Looking for a position – even voluntarily – is stressful.
If the job-hunt is discretionary, if you can stay where you are long-term and perhaps are simply bored, it’s comparatively less stressful. But even then, there’s something unsatisfying about where you are that’s making you look elsewhere.
It’s just like a relationship where things aren’t so bad, but you keep thinking there’s someone better out there. Over time, the stress still builds up as you become more impatient with your current situation. Quibbles evolve into dislikes. Dislikes develop into deep dissatisfaction. The passing of time brings more faults found. My advice is to take advantage when the situation (of whether to stay or go) is in your hands, know the warning signs, and look before you think you really need to.
Time moves much differently for those seeking jobs and those offering jobs. For job seekers, depending on which aspect of the hunt you’re referring to, time moves at either a glacial pace or with lightning-speed.
When waiting to hear back from an employer, and being told things on a hold for a few weeks due to holidays or work duties, it seems as though that delayed time-frame will never come. Days seem like weeks, weeks like months. At the same time, if you have a ticking clock with your job hunt … say, your position is ending for whatever reason … then, in stark contrast, time flies by. If you have months until your last day at your current position, it seems like weeks. Weeks seem like days. The clock ticks louder and louder, and no one seems in a hurry getting back to you. Try to really understand it’s not personal. It’s nothing you’ve done. It’s the nature of those needing work and those having work to offer.
For those filling positions, the deadlines always seem to slip. At least it seems that way to the job-hunter. There are other responsibilities pushing the day for that screening call or final offer further down the calendar. Some employers are simply and blithely unaware of how important responsiveness and timeliness are to job seekers (a red flag that place isn’t for you).
You can politely and professionally address this by keeping the potential employer to the deadlines they profess. For example, if they indicate a hiring decision will be made in a week, contact them in a week. If you really need a job, you’ll feel in a weak position. I get that. However, the hiring manager should understand your enthusiasm about working there combined with the personal need for closure. They should be impressed by your initiative and interest – not annoyed (in the latter case, another red flag that place isn’t for you).
I’m not a shrink or an expert in maintaining an emotional well-being. What’s worked best for me – and I’ve been in this situation a few times on this long and interesting road called a career – is trying to even out the highs and lows.
Don’t get too excited when an initial phone interview is scheduled. Don’t look for a sharp object when an opening doesn’t work out. I have friends who tell me, “things happen for a reason.” Sometimes, I either can’t fathom the reason or it seems like a really lousy reason. But most often, the many winding steps leading to that next job eventually make sense – especially viewed from a far away vantage point, only possible after many years have passed. Keep your head up and your resume updated!