black-woman-professional

A few weeks ago, I found myself on the couch with a glass of wine and my laptop. My cell phone was cradled in my neck as my friend begged me to send her a recent picture.

“C’mon! I’m gonna send out a mass text and hopefully find you a man,” she said. “This is my project for the week.”

While flattered by her personal crusade, I politely dodged her request and checked my (now defunct) online dating profile. In addition to drinking, being pimped out, and checking my dating profile, I was also half-heartedly updating my resume (that last activity was probably a mistake). I’m not sure if it was the wine, the distractions, or sheer hubris, but I deleted my personal objectives section on my resume and wrote: I am a passionate, hardworking mutli-tasker…I am not looking for a job; I am looking for an adventure.

This is why your dating profile and your résumé shouldn’t be edited at the same time.

This mistake faux pas, however, made me think: What if I were more upfront about what I want from both professional and romantic endeavors? What if I stopped focusing on being the perfect candidate, and put more emphasis on weeding out opportunities that weren’t good for me? In the same that job candidates are supposed to ask questions of potential employers, here are my five interview questions love-seekers can ask their potential “employers” to find out if they’re actually the best person for the job.

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Love Seeker Question 1: How would you describe the responsibilities of this job?

I think it’s important to understand how your potential “employer” would describe the job for which you’re applying. While bullets on a job posting might give a few hints, hearing the responsibilities from your potential co-worker helps you understand if you are up to the task. My definition of “significant other” MIGHT not include the same responsibilities as my potential beau intends; thus, hearing their position description can help me assess whether or not I’m really ready to take on the task.

Love-Seeker Question 2: What is the potential professional advancement?

Lord, here is a question we should ALWAYS be asking (provided you’re not looking for a bridge job and you’d like a position with growth potential). If you are looking for a wife, and your girlfriend says she never wants to be married, than perhaps this position isn’t the best fit for you. The first step is knowing exactly where you want to go, and then, when asking this question, being clear on whether or not you’re willing to stay in a “dead-end job.”

Love-Seeker Question 3: Can you describe the company’s management style?

I bet you would’ve thought twice about taking that job had you known upfront that your man was an autocratic leader (and an idiot). While I’m not suggesting that one person is the “boss” of a relationship, it’s good to know how the two of you can collaborate as problems arise. When shit hits the fan, are we working together or are you acting unilaterally. Am I allowed to ask questions, or am I left to my own devices? How your partner manages his team has implications on the overall success with this…eh…company.

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Love-Seeker Question 4: What are the top three qualities are you looking for in a candidate?

The saddest reality of (my) life is that I am unable to be all things for the people I love. Asking this question up front allows us to understand how we can fulfill our partner’s needs, AND be realistic about whether or not we have those qualities. If my partner wants someone who is never challenges him, and I know I’m an obnoxious loudmouth (which I am), then I can tell pretty early that I’m not destined to be part of this team.

Love Seeker Question 5: What is the most challenging part of this job?

Do you know how much easier life would be if we could ask this question and get answers like, “My inability to openly discuss my feelings” or “My erectile dysfunction.” Either way, relationships (even the most fulfilling ones) are not without challenges. If we can talk realistically and openly about each parties potential challenges, we’re more prepared when they occur. And if we’re prepared to meet challenges, our partnerships have a better chance of thriving.

My best friend is on the job hunt and we’ve been praying over a position for which we both know she’d be great. When she came back from the interview a bit discouraged I was reminded that sometimes disappointments are making room for something better. So often we get fixated on one specific job, one person, or even one idea. We forget that, even in these challenging economic times, there are other opportunities right around the corner. Pretending that we are perfect for every single job (or person) signs up for lives we may not be meant to lead. Be brave, ask the right questions, and don’t be afraid to seek out broader and better opportunities. The best is out there waiting for you to claim it!

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Ladies and Gents, what job-related questions can we might ask potential partners? Any job-seeker advice that you can apply to love as well?

Patia Braithwaite is a Brooklyn-based relationship writer. Her work has been featured on Yahoo.com, The Huffington Post.com, Florida InsideOut Magazine, and BounceBack.com. She’s currently working on a non-fiction book that explores the various ways men see God and how these views impact their romantic relationships. Check out her musings and more at: www.menmyselfandgod.com