Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A new way to "date"

Sunday night, I found myself curled up on the couch and having an ugly cry. Snuggled up next to me were both cats as well as Grey, hugging me tightly as I vented all my frustration with the job hunting process. What triggered this breakdown was being 2 weeks out from my last interview and having no response about my status for this position. Wiping away angry tears, Grey whispered "Babe, you've got to let this one go. Don't let it get to you." The only reply I had for him was that this whole process was one giant reminder as to why I loathed dating so much. My teenage self reemerging as I was dealing with rejection all over again.

I found myself reflecting back on Sunday night after I got the official rejection letter on Monday. Instead of tears of frustration, I found myself surprisingly sober as I research how to respond to these CEOs and prepared to send out a couple more pain letters. There's so much similarity between dating and the job hunting process it's a bit eerie. And because of it I'm finding I'm once again forced to tackle existing demons surrounding self-worth and how I perceive myself in the world. And reassessing what it means to fail.

Over the past few months, I've begun picking Grey's brain to figure out how he hunts for jobs given that he's been fairly successful recently. Part of what he's got going for him is that he's now considered a "known" in the industry world. His name is now attached to some well-known firms and his managers are also well respected, adding weight to his credibility. But another thing that comes up is how Grey approaches the whole process. He's gotten very good at using any rejection or no as a networking opportunity and he also has figured out how to find the opportunities he knows will be a good fit for him. In other words, he avoids the usual "dating pools" (think speed dating, bars,, etc) as the likelihood he'll come out with something that interests him is a lot less likely and instead follows the sources and networks that are aligned with his interests. And he's also taken an approach of internalizing the "it's not you, it's me" response from those who have rejected him. In his eyes, if they don't want to work with him, then it is either not a good match or their loss.

All of this is completely contrary to how I've approached dating in the past. I remember my younger self obsessing about a potential love interest, worrying that somehow I came off has not likable or worthy of dating. Causal dating was never in the cards as I really was focused on the end goal (and hence why I really didn't date). Looking back, I see so many bad relationships where I should have run in the other direction. Guys that treated me awfully mainly because I gave them permission to do so. It's all the more reason Grey is so special, but also it reflects a pattern of how I've approached so many relationships in my life. Jobs included.

The truth is, I was very unhappy in my last position. Hearing now about the hours my former coworker works (10 pm nightly is the norm, with her rarely seeing her family during the week) leaves me shuddering. It would be one thing if this experience would have opened doors or created future opportunities, but like most toxic jobs the track-record is one where very few do (and those that do usually do so through a ugly divorce process). Being able to admit to myself that not having my contract renewed was actually a blessing is very odd. Admitting that I deserved better is even odder.

All of this has lead to some interesting changes recently. First is allowing myself to grieve the loss of what could have been. But then instead of dwelling and picking apart all I did wrong to lose an opportunity, I'm spending time focusing on what I learned. With this recent rejection letter, Grey pointed out that they want to keep my resume on file and to stay in touch. Today I need to test those waters to see if future opportunities would be possible. In addition, I've been getting bold and reaching out to people I previously would have seen as untouchable. I'm also cherry-picking for what positions I'm applying for. Will this opportunity actually allow me to meet my long-term goals? Because if I can't honestly answer that, then the application is being done in desperation. And no one likes to be the friend with benefits.

So I'm learning a new way to navigate this process. Dating like a guy, so to speak. All the while quieting the voice in the back of my head where I'm second-guessing all the boldness of assuming that I deserve to enjoy what I do for a living.


  1. This is such a useful and interesting post. Sorry that things didn’t work out for this job but I get the sense that playing the long game might get you the best job eventually. How awesome that Grey is able to counsel you!

  2. Don't second guess! That's an awesome way of approaching the 'dating' process and learning from what works for your husband.

    One thing I've learnt from the job-hunting of last year is to not hesitate to
    use your network and build connections that way. I used to be so wary of that but less so these days.

    On a side bar, I'm going out on a limb and generalizing a bit but I think guys are better at internalizing the 'its not you, its me' line. At leasy my Hubby also is.

  3. This is such an apt analogy -- dating vs. the job search. And I am really bummed that you didn't get the other position but YES everyone deserves to be happy with their work. You chose a field that makes you excited and happy. That is the best kind of worker. I also snorted at "dating like a guy." Yes, whereas I take it all so personally, I've seen guys go through the same thing and just shrug about it.

  4. Sounds like Grey has given you some pretty good advice. I was always lousy at networking; I think some people have a natural gift for it while the rest of us have to work at it a little more. It might take a while, but I have no doubt you will find a job that's a great fit for you, eventually!

  5. I'm sorry you're having to work through this process of finding a job - definitely tough. I love the parallel you draw between dating and the process of finding a job. It's true, and rejection stings no matter what source it comes from.

    I hope that you're able to find a job that really works for you soon.


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