I’ve been a serial “blind dater” lately. Yes, I’m admitting to this and am exhausted by it. But I’m glad to say that I have found my “match”. So, what am I talking about you might wonder (especially those who know me personally)? I’m talking about the adventures of job searching and I’m comparing the job searching process to blind dating.
Stage 1: The Set-up. In the first stage of the “dating” process, you reflect on what you can bring to a relationship (aka an institution or department). You write up a profile (aka resume) about how wonderful you are. You decide where to post this information (i.e. higheredjobs.com, NASPA Job search) and start looking up potential matches. You set the criteria you want to find in that other “partner”, i.e., small vs. large school, urban vs. rural, potential vs. growth; salary…benefits… location. But soon you find that you may have to expand your criteria. You ask yourself, “What am I willing to do without?” Then you contact the potential “match” and wait to hear back from them. You might be still waiting to hear from them after three months, while others looked over your profile and asked for that first phone “chat”.
Stage 2: The Call. The second stage is that awkward phone conversation. It’s one thing to exchange messages online (i.e. Hi, how are you doing? Great…..) but to get on the phone with each other makes your heart pound. You wonder what they would sound like. Would they like your voice as well? You start prepping for the call, trying to find anything about that “person” online. After a bit of cyber stalking, you dig up random facts that you think will impress them. You call your best friends and talk about what you should say and the excitement of the potential. Then the call comes. You’ve been sitting there by the phone holding your breath. Then it rings and you pick up the phone and you start chatting. You write down what they say, and you make notes. You laugh, you get serious, and you share a little bit about yourself. And then it’s over. You hang up and wonder “will they call me back?”. You call your friends again, this time detailing out every point of conversation. Even though it might have lasted only a half hour, you expand and mull over the “chat” for days. You send them a nice note, following up on what you chatted about. And then you wait and wait and wait. Then you start wondering what you did wrong. Did they not like you? Well, then you don’t like them either. You move on but then you get the call for the “Date”.
Stage Three: The “Blind Date”. You got the call. Yes! You agree on a time and place to meet. Then you start the process of primping yourself. You go out shopping for an outfit. You shave and get a hair cut. You think about every little detail about the “date”. At the same time, you do more work on finding out who this “person” (aka institution) is all about. You may find some skeletons in their closets or connections that you didn’t know of before. Then the day comes for the “date”. You get up extra early to be ready. Everything has been ironed out. You decide against the perfume/cologne in case they are allergic. You have your bag, hair in place, and you take one last look in the mirror and tell yourself “You’re Gorgeous!”. Luckily you know everything that’s going to happen on the “date” from the food, the location, and everything else. You spend hours together talking about everything from your passions to your fears. You go to the bathroom more often than normal because of the nervousness. You’re always double-checking that no food is stuck in between your teeth. You laugh when you think you need to and you nod when appropriate. Just as fast as the “date” started it’s over. You say your good byes and hold out your hand for a shake. You get a hug. Oh happiness.
Stage Four: The Wait. It’s been days since your first “date”. You try not to focus on it but you can’t help but to glance over to your phone in hopes they call right then. You check your email four times more than normal. You talk about the date over and over with your friends. You go over every detail and wonder what could have gone wrong. You’re also starting to get other requests for “dates”. Oh no! Should you go on those or hold out for this one? You can’t decide, so you make a daring move. You call them! “Oh, I’m so sorry – it’s been busy here with work, you know”. Yes, you know. Then a few days later you get a nice email from them stating it was a great date but there wasn’t any chemistry between you two. Your heart breaks. Sadness comes in and you wonder if you will ever stop dating.
But those other “dates” that you did go on turned out promising. One asked for a serious relationship, which you were not ready for, asking you to move across the country to be with them. No, that wasn’t going to work for you, so more dates and more waiting until….
Stage Five: The End. Finally, you found your match. It seemed from the beginning you two would be together. They liked your profile, and you liked their story. They liked your energy and enthusiasm for life, and you liked how accepting they were of you. Several phone calls later and you both agreed to be together. You are glowing, smiling through your eyes. Everyone is asking you about it and is so excited for you. You’re able to close a chapter of your life and move on to the next. “And they lived happily ever after”.
I’m glad to be done with the “dating” scene for a while. I was a bit rusty at first, but after several applications, numerous phone calls and three on campus interviews, I’m happy to announce that I will be joining the wonderful Temple University Office of Residential Life as their Assistant Director for Staff Development and Recruitment in January 2011. I’m so excited for this new chapter in my career and happy to have shared my journey with you.