Finding a good date. Finding a good job. Okay so they are both complete torture.
During the past year, I was searching for another full-time job, other than the one I had, but the extra special time came during the last 3 months where I was officially an unemployed, crap excuse for a human being (yes, it says so on my taxes) and I’m here to tell you that it is definitely worse than being single. HOWEVER – online dating and job searching are so similar – and in ways I would have never thought prior to this experience.
Self-representation on paper (online) and in-person are obviously sucky parts of both activities. No one likes to fill out the dreaded profiles / resumes / applications and conduct an endless search for perfection (unless she is a sadist), but that is a pleasure compared to other aspects of the process…
You feel crazy and stupid at all times. No matter what.
Whether it was the recruiter who called and e-mailed me about my application, but then never got back to me when I returned her call, or the potential manager who suggested we have a phone interview at a certain date and time and didn’t show up, I blamed myself. I must’ve misread text in black and white and actual messages saying that they wanted to talk to me, right?
Everyone ignores you.
Literally, all the time. They only called or e-mailed me with five minutes to spare about something highly important when I was in the shower, out socializing in a very loud place or even worse – waiting in a very quiet place, where phone use was prohibited. I also enjoyed showing up for two different, supposedly real-life interviews in which I was given the wrong floor or in one case, the completely wrong building to go to. Trying to be confident and focused (and not sweating profusely, in utter exhaustion / confusion) at that point is quite challenging.
Eye contact is probably worse than eye surgery.
And I’ve had both in the past year! And I’m mortified by eyeballs in general! Get jealous! And I’m not even referring to the job interviews where I was finally invited to enter the tangible office space to have a conversation with a real person. I’m referring to the modern Skype / Facetime / Google Hangout interview where I looked either too eager or completely insane at all times. I remember thinking that I wish I couldn’t see what I looked like while talking – it was horrifying. It’s like having to look at the face of a creepy guy who thought he was entertaining. Yuck.
You get judged.
And quite often you don’t know what you are getting judged for. It could be your crappy small talk about the weather, or the way you described your last meal was somehow offensive…WHO KNOWS? Not me. I definitely had that same kind of “WTF did I just say?” feeling during many blind dates, after either having someone laugh at me when I wasn’t trying to be funny or just nod along when I asked a question. Super comfortable.
People advise you to “enjoy the downtime” / “playing the field”
It’s like the people who have been married since they were toddlers explaining their plight of wanting to know what it feels like to be alone on a holiday…Ummm…I’m not going to enjoy being single and I’m not going to enjoy being unemployed. Unless I had zero desire to associate with other human beings while being independently wealthy and free to travel the world, I don’t see how that’s possible.
No follow-up, unless you have zero interest whatsoever.
I think that heading speaks for itself. Just a reminder that the people that I never wanted to interact with ever again in my life have always tried to stay in contact and “be friends.” This has included unbalanced stalkers, people with more time on their hands than I have (not sure how that’s possible) and people who think I have money to give them. It has never included a recruiter, headhunter or potential manager.