Oracle of Ybor: It’s time to leave that self-serving neighborhood board you’re on

And your abusive boss is probably about to fire you anyway.


Dear Oracle, I was invited by a good friend to sit on a community board for the neighborhood I live and work in. When I said yes to the position, I was under the impression that the board’s goals were somewhat aligned with my own: using our resources and “communal sway” to improve our neighborhood for both business owners and residents. Now that I’ve sat through nearly a dozen meetings, I feel like this community board is more self-serving than anything and is more concerned with paying its few employees than actually moving our neighborhood in the right direction. I know that staying in the position might be the best way to have my voice and concerns heard, but it honestly seems like this whole organization is one big self-congratulatory jerk-off session that doesn’t really do anything. So my question, Oracle, is this: do I stay on and try to fight the good fight amongst the undeserved high-fives and back-pats, or do I devote my time to affecting change through other avenues? Sincerely yours.—Apathy in the FLA

Stay: Seven of Pentacles, Four of Pentacles Rev, Ten of Cups reversed 
Go: Knight of wands, Two of wands, The Devil 

Dear Apathy, a someone who once spent four hours in a meeting debating the sole issue of hiring an exterminator to deal with an ant problem, I understand the frustration and the circle-jerk nature of that civil beast, bureaucracy well. (It was a ‘no’ vote on the exterminator, BTW.)

So how did a nice kid like you get sucked into the volunteer-corps of neighborhood administration? My guess? Guilt.

Your question alludes to this sense of obligation, and the cards point it out with the Ten of Cups reversed. You joined because you’re supposed to join, because you’re a good product of the neighborhood, and don’t you want to help your neighbors out? Don’t get me wrong—we should all be invested in our neighborhoods!—but this board ain’t doing it.

Four of Pentacles in my deck is a man clutching coins as he’s ushered into hell. Often, it comes up as a sign for someone to do work on their own underworld journey a la therapy… but it also comes up when someone’s a greedy son of a bitch. I think you’re dead on with your read. While I can see you and others trying to invest in your neighborhood (Seven of Pentacles), this isn’t cutting it. So I think you should leave this group and start something better.

Email questions for the Oracle to [email protected] (SUBJ: Oracle)

We have the Knight of Wands, that passionate, fiery warrior, leading the charge. We have the Two of Wands, which is starting a new endeavor, planting a seed, and then we have that Son of Perdition himself, The Devil.

Now, at the risk of confirming every Christian parents’ nightmare about tarot, let me tell you that The Devil can be great. It’s also a fire and passion card, but where the Knight of Wands is the Royal Rumble, The Devil is WrestleMania. Big time fire energy! The Devil is also a card that binds. You’re in it to win it with The Devil, and that passion can launch a thousand campaigns for the good of the ’hood!

If this board is a circle jerk, feel out if other members are frustrated as well. They might want to start something else too. Then talk with members of the neighborhood and see where people are at, what they envision for the betterment of their community.

It’s Aquarius season, baby. It’s all about challenging systems and starting new humanitarian projects, and feeling freaky. Get your civic freak on, Apathy.

Dear Oracle, I have an extremely abusive boss. I’ve gone to HR, but nothing has changed. For my mental health, is it best to quit even during a pandemic?—Over it 

Cards: The Hanged Man reversed, The High Priestess reversed, The Fool, reversed

Dear Over, I’m  sorry you’re going through this. There’s a chance you might be fired before you quit. You don’t know what’s going on with your boss; you don’t know their motivations, and, most likely, you’re being kept in the dark about a lot of things. That’s The High Priestess reversed. With The Hanged Man, there’s a sense of meaningless martyrdom, of self-sacrifice that’s just not doing you any good—which could mean you’re getting set up to be the scapegoat.

Now, it should be said that this issue is not something to brush off lightly. We have three Major Arcana in the spread—something I rarely see when I draw a three-card answer. This shit is important. The Major Arcana are also deeply layered cards, with a well of meanings. I’m also getting the impression from the first two cards that there is a sense of paralysis. You are either suppressing your own intuition or having that intuition questioned continuously (i.e., gaslighting.) Whatever it is, it’s a horrible scene.

I’ve been asked a version of this question a few times in the column, and I give a spiel about health insurance/ finances—but I think you might have another job on the horizon.

With The Fool reversed, you don’t feel like this job is your calling, but it also seems like this job might be blocking you from the journey you’re supposed to be on. Do you have a side business already, or thinking about starting one? The Fool often comes up when we are on the precipice of some significant change, which can be both exciting and terrifying.

I would seriously suggest meditating on what sort of job you envision yourself in and, if it’s going into business for yourself, what that could look like. Try to tap into your intuition and really explore what feels like your calling. Your current job is going to come to an end soon, one way or another, and while economic uncertainty is terribly stressful, I do think you’re about to start on the path to your calling. 

I sincerely hope you’re able to leave. Best of luck, my dear.

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