When I walked out of that conference I talked about last week, I had a new found respect for myself. No job was currently in my hands, but with all the guidance I’d been given, I felt like I could get the job I wanted with some good research and practice. I felt confident as I headed back to Dallas.
I think the big difference in dating and careers is the way we approach both. You see a lot of career advice for getting the job – the assumption being you’re technically capable of keeping the job. With dating, it’s the opposite. We assume you can find people (through something such as a dating website), but keeping a relationship seems to be the problem in dating – look at our current divorce rate.
So what if you’re experiencing the opposite problem, and you can’t get into that relationship groove? In a job, they have to work with you once you’re hired, at least a little bit, since there is some form of binding contract. But when we’re free to be our own people, our necks are always on the line. To me, that is the big difference: with a job, so much is clear-cut. If you have an awesome elevator pitch, good interviewing skills, and an ability to network by talking to a few people at any event, you can get a job within a few months given the proper effort.
Dating, on the other hand, is a real fluid thing. There is no elevator pitch, no mock dating. There’s no perfect, one-size-fits-all first impression. And most importantly, who you are when dating is a reflection on the rest of your life, and that cannot be covered in just one or two days at a convention. Generic dating advice that blankets everyone may not specifically cover the real thing that’s stopping you. Maybe you’re an axe murderer and have a bad habit of murdering people, and that’s getting in the way of your relationships. I can guarantee you there is very little advice on how to stop murdering that either I – or anyone else on the JDate blog – will be giving out (though really, anything harmful to other people, in all seriousness, you should probably stop doing).
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and you may be looking for someone a lot longer than you’re looking for your next job. But there is definitely hope. Dating coaches are out there, advice is out there, etc. But really, go out and learn to be a better you. Take some classes in something you’ve always wanted to do, go better yourself by exercising or going to school, or just do something that challenges you in general. I had a teacher who once told me “practice just makes permanent, not perfect.” Only when we start to change what we’re doing can we find new things, and lucky for us, you don’t need to go to a convention to do that.