Dating : Searching for the One

h2>Dating : Searching for the One

Picture this: it’s about 8:30 on a Sunday night. You’re mentally preparing for the work week ahead; you’re somehow already exhausted, cuddled up on the couch, online, searching, reading, responding. You skim through, trying to quickly size them up — there’s only a few more minutes until Game of Thrones comes on so you’ve got to be quick. You’re wondering if you’ll be compatible. Is this what you want, do you share the same values, is this a worthwhile next step, are you looking for something long-term, or just a bandaid?

This could easily be the scene of two ordeals that we go through, and that I find myself very well versed in: dating and job hunting. After some extensive personal experience, let me tell you, if you’re good at one, you’re probably good at the other.

You have that gnawing feeling in the back of your mind, and you know that you need a change. You’re no longer challenged or stimulated. You’re pillaging through open jobs, swiping left and swiping right, conducting endless Google searches to find the top-rated companies on Glassdoor for work/life balance. You read job description after job description, bullet point after bullet point. You keep a running spreadsheet of all the positions you’ve applied to with the dates on the far left column, title in the middle, and company on the right. You wear it as a badge of accomplishment. You screenshot every other posting and send it your friend; “How does this one look?” Typing, searching, reading. They all start to look the same.

How many times have you put yourself out there? The list is almost too long to count. It’s overwhelming and exhausting, and every time, you need to pretend like you didn’t just answer the same questions yesterday. You scan your ever-growing spreadsheet, your badge of honor and armor all in one. Have you heard back from about that job you were really excited about? Sometimes it just feels like you’re sending messages into a black box, never to be heard from again — are they interested too? What did they not like about you? It’s probably your best bet to eat that $30 monthly charge for LinkedIn Premium to allow for maximum sleuthing of hiring managers and recruiters. As you sit in your dark bedroom, your face only illuminated by your screen, you wonder what people possibly did before the internet.

You’re at your desk when your phone vibrates. Startled, you pull out your phone and see a notification. You swear your heart just skipped a beat. You read the message over and over again. As if they can see you through the phone, you quickly lock the screen. You wait, thinking you need to play it cool. You can’t let them know how interested you are; it could end up looking desperate. You tell yourself to wait one full hour until you reply and keep the exclamation points and fluffy language to a minimum. You respond with your availability over the next couple of days. You don’t want to seem too available. They respond, and the time is set. Here’s hoping you don’t get ghosted again. Luckily, the interview does happen, and after your call they invite you to come onsite for another interview — “How about next Tuesday?” You say, “Sounds good,” with a period at the end.

You’re walking in, reviewing your past experiences in your head, making sure you have some questions in your back pocket. You think of every possible question you researched online and make sure you have your answers ready: you’ll do anything to avoid the dreaded awkward silence — it always throws off the whole mood. You adjust your outfit before walking in the door, wondering if maybe a blue shirt would have been a better option. As you meet with person after person on the interview panel, you remind yourself: “Eye contact, smile, listen, don’t rush to answer, take your time, breathe.” As you leave, you look around, trying to imagine yourself there, with these people. You wonder, could I be happy here? Is this long-term or just a bandaid?

It’s been two days since you met. You’re checking your phone every few minutes, thinking that you could probably summon a message with your nervous energy. You felt like everything went pretty well, you had decent chemistry with everyone, you had good answers, but maybe there was another candidate with more experience, maybe you are just actually the worst and should really just move to a far off-land and start a wombat sanctuary. After three days you finally hear back — they’ve extended an offer to someone else, but they want to still keep in touch if something else comes up. They always say that. Surely the right one is out there, just a search away…

Dating and job hunting are each rooted not only in a positive first impression, but also in calculated communications, both in content and in cadence. It’s about the micromovements, the facial expressions, the body language, the ease of conversation. When it comes down to it, sometimes it just feels like the universe lining up: two people being in the same place at the same time, each of you wanting the same thing.

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