Don't fall in love too fast... with a job
Dating and job searching have a lot of similarities.
After the first date, we have a tendency to fall in love really quickly. This is especially true for women.
After just one movie or dinner, we start to envision what it would be like to move in together, what our kids would look like and how nice it would be to grow old together.
(Surely, I am not the only one who does this!!!).
The same thing happens with a job interview.
After just one interview, we start to think about our daily commute, what kind of lunch they serve in the office cafeteria, what our business cards will look like and how soon we can be promoted.
In short, we fall in love too quickly.
In both dating and in our careers, this can be disastrous.
Falling in love too quickly with a potential partner or spouse has obvious dire consequences. You could jump into a relationship before you really know each other or take big leaps like moving in together without talking about the future.
When it comes to a new job, the outcome can also be devastating.
Falling in love with a company (or the “idea” of a company) can make us overlook obvious red flags during the recruitment process (such as poor reviews on Glassdoor or a manager who won’t stop staring at our breasts).
It may also reduce our negotiating power. If we’ve already created a picture in our minds of what our future career will look like at this company, it may be harder to act rationally when we get the job offer – particularly if the offer doesn’t meet our expectations.
Our romanticized ideal of the job/company (or romantic partner!) causes us to lower our standards. I’ve seen it happen one time too many. In fact, it’s happened to me!
I won’t bore you with tales of my woeful ex-boyfriends and failed relationships. But I’ve definitely jumped in feet first to relationships and jobs that weren’t right for me.
For example, a friend referred me to a great role at a small company. On the surface, it had everything I was looking for: a leadership position, a different industry, less red tape, and more autonomy. But their Glassdoor ratings were terrible. They even had specific themes about poor management and lack of confidence in the CEO. Ignoring my own advice, I joined anyway. Within months, many of the themes mentioned anonymously online became glaringly obvious. I left a short time later.
My rational mind was clouded by my emotional one. I had fallen in love with the idea of the role and ignored the red flashing warning lights!
So how can you avoid the cold, hard disappointment of being ghosted, fired or on the receiving end of a “It’s not you, it’s us” email from HR? Read on for 3 tips on how to protect your heart and your career.
#1 Keep your options open Just like dating, you need to keep your options open when it comes to job searching. Make sure you have many irons in the fire. Swipe right on more companies that could potentially be a fit for you,
particularly if you are at the beginning of your search. Having more conversations and applications on the go will make you seem more desirable to a potential suitor or hiring manager. Plus, speaking to a lot of companies has the added benefit of helping you determine what you are really looking for out of your next role, the type of company culture you want and the steps you need to take to get there. As I’ve said before, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince
#2 Create your BATNA One of the most useful classes during my MBA was called “Effective Negotiation.” There, I learned about the concept of BATNA: your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. When it comes to job searching, the most impactful BATNA is to have another job offer. Of course, that is easier said than done. Unless you are in an extremely hot job market or have a skill set that is in high demand, it is rare to be balancing two job offers at once. The next best alternative to having another job offer is to be actively interviewing and to be perceived as being in high demand. You can create this environment for yourself by keeping your options open (per tip #1).
Creating your BATNA is a little bit easier when it comes to dating since apps like Tinder and Bumble make meeting new dates easy and painless. You can date many people at the same time until you find the person that shares the same values and goals. Creating that atmosphere of desirability and playing “hard to get” has the effect of making your date chase you even more.
#3 Use data Knowledge is power. Gather data about your target companies by using sites like Glassdoor, Comparably and MaiMai. These sites allow employees to anonymously review their workplace and input helpful data points like salary and interview tips. But a healthy warning that although these sites are useful, they should not be used in isolation. Since the reviews are anonymous, they may not be 100% accurate. However, it’s likely that you’ll see some consistent themes emerge about the company’s culture. And you’ll have more information than you did before you started your research.
Similarly with dating, there is a huge amount of information you can glean about potential partners by using social media. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and dating apps are all of the usual data sources. However, with dating, sometimes it’s better to do less research rather than more. You don’t want your date to think you are a stalker or to remove all of the fun and surprise out of a new relationship by liking and following everything on your date’s social media feeds. With dating research, less is more!
So next time you find yourself falling head over heels for a company or potential romantic suitor, take a step back and plant your feet firmly on the ground. Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement. Do everything you can to keep your options open, create a compelling BATNA and use data and research to inform your decisions. Don’t fall in love too fast! If you follow these tips, you’ll find the job, company and partner that you deserve.
To hear more of my thoughts about the similarities between dating and job searching, check out my article “Looking for love/job in all the wrong places.”