I don’t know about you, but the top two problems I hear about among friends, coworkers and any other social groups of a typical college-aged student are that of relationships and the oh-so-ominous future; aka, dating and jobs. If these tend to be the two biggest problems for us millennials, what’s the connection between the two? Is finding a job like dating?
Well, maybe. That seems like an appropriate answer for a confused almost-recent graduate, right? Finding a job can be like dating because you’re not necessarily looking for the be-all-and-end-all perfect match on your first try. That would be ideal, for some people, but you know that it’s mostly practice, expanding your skills, “building your resume,” if you will. Then you’re ready to go for the top-dollar, top choice that has mostly excellent compatible qualities with a few downsides that you can deal with for the sake of the bigger picture.
Both are even prevalent on the Internet and social media sites. Aside from the usual Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there are a number of websites and even smartphone applications that exist for the sole purpose of helping people find someone to “date,” depending on how you may define the word. And then there are the professional job-match sites, like LinkedIn and the recently introduced Collegefeed, which not only exists to set up recent college graduates with appropriate and accessible entry-level jobs, but the co-founder and chief executive himself even compared job searching to dating. In these professional job-finding websites, you create a profile demonstrating your skills and relevant activities and accomplishments that put out a good first impression of you, much like a dating website might.
But can’t we argue that dating is a little more personal than finding a job? Well, the obvious answer is yes, but let’s look at why. Once you’ve succeeded in being matched with a good job (made a good first impression), have passed the interview process (made it to the “second date”), and started working (entered a long-term relationship with possible expectations of commitment in the future), you can’t really relax your presentation of your best self and your confidence in your skills and qualities, because you risk being released and replaced with someone else. Of course, the same could be said for dating, but oftentimes in personal relationships, romantic or platonic, revealing insecurities and vulnerabilities can make a relationship stronger, deeper, and more likely to last.
Of course, not everyone has a uniform idea of what dating and relationships should be like or whether they even have to achieve something, whether dating is a means to an end or a fun activity, an issue of stress and terror or of excitement and relaxation. And even if you do have in mind a certain path you want to follow, it might not play out how you would expect. That can be said of both dating and job searching.
In fact, I would say more and more people tend to be finding a “unique” path, whether in dating or career-building, rather than the cut-and-dry expectations of yesterday, whether it be college to medical-school, then residency to job, or first meeting to first date, then relationship to marriage. After all, aren’t innovations like CollegeFeed something that people would have never expected to use, even five years ago? Sometimes the old, tried methods will only work for the lucky few these days and you have to carve out your own path more often than not, whether in personal relationships or professional endeavors. Maybe that will be the mark of our generation: trailblazers. Maybe? I kind of like that.
Karam Johal is a fourth-year women’s studies major. She can be reached at email@example.com.