Wood Heart Caged by Metal Job?

Dear Five Faces: My brother’s boss is retiring in the spring and Jim (my brother) has been asked to apply for his job. Jim thinks it’s a great idea: He’ll make more money and since it’s a supervisory position, he thinks he’ll work fewer hours, too. My concern is that Jim is a Wood; he likes to start things and improve things, and spends a lot of time in his current job doing that. In his current job, his “hands on” approach has been appreciated, too. But I’m concerned that it will be seen as “interfering” or “controlling” in a job where he’s just supposed to support ongoing operations. How do I talk him out of this change? Signed: Worried Sis

Dear Worried Sis: Jim is lucky to have a sister who knows him so well. Your concerns are justified, but there might be ways Jim’s time in this new job could be positive. Let’s look at the pros and cons.

As a Wood, Jim will be pretty hands on. Woods almost always see ways to improve or change things and are excited about getting started. It takes a lot to talk a Wood out of a new project or improvement. They love the movement of creating and manifesting, and they are true visionaries. Some people say that Woods are never satisfied, but it’s really not that. Woods just always see creative opportunity; it’s in their core wiring. A Wood doesn’t look at something and say, “That sucks.” A Wood looks at something and says, “What if?”

You don’t mention if the new job Jim’s considering is purely supervisory or if he will have any responsibility for productivity levels, efficiency, or innovation. If he will be responsible for these other issues, he could do quite well in the new job. Woods excel at spotting opportunities for increasing productivity and efficiency. And because they love creating the new, they usually embrace innovation wholeheartedly.

However, if Jim’s new job would be merely to supervise a mature and very functional division, you are correct – this probably will not be a good fit for his Wood. Metals usually do better at this kind of thing because they aren’t future looking; they see the beauty of the process and protocol already in place. And Metal is the only element that has more structure than Wood. If the job is to supervise, Metals can implement strict boundaries for themselves and just supervise.

Woods do have a lot of structure, but it’s a more organic structure that grows and develops as needed over time. It sounds like in his other jobs, Jim hasn’t needed a lot of structure designed to hold him back from interfering since he’s been appreciated for his “hands on” approach. If this is the case, he’s likely going to find it very difficult (I might say almost impossible) to manifest instantly the structure it takes not to interfere. This will be a source of frustration for him, and probably the people with whom he’ll be working. It will be even more difficult for his potential new employees if the boss Jim will be replacing is a Metal. People will be used to minimal interference.

heart in cageMy suggestion is that you share with Jim some of what we’ve discussed here. Most Woods know how much they love creating and improving things. If Jim can look honestly at the new job he is consider and determine that it won’t lend itself to an expression of these aspects of his personality, he will likely re-think his enthusiastic response to the job possibility. At least I hope so. It will be sad, indeed, for a noble Wood heart to be held back by Metal expectations. Good luck!

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