Patience According to Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

Job searches can be lengthy and monotonous and unfortunately those not prepared for the process can find it demoralizing, depressing and sometimes debilitating.  It is obviously top of mind for the job seeker but life does go on for your friends, family and contacts and it can be very bewildering for the individual going through this effort wondering why at times it has become so very quiet around the home office?

In a recent discussion with a friend, who is also an executive search professional, she reminded me of something that I have long known but hoped beyond hope that this time would not come to pass; “for every $10 thousand dollars of salary it takes a month to find just the right job.”

One of my heroes, American Poet and Author Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it all into perspective, “patience and fortitude conquer all things.”  I know that patience is a virtue but at times it can certainly be a vice.  For those in job search mode you want results and you want results now.  Why isn’t the phone ringing?  Why aren’t they knocking down the door once they heard that you are available?  Why don’t they respond to e-mails?

Obviously life isn’t always accommodating, what did Mom always say – “what’s worth doing is worth doing right.”  Of course why can’t we accomplish it quickly with the results that I know will ultimately come to pass anyway?

A job search can drive even the sanest of individuals wacky.  It is very much like the military where you hurry up and wait.  Obviously you are on other people’s schedules and though you are ready to pounce, if the company or recruiter is not in sync with your immediate time frame, it can be very dispiriting.

You must keep in mind that even if everything falls into place beautifully, and that rarely happens; an executive search can take 4 months or longer – from start to finish.  When you have postings and interviews and more interviews and then finally more inteviews before negotiating terms –  this process can seem like turning a freighter around in the middle of the ocean – real slow!

There is also another issue where patience should be up front and center – you shouldn’t always accept the first offer.  I know it sounds like heresy to those who are looking for work but take it from those who have been so anxious to find a new home that they are willing to go to the dance with anyone who shows any interest – sometimes you need to slow down and think it over.

There are too many horror stories of individuals who settled for the first employment offer because they were either “desperate” or wanted to show the world that yes that they once again can be a productive and effective cog of society.   They just couldn’t  see that such a job just wasn’t right for them and that with a poor choice that they could be back in a job search sooner than later.

You never want to be placed in the desperate mode.  Obviously you have bills to pay and your self-confidence can be waning but it is imperative to seriously analyze any and every offer made to you.  It is nice to know that there is an employer out there that finds you acceptable, but again there are too many horror stories of job seekers taking the first job offer made to them in haste.

Remember, in many cases you might be spending more time in your new job than with your family.  Take your time and choose wisely.  Here are a few issues to consider:

*  Is there an immediate connection with your new employer or do you have some concerns?

*  Are you happy with the compensation package or are you settling?

*  Is the focus of the job one you have a burning interest in or one that you hope to eventually enjoy?

*  Are the goals and expectations of you and your capabilities realistic or are you bound to fail?

*  Is there a future for you and your career at this job or is this just a temporary stopping point?

*  If you take this job will you continue to look for a better position?

If you can comfortably and honestly answer all these questions, then you have a basis to either accept the job offer or reluctantly thank the individual for the opportunity and move on.  Of course never burn your bridges because this individual might, sometime in the future be another contact that you can depend on.

A job search was never intended for wimps.  It is a difficult process that certainly can be frustrating at times.  Always keep the end goal in mind and ultimately with the right decision you might not have to go through this again all too soon. 

As Leo Tolstoy of War and Peace fame once said: “the two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”  We just hope that our job search isn’t as lengthy as one of Tolstoy’s novels or our patience will definitely be tested.


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