You meet online. They're looking, you're looking. You stumble across each other's profile. Someone sends the first message. You're clever and cordial, with some whimsy and boastful excitement. But not pompous, never pompous. You exchange digits and set up a time to chat. You talk about your dreams and desires. You laugh. Then you set up a time to meet, dun dun dun, in person. You seal the deal! Things are going so well they introduce you to more people, their people. Then, there's a bold move...
Do you want the job?
Am I crazy or is the process of finding a job strangely similar to finding a date? As far as the mechanisms are concerned, is there even a difference between the way in which we approach online dating and job searching?
When it comes to our careers, we're hungry to find the right fit; scouring job board after board, LinkedIn profile after profile, deciding whether to respond to this recruiter or that one. We're taking calls and applying on company websites. We're invested, yet strategic, always on the search for...could there be something better?
The "grass is always greener" is the same mentality that motivates us to obsessively check Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid for the perfect specimen to appear. (Don't lie). Swiping has become an ingrained pastime, kind of like Candy Crush when it first came out. We're doing it on MUNI, BART, in Lyfts, in the never-ending checkout line at Trader Joe's, on the toilet, even waiting at the bar for your date to show up.
In San Francisco, the tech hub of the world, it's not unheard of for recruiters to bite. Ravenous creatures they are, searching for their next commission. They find you, message you, call you, nag you. I even got called about the same role 10 times in one day by 10 different recruiters! I started answering the phone like "Is this about X company? I'm not interested."
Seem familiar? It's quite reminiscent of the persistent push notifications from Bumble that go "You have a match about to expire!" Or Hurry! It's your last chance EVER to message this person that could be your soulmate, you can't go one more minute without saying hello!
While finding a date may technically be faster, the trials and tribulations of online dating and online job dating- if you will-are becoming more alike. The problems I've had with dating are the same I've had with my job search. It's not that I can't get a guy to swipe or a company to request an interview. The thing is, and I know this might sound crazy, but I want to actually like the person. I've gone on dates with nice guys-interesting, intellectual, a gentleman even-but I could tell there would be no umph, no chemistry, no desire.
I don't want to settle. I don't want to be in a role where I'm not making an impact, where I'm not growing or being challenged or discovering or honing my craft or exploring newness.
So I keep looking, not satisfied and refusing to settle. And now, I'm finding myself doing the same dance when it comes to the job hunt. I don't want to settle. I don't want to be in a role where I'm not making an impact, where I'm not growing or being challenged or discovering or honing my craft or exploring newness. I don't want to settle for a lack of passion, whether that's a person or a job. I want the damn fireworks-the whole enchilada.
Is it so bad to want to love your job? To want to be doing something you're proud of, creating something, making some kind of difference, every single day?
A former coworker of mine told me that I'm living in "lala land."
"You think I do something interesting every day?" he asked, "...do something that I'm super proud of? No. Maybe once a week."
I say to hell with that.
Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I'm idealistic. Maybe I'm living in a fantastical lala land and I need to wake up and smell the sweet scent of my bank account rapidly dwindling and realize that this is not passion project time in school. This is life.
Sure, that cues the cliche response: work isn't all fun and rainbows. That's why it's called work.
But riddle me this, if you're permitted to be picky with who you love or date or marry or have a baby with or snapchat with every other weekend, then why can't we be picky in our jobs? Why, at a certain point, do people encourage us to just take the offer. Why are we complacent when they say, it's okay if you don't have your dream job right now, it will come, or you can look for something better while you accept this role. Why don't they ever say: if you don't love it, move on. There's plenty of fish in the sea.
We're so picky when it comes to love, and we're so accepting of that pickiness. Perhaps it's part of our history to say work sucks and it's just a way to pay the bills, but it's also part of our history to have arranged marriages and to not get a divorce, and that didn't stop us from turning that system on its head. If job searching and love searching are so similar in form and practice these days, maybe the employment seeking world should take some cues from the love one and stop settling for just a half like. Cause what's the point of that?