Discovering a new career is like dating.

Discovering a new career is like dating. Photo of houses and trees on a Greek peninsula with blue sea and a blue, sunny sky.

Here are 8 similarities between dating and going on a career change journey: 

1. It can take time to find the one.

Don’t we know it. I remember one of the bridal party at a friend’s wedding recounting the bride’s changing dating advice from ‘it’s a numbers game, so keep chatting online and go on dates’ to ‘it only takes one’, once she met her now husband. Either way, finding the one in dating and that new career that ticks all your boxes takes time. Plus it can feel overwhelming to know which approach to take to get what you’re looking for – everyone seems to advise something a little different!

2. Having fun takes the pressure off.

I admit this is hard when the stakes are high but just like in dating, if you can have fun along the career change journey, you’ll enjoy the process far more and you may be pleasantly surprised how fun can positively influence your interactions, expectations and experience.

3. Knowing what you’re looking for helps.

This starts with knowing yourself – a cliché but true for both dating and finding a new career. The more you understand yourself, the easier it is to articulate what you want in a relationship and in a career and feel confident doing so. It also brings clarity, making it easier to decide whether to take things further.

4. The one may surprise you.

You know those people who have a big list of all the things they’re looking for in a partner and then the person they end up with is completely unexpected? This is the same for a career choice. On paper it may all add up but when you head out to try the career on for size, you may discover in reality different things light you up. Have your list of requirements, but if the unexpected makes your heart beat faster, embrace it. 

5. Being yourself yields the best response.

It always does. Reading too much dating advice and trying to be something you’re not is similar to trying to fit into a work culture that doesn’t play to your strengths. Contorting to fit in leaves you feeling unfulfilled so uncover what makes you, you, and work on how to gain confidence to be all these wonderful things rather than what someone sitting in Starbucks writing a blog thinks you should be and do.

6. You might need to take a break.

When swiping left and right on dating apps leaves you feeling frustrated and tired, you might receive the advice to take a break for a while and recharge. It’s exactly the same with the journey of discovering a new career. It takes time, often longer than you think, so give yourself permission to take a break, regroup and come back refreshed.

7. It takes courage.

With a boatload of stuff in your unconscious directing your thoughts and actions plus the fears and worries you are aware of, you’d be forgiven for not leaping into dating or a career change, instead protecting yourself as you dip a toe in the waters of promised love, whether from a partner or a new career. It takes courage to start the journey, continue it after setbacks and push on through when it seems nothing is happening.  But it’s worth it – be in it for the long game.

8. Curiosity opens up possibilities.

If you can follow where your curiosity leads, I think you may be surprised by where it takes you and the new experiences it opens up for you. You don’t know what’s beyond the horizon of your thinking and expectations. Allowing yourself to be led by curiosity might just give you something you never imagined – in a partner and in a career.

If you notice any other similarities, I’d love to hear them!

Photo by George Hiles on Unsplash.