Dear Vicki: A supervisor at my brother’s company is retiring in the spring and Jim has been asked to apply for his job. Jim thinks it’s a great idea: He’ll make more money and because it’s a supervisory position, he thinks he’ll also work fewer hours. My concern is that Jim is someone who has always loved starting things or making them better, and spends a lot of time in his current position doing just that. I really think the “hands-on” approach he takes now is what the company appreciates about him. But in a more supervisory position, I’m concerned that “hands-on” 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 very lucky to have a sister who knows him so well. Your concerns are certainly justified, but there might be ways Jim’s time in the new job could be positive. Let’s take a look at his primary elemental personality and then consider the possible pros and cons of Jim taking the new position.
Based on your description, I suspect Jim is probably a primary Wood personality. Wood people are usually pretty hands-on in their work. They almost always see ways to improve things, too, and are excited (some might say impatient) about getting started. It takes a lot to talk a Wood personality out of a new project or improvement because they love the movement that comes with creating and manifesting almost anything. People often think that the Wood personality is never satisfied, but that’s not really it. Wood people just always see creative opportunity; it’s in their core wiring. A Wood person doesn’t look at something and think, “That sucks.” They look at something and think, “What if?” They really are visionaries.
Dear Vicki: My husband loves working in his firm’s Human Resources department, and they love him. In fact, they have asked him to head the whole department. He’s excited about the promotion (and the hefty raise that goes with it), but I’m not excited at all because it means we have to move to California. We dreamed of moving there when we were first married and started our jobs (I worked as a secretary for 5 years), but now we have two small children (ages 3 and 5 years) and I don’t think it’s fair to disrupt their lives with such a huge move. It also means selling our house and leaving our friends and families. I’ve asked him to be reasonable, but all he says is that this is his chance to move up in the world and he doesn’t want to miss the opportunity. We’ve always seen eye to eye on most things, but not this. How can I convince him that he should stop being so selfish and pushy and just stay put? Signed: Happy Here
Dear Happy Here: Change is never easy, but it’s easier for some people than others. In the Five Elements model, the Wood elemental personality is the one most likely to embrace forward-moving change, especially if it relates to personal accomplishment. Moving forward is what Wood people are wired to do. The Earth elemental personality is often the least likely elemental personality to embrace change, especially if the change involves relocating. Earth people are wired to care deeply about family, friends, and home, and leaving them behind is often unbearably hard. I suspect that you are an Earth personality and your husband is a Wood personality, so let’s see what we can do to help address the situation.
First, let me say that there is no perfect fix for your dilemma. Wood personalities will always be happiest moving forward and Earth personalities will always be happiest with a settled home life. But I hope that if you can better understand what is going on around this issue, you might be able to work with your husband to make these difficult decisions together. Also, it’s also important to acknowledge that in the Five Elements model, you and your husband relate on the Controlling Cycle with Wood controlling Earth. That means that there will be times when your husband’s enthusiasm for something will seem to threaten the security that matters so deeply to you. That fact that you find him “pushy” on this issue suggests that this is probably one of those times.