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Relationships Aren’t Only About Romance, It Requires Efforts

Relationships Aren’t Only About Romance, It Requires Efforts

No matter your age, love is always an enigma.

In a culture that idolizes long-term relationships, our individualized concept of love is a mucked up regurgitation of “always a happy ending” false promises we see in Hollywood combined with what we see from the relationships of our parents, aunts, and close family friends. We then build up this dramatized ideal as to how our relationships will be “better”, or “stronger”, or “a purer form of love” based on what we’ve seen and experienced.

We don’t really know what love is, or how to measure it, or what signs to look for to know we’ve attained it aside from what we’ve been told. All of these characteristics of love are all self-determined by what was explained above. Our concept of love is like a snowflake; no two conceptions are ever the same. So, for starters, it’s best to understand that love and relationships are amazing but can ultimately be doomed from the start if you try to cram your feelings and opinions of someone else into a box that was basically made for you.

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A lot of incredible things happen when you share your life with someone else. There’s the initial joy of finding common interests and establishing intimacy, also known as the honeymoon stage. You gain confidence and trust in that person over time, sharing moments along the timeline of both your lives that will be cherished forever. You now have someone to explore with, laugh with, and someone to snuggle with on Sunday when you’re really hungover and “can’t even”.

Aside from the many positives relationships bring, we’re not really warned about the hardships of relationships, and that’s not surprising. In the current era of social media people rarely share their dirty laundry, especially when it has to do with that special someone. We’re not encouraged to openly discuss and share the horrific things that happen between two lovers.

Relationships are great, but they’re also like a full time job. Even if you love it there are going to be days where you want to walk out and quit, wonder if there’s “something better out there”, or maybe even start looking at other jobs online in your spare time.

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There will be times when you question everything. EVERYTHING. But there really isn’t an aspect of life that doesn’t invite crippling indecision at times. Friendships, hobbies, pets; everything and anything can bring up the paralyzing fear of “is there something better?” or “am I doing this right?” Even if everything appears to be going great in your relationship, you can always dig and pry and find something to complain about or question. Know that these feelings of uncertainty are going to happen to both parties, and it’s a completely common experience.

Sometimes fighting will be easier than getting along, and being mad is easier than being the bigger person. Conflict is inevitable and those who avoid it only make the problem worse by running from it. You can’t outrun personal problems or relationship problems. There will be aspects of your partner that may annoy or bother you, but who’s perfect?

If you don’t learn to find perfection in your partner’s imperfections, the relationship won’t last. Besides, would you rather cram someone into your mental box of a “perfect partner” or let them be their true selves, flaws and all? How you answer that determines two things: how selfish you are as a partner and how badly you want a relationship to work at any cost.

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You’ll hurt alone and you’ll hurt together in a relationship. Unfortunately, you’ll also hurt each other from time to time. Don’t let your mind jump to extremes of infidelity or bold faced lies, but things happen.

Sometimes life throws you a knuckle ball you weren’t expecting when you step into the batters box of love. Hurt feelings will happen both unintentionally and, yes, sometimes intentionally. Most of us never fathom saying something hurtful to the person we love, but sometimes we say things we don’t mean in the heat of the moment. Pain is an unfortunate byproduct of love. At times, you’ll hurt separately and look to the other for support. Other times the pain will be shared. No matter how it’s experienced, the bond will grow stronger if you have the ability to endure it together. It is in enduring pain that a deeper, more appreciative love is formed.

Loving another person is never easy, but it’s always worth it. There are still many challenging points of relationships that I haven’t touched on here such as raising children, loved ones dying, and traveling together. But be choosey with whom you decide to love, and whom you give your love to. In the end, the aspects of relationships that bring the most pain are often the ones that lead to the most growth, allowing us to harbor a meaningful, worthwhile, everlasting relationship.

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Featured photo credit: Barrett_Asia_Engagement_06 / Ryan Polei via albumarium.com

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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