Job Offers and Bad Boyfriends.
One month ago I was dumped. And when I say dumped I mean he’s-just-not-that-into-you style. I simply did not see the signs, and before I could utter the words “wait, you’re making a mistake,” I was out on the street corner gripping my box of crap. That was the first time I’d ever been broken up with, and the shocking part was it wasn’t even by one of the crazy men I’ve encountered as a young adult. No, in fact it wasn’t a man at all. I was dumped by my first job out of college. I should probably warn you now that the next couple hundred words are filled with dating and job searching metaphors, so brace yourself.
Here I am 23 years old, with a master’s degree, living by myself in a big city, and I’ve just been laid off. Sure, I’m young and I’ll find somebody else, but I was also in the sweet spot of my relationship. I had been there a year, I was comfortable, and I was just beginning to plan my life around a future at the company. Then I got the whole: “it’s not you… it’s us… we’re changing… it’s just those changes don’t include you.” Fine. I get it. I’ll move on. The question is to what? The truth is, I haven’t been in many serious relationships, but I was beginning to feel like the last couple months of courting potential employers will suffice as quality relationship experience. To be honest, I can sympathize with the Bachelorette given the amount of “dating” I’ve done. And while I haven’t secured my next mate for life just yet, I’ve learned a thing or two about working the job market that any “single girl” should know. Here’s who’s out there ladies and here’s how to spot them.
The Hot Bad Boy
This is the definition of a bad boyfriend. They seem intriguing and different, and when they talk to you, you feel like there’s no one else on their mind. But then they don’t return your emails, or they say they will call you with an update but you’ll go days or weeks without hearing from them. All that time you’re furious, but also more and more attracted to them and find yourself checking your inbox every five minutes. We love what we can’t have. It’s human nature. And while in some rare cases these situations will work out to your advantage, it is very likely you will let your emotions get the best of you until you are politely turned down for another “more experienced” candidate. It’s normal to be eager about something new and exciting, but don’t get caught up in the thrill of the chase.
Sometimes you’re just not ready to get back in bed with another company. More often than not, an opportunity will arise that’s quick and easy, and fills the void you’re experiencing. In the long-term however, you won’t feel fulfilled with this situation, and it will ultimately hold you back from finding what you really want. Learn to spot this early. Take some time and really think about the opportunity and whether or not you’re doing it because its what you want, or because it’s just something to do.
The All-Too-Familiar Suitor
As much as you would like to think you’re old company is one-in-a-million, the reality is there are tons more where they came from, and they’re probably interested in YOU. And while we are sometimes attracted to what’s familiar, it’s important we break the pattern of settling for situations that ultimately don’t make us the happiest. Keep your eyes and ears open for red flags that come up during the interview process. For instance, maybe you didn’t like feeling micro-managed in your old position, and you get the feeling that they operate the same way at this new company. Play detective and ask very specific questions so you know what you’re getting into. The idea is making sure your next suitor has all the good qualities of your last relationship, but doesn’t remind you of all the times you vented to your girlfriends over a much needed after-work-cocktail.
The Bad Kisser with a Big Wallet
I’m not ashamed to say, I get dollar signs in my eyes sometimes when I look into a new opportunity. Money has a tendency to carry a huge influence on which company we choose to shack up with. My advice (in dating and job searching) is to make sure you like kissing them before they hand you a dime. Don’t let a number get in the way of finding something you are truly passionate about. At the end of the day, you have to wake up every morning and spend the day at this office, which is much easier when you’re in love with what you do. Before considering a salary offer, determine whether you’re passionate about the job itself.
Listen, no job (or man for that matter) is perfect, but there are ways to avoid putting yourself into another “he’s just not that into you” situation. Think carefully about the opportunities and offers on the table, keeping in mind that your ultimate goal is to feel fulfilled at a company that is equally thrilled to have you on board. There will be challenges along the way, but you’ll be more prepared for them if you have a solid foundation. That being said, I’m fully prepared to date around a bit longer. What is that saying? Oh yes, I guess I’ll have to kiss a few more frogs before I find my prince.