May 15, 2023

Mercury retrograde: A week at work

What can we do, when the stars aren’t aligned in our favour?

2 min read

Mercury, the planet of communication, is not always kind to us; especially, when it moves against the tide or retrogrades. We just barely made it out of this retrograde alive, but the next one is right around the corner. Based on what the Internet tells us, here’s how you can expect it to ruin your workplace communications. Any resemblance to actual events is purely coincidental.


Your virtual meetings this week are unusually chaotic, even by your standards. Only five minutes of your 15-minute update was audible because you kept muting yourself, and, oh, you skipped the presentation because you couldn’t figure out how to share your screen.


You were asked to come up with fun ice-breaking activities for your team retreat. You delegated the work to that intern who is always on a coffee break. Now there’s an e-mail circulating with the subject line ‘Subject: Attention: Urgent – Workplace Iceberg Event’, and you are having a meltdown.


You asked a question in a meeting to clarify a small doubt. But now the manager wants to schedule two additional meetings to explain the matter in detail and ensure everyone is on the same page, and your colleagues aren’t happy.


You signed a consent form your HR sent for active participation in official activities. And now you’re at work every Saturday for team-bonding exercises.


Your manager asked for help on a proposal they are working on. You thought it was a good opportunity to impress them and immediately replied with “I will do it!” But autocorrect changed it to “I will doubt it”. Now, you are scrolling through job postings on LinkedIn and updating your CV.


Your diversity budget has been approved by the funder but with ‘minor tweaks’ and a smiley face emoji. Your office is now doing monthly potlucks to promote an inclusive workplace culture where every third person brings potato salad.    


HR just called you to brief you on the official policy for dating co-workers. In your e-mails this week, you’ve been addressing your colleague Lou as ‘Dear Love’.


You sent a message intended for your friends to your office group on WhatsApp. Enough said.

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Shreya Adhikari-Image
Shreya Adhikari

Shreya is an editorial associate at IDR, where she manages podcasts, in addition to writing, editing, sourcing, and publishing content. She has more than seven years of experience as a media and communications professional, and has been involved in the curation and production of various art and culture festivals in India and internationally, including the Jaipur Literature Festival—where she was a core team member.

Debojit Dutta-Image
Debojit Dutta

Debojit Dutta leads IDR’s editorial features and is responsible for commissioning and producing content across its various verticals. He also leads IDR’s Northeast Media Fellowship and set up the author payment fund that compensates contributors from underserved backgrounds. He has previously worked in editorial roles with Sahapedia, The Quint, and The Sunday Guardian, and founded the literary webzine Antiserious. His writings have appeared in publications such as Himal Southasian,, and The Wire.