Dating and job hunting are both incredibly promising premises. The hope is that at the end of the day you’ll end up with your dream life, whether it’s a new dude or a new life. If you’re not proactive you could end up like Jessica Day in the deepest depths of her despair, unemployed and super single, jamming out to Taylor Swift while you live with a bunch of stranger danger roommates. Sure, her story has a happy ending, but if you’ve taken a look at Craigslist personals any time in the last decade you know that they’re creepy (whether you’re searching for a job or home). Whether you’re looking for both or once or none at all and hoping they’ll appear magically, here are the struggles that make job hunting and dating exactly the same.
You have to “put yourself out there.” While that sounds like advice that your drunk divorced aunt would give after too many martinis, it’s too, too real. For some people “putting yourself out there” might mean a low cut shirt and body glitter at a bar, or it might mean that you actually swipe around in the apps you have instead of ignoring them the same way you actively avoid looking at your bank statement. Same goes for LinkedIn creeping and networking events where you accidentally drink too much and don’t give out any business cards at all.
It’s seriously easy to experience FOMO. If you’re hunting for a boyfriend with serious Instagram potential, or a job that you can brag about on your blog, it’s easy to see what other people are doing and compare yourself. Maybe it seems like you’ve been applying on LinkedIn for centuries while your best friend from second grade is CEO of her own company, or like every first date you’ve been on lately has been with a maybe murderer while each day calls for another engagement announcement. Whatever the case may be, it’s far too easy to compare yourself to the folks on your social media feed (when the reality is that no one’s life is actually that fabulous without a filter).
You have to impress someone, even when you don’t feel up for it. Maybe you had a long day and just need a drink or five, but you’re set to go on a date and suddenly have to be entirely on. Same goes for an interview. You could’ve gotten lost on the subway and sat on by a manspreader, but you’re expected to suddenly be your best self and relate to another human person you may or may not have anything in common with.
Unfortunately, it’s probably not going to happen naturally. In your dream life, you fall in love with a stranger on the subway and everything is easy peasy lemon squeezy. Same goes for job opportunities — someone plucks you out of your subway street and suddenly you’re the next Lauren Conrad, paid to be your fabulous self regularly. That might be what happens to 1 in 1 million people, but you might have to actually work for it. Whether that means turning off your Netflix marathon and leaving your house to go to a bar where gentleman callers are or just applying to jobs on the weekend when you’d rather be sleeping, both require real effort.
It’s going to get awkward. It can be weird when you’re just getting to know somebody, and not just in the bedroom. There are all kinds of awkward encounters that come with first (and even second and third) dates. Is he going to kiss you? What if you go in for a hug and it’s not what he’s thinking? There’s lots of overanlyzing and oddness ands sometimes you’re left searching for conversation. Both scenarios leave you recapping your resume in different ways.
You never know what to expect. If you’re going on a blind date with someone your friend is convinced you’ll absolutely love, you can Facebook stalk for days and still be in for the surprise of your life when you realized you missed his bald spot and the fact that you tower over him. You can read up on a company and interviewer for days, but you might not actually have anything in common once you meet IRL. After all, it’s far too awkward if you don’t know what the person will look like (whether it’s a suitor or a suit), and you don’t want to be lurking while they look for you.
It’s probably going to happen online. In college it seemed like you could step outside your dorm room and suddenly fall on someone’s lips and have a new guy. In real life, it’s probably going to happen on the internet. When you were little you probably thought online dating meant men in their mother’s basement, but now you and everyone you know are on at least one app. Same goes for internet job sleuthing. Whether LinkedIn or MediaBistro is your site of choice, you spend the majority of your time perusing your options.
You don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard. It’s hard to buy a ridiculously expensive new dress that you know you’ll be paying off for the next couple of generations when you don’t know if it will help get you the guy or the gig. You don’t want to wear something that’s wrong — after all, if you end up at a chic aF bar and you’re in your work dress it could get weird, and if you interview in a business suit and they’re all in jeans you’ll spend the entire time hoping an invisibility cloak will appear. At the same time, dropping mega dollars on an outfit for an event that doesn’t have a guaranteed outcome can seem kind of overwhelming.
It’s hard not to get your hopes up. If you think your interview or date actually went well for once, it’s easy to start getting way ahead of yourself and imagining your future. You start planning a new outfit for your new office lifestyle and a new ring for your upcoming marriage, only to not actually hear back in either case. You have to force yourself to stop obsessing, because no matter how much time you spend overanalyzing you can’t change the outcome.
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