Different Sets of Rules – Apply Them Appropriately

We all have different sets of rules for different situations: parenting, work, home, personal – but sometimes we apply them in the wrong way.

I have said it before and I will say it again: dating and job searching are very, very similar.

Just some generalities: the cover letter is like the old fashioned love letters; the resume is the first date, the interview is the courting period; the job offer is the proposal and the job itself is the marriage.

These two ideas: the different rules and job/dating crashed together for me the other day when I was talking to a friend of mine.

She has had a couple of interviews but the communication has been few and far between since then.  As she did not get an immediate call back from the most recent interview she immediately assumed that they were not interested.

When I asked her why she thought this she told me that since there was no word then obviously they were not interested.  When I tried to encourage her and tell her that she cannot automatically assume such things she was very dismissive.

So I had to switch tactics.  She also happens to be a single gal.

I asked what happened with a guy A that she went out with a couple of times.  She told me that he was dealing with a lot of family issues and just didn’t want a relationship right now but wanted to stay friends.

Uh huh.

What about guy B.  Well, this guy had just changed jobs, is trying to get acclimated to the new company and didn’t have the time to really give someone the attention that they deserved but once he gets settled he would give her a call.

Uh huh.

According to my friend both of these guys had potential for later down the road but at that time they went out it was just not right.  I asked if she would have kept the door open for either of them and she said yes because she understands life happens.

Uh huh.

This is when I lowered the boom.  Hey, if you are my friend you should expect these things just as I would expect them from you.

I told her I thought it amazing that she was so willing to give these guys the benefit of the doubt but not a company.  The person who interviewed her may not have the final decision and perhaps they have to get other people involved, maybe they have been extremely busy at work and contrary to what we want, hiring us immediately is not their primary focus.

You cannot assume that just because the communication is delayed that you are automatically rejected.  There are many different factors going on within a company that influences the interviewing and hiring procedure.  Those that are involved are sometimes powerless to pull the trigger or make the next step; and communication is a lost art.

She is applying her two sets of rules to the wrong categories.

The rule of no communication means no interest should be for the dating world: if a guy is interested he will make it happen.  Period.  No communication or the “not ready, not yet, not wanting a relationship, just want to be friends, blah, blah, blah” all mean “No.”  Don’t assume otherwise, no benefit of the doubt – it is all guys speak for “not so much you.”  It is what it is, move on.  Okay, fine once in a blue moon this might be the case but IF it does happen then at that point the guy makes it happen.

The rule of life happens and sometimes interferes with the time frame should be applied to the job searching world.  Decision makers may be on vacation, involved in another project or any other reason that would delay the communication.  Do not automatically assume.  Don’t give up.

If you have not had any communication then it is perfectly acceptable for you to reach out to them.  It shows you are interested in the position.  You can chase a job a little because the person or people within the company have lots of other things to concentrate on so you keeping in touch and giving it a gentle nudge now and then is not a bad thing.  You do not look desperate.

Unless you are communicating every day; then this is stalking.  There is a fine line between good follow up and stalking – don’t be a stalker.  Stalkers are bad in both worlds.

It is fine to have different rules but just make sure that you are applying them to the appropriate situation.

Oh, as a footnote I think some of what I said sank in; she reached out to the companies and has had a bit of a response so her job outlook is back to optimistic side.  On the dating front she has been talking to a guy that, even though he just started a new job a few months ago and is a single parent, makes the time to talk to her every day even if it is a text telling her he’s slammed that day so he would give her a call the next day – then he does.  Not bad.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.


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