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  • Lori A. Jazvac, MRW

How to Navigate A Career Retrograde

Updated: Jan 16, 2022

The recent Mercury retrograde from October 31st to November 20th got me thinking about the recent slowdown. You may have noticed a need to remain flexible to changing plans and priorities, and possibly delay making critical decisions.

Professionals of any field or level sometimes undergo a 'desert period' or a 'career retrograde'. This can mean a slowdown in career growth precipitated by external/internal shifts, thus, enforcing CHANGE.


The reality:

Don't fret. You can easily let these changes overwhelm you or you can choose to confidently steer the course.


With concerns about a recession, a career retrograde may seem possible. External influences impacting the job market include global economy, industry shifts, business closings or restructurings, along with increasing globalization and political unrest.

Yes, the labour market is changing along with the world of work. Yet, those with a crystal-clear focus, solid research, and passion for promoting change, while remaining resilient will efficiently navigate the course.

Remember, it's about cultivating more purpose, growth, and meaning to thrive.


The key: Have an open, flexible mindset and leverage this time for reflection, career exploration, and discovery.


Transmute career challenges into opportunities for growth and transformation

You can choose to see the looming recession as an obstacle course or through the perspective of alchemy -- the possibility of translating challenges into opportunities. What a great time to explore and test opportunities, master new skills, or develop new ideas, products or services! It's also a time to experiment with new business ventures, and ultimately promote change and innovation -- addressing critical gaps where help is needed the most.

Ask the critical question: when it comes to your career development, how and where can you spearhead growth and meaning?

Here are eight helpful tips to navigating a career retrograde:

1. Think positively and creatively! Reframe your perception.

Now is the time to step back, reframe your perspective, and become empowered.

>> Where are you putting the energy into your life?

>> Where do you need to allocate that energy to enhance your success?

>> What does your vision and mission going into 2020 look like?

Avoid letting negative thoughts about your past or current experiences cloud your judgment. Know that this is a fleeting "speedbump" that will pass once you are committed to driving a clear purpose with specific goals.

Believe in your strengths, leverage tenacity, and take action.

2. Put things into perspective, engage in self-reflection, and express gratitude.

According to NLP principles, ensure that you stop, look, and listen! Think about what you HAVE in your career and what do you NEED. This exercise will help you re-shift your perspective and think more critically concerning your goals, needs, and values.

Be grateful for your blessings and all those milestones achieved. Give thanks for all your career triumphs and hurdles. Remember the strategies you implemented and the key supports that you have leveraged as guiding posts to your current and future career planning.

Remember and honour your unique value proposition. Can this be refined?

3. Refine your short-term and long-term career goals.

Carve out short-term and long-term goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, action-driven, realistic, and timely).

Refine your vision and mission using a Vision Board. See the big picture.

What is the key problem that you want to tackle? Brainstorm solutions.

4. Ensure that you are aligned with your vision and mission.

Do thorough research before signing up for any major deals, contracts, starting new projects, or making rash changes. This will lead to making sound choices and well-informed decisions.

Remember your “why” for tackling your goals. This will fuel a greater sense of purpose and meaning in all that you do.

Taking on too many projects can also lead you to become unfocused or unproductive. So stick to one or a few projects at a time if possible and be sure to track your progress for continuous improvement.

5. Be flexible and adaptable to change.

Being flexible is one of the four Keys to Excellence according to NLP principles.

Step outside your comfort zone and navigate some discomfort in order to become more aligned and centred with your purpose. This does not mean you need to delay progress, but forecast and plan ahead.

Above all, this is a good time to have a back-up plan in place.

6. Stay updated with the latest career development and industry trends via news, online, or social media.

Be proactive. Determine whether you need to redefine your strategic career plan.

Visit the library and stay updated by reading the news to find out what is happening in your field/industry and in others, and what does this mean? Higher learning can serve as your vehicle of power and transformation.

How do these labour market trends/developments impact you and how can you make a difference?

7. Network actively to make a true difference.

Continue networking and building alliances. This might involve joining an association, collaborating on a group initiative, or brainstorming in a team.

Seek out professional support along with constructive 360-degree feedback about your career development.

Offer and receive mentoring. We learn through mentoring.

Invest in volunteerism -- a powerful medium for propelling change and community leadership skills.

Talk to people going through a similar career experience and exchange ideas and strategies. Sharing experiences and constructive feedback can be cathartic, inspiring fruitful ideas for transformation.

8. Exercise consistent self-care and listen to your instincts.

Maintain good health practices –– eat right, get enough rest, and step up your exercise routine to keep stress levels low and your energies high. Practice deep breathing and creative visualization to relaxing music.

Avoid entering into a vicious cycle of worry, which elevates stress levels. Take a break when you need to and trust in your power to get things done. And remember, if you need to say "no" to a project that you may not have time or energy for, it's ok. Be kind to yourself and true to your values.

Honour your intuition as your moral compass! When you are stuck on an issue, ask your unconscious mind to guide you to making the right decision.

Remember, change starts with introspection. If you can change one small habit part of your routine, how you think, or how you navigate a situation, you will see a change in your energy, mood, and confidence.


Know that if your career is in a period of retrograde, it is temporary and won’t last long. Every experience is designed to teach you something and to help you grow!

It might seem that things have halted, but every action and choice that you make now will impact your progress.

So choose wisely, think creatively, and take some risks along with positive, results-driven, and purposeful actions.


Do a few small things consistently each day and you will reap amazing results that will set a positive foundation for the New Year.

Treasure all your experiences throughout your career journey.

You may not have all the answers you need right now, and that's fine. Utilize all your senses with precision to test out options and witness the unfolding of your amazing gifts and talents.

Think creatively and visualize a new career horizon!

Creative Horizons Communications is a one-stop, award-winning holistic career services firm based in Halton, Ontario. Serving jobseekers of all fields and levels locally and across the globe, we specialize in helping people confidently navigate challenging career transitions using a holistic, intuitive, and innovative approach.

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