Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Looking for a Relationship vs. a Career

Whether you are looking to launch your career or find the perfect partner, there are some similarities between the two.

I suppose if you think back to your teenage years, (well teen-age years for most) it might have been the case that you went out on dates with several different people. And for those you did, were you dating with the expectation that you were really hoping to end up with a partner for life or was this person you were dating good for now, but you weren’t really thinking about them as ‘forever?’

Jobs during that same time were similar looking back on things too. You took a baby-sitting job, then maybe a retail job after school, but they were really to get experience and some spending money. Both in relationships and jobs, you were looking to find out what you liked and didn’t, and as you moved from relationship to relationship, from job to job, hopefully you learned a bit and things got better in both areas.

Into your mid to late twenties and family and friends may have started putting on the pressure to find the right one and settle down, and career-wise, do something with your life. Sound familiar? Then when you did start to launch your career or start living with Mr. or Mrs. Right, the questions turned to, “So any promotions?” and “So, any thought of babies?”

Later in life if you found yourself out of work or single again, people would say, “Who’s going to hire him/her at his/her age?” or “He’s/She’s such a nice person, what’s wrong I wonder?” Ouch!

Yes, there are parallels between dating, relationships, jobs, and careers. The thing is we are all different from one another and we can be success and happy in life and in many different scenarios. Some like my wife only ever date one guy and then married him. Career-wise she started with a job in child care and moved on to being both an Assistant then the Administrator of a child care centre, eventually moving on to be responsible for child care subsidies in our municipality and now a Manager of Social Services. Very little if any real changes in life be they career or relationships.

As for me, I had several girlfriends for varying periods of time prior to University which is when I started dating my wife. But while that part of my life stabilized, my work life went in many sectors and for three-year stints for quite a while. Good thing my love life didn’t work that way!

But for others, there is a constant changing of partners and employment. Every family get-together she’s got a different guy to introduce, or he’s got a different job because the other one just wasn’t right. And whether it’s a job or relationship, both take lot’s of commitment and energy to successfully work out. Some people on the other hand have no problem going from contract to contract, job to job, girlfriend to girlfriend, boyfriend to boyfriend. The idea of being locked into one job or one person isn’t at all what they are after.

Like I said we can be happy and successful in life be we in relationships or single, employed in a career, a job, self-employed, and I suppose unemployed too if we have that luxury of still having our needs met.

One thing I find amusing however that I see more in dating than job searching is the idea of knowing what you want and what you end up with. You can profile your ideal mate; mentally pick out their body size, hair colour, intelligence level, field of employment, etc. but then instead of a trim, blonde, highly intelligent Biologist find yourself smitten with a brown-haired Cashier of average build and intelligence. The chemistry just works.

With careers, isn’t it the case that while many go to University and Colleges to learn in a specific field, that often what they do for a living in the end is something different? They go off for two to five years to land their Business Administration or Psychology Degree and end up switching majors or graduating in those fields, but working in manufacturing or communications.

Life is like this and I love it for it. How bland things would be if everything from our life-long relationships and careers were mapped out for us all and fixed. There are jobs, careers, and people out there in the world that we don’t even know exist until we get out there and immerse ourselves in it. We can of course be very happy and successful in life even if we reside in the same communities we are born into. We could date and marry our high school sweetheart and be pegged to take over the family variety store business and love it.

On the other hand we could learn about jobs we don’t even know exist at one point in our lives and discover something we love doing and are suited for that we’d never know about otherwise if we didn’t chance upon it. And if single, we could choose to be of course and be equally happy. But the article here is dating and job searching links.

So if you want either bad enough, or you want a change, who’s to say you weren’t meant to and you wouldn’t be happier for it? It’s a big world, enjoy it!

By Kelly Mitchell

*re-posted with permission from Kelly Mitchell of:

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