Business Matters with Zo Sign Cancers
December 21, 2009 10:47 PM   Subscribe

Astrology filter: How do I conduct business with a Cancer?

I have a few friends who are Cancers and boy are they confusing! They don't seem too dependable but I need a project done with a couple of them. So, I'd like to know what's the best way to communicate with a Cancer when it comes down to business matters. Help!
posted by InterestedInKnowing to Work & Money (26 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
These "Cancers," they're people, right? Communicate with them like you'd communicate with any other person. You don't actually believe that someone's birth month determines their business acumen, right? I mean, that would be downright confusing of you.
posted by rabinowitz at 10:53 PM on December 21, 2009 [52 favorites]

I don't think you need a strategy for Cancers. You need a strategy for disorganized or untimely people.

Data point: All the Cancers I know do what they say they'll do when they say they'll do it by. Your mileage obviously varies.

Break down what needs doing, by whom, by what date (have a due-by date and a drop-dead date; do not tell anyone else what the drop-dead date is). Set clear goals.

What is it exactly you find confusing?
posted by rtha at 10:59 PM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

My advice would be to communicate with them the same way you would communicate with anyone else. Be honest and respectful. Listen to their suggestions. Give them the benefit of the doubt (apply the principle of charity).

All that being said, for astrology-specific answers, a quick google came up with this site:
this site. It looks to be very detailed about how cancers supposedly act. Apparently they're intuitive and driven by emotion, but can also be sensitive. If this is so, then I would stress respectful communication.

The site I linked to above has details about (romantic) relationships for cancers with every other sign. I would bet that you could take whatever it says about cancers and your sign and adapt it from (romantic) relationship to business relationship.
posted by chndrcks at 10:59 PM on December 21, 2009

Business Compatibility of Cancer
posted by frobozz at 11:00 PM on December 21, 2009

Cancers love the familiar and traditional (at least, traditional for them). Think cozy, yummy food, cups of cocoa. Comfort and familiarity. Being nurtured and nurturing others.

Expect them to be emotional, let them have room for that. Engender, and then leverage, their loyalty.

I don't know their Mercury, Rising, where their 10th house is, etc. I can't fully describe to you how to communicate with them efficiently.

For real, though, if they don't seem reliable, they probably aren't. Astrology is only marginally useful (if at all) for creating interpersonal strategies.
posted by kathrineg at 11:44 PM on December 21, 2009

Here, at Novareinna. Plenty, including advice regarding whatever your sign may be mixing with theirs in business. Might I suggest that there are other, better ways to prepare for a business project with difficult friends/co-workers than studying up on their astrological signs?
posted by IndigoRain at 11:47 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Your first mistake might be treating people as stereotypes based on fake science. If I knew someone was making broad and negative assumptions about me based on my birthday, I would not be happy about working with them. Try thinking about them as people, with individual motivations and desires. If you are expecting everyone born in a given month to act the same, it must be confusing when they don't! Do you have evidence they are not dependable or are you assuming so because of their sign? If they are actually not dependable, why is that the case? Are they easily distracted? Are they too busy? Are they unmotivated? In over their heads? Maybe if you know the whole situation you can find a way to work with them better.
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 11:48 PM on December 21, 2009 [27 favorites]

I would feel pretty bad if someone pigeonholed my personality based on when I was born. Astrology is, as mrgoldenbrown says, fake science. It has no basis in reality and it has no business shaping how you view and treat the people with whom you work.
posted by secret about box at 12:00 AM on December 22, 2009 [11 favorites]

I have an aunt and a cousin who are obsessed with astrology and who attribute everything anyone does their signs and charts. The fact that they know my birth date, location, and time makes me an especially fun target for them - "Oh, haha, Wroksie's just in a bad mood because her moon is ascending" or whatever. I find this infuriating, not just because astrology is a load of bollocks, but more importantly, because they use this nonsense as a shortcut to dealing with me (and other people) that absolves them of any responsibility for really thinking about circumstances, motivations, and personalities, not to mention how THEIR OWN behaviour might be affecting the situation "She's bossy because she's an Aries", "He's secretive because he's a Scorpio", that kind of thing. Never "She's bossy because she constantly deals with people who can't make a decision or stick to a deadline" or "He's secretive towards me because I've demonstrated an inability to keep secrets in the past."

If you are using astrology to suss out and explain negative aspects of other people's behaviours and personalities, you are being unfair to them - in fact, if you were my business partner and I found out you were astrologising me, I would be out of there so fast your head would spin. You need to completely forget when they were born and focus on the real reasons behind their behaviour (and your behaviour) in order to figure out the best way to work together. There are no shortcuts to be found in the starts.
posted by Wroksie at 12:12 AM on December 22, 2009 [36 favorites]

Here, watch this short demonstration by James R.
posted by coffeefilter at 12:24 AM on December 22, 2009 [10 favorites]

Your question is based on a false presumption. If you were treating me in a certain way because of my birthdate, I wouldn't want to do business with you.
Just skip the quackery and treat them like you would treat anyone else.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:51 AM on December 22, 2009 [7 favorites]

The Randi clip is a classic that speaks for itself.

Try substituting "blonde" for "Cancer" in there. Seem offensive yet? Well, you know where I could go from there. This is prejudice. You're using personal anecdotes and an esoteric magic belief system to prejudge people.

More likely than not, you don't apply this stuff heavily in your everyday life, so it's not a great harm. But one reason you're getting so much flak is that this is a very disreputable type of mistake, overall. Just do some reading (e.g.) on the massive body of evidence proving astrology to be garbage, and start living your life normally again. Others in your life will benefit from it—and you'll get to know them better by shedding a few of those damned preconceptions that fetter all of us.
posted by abcde at 1:31 AM on December 22, 2009 [6 favorites]

You're a victim of the hegemony of false Western pseudo-science.
You need to check out your colleagues' physiognomy and compare it to these nuggets of ancient Chinese wisdom, thereby becoming the victim of false Eastern pseudo-science instead, which is just as much a pile of bullshit but there's the added cachet of being mysterious and Oriental.
posted by Abiezer at 1:44 AM on December 22, 2009 [6 favorites]

Several questions ago, FauxScot suggested that you were making several statements about your biases. I think it's time to re-evaluate that statement.

If you found out today that everyone you THOUGHT was a Cancer had, in fact, lied to you about their birthday, or you had misheard them, and they were instead any other sign, what would you say then?

Some people are messy and irresponsible and not well organized. It has nothing to do with when they were born and the sooner you realize it's completely, totally, 100% insane and has absolutely no merit or bearing on your life or your interactions with other people in any objectively meaningful way, the sooner you can start approaching your interactions with these people as an adult.

Right now, you're probably sitting there thinking "that was harsh! I know at least SOME of Astrology is true though!" But it's wrong. 100% dead wrong. Watch the video up above of James R and feel free to read more, but more importantly, think about it logically: Is it more likely that every unorganized person you met was a Cancer specifically, or just that there are a lot of people who are difficult to work with?

Now, go ahead and guess what sign I am. Maybe you'll get it right. But remember that even if you do, you had a one in twelve chance of nailing it, and it doesn't matter in the slightest. (Answer's on my profile.)

Final statement: If you ever told me that I don't seem to dependable because I'm a Cancer, I would feel overwhelmingly compelled to prove you right. Treat people as people, not as victims of their astrological caste.
posted by disillusioned at 2:25 AM on December 22, 2009 [4 favorites]

Carl Sagan on astrology and twins. I think this is better than the Randi video, honestly.
posted by secret about box at 2:44 AM on December 22, 2009

I don't think the OP was implying that Cancers are necessarily unreliable, just that these particular people were unreliable. Of course I don't know for sure.

Cancers don't have the reputation of being unreliable (ahem, Gemini, Pisces, Sag) as much as they have the reputation of being overly sentimental and easily offended.

Again, OP, astrology is particularly unsuited to approaching interpersonal relationships.

Even if it weren't, we would need much more information about their birth charts and your birth chart to really dig into your question. Like I said above, a Cancer with a Sagittarius Rising and Mercury in Leo is going to be different from a Cancer with a Pisces rising and Mercury in Cancer.
posted by kathrineg at 2:52 AM on December 22, 2009

Well, I'm a Cancer. And I know very little about business matters; in fact, to be honest, I avoid them like smallpox. Maybe that's why Cancers have a reputation for not being very dependable. If so, maybe the trick to dealing with Cancers is to remember that they can stand business stuff.

I would be disingenuous if I didn't point out that I'm one of the legions here who think astrology isn't a realistic way of looking at the world. St Augustine pointed out that we often meet twins who are wildly different in their personalities, and who display apposite character traits on any spectrum. This, he said, should be adequate evidence to us that the moment at which we are born is inconsequential in the determination of our characters and the mold of our minds. The Saint, he, who was clearly no spirituality-shunning secularist, felt not that astrology was too far-fetched but rather that astrology was too easy. He affirmed many times that he believed in such things as prophetic dreams, in prognostication of the future by the voice of God in us which is most frequently laid bare during our sleep. But a simple formula which is supposed to indicate clearly by the use of an arbitrary system intelligible to four-year-old children what our vague character outline might be? As though character is set in stone even for a moment, much less a lifetime - and as if prophetic gifts were so easy.

The Taoist thing to do would probably be to build a shrine to unknown or unforeseen business partners, past and present, and to burn incense on it in the memory that the forces which bring them to you are the same forces which govern the universe, forces which will ultimately bring unexpected positives and negatives and which must be greeted with calm welcome. I think that'd be healthier, anyhow.
posted by koeselitz at 2:53 AM on December 22, 2009 [5 favorites]

As someone nominally born a "cancer" (although I hasten to add I consider the entire astrology thing total and utter BS) I once had someone who claimed expertise presume to tell me what I was like. After she read my chart and consulted her books, she gave me a list of characteristics supposedly typical of someone of my sign, born in my particular planetary configuration. Not one thing rang true; indeed, almost all of it was the exact opposite of how any person who knew me would describe me. When I pointed this out to her, she said, AHA! So these are all ISSUES for you! Voila, astrology proved again.

Take it from this Cancer: if you were "dealing" with me and I detected even the slightest trace of this mumbo jumbo were part of your intellectual equipment, the deal would be off.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:50 AM on December 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'm a Cancer. The attributes you describe don't really apply to me at all. Please, for the love of all that is holy, don't go down this road with your coworkers.
posted by mkultra at 5:27 AM on December 22, 2009

Cancers don't have the reputation of being unreliable (ahem, Gemini, Pisces, Sag)

Hey now!

Well, okay....I'm kind of disorganized. But thanks to my Virgo rising, I never miss a deadline and I'll never be late to meet you for coffee!

Or maybe it's because I'm a Fire Horse.

But that's Chinese astrology, and maybe it doesn't apply to the people you're talking about.

Point is, there are a bunch of different astrologies. Which one applies to the people you deal with? How can you tell?

This is why it's better - in the sense of being more efficient and helpful - to deal with people based on how they act, not when they were born. That will actually help you, while knowing their (Western) astrology sign will not.
posted by rtha at 6:35 AM on December 22, 2009

Mod note: A few comments removed. There's a Metatalk thread if you feel the need to venture outside the bounds of what's okay on AskMe.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:20 AM on December 22, 2009

perhaps you're the one that's confusing them?
posted by phritosan at 8:30 AM on December 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

When dealing with a Cancer (or any sign) I advise being consistent and straightforward. My brother is a Cancer, my wife is a Pisces and my son a Leo and it works for all of them.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:14 AM on December 22, 2009

As a cancer myself, I find psuedoscience infuriating and tend to dislike people who make it a part of their interpersonal relations. Since all us cancers are alike, you could try throwing astrology out of the window when you deal with the cancer in question.

Seriously, if you tried any of the "cancers like this sort of thing" suggestions on me, like the home-y cozy bullshit stuff, you would strike me as someone who doesn't take business seriously and I would not take you seriously. If you want to know how to handle a particular person, then describe that person to us and we can come up with situations. Telling us someone's astrological sign is about as useful as telling us their hair color.
posted by Nattie at 1:48 PM on December 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Let me show you an example of the problems with this approach.

This is a birth chart. This is another birth chart. If someone handed them to you with the names blocked out, you would assume they belonged to the same person. They don't. They belong to my twin sister and me. We were born a minute apart, and needless to say, we have the same astrological sign; our charts, far more detailed, are essentially identical. If that's all you took into account, you'd assume our work styles would also be identical, right?

But my sister and I are not identical. We're so fraternal, in fact, that you could work with us for months without guessing that we're even related, and you'd be even less likely to guess that we're both Leos. Basing your communication styles with us on astrology would be a complete disaster.

To put it another way, if you wrote up our birth charts backwards, based on our actual personalities, they would look pretty different from each other, and they'd both look different from the charts (or chart, really) that we actually do have. Even if we suppose that astrology does have some effect on one's personality and life, it can't be all that matters, because otherwise, my sister and I really would have identical personalities. There has to be something else going on that can completely change the game.

Regardless, the question of how to conduct business with confusing and unreliable people is a valid one. If you end up reasking it here I'd just substitute [confusing and unreliable people] for "Cancers" because otherwise that's all people will focus on (as you can see).
posted by granted at 2:53 PM on December 22, 2009 [6 favorites]

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