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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mama Said...

My mom always said to evaluate a person based on important criteria and not just their “bells and whistles.” And like most girls, I hardly ever listen to anything my mom says.

Recently, I was going through one of my journals and I found an entry I wrote about an ex boyfriend right when we began our fleeting, ill-thought-out romance. I almost always find myself funny to begin with, but this entry was particularly amusing to me, because like any smitten girl, I itemized every great thing about said ex and didn’t really pay attention to the qualities that actually mattered, like stability, dependability, character, good heart, etc. Instead, I focused on this boy’s love of Scrabble (yes, I’m serious) and love of History. Clearly, to any objective person, this is absolutely ridiculous, but when you are caught up in the moment, it is easy(easier?) to focus on the wrong and less important qualities. Because I have the most self deprecating sense of humor that I know, I’ve decided to include every lame quality that made its way into my, “Wow, this guy hung the moon!” entry. Laugh away...or just feel bad for me. That works, too.

1) Sense of humor (ok, so this is actually important)
2) He can cook! (But if he is a dbag, who really cares?)
3)Country music (Really, Megan?? Just, really.)
4) Well read and we read the same things
5) History nerd
6) Loves dogs (This is actually a must, as I’m pretty much obsessed with my Lab.)
7) Outgoing
8) Goofy (I’d like to retract this one, actually.)
9) Good chemistry (When the kid would actually make an effort.)
10) Comes from a good family.
11) Likes the outdoors. (Though he never really left my couch...)
12) Has friends. (I don’t like em’ anti-social.)
13) Thoughtful. (Um, yeah. Not so much.)
14) Common interests. (We both realllly liked him.)
15) Wants a family one day.
16) Can trust my feelings with him. (That went out the window almost as quickly as it got added to the list.)
17) Loves Scrabble. (What can I say? The English language makes me hot.)

So, as you can see, I pretty much paid no attention to the fact that when it got down to basics, I didn’t take the time to evaluate whether or not this guy was actually a good person. I’m not saying that he isn’t of course, (except maybe I kind of am??), I was just more focused on his love of Salinger than I was on his ability to be honest, have integrity, and just be respectful. Granted, I was head over heels, so I just assumed he possessed the more important traits, too, and didn’t really take the time to listen to my gut. Big mistake.

Now, I bet you are wondering why I am writing this? Am I really that bitter? (Well maybe a little, but mainly I’m just inspired.) When I was reading this list, I couldn’t help but think, “Damn, Megan, you are freakin’ retarded!”...and, “Damn, Megan, this is actually pretty applicable to job seekers, too.”

I put out a few Tweets yesterday asking people, “Candidates, I'm curious:What is the most important factor for you when switching #jobs? Money,culture,opportunity,title?” While I got a few responses back that were well thought out and objective, I also got some that surprised me that focused on the actual amenities of a company. One person sent me a DM and told me they would never work at a company again that didn’t have a ping pong table. Another person was very passionate about working for a company that kept a fridge stocked with beer (though, I kind of agree that would be pretty awesome.) Next on the list was money. Barely anyone chose culture, opportunity, or team as their first pick.

Now, like most people, I can totally see the appeal of working for a company that lets you goof off, smack ping pong balls around, drink yourself silly, and just generally act like you are 21 again. I’d say I pray to go back to my early 20’s almost daily so I get it. What I don’t get is why nobody said anything about working with nice people. Most people spend more time with their coworkers than they do their actual family so I’d imagine that should fall pretty high on the list. After all, what good is the beer, ping pong, water cooler that pours your water and gets you off at the same time, and figurative work-circus, if you work with a bunch of jackasses?

So, you see, just like dating, you have to set your priorities and focus on the big picture. If you have nonnegotiables, don’t just brush them aside because you are mesmerized by the temporary glimmer of something (or someone) “cool”...because, like clockwork, that ping pong table is going to break, those home-cooked meals are going to get old, and you are going to wake up and realize that you wasted time on something that wasn’t at all the right fit...and then, if you are anything like me, you’ll get the, “Told ya so!” call from your mom.

By the way, even though the aforementioned relationship didn't work out and I have since revamped my list, a love of Labradors and Scrabble is still mandatory for me.

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