Be honest: would you rather be ghosted by a potential partner or a potential job?
Looking for the perfect career is eerily similar to looking for a partner.
I recently found myself in a situation where I had to start looking for a job. This is one of my least favourite situations to be in (tied with running into an ex) because the job search is gruelling. It is a very special kind of rejection to be told repeatedly that you are not good enough—that someone else, a nameless, faceless, more perfect version of you was chosen instead. Or worse, not hearing back at all.
This thought occurred to me one day as I was walking out of an interview, texting a flurry of nerve-wracked messages to my friend. And her reply?
“Relax. Job hunting is like dating.”
And she’s right. They’re both things in or with which you spend most of your time and both of them can have an enormous impact on your life. And as the metaphor goes, there are many, many fish in the sea—options, yes, but also competition aplenty. Here’s what the job search and dating, for me, have in common.
Anyone who’s ever had been flippant enough to have a Tinder account knows the agony of coming up with a good bio. You have to be funny without trying too hard; attractive without seeming unapproachable. The same dedication is amplified for job hunting. Piecing together a half-decent resume and cover letter is a heroic effort, or at the very least, a helpful exercise in blowing your own trumpet.
First date? First interview? Exactly the same: sweaty palms, hoping you’ve done enough Internet stalking beforehand, texting everyone who cares. The only difference is that you likely wouldn’t text your best friend to call you when your potential employer is distracted to get you out of an awkward interview.
Let’s be real: first meetings are a chance to assess if the other is a serial killer or not. People are often looking for people similar to themselves (clan mentality, anyone?), so if you’re not vibing with the interviewer or your date, chances are if you’re not a serial killer, maybe they are.
Remember the “call back after three days, lest you seem like a desperate lunatic” rule of yesteryear? Checking your phone every 30 seconds waiting to hear back from someone—there’s no better way to ensure the slow unravelling of a person into a nervous wreck.
Anxiety is a cruel mistress but the truth is, it’s never as bad as you thought. And if it was, then you probably wouldn’t want to hear from them again anyway.
In the end, it all boils down to confidence. And patience. And resilience. And just being a good human being. (Doesn’t it always?)
Whether it’s a job or a date you’re looking for, the lesson to be had is this: if you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll never get anywhere. Unless you’re a serial killer, in which case, don’t.
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