What my rejection emails really mean.
The title of an article could be "how to get a man" or "how to get a job" and the content, with a few altered keywords, would be essentially the same. I've never really been the person to take Cosmopolitan magazine seriously, or for that matter worry about finding/getting/keeping Mr Right, but I have read enough girl magazines to know that those who do want to get married and have kids and have the kind of life we all believe we deserve that getting older and not having that, or even being close to having that, can make even the most well rounded of girls depressed or, worse, desperate.
But in my ever present job search I'm starting to see a lot, and I mean a lot, of the same exact advice for job seekers as there is for women on the man hunt. Here is the advice I've come across and see if it sounds like "get a man" advice or "get a job" advice:
Take the initiative.
Put yourself out there.
Be eager, but not too eager.
Showcase your skills and talents.
Follow up x amount of days after you meet.
If it doesn't work out, move on to the next opportunity immediately.
Any of the above phrases could fit in a dating or job seeking article. And in fact, aren't first dates interviews? Aren't you trying to make yourself seem as attractive as possible while judging whether or not the person sitting across from you is really the great fit you thought he was based on his resume/online dating profile? Aren't there questions you can ask and questions you can't ask, stories you can and should tell and stories you most definitely should not tell? Isn't there a specific dress code that, if not followed, could disqualify you for the position? Isn't it possible (or even likely) to come off as over eager or desperate for the job or boyfriend, scaring away a potentially beautiful match? Holy crap I'm making myself anxious, and I have a boyfriend! I also have a job, but unlike the boyfriend I'm hoping to upgrade A-SAP.
Thing is, though, that this whole notion has been around a while. There are hundreds of articles that tell job seekers and boyfriend seekers why one is like the other and how to use the tactics in one to get what you want in the other. But both situations are entirely uncomfortable because we're only in them when we clearly want something. So we listen to the advice of those who say they've been there and know what it's like and we play by "the rules" thinking it'll help. And maybe it does for some, but for the rest of us? I for one am starting to feel like a stereotypical 29 1/2 year-old woman worrying about her uterus drying up and being terrified I'm scaring off great candidates with my desperation.
Only it's not men and potential fathers I'm scaring off, it's a great job. But in a way, finding the right job is like finding the right father-for-my-future-kids to me. Finding a job that gives me more of a purpose is essential because I'm not planning on my "purpose" being motherhood. While other women have their kids, their homes, their husbands and their domestic lives to fulfill them, and possibly are more willing to put up with shit jobs in order to help make their real lives happen, I don't feel like putting up with a shit job when that's my main purpose. In place of motherhood I want my job to be meaningful, to make me feel like I'm doing something that will matter to others. I have no motivation to take the high paying soul sucking job with benefits because I'm not worried about paying for anyone else to go to college. I can be picky and demanding because I have that luxury.
And dammit here I am in the same boat as millions of women my age who are worrying about their rapidly emptying ovaries saying "but I'm ready, it's time, where is he?" about my non-existent future employer.
Fuck, I just realized I'm Ted.