We all have to make a living—why not do it while #livingLIVELY? Welcome to Career Corner, where we interview badass women blazing trails across all types of industries. Here, we chat about their daily hustle, how they found success, and why they love what they do. Come for the career advice; stay for the inspiration.
Today, we're kicking things off with Jessica Lanyadoo, an astrologer, writer, and psychic medium.
What’s your job title?
Astrologer, Psychic Medium, Nice Lady
Explain your job in 1 sentence.
I help people help themselves.
Now, tell us what you actually do.
Really—that's what I do!
I use tools to do it, though; I am an astrologer, tarot reader, a psychic, a medium, an animal communicator, and an empath. I guess I'm a writer, too. I counsel people from where they're at, helping them to better understand their past as a resource for having peace in the present, and mapping out the future. I help people with a myriad of subjects, from medical issues to real-estate planning, from love, to talking to the dead. I'm a busy girl.
What does a normal day look like?
My days always starts with coffee and cats, and learning the new horrors of the day by reading the news, and also posting on social media. Then I hop on the computer and tend to emails and other business stuff. I most often have writing deadlines to tend to, and then I meet with clients for one-on-one consultations in my Oakland office, or by phone.
People think of my job as magical—and it is! But it's also a desk job, and since I'm booked up with clients a year in advance, my days are pretty highly structured.
What made you decide to go into the field?
I never really questioned what I would do—it was always astrology. I discovered the serious study of astrology in my late teens and decided to commit my life to it, and then never looked back. The psychic stuff, animal communication, horoscope writing, and my counseling skills all emerged organically over the years from there. When I started out in '95, this wasn't "a field"—I'm so happy that it is now.
What was your path to getting to your position?
Hard work, self care, repeat.
What sort of skills or experience do you need in order to succeed in your role? When and how did you get those skills?
Astrology is not an intuitive skill; it requires years of study and practice to become proficient in. I've been studying formally since 1993, and have met with thousands of clients over the past 20+ years. I am mainly self-taught, but because I'm such a structured person, I've been able to be pretty single-minded in how I approach my work. This has allowed me to have a strongly functional understanding of astrology, and make it deeply relevant to people's lives.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
Every single thing—except for emails and self promotion. I freaking love my job.
How has your job changed over time?
I started off not believing in psychic ability, but over the years I realized my own gifts, and now I use them daily. My skills and gifts have expanded, and with them, so has my work. As my work has gotten deeper, so have the services that I am able to provide.
I never expected that I would write, teach, or ever do any kind of video work, but now those are big parts of my job. Also, social media has been a game changer, as it allows me to connect to thousands of people daily. It's amazing! I get to have a more personal connection with my readership and it's really tender for me.
How did your expectations for your career differ from reality?
I honestly didn't really have expectations for my job; I started so young and had one goal: to come to a mastery of basic astrology in my 20s, so that I could have a solid foundation to be a medical astrologer by the time I was 30. That was my only real plan. I did that, and everything since then has been a pretty lovely surprise. I never expected that astrology would become so popular and accepted in the mainstream!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
An astrologer once told me that we astrologers are not meant to give consultations to make friends; we're here to help people find their hard truths and make use of them. That simple piece of advice has guided me throughout the years.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, either in your current role or throughout your career? How did you work through them?
The biggest challenge is maintaining healthy boundaries; I work in the depths of people's grief, fear, pain, and hopes. It's sticky stuff.
Self-care is always the thing that I am working on, both as a form of self-maintenance but also as a way to be of the highest service to my clients.
Was there one defining moment you can point to that put you on the path you’re on?
In truth there are probably a dozen "single defining moments" that I've experienced: When I moved to San Francisco from Montreal to be an astrologer. The first time I understood that I was psychic and not just a good judge of character. My first astrology column; the first time I realized that I could communicate with animals, or certainly when I realized that I could talk to dead people. The first time that I raised my fees substantially. The first time I took more than a week off of meeting with clients (that one was just this year!). The list goes on and on.
The point is that in a growth-oriented path, there are pretty consistent defining moments as that path continues to unfold and grow.
What’s one piece of advice to give to people who are interested in pursuing a similar career?
I've got two pieces of advice:
1. Your capacity to help others is limited by your capacity to help yourself. The more you are willing and able to grow and evolve, the deeper the container that you can hold for your clients is. Energy isn't like words—it can't be faked.
2. Don't be a wanker. When you step into the world saying that you're a light worker, an astrologer, a medium, or whatever, you're in this Wild West of jobs. There are no rules for us, and there is no vetting process.
You don't need to be right all of the time—it's okay to say, "I don't know." If you're a beginner, present yourself as such; you'll be doing a service to the integrity of your craft, but also leaving room for your own growth as a practitioner.
People only visit with a healer because they feel vulnerable; treat that vulnerability and their trust with the care and respect that it deserves.
Want more of Jessica? Follow her IG @jessica_lanyadoo