The Hardest Thing I’ve Sourced for; and I am Still Looking

The quarterback gets the girl, the cowboy rides away, and the clown hides tears behind the makeup. – Derek Zeller

I never quote myself in anything I post. I think it is pretty douchy to do so, but here I went and did it anyway. It is hard to find quotes on a subject that are often romanticized in movies and literature without silly, flowery angst, then a happy ending to the story. Life is grittier and dirtier than that; it’s more demanding as it does not take two hours to tell, I sure wish it would, though. Looking for love is tough, time-consuming, and like recruiting, filled with rejection. I honestly think that ugly people make better recruiters. Ok, I am going to give you a minute to say bullsh*t but hear me out.

Beautiful people are given lots of latitudes, they get free drinks, and they get to cut the line of life to get right in anywhere. They are often pandered to and sought after for a multitude of things, especially courtship. They rarely incur rejection and are usually the rejecter of advances of from the opposite sex. This goes for both genders, male and female alike. It is one of the rare gender biases that they all can share. Then, well, there seem to be people like me. I have a few too many pounds on my frame, and frankly am more introverted than people know about me. Sure, my life is a series of blog posts where I share some pretty emotional personal stuff, but in person, I like to be more reserved. Close friends see me smiling all the time being the life of the party and adding witticisms to the conversations, but most of the time it is just due to my training from acting classes and sheer terror someone just might figure out that I am a terrified nine-year-old emotionally.

I was verbally accosted in Dallas once while visiting my many Texas pals as to why I was not married, why was I STILL single? You see, the reason for this must be my fault. I laughed and told my good friend the simplest answer I could think of;

Women like the idea of me not the reality of meI am not supposed to be real, so therefore I am not. Oh, and I have a face made for radio and a body by Dunkin’ Donuts.

We are, and for the most part have been, a visual society when it comes to looking for a companion. Look at some of the more popular dating apps out there, like Tinder and POF, and the first thing you see is a picture. If there is no physical attraction by looking at a photo of a person, then you just swipe left. Not all people, I get that, but when you are rounding fifty years of age, horribly out of shape, and you have never been married, you are leper when it comes to the dating world. On top of that, you are one step away from looking like the elephant man’s distant cousin; you are Sisyphus pushing that boulder up the mountain.

Other dating sites charge you monthly fees telling you we are going to find you someone and it is going to be great. However, if you buy the yearlong package, you get the best deal. What the hell is that? If the algorithm is so freaking fantastic why would it take a year for $19.95 a month for me to find someone, hell I have been looking for free, and it’s been a heck of a lot longer than a year with zero success! Also, what if I do find someone, now I am stuck paying a contractual monthly fee and then having to justify it to the person that, well, I signed the contract, perfect beginning to a relationship.

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When you get to this level of life, and you are still alone, you fall into one of three groups: those who are married with kids, those who are divorced, and those below the age of thirty just wanting to party. One group is useless to me as I did enough damage when I was below the age of thirty. Divorcees hang out at bars trying to find a younger guy to make them feel better that they were thrown over for a younger model, and the ones with families like hanging out with, well, other families. I love referrals, I do, but I do not see a whole lot prospects coming from these three assemblies.

It’s not like I can write up a Boolean string to find someone whom I would be with the rest of my life. What, should I do an in:personality: “friend” AND “single OR separated” AND kind AND genuine AND loving –divorced –married –“under 50”? Yeah, I tried that on my last birthday out of the drunken depression that I was going to wake up alone, again, in the morning to just face work and yet that is what happened. There were women in my life that tried to open my soul to them, to ask me to love them. I was an emotional stone that their love crashed on as I was incapable of allowing that type of emotion in. Now as sensitive as I have become over the years, I seem to fall into the trap of the wrong woman who puts me at the bottom of the abandoned well of emotions time and time again.

This is not a cry for help but a question really; maybe I am going about this all the wrong way? How would you source for a soulmate? What would you tell someone like me, who feels they have something to give to another human being? Maybe I don’t? I have many puns that I lean on to continue to add to the brick and mortar to protect my heart with what little ego I have.

I would never want to be a member of a group if they would have someone like me as a member – Groucho Marks

These are my go-to phrases when, and all too often when, the rejection is set in, or the ideal person smiles at you knowing full well that the idea of building any romantic involvement with you is never going to materialize. I have learned to be alone in a room full of people all too often in my life. I know the pains of being taken advantage of because I looked attractive standing on my wallet. All I ask is where you, my love, are, or did I, at some point in my life, walk past you blinded by my ignorance? I am still sourcing after all these years and disappointing the hardest person to please which is me. The struggle is real as they say, and my journey continues, alone.

Derek Zeller draws from over 20 years in the recruiting industry. The last 16 years he has been involved with federal government recruiting specializing in the cleared IT space under OFCCP compliance. Currently, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions for Engage Talent. He has experience with both third-party agency and in-house recruiting for multiple disciplines. Using out-of-the-box tactics and strategies to identify and engage talent, he has had significant experience in building referral and social media programs, the implementation of Applicant Tracking Systems, technology evaluation, and the development of sourcing, employment branding, and military and college recruiting strategies. Derek currently lives in the Portland area. Now, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions and Channels with Engage.


4 Comments on “The Hardest Thing I’ve Sourced for; and I am Still Looking

  1. I’d say love yourself and be the person you would want as a “soul mate”. If you do that, you may not care if you have your “soul mate,” but will attract that person.

  2. This is an interesting gross generalisation, Derek, “Divorcees hang out at bars trying to find a younger guy to make them feel better that they were thrown over for a younger model.” My ex didn’t ditch me for a younger model and my man is older than the ex, so could your bias be reducing your talent pool significantly? Other than that, I refer you to our (potentially incoherent on my part) conversation before SourceCon that is not dissimilar to what Amber has said, find that inner peace & self love and don’t look. Forget your natural instinct to source, she’ll appear when the time is right.

  3. First off, I have seen Sisyphus in too many articles this week. Second, you’re sourcing the wrong people. Find out who you are. Understand what you love and don’t love in your life. Only then will you even get close to finding a true love. Even then, it still takes work every day. You just have to understand what you are and are not willing to put up with for love.

    Best of luck in your search!

  4. First of all, I commend you for your openness, Derek. Not everyone is that brave; I’M not.
    Also, I know where you’re coming from, because i was “there” for a VERY long time earlier in my life.
    Now for some specific steps:
    1) Determine precisely what you want: LTR or hookup (aka; “temp” or “FT”), personal/personality characteristics, location: write the equivalent of a JD, let’s cal it an MD or “mate description”.
    2) Find out what tools are best for what you’re looking for, OK Cupid, Match Tinder, FB, etc.
    3) Use as many dating candidate search venues as you have bandwidth for- you mentioned three that didn’t seem very good. Research where eligible people are likely to be, and seriously consider going to those places if they’re something you’d like to do anyway
    4) Now, find a good sourcing friend who is in the similar situation to yourself, and offer to do their mate sourcing for them if they’ll do the same for you.
    (This takes a lot of the emotional issues out of it at this stage.)
    5) Find a resource where you can practice your “date interviewing skills” (I can refer someone).
    In my experience “*they” don’t want to see the REAL you, they want to see the BEST you.
    6) Review the candidates, and if you have too many/too few, tweak the search parameters.
    7) After you have practiced your “date interviewing skills” to the point where you feel pretty confident (or at least not too non-confident), go on an “informational interview date” with someone at the bottom of your “acceptable” list to see how it goes with minimal emotional stakes involved.
    8) Debrief with a trusted friend.
    9) Continue as needed- there are only two things you need to decide upon with the(s) person:
    I. Can they provide me with what I seek in the particular relationship: love, friendship, sex, shared interests, etc.?
    II. Would I feel comfortable being around this person for an extended period of time?
    If you can say “yes” to both- they’re right for you, if you can’t-they’re not, and if you don’t know- spend more time/ask more questions to find out.
    (It’s important to realize that you may not find all of these things which are important to you in one person.)
    10) Until you find that special someone(s), keep a good pipeline of potential candidates, and don’t neglect referrals.

    Hope this helps…

    *Most people in private or public life, most of the time.

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