Two of the biggest challenges many young people (myself especially included) face in their post-college years are matters of career and romance. Both totally different worlds, right? Yet, oddly enough–there are a couple of very different ways the same rules of dating can apply to your career and your workplace. I mean, they’re both super cut-throat and complicated games—and everyone seems to be a competitive player. All you can do is try to get what you want, and more importantly, what you deserve.
Dating Rules that ALSO Apply in Your Career
Have Realistic (But NOT Low) Standards
In Dating: When you’re looking for a partner, you generally have standards and maybe even a laundry list of things you want. Unfortunately, we don’t all know that there’s no such thing as demigods…and beggars certainly can’t be choosers. Nonetheless, we still know that although Mr. or Miss Perfect doesn’t exist—and opening up options is sometimes very necessary. But, either way, this doesn’t mean we are willing to settle for any less than we deserve!
At Work: Sure, in a perfect world (or your wildest fantasies) you would land your dream job as “Professional Ice Cream Eater” and earn 6-figures immediately after finishing school. (My personal dream job would be a stay at home mom who didn’t have any kids, let’s be real.) All kidding aside, realistically, no job is going to 100% make you happy or suit your needs unless of course, you’re CEO. Instead of scrambling to find the perfect job, find the perfect job for right now. You never know where that less-than-ideal job might land you in the future. It could be a stepping stone or experience that accidentally finds a career that you absolutely are head over heels for.
Don’t Talk Smack on “Your Ex”
In Dating: No one likes to date someone who constantly reminisces about their “psycho ex.” And in some cases, I’m sure their ex did some “crazy” things. However, rude remarks are a huge turn-off to your potential partner who will wonder if you still have feelings for this former flame or wonder if you will have similar behaviors if you carry on a relationship.
At Work: In job interviews, we can almost always expect to explain why we left our last position. The worst thing you can possibly do is bad mouth your former boss. After all, he or she would just assume that should that time ever come where they had to let you go, you would slander them just the same. No matter what the reason for leaving the position, answer with grace.
Don’t Get Stuck in a Dead-end Relationship
In Dating: Let’s say you’ve been dating someone for two years and despite the lack of a “spark,” it seems comfortable. You might consider just staying in the relationship for fear of not finding someone else or because it’s easier. That’s NOT what you should do at all. It’s not fair to yourself and it’s not fair to your lackluster significant other. Just because you are worried you’ll never find Mr. Right, doesn’t mean you have to stay with someone. Mr. Right Now is never going to make you happy. In which case, drop them nicely because neither one of you is getting any younger.
At Work: No one likes going to work, no matter how awesome a job you might have. It still works otherwise they wouldn’t pay you for it and you can’t just quit because it’s not fun. However, if you are stuck in a career rut with no chance of advancement or if your sanity is at stake for a paycheck, it’s probably time to consider walking.
Don’t Give the Milk Away for Free…
In Dating: First of all, the whole “who wants to buy a cow if they get the milk for free?” phrase is totally outdated, sexist… and weird. I mean, women shouldn’t be compared to cows and like maybe we don’t want you to buy us anyway. Maybe we just like giving away our milk! But, in any case, sometimes people won’t commit if there’s no obligation to. If you already perform all the companionship, cooking, and other relationship things without a relationship, what’s the point?
At Work: Many women ask for less money for the same jobs as men (about 32% less.) Why? It might be because we’re polite, scared, or just not giving ourselves enough credit. Men are guilty of this too. Instead of just negotiating a salary to be “nice”, don’t just work your butt off for less than you should be fairly earned. Do your research and find out what others are making in that job before just tossing out a safe (and low) number.
Play Hard to Get
In Dating: In dating, half the fun is in the chase. If you’re too easily obtainable then you might not be worth it. Forbidden fruit just tastes sweeter and your partner will likely work harder for you and to keep you.
At Work: Being an irreplaceable employee makes for a hot commodity. If you’re an expert in a certain area or specialize in something that others can’t, it’ll make you even more appealing for consideration in work promotions and top projects.