Monday, March 29, 2010
Oh, gentle readers, your MatchGirl is still channeling the mid-90s Brit pop - feeling nostalgic and a little melancholy all at once. Nostalgic for the salad days of youth, perhaps. And melancholy that it was fifteen years ago and being a proper adult seemed so very far away. Back in those days, all you had to do to connect with someone was go to a bar or a concert, hang out in a coffee shop or wander through the (now defunct) Tower Records in Harvard Square. You simply had to go to class and pay attention to the people in your seminar who has interesting things to say. To get a job, you spoke to a counselor on campus. You walked into a store you liked and asked if they were hiring.
Oh my, how times have changed.
Perhaps some of what has changed is simply perception. We're not kids anymore and everything looks so very rosy and romantic in hindsight.
Or, maybe the internet has changed everything.
From Craigslist to Monster to Match, whether you are looking for a job or a date, all one seems to need to do is hop on the web and everything is at their fingertips. Don't get me wrong, gentle ones, your MatchGirl is amazed at the connections she has been able to make through this forum - through blogging and Tweeting and Facebook pages - but, I am lucky to have made a lot of those connections with people who live right here in Greenpoint. I am lucky to have met them in real life and be able to go and grab a coffee or a cocktail with them.
It is a little over a year since I was laid off and it is also a little over a year since I started online dating. I'm ashamed of neither. The economy (and my bosses stocks) tanked and my position was a casualty. I was single and not meeting anyone else who was single, so I decided to sign up for an online service and see who was out there. Both have been enriching and interesting experiences.
Unfortunately, in the desolation that is the American economy in 2010, finding a job online just doesn't seem that likely. The last place I interviewed told me they had received 450 applications - only counting the people who applied properly, answering the supplemental questions and sending their resume to the email address embedded in the body of the job listing. I felt honored just to interview. Honestly. There are so many thousands of people out there right now, searching earnestly for a job. I can't even conceive of the hundreds and hundreds of resumes that each employer receives in their email inbox. I can't imagine sifting through them all, looking for that perfect match.
Online dating is kind of the same. There are so many single people out there - of all shapes and ages and sizes - too shy to speak to someone at a bar or coffee shop. They see a pretty face on the subway and, instead of taking a deep breath and saying "hello", they rush home and write a Missed Connection - throwing it out into the ether and leaving it in the hands of whatever fate they subscribe to that their dream hunny (or an astute friend) is going to see that missive. They troll through pages and pages of online profiles, looking at pictures and sending out emails. All in the hope that not only will the object of their desire respond, but that, upon meeting, the connection will be there and that that one will be "the one".
This morning, as I sit here, perusing the job postings on Craigslist and MediaBistro, I'm over it. I am so very tired of reading these anonymous listings of job descriptions from nameless companies I know nothing about. I want a job - I desperately want a job - but I want a job that is a good fit. For both the employer and for me. I feel as though these anonymous ads on Craigslist are just wasting time. Not only mine, but the company's as well. To sift through a thousand resumes is a pain in the ass, and, by the time that the reader gets through the piles, we all know they will be less focused than when they began the process. The anonymity of the postings also leads to tedious cover letters. If you have no idea who you are addressing, how can you really introduce yourself as being the right one for the job?
As for online dating? Over that, too. Sure, I've met some very interesting people. Some I would never go out with again, but they make a good story for a cocktail party. Some have become good friends, and I'm glad to have them in my circle. But I miss the days when you talk to someone at a party or a dinner or waiting for the bus. I miss the days of making that initial connection.
I am ready to have a job. I am ready for a commute and wearing heels every day and not being able to log onto Facebook whenever I want. I am ready for conference calls and water cooler conversation and intra-office gossip.
I am ready to stop going on first dates. I am ready for dates three and four and hand holding and movie watching and that giddy excitement of actually getting to know someone. In real life.