How Dating Affects the Way We Look for Jobs

Are men more likely to pursue employment aggressively, while women tend to play it cool?

The other night, I was talking to a friend who is unemployed and looking for work. He mentioned that he's followed up with a certain company where he interviewed twice within two weeks to ask how the hiring process was going (a.k.a to inquire about when the hell they were going to let him know if he had the job). When I heard that, it made me a little nervous. "Do you think that's really a good idea?" I asked. "You don't want to turn them off by seeming too … desperate, right?"

His reply: "What are you talking about? I need to show them that I'm 110 percent interested in the company and the job."

This made me wonder: Are we thinking differently about the situation because of our gender differences? Do I have the sense that playing it cool — and not trying to come off as too needy, because if they want me, they want me, and no amount of hounding will change that — would be best because I'm a female? And because taking that kind of tack seems to work better for me in a dating context? Whereas, conversely, aggressive pursuit worked well for him in the romantic sphere — so of course he's going to take the same approach when trying to land a job?

Now, maybe it's just me. And maybe other women wouldn't behave the same way. It is probably worth noting that I never had a very easy time finding new gigs … and I think a lot of that had to do with me blowing the interview process. (Although I think a lot of what ruined me was complaining about how much I hated the job I had at the time, rather than not seeming eager enough!)

It also made me wonder: Are there other career-related behaviors that are influenced by the ways we think people of our gender ought to behave? If so, which "female" tactics or attitudes serve us best in the work place? And in what matters would a "male" approach work better?