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Dates, Job Search and Getting Hit By Lightning

On Valentine’s Day, everyone who don’t have a partner tends to be a little obsessive (and possibly desperate) about finding a mate. As most of us know, nobody wants to be with someone who comes off as needy. You kind of wonder what’s wrong with that person. You don’t want someone who you expect is going to suck the life out of you because you will embody the answer to that person’s prayers and make life complete.

I’ve recently had come conversations with Greg Halpen (The Gay Guy’s Love Coach), and we were talking about the similarities in the type of work we do. This conversation reminded me of how I talk to a lot of people about looking for a job, and that it’s a lot like dating. You’ve got someone who’s looking for a job, and someone who has a need. It’s about making the match.

I like to say that most people think that job search (like dating) is like baking a cake: you follow the directions and in the end you come out with cake. Obviously, life doesn’t work that way. You can do all the right things, and you still can come up with a gloppy mess.

The analogy that I like to use is that getting a job (or finding a mate) is more like getting hit by lightning. You can’t make it happen, but you can put yourself in a situation where it is more likely to happen.

The conditions that you can effect are threefold: being in the right place, having the right conditions in place, and being there at the right time.

  1. Being in the Right Place: Well, where do you want to be?  There are lots of great places in the (work) world.  What’s perfect for you might be a bad place for others.  Figure out where you want to be, and then hang around that place.  If you want to work in the film industry, go to the place where all the film people hang out (e.g. film festivals, workshops, professional associations, etc.)  If you’re looking for an athletic partner, go to someplace where there are active people you’re attracted to.
  2. Having the Right Conditions in Place: For the job search, you need to know what the position is that you want, know what the hiring manager needs for someone in that position, and make sure that the manager knows you have those skills.  Don’t know what the job title is? Don’t know who the hiring managers are (or the people they know)? Don’t know what skills are necessary for that position? Don’t know what you have that would convince the hiring manager that you’ve got what’s needed in the job? Well, you better do your research and find out.  Once you find out, better figure out how to make sure the people in the know know that you are one of them.As for dating, do you know what you’ve got that others think is cute, sexy, attractive, etc.? Better figure that out and start showing it off.
  3. Be There at the Right Time: When’s the right time? You never know.  When will they have a new client and need more help? When will that employee announce she’s moving across the country and they need a replacement?  When will the man of your dreams be attending your friend’s birthday party? Damned if I know.  This is why it’s so difficult.  This is why you need to have the other two attributes in place.  Hang around the places you want to be, and make sure everyone knows what you have to offer (either as a potential employee or a potential date).

This takes some thinking and planning, but if you do it right, you’ll always be there at the time when someone is thinking “So, who do we know whom I’d want to work with?” or conversely “Who do you think would be a good match for Dan?”

And as a side note, don’t appear desperate in either situation.  Be happy where you are now, and others will be attracted to your magnetism and charm, and they will want to be around you.  Confidence is attractive!

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  1. Robert Szczepanski

    Thanks for sharing this, Ken. It applies to so many parts of life — including home buying! I’ve been shopping for a home in a particular neighborhood and employing some very similar practices. And, of course, everything is unfolding quite nicely. By spending time in this neighborhood, for example, shopping at nearby stores, buying coffee, going on walks, I’ve met people who have led me closer to my new home. The most recent acquaintance I met shared some encouraging news with me. There is a couple moving from one of the properties that I am interested in due to a job offer in a larger city. And, well, they are interested in selling. And, I am interested in buying. It all seems to be aligning so far — I’ll keep you updated as it unfolds further.

  2. resonare


    I agree completely. The more I work in this field, the more I realize that these skills are applicable to many areas. It’s what I did when I was looking for my apartment a few years ago.

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