Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I want you to want me

Maybe you remember the song.  Cheap Trick sang it.
I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I'd love you to love me.
In Maslow's Hierarchy of Need, this falls into the 'Love/belonging' category.  (Yes, 'respect by others' is in the next category up, but 'respect' and 'want' are very different things.)

The only needs that are more critical are the basic physiological needs (air, food, water, etc.) and physical safety.  The pyramid on wikipedia shows 'employment' as an element of physical safety.  I didn't remember that, but I guess it makes sense--without employment you can't meet the physiological needs for long.

Cheap Trick's song was clearly meant between lovers.  Perhaps the initial spark of romance had died.  Like many popular songs, the singer is expressing his desire for sex and his willingness to do whatever it takes to earn it.  But these lyrics reach past sex and apply to the inner heart longing for connection and acceptance.  Wanting to be wanted is a common feeling that applies in many types of relationships (most of which are not sexual.)

I talk with many job seekers.  This emotion applies here, as well.

Getting laid off is often an intensely personal event.  No matter the circumstances, you feel rejected.  Even if you understand the circumstances and it really wasn't personal, it feels personal.  I've felt this myself.  I hear it in other people's voices, and in the way they tell their stories.

For many job seekers the next job is less about getting another paycheck and more about being wanted again.  The paycheck is a safe topic that you can talk about.  But for most of us, the need to be needed is felt more strongly.  And the inverse is true.  The feeling of being wanted is missed more than the paycheck.

When I think about the projects I'm doing, like theHiringSurvey and perhaps the Whatever company, I think about communicating to people that they are wanted.  It's important.

Craig at the HCBC job club often talks about getting stuck.  He talks about anger.  He talks about forgiveness and moving on.  He talks about feeling rejected.  But there isn't a shortcut that I have found for feeling wanted.  You can fake it for a while.  But at some level it seems to be a wound that simply won't heal until a person feels wanted again.

That's one of the things that brings me back to the Whatever company idea.  There are paychecks involved.  But it can also heal that wound and help people get unstuck.

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