Anyone who walks into the Cougareat this semester is familiar with the hiring advertisements.
“$50 for referring a friend!”
“Free smoothie upon hire!”
“Great working conditions and free food!”
All of these are appealing ideas. In the past, the Cougareat hasn’t struggled to be fully staffed, even with COVID-19 restrictions. So why this semester?
I asked myself that question as I was walking around — if I wasn’t already employed, why wouldn’t I work here? The simple answer — I didn’t want to. I had tried working in the food industry before, and it was not a fun experience for me. It didn’t matter that the last job I had working in food was a vastly different environment — classy sit-down restaurant versus food court — nothing about working there seems like a good fit for me. But surely, not everyone would feel the same way. Not everyone was booked on jobs like I was, right? So why weren’t people applying?
The same thing seems to be happening in Provo dating culture. Ask any single student what they think of the Provo dating culture. After rolling their eyes and groaning, they’ll probably say something like “it’s the worst.”
Here at BYU, most students are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches that marriage and family are some of the highest priorities. While it may not seem like it as wedding announcements stack up on your fridge, the rate of BYU students who graduate married is declining. How is that happening? Nearly everyone is hiring, so to speak. Mutual profiles boast of excellent baking skills or the promise of comfortable hoodies — not unlike the desperate pleas of the Cougareat. Everyone is hiring, but no one wants to work there.
Why is it that thousands of BYU students, who want to date and get married, aren’t? When looking at an individual basis, it could be as simple as the answers their married friends tell them: “It’ll come with time, you just haven’t met someone who is right for you yet.” That may be true. But thousands of us? We’re more like the staffing issues on campus than we realize. The reasons why students won’t work at the Cougareat are similar to the problems with dating culture in Provo.
First, lots of students feel like they can get a better paying job somewhere off campus. Why work in a food court for around $10 an hour, when you could work at a grocery store as a bagger for more than that?
In dating, we tend to fall for a common mentality — there might be something better if we just wait it out. Sure, your ministering brother is nice, but maybe if you just flip your hair in the right way, his roommate will finally notice you. The girl in your dance class is fun to be around, but you’re pretty sure it won’t go anywhere based on the two times you’ve danced with her. We all know that the concept of soulmates is “a fiction and an illusion” according to President Spencer W. Kimball, but this mentality of just waiting for something better is a soulmate-seeking mentality.
Of course, there’s a difference between ignoring good options that are right in front of you and avoiding disastrous relationships that may be abusive, toxic or even just not fulfilling. I’m not suggesting that you ask …….