the business strategy changes. That can make even a good dog want to take a bite out of someone.
Here’s how to channel your inner Dog this year for more success and happiness at work.
Play more. Even working dogs need to let their inner puppy run free on a regular basis. Make time each day to play more, run free, and roll in the grass. Be fully present in the moment and let everything else go. The work will be waiting for you when you get back to the office.
Develop your bark and your bite. People who read their kindness as weakness sometimes take advantage of loyal dogs. You’ll need to hone your guard dog skills to sniff out people with less than honorable intentions. Trust your instincts; when something or someone doesn’t feel right, show some teeth and give a soft growl. Let the bad guys know that you’re not to be taken lightly. Here’s a post on why intelligent disobedience might even be your best strategy.
Go for it – become the alpha dog. Dogs are cooperative and loyal to the pack. But after all this time, you have earned the right to try out for leader of the pack. This may be your year to lead a project, move into management, or start your own venture. It’s not disloyal to want a turn as the lead dog, and it’s not wrong to consider moving on if there are no prospects in your current company.
Everyone owes a debt of gratitude to all you clever, loyal, and giving dogs out there. Like your iconic heroes Rin Tin Tin and Lassie, you give much more than you take. So here’s a reward for you: a link to some funny dog videos . Enjoy.