You can’t fall in love when looking for a job

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First-Date1My friend texted me last night and we exchanged a series of texts until I accidentally hit her phone number and called her. Then she called me back asking did I call her that day (the 1/2 second accidental phone call had shown up in her call log) and I then had to admit I had just engaged in the finger version of a butt dial– because it was late and I was tired and also because even rudimentary technology confuses me.

We ended up chatting for about an hour– me giving updates on my job search process and her about her dating escapades. There are lots of similarities between dating and job searching and I won’t bore you now with the obvious ones. But I talked about how it’s tough to pull through a phone interview or even an in-person when you get that sinking feeling that it’s just not going to work out. I had a phone screen last week where I knew I wasn’t the right candidate b/c the recruiter kept using the same phrase over and over and I couldn’t aggressively claim that that business need was something that I could provide or had experience doing. At the end of the call, she asked me my thoughts and I played my cards saying that it seemed like she was looking for someone who had this certain skill set and it’s not something I had in my repertoire and therefore it didn’t seem like a good match. She agreed and we had a nice wind down conversation (incidentally, I actually enjoyed my conversation with her and told her this and she agreed. So silver lining in this situation is that it was at least a pleasant 30 min chat for both of us).

My friend said that that same is true in her experiences in dating. That you meet the person and soon after, you kind of know if there is anything there worth investigating. This isn’t to say that you should make snap judgments about people (because people can still surprise you. He could turn out to be the man of your dreams! Or maybe a serial rapist! You never know until you learn more!) But she was just noting the existence or lack thereof of spark. Or zuzz. Or what I like to call “pizazzle.” It’s the twinkle in his eye or the hint about the fuller depth of his personality that makes you want to know more. As a related side note, guys (if there are any of you reading this): in the picture above, the girl is TOTALLY into the guy. I know this because she is touching her hair. Guys, if you are ever on a date and a girl starts stroking her hair, you know it’s ON. It’s, like, BIOLOGY. Back to the topic though: nothing is worse than having to finish out the coffee or meal when you just know you aren’t interested.

We also noted how one of the tough things as well about dating and job searching is the need to play things close to the vest. Like you start feeling something kind of strongly but you don’t want the other party to know that you are desperate to work there or that you are desperate to produce his firstborn. You keep that to yourself all-the-while giving off subtle clues that you are totally game for this to happen. (Maybe you stroke your hair, ladies.) We also noted that it’s hard when you feel strongly but you aren’t sure how the other party feels so then you have to wait for what feels like an eternity. And then it’s tough to keep dating/interviewing when you are obsessing about that one person/job who/that you felt a strong connection with but they haven’t actually selected you so have to keep going at it until something is actually established. And all the while you’re thinking: “Pick me already! Save me from having to go on all these worthless dates/interviews where I come home feeling dejected and empty! Tell me I’m the one, b/c I think you’re the one, and let’s get this going already!”

And then there are those situations when you feel strongly about the other party but the other person doesn’t feel the same and you are kind of let down b/c it was the first time in some time that you saw something with potential but now it’s just not meant to be. And you know that you shouldn’t have gotten your hopes up (but you did anyway, because– hey– you’re human).  And  you have to pick yourself up and keep at it.

I realized too that this is why getting laid off was tougher than I realized it would be and why I struggled to pop back up that first week or weeks after to engage in my job search. I experienced the professional version of getting dumped. And after a week of feeling gobsmacked and wondering, “Were there signs? Was this coming all along and I just didn’t realize it?” you think you’re ready to get back on the horse and give it another go. But it’s so hard. Because you’re so hurt. And you feel so damaged. And you look back at everything that has happened and know that you were betrayed. And whereas in dating, it’s fine to take a break (you’ll never go on a date and have a guy ask you about that gap in your dating history), in real life, there is only so much time that you are allowed to wallow before you have to get at it and push all those feelings aside and force yourself to move forward. I don’t realistically know if I’m there yet and actually, everyone has told me that a longer break might be in order. But I’m trying to pace myself and be proactive while also recuperating– trying to stay at it slow while remaining diligent in the quest. Because truthfully, if I didn’t– I’d probably wallow even more. So in addition to being the right thing to do, it’s probably best for my state of mind to keep going while also being honest about how I am feeling with each new possibility I encounter.

 

 

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