Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why People Cheat

It's all about the relationship. That's a human thing; as a species, we have survived by creating social groups and evolved to maintain them. So naturally we are tuned to social cues and the intricacies of relationships. When I try to understand human behavior, I will often use a common human to human relationship as the framework and continue that metaphor in order to explain it to others. The three major frameworks I find useful are romantic, plutonic and nurturing (parent-child).

Recently, I had a life experience that added a new twist to one of my old metaphors. I've always looked at job hunting through the romantic framework. You see a company you think you might like (attraction) and go on a series of interviews (dating) and eventually decide to break up or get into a committed relationship. As a husband I have never cheated on my spouse and have difficulty relating to those who do, but as an employee seeking a new job I was able to gain insight into this relationship dynamic.

It was time for me to leave and I knew it, the honeymoon was definitely over and I was seeing repeating patterns and felt I was evolving in a direction that was incompatible with my current employer. So like many others in the same situation, I started sprucing up my resumé, building connections and accepting interviews. While my direct supervisors and colleagues suspected it, there was no formal or explicit announcement that I was seeking a new employer. I was cheating... and it felt good. It was refreshing to be focusing on my own needs instead of those of the company. There was a new motivation to improve in my field, competition that didn't exist within the stale corporate environment in which I had settled. There were so many possibilities. Of course, there was also rejection but it didn't have the same sting because I didn't need a new job, I still had the cozy safe relationship with my current company to shield me from desperation. The job I had wasn't fulfilling all my desires, but it was keeping me sheltered and fed. The pace of job hunting while working full time is hectic, juggling all the names and appointments and evaluating the possibilities is a lot of extra work, but at the same time it is exhilarating and energizing, almost addictive. I didn't realize that at the time, I was too busy to reflect on any of this.

So after some searching, I found my match, a company that fits my needs and offers the kind of relationship I'm seeking. We got engaged, I left my former company and moved to a new city. Today we tie the knot. None of this was difficult or unexpected, the hard part was that now I need to stop dating. I had to tell my recruiters and contacts and other prospective employers that, at least for the short term, I am off the market. I want to focus on my new budding romance and build a trusting, strong relationship. Though I'm very happy with my decision and look forward to my new job, it wasn't easy to turn down all those other possibilities, to step away from all that attention. I've never been much of a ladies' man, never really liked the singles scene, but now I understand that itch for something new, the excitement of the chase (and the ego boost of being pursued), the fear of leaving the sure thing for the mysterious and enticing stranger and the pre-wedding cold feet.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Top 10 Reasons I Left LA

  1. Animals are not fashion accessories.
  2. Flip-flops are not always appropriate attire.
  3. Million dollar homes should have a yard.
  4. Bankruptcy in state government is scary.
  5. The sky should not be brown.
  6. Bald people can't handle that much direct sunlight.
  7. I'm over 22 years old and I'm OK with that.
  8. "Fire" is not a season.
  9. Life is too short to spend in your car.
  10. Seriously, the sky SHOULD NOT be brown!