I know I’m not the only one who sees similarities between dating and a job search but damn… there are so many! It’s quite funny in a way because once you say “I do” or whatever is the acceptable utterance in your country when you marry someone, you think you’ll never go through the hell of dating again. And yet, it’s enough to start looking for a new job to see how painfully similar these two things are (which is what I’m busy doing at the moment btw!). The good thing is that experience with one of them can help you with knowing how to win at the other one.
Putting Yourself Out There
Just like you won’t find your soulmate at home (whatever the makers of the movie “The Power of the Heart” would like you to believe), to find a job you need to put yourself out there. Similarly like with dating, organic connections can get you somewhere but you should also try looking for luck online.
There’s going to be a lot of pointless search, rage at the available options and rejection. It won’t be nice but hopefully it’ll land you a gig you’ve always been dreaming of… or at least something that’s a stepping stone on your way there.
They Can Smell Your Desperation
Dating is difficult when you’re focusing on getting a boyfriend rather than getting someone that you could form a meaningful relationship. Sending a message LOVE ME, PLEASE to everyone is a sign of desperation and it scares people away. Whether you’re trying to prove to your mom that you’re loveable, to your ex that you can move on easily or to yourself that you’re not the forever alone type… try to chill.
The trick in dating and job search is the same. Fake it, until you make it. Even if you’re in fact desperate to get a job because you need to pay your bills, fake confidence and pretend that you have many options. Write down a game plan, if you have to and play it cool. With your new love interest lie that you’re busy, even if actually you COULD spend 24/7 with them cause you have no life.
The Importance of Keeping Your Options Open
Desperation has to do with needs (such as paying your rent or having sex!) but it’s easier to avoid it, if you feel that there actually are many options out there. Your perception is everything so use many different channels to multiply them.
Even more importantly, don’t make the mistake of committing too soon to something that’s not worth. Don’t stop looking for a new employment opportunity until the contract is signed with your new employer or you see that what’s between you and your beau is meaningful. Keep your options open, even if you don’t want to. If they disappoint you, it’ll take less time to get back on the (search) horse.
The Undervalued Breaks
This is much easier said than done for both dating and job search. Of course, you want to have, what you want to have but sometimes it’s literally the case of barking under the wrong tree. This is exactly why you should take breaks. If you’re not getting the desired results pause for a second.
Remember that only a madman repeats the same thing over and over again expecting different results. If you recognise yourself in this description then go out for a walk and think about your strategy. What needs tweaking? Ask wise people around you or Uncle Google for advice. It’s okay not to know everything but it’s not okay not to learn from your mistakes.
Shifting Your Focus
If a break and a change of strategy isn’t working try taking an extended break. Promise yourself not to look for jobs/boyfriends during the weekend and go away to have fun with your friends (or go visit your mom and dad, if you’re totally broke).
Do something else that’s engaging and forget about your problem for a bit. One option is that it’ll result in finding a solution when you’re busy focusing on something else (just like Archimedes came up with a solution to a scientific problem when taking a bath!). Sometimes the answer will come when you least expect it so maybe you’ll match with Prince Charming when not looking on your phone or a job recruiter will send you and email when you’re busy enjoying yourself. If none of these happen at least you’ll be in a better mood to get back on your quest.
Working on Yourself
Sometimes it’s not them, it’s you. Maybe you should lower your expectations. It can be that you need more work experience to get the job you want or you have to become less socially awkward to impress the right gal/guy.
It’s also possible that you have all the right qualities but you keep self-sabotaging yourself. Try to think why may you be scared of success and examine your beliefs around the issue you’re struggling with.
In either case, you’re the one who needs to work on it. Don’t allow yourself to form bad habits such as blaming others or indulging in self-pity.
Be Kind to Yourself
It’s okay to be jobless or boyfriendless/girlfriendless at times as much as people will tell you otherwise. Sure, you have to survive somehow but maybe you have lots of savings that will allow you to leave a job for nothing or a source of passive income or a partner/parents that don’t mind helping you out for a few months. With relationships it’s even easier to leave one, without having another one sorted out yet… As much as you may die without a job when you can’t afford food, a few sexless months never killed anyone!
Especially, if you’re in an abusive relationship/job, prepare a contingency plan and take a leap. Be prepared that people won’t like it, though. Be it a job or a partner they’ll tell you you’re fussy, they’ll try to scare you that another one may never come and so on and so forth. Don’t listen to them and be kind to yourself. You did, what you had to do. It may take some time but you’ll get a new job or find a new partner.
…But Don’t Coddle Yourself
It’s okay to be single for a while and take a break from dating. It’s okay to say “no” to guys whom you don’t fancy. However, if you’re still turning your nose at dating altogether 2 years after your last one night stand turned out not to be the love of your life, you may need actual help.
It’s also okay to take a break from work for a month or two (or even three or four if you can afford it!) when you’re figuring things out. Still, if you moved back with your parents two years ago and you keep telling your dates that you have your own business but actually you’ve just designed a logo in the last 24 months… you may benefit from a kick on your ass.
Final Words: Never Give Up
Yes, it sounds like a title of a bad song from the 90’s but it’s important to never give up. Maybe it’s easier to see the point with work (like, we all have to eat?) but giving up on love is not an option either! Yes, some people write books about the unexpected joy of being single and it’s okay to be on your own even for a long time but… as much as I think a job that you like is important to your optimal functioning so is having that special someone in your life.
If you agree that looking for a job is a lot like dating, you may want to have a look at my previous post about how making friends as an adult is similar to dating!
Are you currently single and on a lookout for your next bf/gf? Are you looking for a new job? Do you see any other similarities between job search and love search? I’m waiting for your comments!