I had every intention of kicking off this series with a post on the “signs that you don’t love your job.” When I announced this plan, perched at my kitchen table a few nights ago, I looked over at my wife and she was eerily quiet (if you know my wife, you’d know how “eerie” that actually was). I could tell by looking at the reaction on her face that either my plan was significantly off the mark or she had just discovered three-month-old meatloaf in the refrigerator. After a bit of my probing, she came clean and said, “I think people already know they don’t love their jobs. You don’t need to tell them. What they want to hear is how to find the right one.” A wise woman, my wife.
So, per my wife’s guidance, we aren’t going to spend any time reminding you why your job is like that unfulfilling dysfunctional relationship you had back in high school or college. Instead, I’m going to jump straight to helping you fill out your Match.com profile for the perfect job. To do this right, I’m going to take off my workplace hat for a moment and spend some time talking about the ideal criteria for one’s romantic soul mate. Trust me. It will all make sense (at least that’s the plan).
Romantic Soul Mate Criteria
When I evaluate couples on both degree of “healthiness” as well as the overall likelihood of long-term success, I look at three fundamental criteria. Here they are:
FRIENDS – Is everyday easy and fun? Is there a certain level of comfort just being yourself around the other person? Are your values matched up? These are critical components in the “friend” category. What does this actually look like in a romantic relationship? I’ll often ask the following questions:
- Can you spend days and weeks on end with the other person without getting annoyed with him or her?
- Are you o.k. letting them see you in your pajamas… or worse, when you first wake up? (I know my bed-head has got to be frightening)
- Is it just easy and comfortable in a way you can’t explain?
PASSION – Is there a natural attraction? Do you simply feel “drawn” to each other? Do you think about the other person night and day? All are critical components in the “passion” category. When I evaluate if the “spark” is there with a couple, I look for a handful of things:
- When they talk about or look at their significant other, do they smile? Do their eyes light up? If they frown (or spit), it is probably not a good sign.
- When they are in a social setting as a couple and are mingling, are they periodically “drawn” back together?
- Do they touch each other? I’ve seen couples who claim to be madly in love and yet can go an entire night never needing or wanting to touch the other person (or be touched). Worse, when their significant other does lightly touch them, there is a noticeable cringe. Passion fail.
PARTNERS – This is where the rubber hits the road. No soul mate can work long term if there isn’t a partnership component. Partners mutually meet each others’ needs. They work together to build something. This is an essential component and, unfortunately, largely overlooked. Almost all romantic relationships start off strong in the “friend” and “passion” categories, but if the relationship doesn’t share any traits of a partnership, divorce is inevitable. Soul mates partner. When I assess couples on this criteria, I look for the following:
- Do they voluntarily take on roles and responsibilities in order to make the relationship work? From getting a job to taking out the trash, stuff gets done in partnerships.
- Do they honor each other’s strengths and weaknesses? Do they encourage the other to use his / her strengths and do they help to compensate and mitigate their weaknesses? Major partner fail if one person is constantly reminding the other why he or she is so terrible at something.
- Do they meet each other’s needs?
- Does stuff get done? Consider this our “operational excellence” category for a couple. A blown-up living room, credit score of 550 and a mysterious odor permeating the house are all signs of partner fail.
There you have it: the criteria for finding that soul mate that will bring you a healthy and long-lasting relationship. I know you are begging to ask… Yes, I am available to speak at weddings. My toasts are pretty rock star legendary. No, I am not going to sit down with your partner and score him / her on the above criteria and subsequently provide them an “action plan” to shape up. That’s your job. Yes, I will tell your significant other to do a better job of listening, put down the remote, stash the credit card, etc… just provide me their name, contact information and my talking points and I’ll do the rest.
Up Next: Work Soul Mate Criteria
So, other than a bit of entertainment, why did I take you on this random detour? Simple. Look back at the criteria above for the perfect romantic soul mate. Now insert your perfect job in the place of your significant other. Do you see the connection? In many ways, it’s the same criteria. The perfect soul mate job has to have the comfort and fit of a “friend,” the excitement and attraction present with “passion,” and the mutually beneficial traits of a “partner.”
Next up we are going to tackle how to identify that perfect “work soul mate” for you. Stay tuned. Eyes will be opened. “Ah ha’s” will be had. Angry gym trainers will arrive on the scene. A guaranteed party for sure.