5 Career Lessons I Learned from Dating

Navigating the world of work is a lot like navigating the dating scene.   Here’s my 5 biggest learnings from when I was single.

Lesson #1: Don’t ignore the problem.

Whether it’s a crummy job or a crummy relationship – there comes a critical point, an awakening if you will, when you know in your core, “that this is not going to work out.”  This dawning of consciousness often arises from a series of bad weeks or months; you reach of point of crisis, or maybe you just get tired of trying making it work.  It can begin as a quiet, nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right.   At first you can’t even articulate it – but over the weeks and months it slowly grows in volume until it’s screaming in your ear.  You can no longer ignore the truth that is in your heart!  This is not going to work!!  And maybe you limp along, allowing the emotional drain continue, avoiding the tough decisions to be made – 6 months, maybe a year (or more?) later – but eventually – inevitably you must pull the plug on a relationship that’s terminal.

 Lesson #2: Cut your losses and move on.

I often think about what I could have achieved had I not hung on so long to a job that was clearly not my place.   What opportunity passed me by while I was rationalizing my loyalty?  What resources could I have redirected at more promising endeavors?   I remember my Grandpa’s advice, “Don’t throw good money after bad.”  Indeed, be it an investment of money or energy, Grandpa was on to something.  Like relationships, I’ve learned that staying in the wrong job won’t make it right.

 Lesson #3: You’ll never be fully ready.

I’ve read a lot about really successful people and have noticed a common pattern to their success: they always take action before their minds can talk them out of it.   Before they feel completely ready, competent, prepared, or fully equipped – they jump in and do it; they pull the trigger.  And as a result they get farther, accomplish more, and achieve greater success in less time than those of us who stand on the sidelines and agonize over the opportunity.

 Lesson #4: Learn from your mistakes.

Even bad jobs, like relationships, offer us a chance to learn about ourselves.  Like a stone used to hone a blade, the friction of the experience gives us the opportunity to reveal ourselves: the experience may wear us down in places but it simultaneously reveals a new, sharper version of the original.  One that is somehow stronger and more precise.   One of the after effects of a termination (voluntary or prescribed) is a sharp awareness about what attracts or repels us in the world of work.  This new self-knowledge should not be ignored in brokering future partnerships (romantic or otherwise).

 Lesson #5: Keep working at it.

Landing your dream-date or dream-job takes work.  It doesn’t happen overnight – and even if it did – how would you know it was your dream-job unless you’d already experienced some career-related suffering?  In truth: it takes a great deal of self-awareness and self-love to succeed in any relationship.  You’ve got to know who you are  and what you need to be happy.  Likewise, you have to see your partner for who he or she really is and be able to accept them – warts and all.  So remember, whether it’s a really great relationship or a really great career – the secret is to keep working at it!


2 Responses to “5 Career Lessons I Learned from Dating

  • Dustin
    6 years ago

    The pain, unfortunately, is necessary. The only way to learn what you truly want is from the pain of finding out what doesn’t work. The hardest part is charging ahead and putting yourself out there, whether in relationships or passions…cause you know there will be some pain to go with it.

    • Hi Dustin, thanks for your comment here. I think you’re right about the necessity of some pain… it has a way of putting things into perspective, teaching us poignant lessons, and sharpening our efforts. So strap on some shin guards and get out there! 😀

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