Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Bonus Points for Failure

One of the totally random things I’ve done a lot of in my working life, both pre and post career transition, is recruiting.  Recruiting, hiring, whatever you call it, basically I spend a lot of time looking at dozens or maybe even hundreds of resumes trying to figure out who I’d like to interview.  And then, I have to know what questions to ask in the interview to get at the information I really want and need.

It’s a lot like dating, actually.

Anyway, it might sound counter-intuitive, but here’s one of the weird little things that’s in my mind when I’m hiring:  I don’t really trust people who look too perfect on paper to be able to handle tough jobs.

Let me explain what I mean by “too perfect on paper”.  These are the people who seem to be on the course for success from the day they’re born.  They get in to a good college straight out of high school.  While they’re in college they do exciting internships. Probably study abroad.  Get good grades.  Make sure they graduate in four years.  Then they get a good job right out of school.  And then, never do they find themselves unemployed or in transition.  The only time they’re looking for a new job is when they’re in search for a better opportunity.

Nope, I don’t trust those people to handle the tough jobs.  For the really hard jobs, the ones with lots of obstacles, I look for someone who’s obviously fucked up at least once in their lives and then managed to pick themselves up and dust themselves off.  Because really, we learn from experience.  And the best way to learn how to survive (and let’s face it, can be humiliating and ego-shattering and cause even the strongest of us to doubt everything we ever believed in) is to have survived once before.  And there are some jobs where is kind of built in.  You might succeed sometimes, but chances are you’ll fail sometimes, too.

So when I look at resumes, I actually look for people who’ve struggled a little and won.  Who didn’t always have a smooth path.  Not for every job.  The perfect looking people are a great match for some other jobs. Just not the most challenging ones.

So, you’ve probably guessed where I’m going with this.  I feel similarly about men in the dating world.  I was talking with a single woman I know.  She’s younger than me and maybe that’s why our perspectives are so different.  But she was saying that she was wary of divorced men.  She felt like she couldn’t trust them to stick to their commitment.  And well, I just think that’s insane.

I think that lots of good, smart, well-meaning people get divorced.  And maybe the experience of having been married once will make them better partners the next time around because they’ll have learned from their mistakes.  I kind of deeply believe that.  That the divorced men I’ve dated were better boyfriends than the never marrieds.  I don’t exactly discriminate against the never marrieds (that wouldn’t be fair, especially as I’ve never been married), but if I were using a point system the divorced guys would definitely get more points.

I wonder, am I the only one who thinks like this?  Probably.


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6 to “Bonus Points for Failure”


  1. David Fisher says:

    Then you should definitely hire me! Completely imperfect on paper.

  2. bellaressa says:

    SG, you give me hope.

  3. AGirlNamedMe says:

    I love this post…not for the corollary to dating, but because I’ve been reading and posting some on other blogs that discuss resumes and hiring practices and I find this interesting. I discussed not wanting job hoppers..you know, the person who can’t keep a job for more than a year. But..I see your point in not looking for perfection, too …

    … and I see my tie-in to the dating world, too … I wouldn’t want a man who “job (bed?) hopped” anymore than I would want that employee. But someone with a few flaws who is always striving? That’s my guy. (Literally)

  4. CHFBrian says:

    I fail all the time.

    Take a number, ladies!

  5. SINgleGIRL says:

    -David Fisher
    Welcome to the blog. LOL. I hadn’t realized the comments on this one would be so much fun.
    -bellaressa
    Hope? Really? hmmmm.
    -AGirlNamedMe
    Ooh, another blog newbie – welcome. Working with the hiring=dating metaphor, there’s a big difference between someone who has been job hopping for a decade and someone who’s overcome some issues and is now a stable, standup, hardworking employee. The same goes for guys. I don’t really want Mr. I go through a new girl a week. But a guy who’s divorced and is ready to try again – well, sign me up.
    -CHFBrian
    Is that why I haven’t seen my squash yet? Did you burn it?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I usually tell people that when I meet the person who has made no mistakes, I’ll say, “Hello God.” You raise a good question and make sense in your explanation. I’ve discussed this before with friends and realized that I just deal with people as they come, individually. I don’t think I’d give an egde to anyone per se. bobbyboy