The Nine Stages Of Job-Hunting and Soulmate Searching (part i)
Looking for a job is like looking for a girlfriend. Or boyfriend. Or transsexual friend, if that’s the way you swing. Knowing you, that’s totally the way you swing. But I digress.
Looking for a job is like looking for a girlfriend. There are stages which one goes through when job-hunting that are eerily similar to those experienced when searching soulmates. This is something of a recent discovery for me, as I went through the dizzying highs, terrifying lows, and creamy middles, of applying for a dream job.
First, a quick aside. When I say “dream job,” it should be pretty clear I’m not applying to become the first-line center for the Toronto Maple Leafs (hardly a dream job at this juncture in time), nor am I applying to become the fourth Beastie Boy. I’m talking more in the realm of realistic and obtainable jobs, marrying professional and personal interests in a complementary corporate culture at a successful and desirable organization. For some people, this entails working at a bank. For others, it entails working for a beer company. For me, at this particular time in my life, it was the chance to work for Google.
Before stumbling upon the job posting for Google, I was “job-hunting,” to use a dreaded term. Hunting for potential jobs is much like hunting for potential mates. To try and better my chances of employment in my field, I attended conferences and seminars related to my industry. I met people whom I’d followed on Twitter and LinkedIn, and introduced myself to countless others, all in the hopes of meeting someone who would consider calling me in for an interview.
Searching for the perfect boy or girl is much the same. You attend interesting social events in the hopes of meeting a member of the opposite sex to whom you’re attracted. You’ve met people online through Twitter or Facebook, and now approach them nervously in real life, hoping they ask for your number (or Twitter handle) to hang out in the future.
Stage 2: Guarded Optimism
I actually don’t recall how I found out Google was hiring in Toronto, though I’m pretty sure someone tweeted about it. Nevertheless, as soon as I saw the posting, I jumped at the chance. Never thinking it would actually work out, I gathered my courage, updated my resume, and reached out to them. In the back of my head, I quietly expounded upon the possibilities of working for Google. “It’s like playing for the Yankees,” I thought to myself. I was excited, but reserved.
Excited but reserved – the feeling of meeting someone for the first time and sensing an instant attraction. You size her up and quickly determine whether you’d get along with that person and to what degree. Once you’ve decided that she potentially suits you as a mate (or a lover… ooh la la), you get that feeling. You know… that feeling. In the back of your head, you quietly expound upon the possibilities of being with this person: What would it be like to touch them, feel them, taste them…
Stage 3: The First Contact
Google emailed me on a Friday morning to say they’re interested in speaking with me over the phone. I was elated, until realizing I had only received the email that morning, though it had actually been sent one week earlier. I was devastated. A wave of stress crashed over me as I scrambled to reply, hoping that waiting a week didn’t ruin my chances. To make matters worse, I use Gmail… so it was as if Google had cost me a job with Google. After a few days with no response, I emailed them a second time explaining why I had waited a week to reply the first time. They replied within four minutes, letting me know they were still interested, and we set up a time.
Nervous. Elated. Devastated. Relived. That’s your cycle of emotions as you call the girl you really like for the first time. You’re nervous before calling, and elated when the call goes well. Then you go back and replay the conversation in your head, and realize you said something so ridiculous and so stupid, you wouldn’t be surprised if she never called back. Then… a call back. Your potential mate didn’t even realize you had said anything remotely odd, and looks forward to meeting you for a date. Score.
Stage 4: The First Date
My next contact with Google was a phone conversation with an HR recruiter based in Mountain View, CA, home to the Google compound. We spoke casually on the phone for 45 minutes or so, as I walked her through my resume and professional career to that point. I cracked a few jokes but remained slightly guarded. I felt it went well, and she let me know that if I met certain qualifications, I’d be contacted for a second interview. I was nervous but confident.
You pick a girl up and go for a drink. You’re nervous, but confident. You crack a few jokes, but you don’t take it too far because you don’t want to mess up early on. You speak casually and watch the time, not wanting to drag on too long. You go through each of your lives, discussing past dating disasters. At the end of the night, she thanks you for a lovely time and lets you know she’ll call if she’s interested in seeing you again.
Stage 5: The Second Date
An email from Google… it must be good news. They liked me. They want me to have a phone chat with their Toronto manager. I’m thrilled. We get in touch and talk for an hour. I walk her through my resume; she walks me through her responsibilities. It’s easy-going and comfortable. At the end, she tells me Google will let me know if they’d like to proceed. She seems confident they will. This could be the start of something big.
A phone call from your date the other night… it must be good news. She liked you. She’d like to see you again. You’re thrilled. You get in touch and talk for hours. It’s easy-going and comfortable, much more so than your first phone call. You walk her through your day at work; she walks you through hers. At the end, she tells you she’d like to get together again soon. You seem confident this is the start of something big.
To Be Continued…