Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Girls and Jobs

When looking at two things that, at a glance, appear very dissimilar, there are going to be a lot of people that immediately dismiss the notion of the two being anything alike. Ketchup and sour cream. It’s a Wonderful Life and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Myself and a man who makes reasonable and well educated decisions. A pretentious douche and seven out of ten University of Washington graduates. Okay, maybe that last one wouldn’t be questioned by most, but the others, sure. Also, if you took offense to that last one, don’t worry, you’re part of the three out of ten. But this (the “apparently different but more similar than you thought” stuff, not the UW douchebaggery) brings me to my topic: Girls and jobs.

How do you like them apples, Harry?
I have occasionally joked with a few of my friends about the similarities between looking for a job, and dating. Then, the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that it was almost hard to find differences. Anatomy, sure. But again, this is about more than just a “smell-check.” This is about in depth analysis of the similar traits of the two things. So below, I have outlined the similarities between jobs and the lovely women in my dating pool. Please don’t pee in it.

The Games: First and foremost, before you worry about either of the two, you have to find one. As a guy like me knows, this is way harder than it sounds. I mean, we (humans) have been around for quite some time the last I checked. Which was recently, mind you. And since the creation of jobs, there has been employment. So, yeah, unemployment rate may be 10%, but that means 90/100 people have jobs. And if there are 6,891,852,671 people on this planet (I also checked this recently), they were made by people “finding” each other about 13,783,705,342 times. Minus any twins, triplets, the occasional octuplets and some surrogates here and there, of course.

So at an initial glance, it would appear the average post-school, pre-retirement guy both is employed and gets laid. I manage to fit into neither of these categories currently. I largely attribute this to my lack of “game.” When it comes to women, for whatever reason, I have come to find all of those far-fetched, seemingly BS claims of them loving to play games is undeniably true. Of course, this is generally speaking. But I have recently come to find that you can say the same for jobs. pppppppp0-p (Sorry, my “p” key had a scuff near it and I thought that leaving that bit there accomplish three things: it would commemorate the cleaning of said key, add character to this document and save my delete key some usage. Ironically enough, I misspelled “usage” and had to use the delete key anyway. Moving on.)

Women are grossly turned off by desperation (which I just now decided would make a great name for a cologne. Maybe it would change the public perception of the word “desperation” for the better). If you call them or text them too much, you come off as needy or clingy or someone who wants too much and they will take you too seriously. Fortunately, the opposite holds true as well. If you ignore them, they second guess themselves, get self-conscious or maybe think you have someone else who you feel is a better option and decide that getting you is the only way they will feel better. This also holds true for employers apparently. In a recent interview, I learned suddenly that your goal is to be the interviewer. Answer their questions and follow them up with questions for them. And when you ask questions, make them suddenly realize that if they don’t want to be wasting their time with someone who might not be satisfied with a job offer that they may or may not even get, they need to make you want to work at their place. Suddenly they are telling you all about how amazing it is to work there and want to know if there is anything they could do that might make it a bit better place to work at and suit your needs. “Flexible hours? No problem. Dress code? Well, it’s not enforced.” I find this to be the equivalent of the girl you got shot down by repeatedly and gave up on a couple weeks ago suddenly drunk texting you at 11pm on a Saturday. Not a booty call, but clearly flirtatious with a slight bit of promise.

The Relationship: Excellent. Now that you have landed the job/girl, it’s time to begin the whole relationship portion. People are people. Whether it’s a woman or coworkers, when you’re spending a lot of time with someone there’s always a delicate balance. It’s no longer an interview or a date where everyone can appear pleased all the time. Anyone can be content (or at least feign it) for an hour at a time. But eventually they see you and you see them for what they are. That’s not always bad, but you do need to learn the dynamic of the other person. Eventually there will be times where you absolutely hate them, and other times that you know you couldn’t live without them (especially if one of the “them” in question is your source of income, sugar mamas included). You’ll have to know when they need attention, know when they need to be left alone. You’ll need to learn to gauge their personalities. This only comes with a relationship and time. You don’t ask your boss to take a long lunch when he just lost a $300,000 account. And you wouldn’t ask a woman “What’s for dinner?” when she just found out her favorite grandma died (Side note: This grandma is always rich. Everyone seems to have a rich grandma and a poor grandma. The rich grandma is typically the default favorite). The bottom line here is that you know when you can take time off work, or when you need to put in overtime; and you know when you can go to poker night with your friends, or when it’s time to get in the kitchen and make her her favorite grilled cheese. Sorry, I should have specified, “her favorite” means “her favorite from your personal menu which consists of frozen pizzas and grilled cheese.”

There’s Always More to It: When you sit down at an interview, you always ask, “What are the day-to-day duties here?” Nine times out of ten, you will get what my dad likes to refer to as a “bullshit story.” Things always seem nice, manageable, rewarding, not too hard, but still challenging and engaging. That’s kind of like when you first meet a girl you like. Everything fits at first glance. And no, not just biologically. I mean you both seem to like the same types of food, movies, TV shows, and travel locations and have the same overall career aspirations and such. But a month into it, that’s when you realize what you really have going on.

Meet Trodgor. Maybe he didn't help me 
with the whole "Work-Life Balance" thing. 
But he for sure maintained my "Work-Life 
Suddenly, 30% of your job is making copies and sending faxes, 15% of it is running seemingly pointless errands and 20% of it is fixing other people’s mistakes, 35% of it is taking the blame for those very same mistakes when that work is reviewed and 10% of it is kinda, sorta what they described. At least a little. That’s 110% of a job right there. And giving 110% is the only way to keep a job these days. I am not well versed in relationships, believe me, but I get the sense that they require that same 110% if you want to get anything out of them. But after that first month, you realize that you like sports, she likes American Idol. You like slapstick comedies, she only likes romantic comedies. You want to go to Australia and she wants to go to India. And neither one of you can cook at all, so you are going out every night and it’s starting to add up. Then you find out she has ex-boyfriend drama, minor problems with your best friends and a younger sister who just got engaged and you get that sense that she’s trying to hurry up as if it catch her. Oh no. 30% convincing her she’s not inferior to her sister, 15% deciding where to eat on any given night, 20% arguments that, in the grand scheme of things, mean absolutely nothing, 35% just playing dead and taking blame for things (80% of which you did not do, or were her fault), and 10% of the stuff that you remember from day one. Remember, the good stuff?

Those extra 10%’s add up, and have to come out of somewhere. It’s the trade off of trying the whole career and relationship thing (something I know absolutely nothing about, but I am glad you’re still reading). So where does it come from? Your sleep. And that takes its toll after a while. That’s a lot to handle on such little sleep. I don’t have a career or a relationship right now, and I get grouchy all the time because I don’t get enough sleep. It’s usually because I stay up too late playing video games or watching East Bound and Down or something, but still. Same basic thing: Sleep deprivation. Then the next day my shoe comes untied and I want to throw it through a window. Okay, that’s a bad example because we all know I don’t ever have to put on shoes because I don’t actually have to leave my apartment most days. The point is that I commend all people with school/jobs in a relationship, because they are never what they appear from the outside. Moving on.

The Good Ones Pay Well: Maybe with a job, money might not be everything, but what I mean by “pay” is more in the sense of getting you that feeling of enjoyment that some get out of their jobs at times. You get your money, your benefits, and also, you just did something that makes you feel accomplished. Satisfaction. And, ideally, the “right” girl (if she does exist) satisfies you, too. I’m not talking about what you think I am. I mean she’s someone worth fighting with. Not for, but with. If at any point during a fight, no matter how heated you are or how stupid the argument, you know that this con doesn’t even come close to the pros of the relationship, rest assured, you have something good. But this is all idealistic. Because I maintain that this does not exist. Nor does a job that, at its low points, I will not want to leave.

Be Quiet About Alternatives: I am not condoning cheating. That’s not what this section is about. I am just saying that if someone is done with a job or a relationship, most of the time they wait to find the next one before they break the current one off. In the business world, this seems fine; In the relationship world, it seems twisted. But they both happen. All of the time. They’re the only two things that you have to be secretive about. If you don’t like your wardrobe, you go shopping. Usually while wearing the things you want to get rid of. That’s heartless. If you don’t like your car, or you spot a better option for cheap, you snatch it up. Usually while driving the one you want to replace to the dealership. That’s heartless. But when it comes to a career and a girlfriend, these are commitments. And you can only be committed to one at a time.

Again, I am just drawing the parallels. Clearly, it’s pretty cold to meet someone, be flirting with them, develop strong potential for a relationship and wait for all of this to happen before you leave your current relationship. But it’s also pretty harsh to use your work time to develop your resume and job hunt online (and further, step outside on a “break” to take a 15-minute phone interview).  Unfortunately, all of us will at some point have this done by, or do this to, some person or employer. Colder than Charlie and Eddie Murphy.

So here we are. Start to finish of both a job and a relationship. If you’re sad because they’re over, just hold out hope for the next one to come along and know this: At least I didn’t settle on 2,100 words about similarities between ketchup and sour cream.