The countdown is on to the final Mercury retrograde (MR) of 2019. This one begins on Halloween and is in the sign of Scorpio, the most intense sign of the zodiac, making it spooky (and extra scary). For those reading and completely lost, in astrology, Mercury rules communication, travel and technology (AKA it’s the most important planet for PR pros). When direct, these three things will typically go smoothly with a few hiccups here and there. Yet, three to four times a year, Mercury will go into retrograde (backwards). When this happens, those three things have a tendency to go haywire.
For obvious reasons, Mercury retrogrades are some of the most dreaded periods of the year at Fish. Despite my attempts to try and tell my coworkers that MR can be a productive time, they refuse to believe me, so, I’ve put together this survival guide on how you can help yourself make MR go by a little smoother.
- Hit the re-wind button.
Try not to start anything new. Instead, focus on activities that start with the “re-“ prefix. Review, repeat, reunite, relax, redecorate, rekindle. No, I do not mean get back with your ex! (Mercury retrograde can bring back an old flame, but more often than not it’s for closure and not because they were the one that got away.) Instead, refocus your energy into yourself and reconnect with people you might’ve lost touch with that make you feel good.
- And then proof again.
Writing and written communication is about 85% of a PR pro’s job. During Mercury retrograde it is quite possible that you will include the wrong person on your email thread, misspell someone’s name/give them the wrong title, or even start typing out the lyrics to the Lizzo song playing in your headphones into a press release. For anything written, proof at least twice; or even better, get a second pair of eyes on it.
- That workplan you’re updating or that pitch you’re writing – make sure you save it in two places!
Your computer will probably crash, the NAS probably won’t connect; trust me, save one copy to your desktop and one to the system – even email it to your work bestie.
- Know when to talk and when to text.
In and outside of the office, if you need to have a more serious conversation with someone, meet them in-person or get on the phone with them. I know it’s 2019, but tone can easily get misconstrued over Skype/text during Mercury retrograde and someone’s feelings are definitely going to get hurt.
If you’re scheduling a meeting or making plans, do the opposite. Email/Skype/text history will serve as proof that it wasn’t you who mixed up the date/time 🙂
- If you’re not seeing eye-to-eye, table the conversation.
Miscommunication, misunderstandings, etc. are inevitable during MR. If you can’t seem to agree or reach common ground, agree to disagree. If it can wait until after MR, my advice is always to table the conversation and revisit it once Mercury has gone direct.
- Do NOT make any big purchases or decisions.
I repeat, DO NOT. Or at least try not to. This includes buying a new car, signing a lease on a new apartment, booking travel, etc. More likely than not, things will get delayed, canceled or you’ll run into issues somewhere down the line (flat tire, missed flight, etc.).