When I was a little girl, I had a vision of what my dating life would be like once I was older. I would be swept off my feet, ride off into the sunset, and live happily ever after. As you may have already guessed, this hasn’t happened. Also, for future reference: I don’t really want to ride off into the sunset. Preferably, I’d rather sit back, drink in hand, and watch a sunset. “Riding off” sounds exhausting. I’ve also had a vision of what my working life would be like. I’d go to college, study hard, have fun, graduate, and get a great job. Bing – Bang – Boom.
This also hasn’t exactly happened. I have been fortunate to be employed and I don’t want to downplay how grateful I am for my job. However, I am continuously looking for a career. A career which I can fully immerse myself in a company and see growth, potential, and a future. So, while I’ve been on both the dating and job hunt, I’ve began to notice how similar the two are. Here are my findings…
1. Seeking “The One”
Whether it is searching for a job or a partner-in-crime, we are all looking for “The One”. I’m unaware of many people who are like, “Well, I’d rather date some pretty shitty people for awhile,” or “Sure, I’d like a job where I see absolutely no future and I’m not using any of my expensive college degree.” Most people are looking for “The One”.
2. White Lies
If you are applying for a job or getting to know someone that you may want to pursue romantically, we all know there are little white lies that are presented. You fudge the truth, but only slightly. If you do lie, it’s juuuust a bit, BECAUSE if this escalates (the job or lover) you know that they’ll eventually check your references. So, I suggest not explaining you had a two-year internship at Google when you actually worked at your dad’s law firm, filing invoices and flirting with the UPS guy. Also, I would refrain from explaining how much of a family oriented person you are, when in fact, you haven’t made it home for Christmas in three years. Here, honesty is truly the best policy.
Of course, you’ll hope to be set up by a friend but you’ll most likely end up turning to the dark side: online dating. Just like you’ll hope to network your way to the top, but have to turn to Monster.com at some point. (Sigh).
At first, you’re extremely picky. Nothing will do. “Oh please, I have my MBA; that job is so below me,” or “Right, like I’d go out with a guy who lives in his parents’ basement.” Then you’ll take anything you can get. Anything and everything. “Well, it can’t be thaaaaat bad, right?” or “Yeah, so? It was white-collar crime! He’s a nice guy!” Then you’ll wake up. You’ll become picky again. “What THE HELL was I thinking??” Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
5. Interviews vs. First Dates
If you get past the initial screening, you have made it to the interview/first date portion. Interviews and dates have more in common than you’d think. There are always lots of smiles, which are mostly combined with nerves. A great amount of thought is put into outfit selection – – nothing too over-the-top, but nothing too frumpy either. The Q&A portion is full of a balancing act where you try not to bring up anything too serious too soon and you’re of course very anxious to see how it ends.
6. The Aftermath
Here, you’ll now wait by the phone, anxious to hear from Mr./Mrs. Right and or the HR Recruiter of your dreams. In a perfect world, you’ll wake up the next day with an amazing job offer or the perfect “good morning” text message. But if things don’t go your way, you’ll probably be dealing with the following:
7. The “One That Got Away”
Job hunters, daters, and, well, serial killers have this.
8. Unrequited Love
Ah, the worst. Nothing stings like rejection. It hurts, burns, leaves a scar, and takes time to get over. But you have to bounce back, you’re resilient – you can do it! Remember, you can’t control the process, only your reaction. Try not to take rejection personally. (If you figure out how to not take it personally, would you please let me know?)
9. Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
Things might go well for awhile. You make it to the third round of interviews or you’re just about to meet their friends and things blow up in your face. You and the HR rep or significant other may have just lost that “loving feeling”. Now it’s gone, gone, goneeeee – – and you have to move on.
At the end of the day, to find your best match, whether it be a job or a future companion, you have to know what you want. You have to find that perfect mixture of being open and also selective to opportunities both romantically and within the business world. There will be days when you are constantly second (or triple) guessing which aspects of yourself or your resume to highlight. What will make me stand out? What are they looking for?
The most important piece I’ll leave you with is this:
Give it time. We must try to understand that the job/love search can’t be a one-night-stand or even a summer fling. The process is probably going to take upwards of several months (or more – possibly much, much more) to find something worthy of you.
You will get your heartbroken. You might lose a fantastic job prospect or you won’t get a phone call after a great date. These things will happen. There’s nothing worse than a follow-up email that features the word “unfortunately” or a voicemail that says, “I think we’re looking for different things”. My advice is to have a good support network.
Actually, have an amazing support network. With that, you’ll be able to face anything.