Jobless Doesn't Have To Mean Dateless & Turning Off The Phone

Tuesday, December 30, 2009

DEAR CAT: I’m a single, urban woman in my 30’s. I’m attractive, educated, and until recently I had a successful career. A couple weeks ago my company informed a group of us that our department is closing its doors and, like many people these days, I now find myself suddenly out of work. As a result, I have decided to take myself out of the dating scene. I think the choice is reasonable and it’s only temporary. My friends think I am crazy and making a mistake, but I am dreading the “what do you for a living?” question. I live in one of those cities where you need to bring your ‘resume’ on your first date. What’s your call on this? — OUT OF WORK (AND DATES)

DEAR OUT: There are two ways to spin your choice. 1) You’re not a lazy slacker, you were laid off and there’s no shame in that! Refusing to meet or date anyone seems a dramatic and unnecessary response, one that could have lasting consequences on your social life. Plus, meeting new people can open professional opportunities, so you could be giving up more than you think. 2) If you’re truly unhappy or feeling aimless, you might not be in the best mindset to date. But getting out and mingling can make you feel more positive and “connected,” and in turn more ambitious. You could meet someone today, have a date, and within a few weeks be newly employed and starting a new relationship. Everyone is wise to the current economic state. If someone won’t date you because you were laid off… Cat’s Call: They’re not worth dating anyway.

DEAR CAT: My little sister lives about an hour away and does something that drives me crazy!! She turns her cell phone off at night, but she doesn’t have a home phone! If there is an emergency in the middle of the night she will never know. Even worse, her husband works the night shift driving a truck. I have tried repeatedly to get her to leave it on but to no avail. She says, “if someone needs to reach me, they can leave me a message”. But what if there is no time to wait until morning when she checks her messages? Our mother passed away two years ago, and when she was alive she would call my sister at all hours of the night (she was not right in her mind), but now there’s no reason to turn it off at night. Is there any advice you can offer? — FRUSTRATED

DEAR FRUSTRATED: There’s little you can do beyond begging and pleading. Her resistance has less to do with being available for emergencies and more to do with being awakened or disturbed by telemarketers and wrong numbers. One compromise she might consider: leave the phone on, but the ringer off, and you can text her in case of an emergency. Most phones have separate settings for those functions. Then if you need her, a text message will alert her but telemarketers are still kept at bay. Cat’s Call: It’s not exactly what you want, but it’s better than nothing.

  1. Dear Out of Work & Dates, One thing I always tell people is to not let life pass you by. Enjoy every minute of it. There is NOTHING in life that stops you from doing ANYTHING. If you’re all that you say you are, it’s only YOU that is causing the situation to be the way it is. Girl, get off your butt, get dressed up, and go out there and continue to enjoy yourself. Come on now. You’re a grown woman. I’ve been in that situation before, and that is one area that I did not ease up at. As a matter of fact, I exceeded light speed in dating. So, don’t let a man tell you where it’s at. Come on baby. Do your thing. It’s all in the mind.

    — Eddie, Pittsburgh    12/30/2008    Reply

  2. I can understand stopping dating if you’re not sure where your life is headed but I don’t think I’d do it. So what if someone asks what you do for a living?! You say, “I’m a (fill in the blank here with whatever you did before you got laid off) and I’m looking for a job.” Even if you’re looking in other places and you end up moving away at least you’ve had SOME fun during a hard time.

    — S.Elizabeth (Pgh.)    12/30/2008    Reply

  3. The dateless/jobless woman is feeding the “resume date” problem. She sounds insecure. Like she’s not worth a squat because some company laid her off. If a lawyer is out of work and someone asks what they do for a living, they say, “I’m a lawyer.” They don’t stop being one just because they’re looking for a job. She might be attractive and educated and all, but her insecurity would be more of a turn-off than her employment status.

    — kimman, sacramento, ca    12/30/2008    Reply

  4. There is more to this story,,,,,it’s not telemarketers. She is having an affair when her husband works.

    — anonymous    12/30/2008    Reply

  5. I don’t get the connection between losing your job and “taking yourself out of the dating scene.” I mean I sort of get it but it sounds more like an identity crisis going on. If she were married, would she get divorced now? If she had a boyfriend at that time, would she dump him? She claims to live in a city where you’re expected to wow people with your job title but I live in Manhattan and I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t understand getting laid-off.

    — someguy, nyc    12/30/2008    Reply

  6. OMG, that comment about the sister who won’t answer her phone at night…I never even thought she might be having an affair. That’s genius!

    — benny, atlanta GA    12/30/2008    Reply

  7. There should be some type of manufacturer’s phone with a feature that allows an audible alert from selected numbers only in case of emergency. For when the ringer is off.

    — anonymous    12/30/2008    Reply

  8. It would be prudent to take some time off from the “Dating Election Campaign” and get some perspective. Use the extra time to find gainful employment, or retraining. When a job materializes, then gradually resume the campaign.

    — Marc, Squirrel Hill    12/31/2008    Reply

  9. No woman should feel like she has to impress a man with her job. That is no way of finding love! A man does not care if a woman is a big success as long as she is a good person and he loves her.

    — Jacques (USA)    12/31/2008    Reply

  10. I turn my phone off most nights because there’s a guy who drinks, and a couple of times a month he dials my phone at 1 AM trying to reach the pizza place…a 91 year old lady with dementia who thinks my number belongs to her nephew Joey…a lady who sounds so messed up when she calls, I assume she’s trying to reach her “connection,” sometimes at 3 AM…and friends in other time zones who can’t figure the time difference the right way around. Needless to say, I don’t think the affair explanation is “genius.” It’s a cell phone, both of you geniuses. Even if her husband were calling, it’s not like his voice would come over the answering machine.

    — Joy (Pittsburgh)    12/31/2008    Reply

  11. I completely understand how the woman who just lost her job feels. I am single, educated, and now jobless as well. However, I didn’t take myself out of the dating scene. I recently went out with one guy a handful of times. He knows I am looking for work, but beyond that he doesn’t know much else. In our last two conversations he has asked how many applications I submitted. I think he wanted real numbers! There are enough people in my world asking questions like this. I don’t need someone I hardly know doing it too.

    — Jenny in Ohio    01/02/2009    Reply

  12. I was at a job fair a few years ago and was chatting with the guy next to me in line. I asked him what he did and he said he used to be an engineer. He had recently lost his job and apparently lost his identity along with it. Very sad. After further discussion, I learned he designed massive foundations for steel mill sites to hold very heavy equipment and survive the vibration, etc. He had worked for a steel mill engr firm, their business was down during a steel recession and they laid off a whole bunch of folks. He certainly needed to reassess where his talents and interests lie, seems like this lady does too.

    — Richard in Monaca    01/02/2009    Reply

  13. It’s refreshing to see a woman take time to prioritize her career, because that’s really what she’s talking about. If a guy sent in this question nobody would think twice about it. We’re so used to seeing women drop everything if a man enters the picture but this woman is preventing the distraction and getting her life on track. I hope she doesn’t say no to someone she wants to go out with (if they ask her out) but insecure or not, she seems to have her head on straight.

    — W. (philly, pa)    01/03/2009    Reply


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