Ophiuchus, Identity Crises and the Workplace

 By now, many of you have heard about the big shift in astrological signs. 

It seems that astronomers have confirmed that due to slight changes in the Earth’s alignment and position in relation to the Sun over the past 3000 years, the sign that the sun was in when you were born – your astrological sign that supposedly determines attributes of your personality and is the basis for your horoscope readings – may actually be wrong. 

And, oh yeah, there may actually be 13 signs instead of 12 if you add in the new one “Ophiuchus” which ancient Babylonians apparently decided to conveniently throw out in favor of symmetry.

Because of this shift, many people are experiencing what amounts to an identity crisis of sorts.  People posting all over Facebook and Twitter are expressing confusion, sadness, or even outrage with comments such as “What do you mean I’m now a Leo, I’ve always been a Virgo!” and “No way, I’m totally a Gemini and will continue to be!” and “What the heck even is a Ophiuchus?”

Many people I know, whether they believe in horoscopes and astrological readings or not, identify with their sign and feel they mirror the attributes associated with it.  I’ve always been a Sagittarius and have always thought that many of the attributes of a typical Sag describe me exactly. 

But now we find ourselves faced with the fact that maybe we aren’t really these signs after all. Does that mean we now have to stop acting like them?

That got me thinking.

If the astrological signs that we’ve always believed ourselves to be may actually be wrong, yet we still feel we fit the attributes associated with them, how much of that behavior is actually learned?  Do we begin to exhibit those qualities because we’re supposed to fit that mold? 

Likewise, does that happen in the business world too?  Do we develop certain leadership qualities or a specific work personality because it’s what’s expected of us in our particular corporate cultures?  Or, do we already possess certain qualities that either do or do not mesh with a particular culture regardless of outside influences?

How many qualities are inherent, natural attributes of our personality, and how many are learned by necessity and/or the power of suggestion? If they are in fact learned, or even partially learned, isn’t that a powerful concept? 

What if we truly have the power to change and become who we want to be and to be a person that is even more effective in our jobs, our departments, our companies?  What if  we are not held captive by who we think we are or who we think we are supposed to be?

What do you think?

Photo credit iStock Photo

About the Author

Jennifer Payne

Jennifer Payne is a 20+ year human resources leader with a focus on researching, developing, and implementing talent management programs. She is a believer in lifelong learning and self-development who strives to stay current in HR trends, technology, best practices, and the future of work by sharing knowledge with and learning from HR colleagues and thought leaders across the country and throughout the world through writing, speaking, and involvement in various industry conferences and events.  She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter...


Jennifer Payne

Thanks for your comments Ali…and glad you are still okay with your identity 🙂

Great point about using the suggestions around you as a catalyst for continuous improvement.

But more importantly, to your last point…isn’t the idea of the power to change for the better, regardless of influences that have shaped us to this point…an awesome concept? Imagine what we could all achieve if we just let go of some of those preconcieved notions that might hold us back…

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Ali Webster


Thanks for posing all those questions. No identity crisis on this end. I am (or used to be?) a Pisces. Although I’m entertained by my birthday horoscope, during the other 364 days of the year, I am clueless to my determined fate. I just try to balance my “natural” attributes with the behaviors I learned from my parents on my path of continual personal development. The “power of suggestion” is quite a force, whether it comes from your boss, a coworker or your family & friends. I’d take these suggestions as ways to improve, not to put me in a box.

I love your final question…. What if we are not held captive by who we think we are or who we think we are supposed to be? Yes, WHAT IF?


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