Dating Show Advice That’s Applicable to Your Job Search
I’m not a Bachelor fan, but I stumbled across the self-proclaimed first American-style Korean reality dating show Single’s Inferno, and I can’t quit it. In brief, a group of young Korean men and women are ‘stranded’ on a deserted island while they search for ‘love’ from the island’s other residents. It has most of the worst aspects of other not-so-great programs of this ilk, but it is an interesting window into the world of how people in another culture view dating. Some of the usual superficial aesthetic preferences the contestants might mention on other dating shows appear, but others were very different (for example, “cat-faced” was a new term to me and viewed as a positive).
More interesting to me though was how often workplace-type language was used to highlight the positives. For example, being a “team-player” in supporting the creation of the first dinner or demonstrating “leadership skills” in ensuring that hydration was possible (!) were terms outside the realm of the typical in America, where suitability is more likely measured by the fit of a swimsuit or the number of “packs” on the 8-pack.
In truth, there are some lessons from dating shows that we would be wise to deploy in our pursuit of work, aside from the obvious that too much alcohol tends to lead to regrets.
Here are a few that fit whether you are competing in the pursuit of work, or love.
- I am not (or will appear to be) desperate
- I know what I want
- I have healthy skepticism
You’re welcome. Now, let’s do this.
I am not (or will appear to be) desperate
I remember this oddity from my single days, when I went out to a bar or party eager to meet someone, I would have no luck. But if I was indifferent or in the midst of a relationship, people would approach me.
When it comes to having a job, you need to think, “I have options.”
You do indeed have options. If you simply wanted to get any job, you could. You are deciding what is a right fit for you. Knowing that you are a smart, capable person who is looking for the right fit for themselves (and to make sure that the employer also finds their right person to do this job) is crucial. Some people, although I’m sure, never you, misinterpret this as an excuse to be haughty. I’ve seen this go very bad a number of times. Never show disdain. Know that both parties should have their needs met, and this is a process to make that happen.
I don’t fall in love that quickly. The early stage of the hiring or dating process has so many possibilities. However, too much certainty too early can make the other party question your judgement. Be enthusiastic but talking about the number of children you will have together, or about your retirement party from the company in 30 years sounds like you have gotten far ahead of yourself. Be patient and curious.
I know what I want
It may be unfair to write about self-knowledge in the context of putting yourself on a dating show. The shows are less about thoughtful judgment than the thirst for short-term celebrity. But ideally, in a dating context, you do want to put yourself in the venues where you are most likely to meet with success.
In the role/person I want. In the world of dating shows you see people who are seeking fun/marriage meet up with people who are looking for the exact opposite which gets them eliminated quickly. If you are applying/interviewing for a role that features inputting data or testing UX, and then you discuss your love of public speaking, you will likely not last in the candidate pool. Nor should you have probably applied.
I ask questions (and listen to answers). I have heard both from employers and daters how unprepared and disinterested their prospect came across. You should always come in with some questions showing you want to know more about the role or the person. AND this one goes out to men seeking work or love: Listening makes a huge difference, in both cases. Your inattentiveness and self-centeredness may leave you without a job or romantic partner. Asking intelligent questions based on what you heard always serves you well. It might also lead you to be no longer interested, which is also fine because as was noted above, you have options.
I have healthy skepticism
People can say lovely things over the course of a courtship or an interview, and simultaneously they might be hiding, or lack self-knowledge about, their nature.
It’s best to put words aside and judge a prospect by their actions. If someone tells you they want to settle down with someone and raise a family, but they’re in their mid-30s and have previously only dated people in their early twenties who aren’t looking for a long-term relationship, that raises a question. When your prospective employer mentions their “amazing culture” that is “family friendly”, you might ask to speak with someone who works there with younger children. You might ask about the policies in place or speak to former staff. Ultimately, they are giving you their interpretation of what is true. It’s best to figure things out for yourself if they really matter to you.
Great. I’m glad I was able to sort out your professional and dating struggles in one fell swoop. If you don’t end up with a job you love, at least I hope you end up happy in love.
—Russ Finkelstein [linkedin.com] is the opposite of your High School Guidance Counselor. A career coach, social entrepreneur and advisor to founders, he is currently the Director of Coaching with the Roddenberry Fellowship, Coach-in-Residence with StartingBloc Fellowship and a Co-Founder of Title8 a Legal Marketplace. He was a founder of the noted careers website Idealist.org and was chosen as a Generation Z Influencer by LinkedIn.