In the spirit of Valentine’s Day being this week, I’m going to go on a little love journey of emotions. I’ve been tapping into my inner poet lately, channeling the greats like Robert Burns who said, “my love is like a red red rose,” and just mulling over what that means. The more I think about it, the more I’m realizing a new comparison about love that is much more applicable to 20-somethings living in the 21st century. Prepare to be poetically intrigued: love is like a serious job hunt.
Now this isn’t just some silly simile I have randomly created. Rather, I have been searching for internships for about a month while also trying my luck in the dating world and I have realized some scary similarities. Any way you slice it, landing a job and starting a relationship are practically identical.
Just think of the vapid cliché parents tell their kids when they’ve had their heart broken, “there are plenty of other fish in the sea.” This is very true, there are 7 billion people on the planet, so it’s likely that you are going to find someone to eventually spend your life with. But guess what, you go onto job posting sites and it feels essentially the same. By that I mean it feels totally overwhelming.
Now maybe you have a certain type of person you look for in a significant other; similarly, you probably have a certain type of job you are looking for when you start your process. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every person or every job that fits that type is perfect for you. If perfection was that easy to come by then there would be no reason for life at all, someone has to throw a wrench into the plan along the way. The wrench in this scenario is finding a person or job that you have a connection with beyond a first glance. This means you might have to go out on dates with multiple people who fit your type, and in the workplace world, it means pouring over Linkedin for hours, whittling down the kind of job you want, maybe saving a couple jobs that really caught your eye or make your heart flutter.
Now that you’ve tested the water, and you have some potential candidates, emotions come in to complicate everything. You start to feel more strongly for someone or one job in particular, so much so that you would do anything in the world to just have them or it be yours. You know what this feeling is? It’s vulnerability, and it is terrifying. You are willing to let your guard down for that person to see the true you, or for that cover letter to exemplify who you are as a person. Suddenly, the question “why are you interested in this job” makes you think about your entire history and what you need in a source of employment. Have you been trapped in a job that is dragging you down? Have you been floating from job to job trying to fill a void but in actuality you just need stability? Or have you been second-guessing yourself throughout your career because you are afraid of commitment? If these questions sound familiar, it’s because you’ve probably thought about them in regards to your dating life and trying to find that perfect someone.
Now that you’ve answered the tough questions, you have probably become emotionally invested to the point where no other job matters. You’ve spent so much time crafting the perfect resume and cover letter, because this job only deserves perfection, but then you worry about one crippling factor— rejection. You have poured your heart and soul into this application, but at what cost? It could all be for nothing, the company might not feel the same way about you. But you can’t let that shadow of doubt deter you, you have to put on your grownup pants, lay your heart on the line, and send in that application. You are committing to this one job (okay, maybe you have some back up plans, which does not mirror the dating world hopefully) with the intentions of earning an interview.
If you are still reading this then I thank you for sticking with this analogy. It makes sense in my eyes at least in that finding love and finding a job both take a lot of dedication. You can’t expect to throw together a sloppy resume and send it in all willy-nilly and get a job, much like you can’t really half-ass it in a relationship if you want it to work. The main take-away for me is just that both processes require time, persistence, and a whole lot of heart. But in the end, if you do it right, it should be completely worth it.