Valentine’s Day. Two words, and a single date on the calendar, that evoke a whole range of emotions. Since early childhood, Valentine’s Day has been a holiday filled with eager anticipation — from boxes of cheap greeting cards to Sweetheart candies filled with promises of love.
As we get older, florists and jewelers bombard us with ads. TV shows like “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” fuel our (often unrealistic) expectations of romance. Feb. 14 becomes a retailer’s holiday filled with profit at the expense of our wallets, and occasionally, our self-esteem. Much like Valentine’s Day, searching for a job is filled with hope, excitement, and, occasionally, disappointment. Here are eight things that the two have in common.
They both start off great.
At the beginning, Valentine’s Day, and your job search, have so much promise. You’re filled with energy and excitement about the possibilities. You’re inspired to update your resume, and start networking. You have loads of energy to put into planning and executing the perfect search
You’re positive that great things are in store for you.
You’ve been told since you were a kid how great you are and that you should pursue your passions. You love video gaming so why can’t you be the next PewDiePie and make millions gaming all day?
You dream about the possibilities.
You envision yourself in the corner office one day, or creating a start-up that gets bought for millions by Mark Zuckerberg.
You’ve had your eye on one particular match.
Maybe it’s a career on Wall Street in investment banking or working at a renowned medical research facility finding the cure for cancer.
You vow not to get your hopes up.
But you do anyway. After all, you’re worth it, so why not dream big?
You often are disappointed.
Your favorite co-worker gets three unsolicited job offers — which is the employment equivalent of a dozen red roses delivered to the office from a secret admirer — while you sit there with no prospects, despite having applied online to hundreds of jobs.
You convince yourself that the status quo is fine.
Who wants a new date/boyfriend/girlfriend/job anyway? You might as well cuddle up with a pint of ice cream in your jammies on the couch and binge-watch “Girls” or “Sex in the City” while surfing job sites. Neither option is particularly fulfilling or does much to change the status quo.
Both are unavoidable.
Just like Feb. 14 comes every year, whether you like it or not, searching for a job is a regular part of a career. It’s far better when you choose the timing, but there are no guarantees. Companies merge and layoffs happen. Bosses leave and your new one might reorganize your department. Like musical chairs, you may find yourself left out.
So what can you do? First of all, be realistic. Just like finding that perfect date, finding a good job that’s a great fit for you, your skills, and your interests, takes time — and hard work. Accepting a job that’s not a good fit is a recipe for unhappiness and likely will have you back searching again in short order. It’s far better to take your time and make sure that you are making the move for the right reasons. Need help? Here are 12 things you can do now to get moving on your job search. Sorry, I don’t offer relationship advice. You’re on your own there. Lisa R. Miller is founder and chief career catalyst at C2C, College to Career, where she helps college students, recent graduates and young professionals navigate the transition from college to career.