If there’s one thing that is true about being in a professional job search, it’s that it is unpredictable. There are many things it is not, things that add to the challenge that is inherently present.

A job search is not easy. If only it were; life would be just a little easier. Being out of work might not be so bad if it was easy.

A job search is not linear. There are many twists and turns that often take place, for a variety of reasons. A company might contact you, gauge your interest, then not say a word to you for weeks. Just as you think they are out of the picture, they suddenly come back, and they might even seem serious and you might have a real chance of landing there. Or perhaps a company gets through the entire interview process with you, then it goes quiet, and before you know it, you hear from them again and might even get an offer. And then there are the cases where you get through two stages of the process quickly, but the third one seems to take a lot longer to schedule, and there may be another one that appears to take forever.

Or you may have interviews with three companies in the span of a week, but then they fall through and for a few days you have no real prospects.

You get the idea. It’s not a straight line by any stretch of the imagination.

A job search is not a numbers game. Although it may feel like you are getting closer to landing your next job for one reason or another because you’re getting more calls or interviews, this isn’t really the case. This follows from the last point, because no two dealings with companies are alike. You could get your next job offer in a week or a year. Naturally, you hope that offer comes in a week, or a lot closer to a week than a year, but the point is that it’s unpredictable. There is no “trend” that necessarily means you’re getting closer or further away from it.

I am not a patient person by any stretch of the imagination. Even when I played baseball, I was not a patient hitter; unless I was facing a pitcher who couldn’t buy a strike, if the first pitch was in the strike zone, I was swinging. I drew my share of walks, but that wasn’t my first goal. In that respect, being a job seeker is very hard, because it requires patience. You can’t make a company hire you yesterday, no matter how desirable that outcome would be.

All of this is part of what makes being in a job transition a big challenge. It’s the kind of challenge that even someone who likes challenges should not want.

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