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  • The Archer

Hardest Job On Earth

Aleeza Ben Shalom declares at the end of her monotonously boring show Jewish Matchmaking on Netflix "I have the hardest job in the world."

She is, of course, a matchmaker. She analyzes people and tries to put them with other people in the hopes that they'll make more people. She has no manager or boss or form of career advancement and she cannot get fired as a whole, though individuals may choose to stop working with her. She makes her own hours, does her job from wherever she is, and barely even needs a laptop; a cellphone will do.

Perhaps Aleeza is not aware, there are these people called surgeons and surgeons go to four years of undergraduate, four years of medical school, four years of residency, and multiple fellowships before they use sharpened instruments to open up the human body. Some of these surgeons will remove beating hearts from within humans and replace them with a different heart that has been transported in a cooler. They do this and sew the patient back up and a lot of the time the patient-who has been open and had their heart replaced-is able to lead a normal life. This is insane.

Aleeza is surely aware of waiters, people who balance heavy trays loaded with fragile food onto their arms and navigate mazes of tables and customers. They manage dozens of complex, time based orders in their heads. Looks pretty hard to me.

Aleeza may not even be aware of my job where I manage millions of dollars in advertising spend and make the necessary adjustments to our spend in order to sell products. If I were to make a mistake I could potentially lose my company thousands and thousands of dollars.

Of course, I don't take my job too seriously because I am aware that many people do harder things. But of course no one does anything as hard as matchmaking. A matchmaker has to

  • interview singles

  • suggest matches

  • shepherd matches to the relationship's next step

  • that's it

  • no really

As someone with an analytical mind who is also single I have heard many gripes from matchmakers and thought "why?" This is a simple work smarter not harder problem.

Matchmakers are busy with interviews and hearing from people before and after dates and convincing people to go out with each other.

Imagine if we did this with AI.

We'd give the AI access to a single's digital footprint. Texts, emails, everything. The single could also write in a description and all singles will fill out a lengthy survey as to what they are looking for.

The AI will generate a match. In order to be part of the system both parties must agree to date whoever the AI provides.

The couple goes out. They can then reject or accept a second date. They both receive a long survey about the date and about each other and the AI uses this to build more of the persons profile. The AI tells them if they're going on a second date. After that they can choose. If they decide no, they get another long survey and the AI constantly updates them based on their own self opinions and the 'review' from the other party. AI makes the next match and they continue from there. A person can update their profile with their preferences but only between matches.

Now Archer, some of you say, what about the part where Shadchans help a reluctant couple move forward? What about the invaluable psychological and relationship advice they give?

I'm about to blow your mind.

Perhaps, as a suggestion, just a thought, within the frum world we can all agree to stop seeking psychological help from anyone who has no qualifications or education whatsoever.

I know. Deep breaths. This could change everything.

I would also like to point out that six week life coaching seminars do not count as psychological education.

It's ok. Head between your knees. Breathe.

What if instead, each party could seek out guidance from an actual certified therapist who went to school for this purpose? Would that be too insane? Rather than trusting our feelings during this incredibly difficult period to women who often take those feelings and translate them into "if you'd only lose 5 pounds...stop having the system" we could work on our own self growth and ensure that no matter our relationship status, we are prepared to become better people.

I got off track there, but what I'm trying to say is: no, being a shadchan is not the most difficult job on Earth. It could actually be quite simple with a good computerized system and some time management skills. Shadchans could also save time by not overstepping their expertise. Even without AI, a simpler, form based system could be developed that would save loads of time.

But of course no one wants that. They want to hold us in thrall, to tell us that they have it harder than anyone else and we should kiss their feet.

You may not be able to fix the system. But don't pretend that you're the ones who have it hard. Set up boundaries, learn time management, and don't tell me you have the hardest job on earth.

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