Is Job-hunting like Dating?
You’ve had the experience of dating in your life, right? Did you enjoy it: the mystery of getting to know a stranger, the thrill of the chase, the risk of rejection, or the challenge of making the right decisions?
Dating is fun for some; job-hunting, not so much. It seems possible that job-hunting could be fun – but that’s not how most of us experience it. We’re too often scared about money, worried about what others will think about us, and anxious about an uncertain future, to engage in opportunity thinking and enjoy serendipitous moments.
I’ll go out on a limb here and say that dating for most of us is a means to an end: finding a good relationship. Likewise, nobody really wants to be job-hunting – what we want is to find that paid job that uses our skills and talents.
As my colleagues and I teach job-search skills at JVS, we’re well aware that we’re encouraging people to get good at something they never wanted to do in the first place, and that they hope to stop doing as soon as possible. It’s an odd proposition, teaching people how to job-search: here, get good at doing this so that you can be rewarded by not having to do it anymore!
I asked my JVS colleagues what useful parallels they see between job-hunting and dating, and here are some of their thoughts:
“To find your match, be clear what you’re looking for. The more focused your search is, the more likely you’ll find the best match for you.”
“It’s about rejection, rejection, rejection — and how you handle it. Also, if you can manage your expectations appropriately, it will go a lot better.”
“Job hunting, like dating, is basically a conversation between two people: Do you like me? Do I like you? Do we want to take a chance on going steady?”
“Both activities have the same goal: to make them want more of you.”
“Dating and job-hunting – to do either one well, you’ve got to feel confident and show that you have something to offer. Also, the worst thing you can do is to appear desperate!”
Thanks, colleagues. I imagine we’ll keep thinking up new comparisons – it’s just what you do when your job involves helping job-seekers all day long. In the meantime, this Valentine’s Day, give a rose or a hug to someone who’s dating, or someone who’s job-hunting, or both. It can be a challenging world out there for a seeker…