The Long and Winding Road of the Job Search

When you are in a job search, you tell the world that you will be the exception to the rule and that you will have a new position in a month or two.  You may even make some money on this transition because you will be able to bank that separation agreement money and not use it for living expenses.  You know that in today’s world it takes 6 months to a year to get settled into a new job but you rationalize that you will be the exception to the rule and that you will be back to work before anyone even notices that you changed jobs.

A job search can be one of the most stressful experiences that anyone participates in.  The emotional highs of getting phone calls from potential employers and being selected as a finalist for a job can be very rewarding.  However, the lows can be just as devastating when the job you knew you were just right for falls to someone else or the days that turn to months waiting for that phone call from the “head hunter” or selection committee never seems to occur. 

Today’s job market is very competitive.  There are certainly many more very qualified candidates for the jobs that are out there.  It’s often very lonely as well since your friends are gainfully employed and try as you do, you have more time on your hands than you really desire.

Finding a job is literally a sales pitch and the product is you!  Most candidates are not sales people and are not comfortable with the proposition that you need to “rub elbows” with a lot of strangers and make “small talk” with people as you go through the process of getting an interview.  But because we need to – we will do it, but for most people they will certainly not enjoy it.

There are 8 distinct stages in this process and we must go through all of them at various lengths of time  if we are to find ultimate success of finding the appropriate job for our capabilities.

1)  Loss of Job Identity:  Many people are out of work for a lot of reasons.  People are fired, they resign for a multitude of reasons or they are laid off because of a miserable economy.  For whatever reason, your job is you identity and when you are abruptly without that job you feel esposed and you know that everyone is looking at you and wondering why you can’t hold onto a job?  Of course, human nature being what it is we know that those friends of ours are just thankful that it is you and not them that will be out there in the job market.

2)  Reality Sets In:  After a few days or even a few weeks of moodiness and anger for those who were fired and after the same amount of time for those who resigned because they needed a breath of fresh air –  it is now time to get to work finding a new job but what to do?  You work on that resume that was never written just right while you were employed and you start making phone calls and sending e-mails announcing to the world that you are available and are taking on all comers.

3)  What’s Taking So Long?  Well, you have done everything right, you have made tons of contacts, you have networked everybody, your resume and template cover letter are spectacular but here you wait and you are getting tired of the same old, same old.  You send out resumes to posted jobs and for whatever reason you am hearing nothing – nothing at all!  Even the family dog is starting to wonder why you never leave home anymore.

4)  It Is Time To Refocus.  OK, you guess the wish for a fast and successful job search was not meant to be – just like winning the lottery or finally getting a hole in one!  You best refocus because without the rebranding of this product it is going to go stale and eventually the “pull date” will come into play.  Redo the resume with a new angle, make new contacts and work even harder to get your resume in front of the right decision-makers.

5)  It Is About Time!  That elusive call for an interview has finally happened; but wait it really isn’t the job you were hoping for!  You need the interview practice anyway so you best prepare for the interaction and who knows, maybe it is something that you can eventually appreciate.  Best of all you now know what Sally Fields felt when she proclaimed at the Oscars years ago  that “they love me, they really, really love me!”

6)  It Took Forever But This Is What I Was Waiting For.  You are now seeing some results from the hard work.  Calls for interviews are happening and you seem much more upbeat.  Though you don’t get the jobs you know that you are finally being noticed and sooner or later the bridesmaid will indeed be walking down the aisle as the bride.

7)  It Has Finally Happened!  You have finally received a specific job offer.  Will have to work out the details and let the attorneys work out the terms but after all these months it looks like you can now be recognized as employable once again.  Thank you notes for everybody who were essential along the way in my job search are now in order.

8)  Free At Last, Free At Last, Thank God Almighty Free At Last!  Though you know that the first day in your new job is the first day towards leaving that job you tell yourself you are never going through this ever again.  You also recognize that though you are now out of the daily job search grind that you will still need to help your fellow job seeking brethren.

The job search process is not one for wimps.  It takes a lot out of you and once you recognize that it takes a stiff back bone and a hearty disposition you will find yourself in a much better place of mind and you can plan for the long road ahead.

Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive who has been a CEO for 3 distinct trade association in his career.  He currently is between work and has written more than 50,000 words or 65 blogs on the topics of job search and career transition.  He can be contacted at:


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