Job searching is definitely a lot like dating. You want to find something (or someone) you like that likes you back. You go on ‘interviews’ (aka first dates) where you try to convince someone that you are awesome. You get rejected. You get accepted. You enjoy what you’re doing at first, but after a while you get bored or irritated and start to look for something new. Etc, etc.
However, despite the large number of similarities there are between dating and working, there are also many differences. When looking for a job, you may have to apply to places that you aren’t necessarily attracted to… And when it comes down to it, you may have to accept a job that you aren’t crazy about. And guess what? For a 20-something job seeker (especially one 0-5 years out of college), that’s fine!
Unlike in the dating world, in the working world, you take what you can get. Of course, that doesn’t mean you take a job at McDonalds serving people in the drive-thru after receiving a college degree (unless you really can’t find anything else and need something to hold you over while you look.. however, being a fry cook may not be your best bet)… and it doesn’t mean you apply for an engineering job when you went to school for writing. What it means is that ‘settling’ in the dating world is a lot different than ‘settling’ in the real world.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people talk about job offers they’ve rejected (or jobs they just didn’t apply to) because they weren’t ‘exactly what they wanted’ (although the job was still somewhat related to what they eventually want to do). Say you want to be a television producer/writer (oh hey, that’s me!)… When you graduate from college, you are most likely not going to get a job writing for television or producing shows. You may not even be able to get an assistant job. In fact, you may not even be able to get a job in television. But if you start somewhere (say video production… even office work) and get real world experience to put on your resume, the better your next job will be… and then the better the next job after that will be. When they say ‘climb the job ladder,’ they really mean to CLIMB that ladder. And, damn, that ladder can be pretty long.
When I first graduated, I couldn’t find a job for the life of me… so I worked in an office getting professional experience and interned on the side to keep up with what I wanted to do as a career. When I got my first job a few months later, I wasn’t excited (I won’t lie). It wasn’t what I wanted to do and I was pretty much miserable. However, what I didn’t realize was that the job was great experience for my next job. And although my current (second) real-world job is not what I ultimately want to do as a career, it is a step in the right direction. And knowing that this job will lead to something even better, I am happy. It really is all about building the resume.
So if you’re currently looking a for a job, don’t limit yourself. On paper, you aren’t much different from everyone else (sorry to break it to you). Everyone has had internships. Everyone was involved in college. Everyone had good grades. Everyone has good experience. Blah, blah, blah. So if you want to stand out, get some good entry-level experience and work your way up. Maybe while doing that you might even find out that you really enjoy something you never tried before (for me, that would be blogging).
Whatever you do, do not mistake ‘settling’ for an entry level job. As I said, the working world is not the dating world. You have to start somewhere. It definitely won’t be love at first sight for everyone… and if it is, question your ambition. Sure, you may love the company, your co-workers, what you’re doing each day, etc… but ultimately, it’s going to take years to do what you actually want (and get paid the big bucks for it). So for now, be happy you have a job. Be happy you’re getting experience. Be happy you’re getting paid. Don’t be this dude:
At least YOU got hired. Do you know how many people would kill for your job? Any job to be exact. Be grateful for the experience that will lead you to your next job… and then the one after that! You’re not falling behind (even though you sometimes feel like you are). You’re still young. No need to rush life. Go with the flow and you’ll eventually move on up and get to where you want to be!