6 similarities between dating and job market

So, I have been in the modern-day dating space for over a decade. I have seen it change from a yahoo messenger chatroom to tinder, a drastic decrease in the lead time, hassles of a landing page easing out with a cultural shift, the elevator pitches changing, a shift in the drivers and dating becoming a lot more transactional.

Anyway, I also explored the job market. As the essence of human psychology remains the same, I found a number of similar patterns happening in both markets.

1) Job portals/ dating apps have a plethora of options but quite a low conversion rate. For every job application posted on portals, thousands of candidates apply, but none meet the cut. Similarly, the gender ratio on apps is quite skewed (18 guys for 1 girl), but none of the guys make the cut.

2) Supposedly, you are working with a firm but not fond of your role and suddenly an opening in an area of work you love opens up in the company, you would be the first to be considered for the position. Same way, a friend-zoned person is the first one considered in case of a desire for love in the partner due to an unforeseen breakup or societal pressure of ‘settling down’, so efforts never go to waste. The USP, in this case, becomes familiarity and trust.

3) Referrals (introduction by an employee/ mutual friend), are more organic and generally have a higher conversion. Such job stints/ relationships generally also have a higher lifetime value (LTV)

4) ) Staying stuck in toxic jobs/ relationships based on the time already invested is common but unadvisable (Sunk cost fallacy).

5) With an increasing sense of individualism, being your boss mindset, the gig economy (Uberisation of the workforce) is on a rise analogous to which dating is becoming a lot more transactional.

6) Perfect job/ love is so hard to find these days, is an oxymoron. Game theory talks about two styles of decision making- optimizing & maximizing. Optimizing is choosing the most appropriate from a limited set, maximizing is to keep on searching till we don’t find the best. With the rapid advent of technology and capitalism, we have countless options in everything, from toothpaste to a love partner, and are using maximizing style everywhere. It is scientifically proven that it leads to lesser satisfaction than the optimizing style of making decisions. As eloquently put by Barry Schwartz in ‘The Paradox of Choice’, there are four reasons why this happens.

Firstly, with so many choices our brain in dogma, ends up making none. It is commonly seen in dating, active seeking via apps or otherwise, doesn’t translate to finding a ‘soulmate’.

Secondly, after the decision, we feel at a loss about missing out on the good features of alternatives.

Thirdly, choices increase expectations. After deciding, the joy doesn’t match up and leads to disappointment.

Fourthly, if an unforeseen hiccup happens later, we blame ourselves for the decision.

Having choices is great, but an optimum number, post that it ends up doing more harm than good.

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