It has been said on more than one occasion that I act like “the man” in relationships. Well yes, that is true if you are referring to my fierce independence, my bullish arguing or my visceral abhorrence of all things Nicholas Sparks. But never have I ever had to be “the man” while dating. Well that has changed. I’m looking for a job. Like looking for love, it entails a great deal of courting and I happen to be dating several companies at the moment. Now if I was a girl, I could be considered an employment slut. But in this instance, I am “the man” and as such, getting around should make me a more desirable candidate. Except that it’s not. I look great on paper. I think I’m even better in person. I am still not getting any action. These companies are simply not putting out. It would seem that I am not particularly proficient at dating or job hunting.
Allow me to deconstruct.
The Pick Up
Using job search engines to submit resumes directly to your company of choice is like trying to pick up the most attractive girl at the bar. You see her across the room. She’s got everything you want. She’s also got everything that every other guy at the bar is looking for. She’s got a pulse on every dude in the room and you are lucky number 37. It really makes no difference how great a guy you are, how much money you make, whether you could make her laugh or whether you could make her truly happy. She’s not interested in hearing it. Sure, she’ll smile at you and bat her eyes. She may even chat you up for 30 minutes allowing you to believe you really stand a chance. She’ll lead you on long enough until you have spent all your money on drinks and are picturing your picket fence and two point five children. But at the end of the night, she’s giving you a fake number and going home with that guy her older brother went to college with.
Companies today have hundreds upon hundreds of applicants for any one position. You think your resume makes you a good fit? That’s laughable. You’ll apply, blind with hope and enthusiasm. You’ll put yourself out there and you’ll think you have a chance. What you don’t see is that you are number 37,000 in a towering stack of resumes collecting dust in Human Resources. And in the end, it won’t matter, because they are going to hire some sub-par suck up that has been working at the company for years longer than you.
You could try online dating instead. Get your foot in the proverbial door with Match, EHarmony, OKCupid. Like most web-based relationships, this one will start with some unsophisticated search based on the most general of details. You come across a pretty face. She’s got good stats and her profile is filled with deep quotes and funny movie quips. She’s the one, you know it. Eventually, after a sufficient amount of stalking, you’ll build up the confidence to message her. Her initial reaction will undoubtedly be “who is this guy and how did he find me?” But after a while she may contemplate messaging you back. And when she does it will be magical. It will be fun and easy. You will begin to see that picket fence again. What you don’t know is that she has a live-in boyfriend. She was just testing the online dating waters to give her ego a boost. And while you two really had a connection, at least you can still be friends, keeping tabs on each other knowing that this relationship is going absolutely nowhere. Nice one cowboy.
Match, EHarmony, OKCupid and LinkedIn may as well be the same site. This networking web hell is supposedly designed to help connect people to jobs. When all it really accomplishes is honing your stalking tendencies as they pertain to companies that you could only dream of working at while making you feel terrible about yourself because you only have 150 connections compared to the 827 of your good friend Joe. Ever tried messaging a 2nd degree connection? You are more likely to have pigs fly out of your ass then to get in touch with those people. Moving on…
The Set Up
Your friends will eventually take pity on you and begin to set you up. Call it a blind date or networking because it equates to basically the same thing. Your buddy Tim knows this great girl who has tons in common with you. He puts the two of you in contact via email – real romantic right? You and this mystery girl decide to meet for coffee, or dinner or drinks – all seemingly innocuous invitations. And you’ve got to love that you arrived 15 minutes early only to spend that time awkwardly staring at every chick that walks into the café. She enters and you are immediately either thrilled or disappointed. But regardless, you don’t bail, not yet. After all, Tim thinks she’s got potential, so you decide to smile and give it a shot. Of course then you spend the next two hours exchanging small talk, doing your best to feign interest all the while trying to imply that “No, no, no. I’m not looking for a sure thing tonight. I’m really just interested in getting to know you.” Don’t kid yourself. That picket fence is for the future. That booty you’re after is for tonight. Men are pigs. Admit it and you’ll be better off for it. But you should also just accept that on this particular evening you are going home alone.
In searching for a job you will spend countless hours meeting strangers over the phone or for coffee. You will spend the whole time in idle chit-chat pretending to truly care about the other’s likes and dislikes, their families and where they grew up. Try your best to be in the moment and ignore the enormous pink elephant sitting in the booth next to you. GET TO THE JOB ALREADY! You’re brain will shout this endlessly. But you never really get to that part do you? Soon the hour you had set aside will be over. You aren’t any closer to that paycheck but at least you made a great contact. Hope that keeps your bank account warm at night.
The Follow Up and The Give Up
Maybe the stars align and you get that first real, honest to goodness date. You’ve gone through all of the preliminary dog and pony show. This is a date. You pick her up, she wears something gorgeous; this is the real deal. The dinner goes great. You spend the evening sharing stories and laughing. She’s got a great laugh. Her eyes do that little sparkly thing when she looks at you. Suddenly there is that damn picket fence in your imagination again. At the end of the night you will walk her to her door. She’ll dig in her purse and fumble her house keys. Maybe you’ll go in for a kiss, or maybe a long hug giving just enough opportunity to cop a feel. Either way, when you turn back to your car you know that this is the one you have been waiting for. You want it so bad you can taste it. Still you will hold back. Being a strong man you will wait the obligatory three days before calling her back. After all you are a catch. You aren’t desperate. Well, you are, but we can’t let her know that. After three days you decide to text her something flirty. No response. A day or so later you message her on Facebook, thanking her for a wonderful evening and trying to set another date. Nothing. Now, in full desperation for closure you will call, text and email all within a span of 10 minutes. Radio silence. Apparently, she did not feel the magic. How can that be possible? She was sending all the signals! What kind of sick, twisted bitch leads you on that long? The one who’s hiring for a husband, that’s who. Sorry Tiger, maybe next time you’ll make the cut.
How many interviews will end up like this? The answer is all but one. You’re preparation is there. You will be dressed in your best. You will be at the top of your game. Interviewers may seem like your best friend, exchanging stories and laughs, but after their 30 minutes with you they are back at their desk working and you are but a distant memory. Ouch. And yet you leave the interview congratulating yourself on a job well done. Rushing home to send thank you notes, you start to plan what you will keep on your desk at your new job. You send those praises out into the either and, like that girl, the company will simply ignore you. They will ignore you until you go away or until someone actually has the time to send that cold, ill-written rejection letter. I don’t know about you but I’d take the letter any day. At least then you’d know.
All this comes out to being home alone on a Saturday night – or in the context of our conversation – home watching General Hospital on a Wednesday morning. Both are equally unattractive and neither is going to get you the wife or the paycheck for that picket fence. So to all you men out there – I have a newfound respect for you. Dating chicks takes thick skin and brass balls. Dating companies takes that and some. We may get kicked in the junk on a continual basis, but picket fence and corner office be damned, you can’t keep a good man down.