Tied to an Ox and Bear

Career Counselling Findings

A career is work and it is life because it is a bit of a symbiotic relationship.

The closest analogy I can think of is the Farmer and their draft animals.

Imaging you are the farmer plowing a field in 1890. Your plow is tied to an Ox and a Bear and you have to understand and work with them if you are going to be happy with the job and have a prosperous season.

Let’s understand these two career animals so we can take full advantage of the field ahead of us.

The Bear

The bear is your base emotions. Fight, flight, freeze, anxiety, rejection and other base emotions, traumas, and positive reinforcements. It is powerful, moody and can be cute, fun, or dangerous. These need to be understood and identified or they will cause speed bumps, self destructive behaviour.

The Ox

The Ox is your Values. They are stubborn: independent of just about anything else you do or are exposed to or to any metrics of relevance. They are not things you can ever own or truly reach, they are directions and goals and ideal, platonic. Denying they have relevance will cause ongoing issues. It’s OK to have ‘weird values’.

Steering the plow

You are hitched to the bear and the Ox and to really work with them you need to look up and ahead to where you might be going and learn to steer them.

Having regular exercises to understand your Bear and your Ox are the best ways to really harness and work with them. Just thinking about them leaves you with the same blindspots— you need a perspective shift to get ‘depth perception’ on these matters. At any given moment, you should be able to to categorize, understand, and link specific opportunities, reactions, feelings, as caused by or satisfying the Bear and the Ox.