Emotional roller coaster, check. Unknown horizons, check...
By Zahra Barnes
Advancing your career and shaking up your love life may seem like completely separate situations. (As they should—SELF does not endorse PDA in the workplace.) But in reality, they’re pretty similar.
Here, eight ways starting a new job and dating a new person are basically the same thing.
1. Technology can be a blessing and a curse.
The person you’re dating and your boss can get in touch with you anytime, anywhere. Who doesn’t have their phone on them nowadays? Too bad that’s all you can think of when you extend yourself in some way, either by sending an idea to your boss or asking your love interest on a date. Radio silence is the digital version of a medieval torture device.
2. This is especially true for social media.
It’s helpful to stumble upon your manager’s tweet about email etiquette she loves, but you don’t really need to know that your date was into quoting Superbad back in 2007.
3. And choosing an outfit is a process.
What you wear can broadcast who you are to the world, so obviously you want to achieve maximum slayage. Whether you’re preparing for the boardroom or a bar date, the end result is often the same: your entire wardrobe strewn across your room like you unleashed your inner Tasmanian devil.
4. Even when you’re put-together on the outside, your emotions can go haywire.
After a stellar presentation or date, you look around cloud nine and think, “Hey, it’s nice up here. I could get used to this.” That sentiment only lasts until you find yourself in a nerve-racking situation, like handling an intimidating assignment or meeting your new S.O.’s best friend.
5. Which means any invitation is worth celebrating.
The first time your coworkers invite you to happy hour is the emotional equivalent of someone you’re super into asking you to hang out one-on-one. Your mission in either scenario is to accept with the appropriate level of enthusiasm, even though the butterflies in your stomach are throwing a party.
6. Also out of control? Your fantasies.
If you’re lucky enough to have landed either your dream job or dream person, don’t be surprised if your imagination takes off. Your mind might fill with visions of yourself in a corner office, making grown-ass decisions all day long, or of you and said dream person as an adorable elderly couple.
7. Because you’re so excited, overthinking might become your new normal.
Should you text post-date to say you had a great time? Did that coworker side-eye you in the morning meeting, or were you just seeing things? Ad infinitum, or at least until you feel more relaxed.
8. Luckily, you can always bond over food.
When you and your date groan in delight over an appetizer, you’re killing two birds with one stone: you’re affirming that you have similar tastes, and you’re discovering conversational fodder. Same goes when your new coworkers alert you to the pressing matter of free cupcakes in the kitchen. You get to compare notes on whether chocolate or vanilla reigns supreme, and you’re able to talk about something that has nothing to do with work.
Best of all, you’ll know you’re truly comfortable with either a date or colleague when you can house a plate of food in front of them without an ounce of self-consciousness.
This article was originally published at Self. Reprinted with permission from the author.