According to Sigmund Freud and other well known philosophers, one’s ability to love and work is deeply connected to one’s degree of happiness and satisfaction with life.

“Love and work are the cornerstones to our humanness” – Sigmund Freud

If Freud’s philosophy bears truth, and your ability to love, work & be productive is deeply connected to your general satisfaction with life, instead of looking for general traditional job hunting advice when moving careers, should we look to the practicalities of the dating world instead to help make the right decisions?

If you’ve tried online dating like the hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland who choose to proactively ‘look for love’ through a dating service, you’ll already know when you join up with a dating service you will be asked a number of questions about your likes and dislikes and what you see as your personality traits.

This is to ensure the service can match you with a person who is as close to you in nature as possible. It’s up to you to answer these questions as truthfully as possible to ensure a good fit – a partner who you will potentially be happy with!

“Love and work… work and love, that’s all there is…” Sigmund Freud

When searching for a new role, many of the articles, books and preparation guides cover what the employer wants; what they will ask you, what they look for in an employee, what you should be doing to insure against any potential variables in your interview.

In reality, could this traditional route of pondering the employer’s desires be as effective as estimating the length of a piece of string? In today’s career climate where candidates are learning their own worth – should they learn from the dating world and focus on what they are going to be happy with themselves?

Featured below are five useful tips taken from the art of dating to help you inject some heart into your job-hunt…

1) Make a list of “must-haves” and “complete deal-breakers”.

Anyone who has ever spent time on the dating scene knows that it can be nerve-wracking out there – not dissimilar to interviewing for a new job! First dates can be a particularly pressurised atmosphere. The awkward getting-to-know-you question-and-answer session, the sleuthing for signs of their interest in you, and the sinking feeling you get upon realizing you have to spend the rest of the evening in the company of someone with whom you do not share chemistry.  If you have ever attended an interview and realised it was not the ‘one for you’ – it mighn’t have seemed a million miles away from a date that flat lined.

When job hunting, you need to know what you want in order to find it. When you’re looking for a partner, you know what you want, right? You might insist on only going out with a die-hard Ed Sheeran fan or shy away from a smoker.

You should put as much thought into what you want from your job. Start with writing a list – what do you need from a job? Do you need to work somewhere fast-paced, where you’ll be kept engaged and every day is going to be different? Do you absolutely 100% need healthcare as a benefit?

Figure out your deal-breakers!

  • Are you like me and need to be within 30 minutes’ commute of the office?
  • Will working in a huge team/ small team make you unhappy?
  • Do you hate the back-end of a website with all your being?
  • Do you just like being nestled in the server room away from all the people?

Really think about what truly makes YOU happy so you can ask relevant questions during your hunt for the right job.

2) Ensure that you’re looking for the right reasons

A definite difference between dating and jobs is that you should look for your next job before you’ve left your current position. However, you should be sure you are leaving for the right reasons.

We are going to have other recruitment consultants lining up to glitter-bomb us here but – be sure that the thing that has you looking around can’t be fixed before you enter the recruitment process.

Before committing to interviews or doing something that’ll be going on viral on YouTube later on – have a chat with your boss. If you love your current job but you’re unhappy because of a massive workload or because you’re not learning anything new – talk to your manager to see if the issue can be resolved – however if you feel it’s not something that the company is in a position to change for you or it’s just the right time for you to move, it could be time to start writing your list of ‘must haves’ and ‘deal breakers’.

3) It’s OK to stop if it doesn’t feel right

While dating, if a potential match drops a particular political view or pastime that completely shakes your perception of them for the worst – you would probably look for the nearest fire exit. Don’t forget that when you’re considering a new role and change your mind – you are fully within your rights to walk away.

Interviews are a two-way process. Most interview preparation content is about how you impress the potential employer. However, they have to impress you too. A highly-experienced person in the technology sector, or any sector in fact,  is the limiting factor. There are jobs out there, however there is only one of you.

Make sure this job feels right for you, not just right in theory. Research the culture, the tech stack, check out recent news. YouTube is great for seeing talks from staff at various conferences. See what they’re saying on Twitter.

Ask for a tour of the office. Remember your list of “must-haves” and “deal-breakers”? Keep those in mind and ask at appropriate times.

If getting home by 7:30pm to tuck your kids in on your ‘must have’ list and the job 100% requires you to make late evening calls with the US office – don’t be afraid to leave it there. Just be polite about it and leave a door open for taking a role with the company at a later date.

If you’re working with a recruiter, discuss your reservations with them and they might be able to communicate your wishes on your behalf in order to negotiate the flexibility you require. (That’s what we’re here for!)

4) Get to know yourself

When you set up a dating profile on an app, you will be asked to enter a short paragraph about yourself. Would you know what to write if an employer asked you the same? When you’re looking for the right career move, it’s good to know who you are and whether you need to work on anything yourself in order to achieve your goals.

In the dating world, if your dates don’t appreciate your taste in music, it’s their loss, however if you’re not getting dates because you’re using Lynx as a shower substitute – this might something to work on. In the professional world, if you’re not getting interviews because you lack communication skills, it could be time to consider working on this area. Know what you are good at and where your weaknesses may lie.  And then know what you want to do about it.

Do you want to stay in jobs where you can work with your strongest technologies and avoid working with those where you might not be as strong? Do you want exposure to those skills which you might not be as good so you can gain expertise? Remember, technology moves quickly. If you are worried about your skillset limiting your ability to level up down the line – you could read industry blogs, technical articles, go to talks. See what’s new and likely to stick around and upskill.

If you know your coding is strong but you have trouble articulating your thoughts, practice. Your CV and your skills should always be a work in progress.

Get your recruiter to help you with potential interview questions if communication has been a barrier for you in the past. There’s probably 1000 websites with practice questions. Practice in the mirror, practice talking to your dog!

5) Keep an open mind – you may surprise yourself!

Now you know who you are and what you want. You have a solid idea of your ideal job and a list of the things that will make you walk away.

Now, write “maybe…” under it.

You never know when the ideal match might come around in disguise. You may have set out for an athlete and found love in a musician, or dreamed of a fellow-technologist as a partner and found love in a painter. Be open to hearing about an opportunity that doesn’t sound like a perfect match at first. A great company can compensate for not getting everything you want in the job description. Getting to work in your perfect job can compensate for not getting all the benefits you want.

Just…be a little open to something different.


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