How long will this take …

I get it. You just lost your job. You have bills to pay. You’re ready to go back to work.  The question you ask is “how long will it take to find a new job.”  You better be sitting down, because you may not like my answer.

The rule of thumb that I use is that you should be prepared for your job search to take one month for every $10k of salary you want to earn.  So, a $30,000 annual salary job could take 3 months and an $80,000 job could take 8 months.  I’ve been fired/laid off/RIFed/what-have-you six times.  The fastest I’ve ever found a job was 2 weeks (and actually I had some advance notice so it was really about 4 weeks) and the longest was 13 months.  That is not completely true because one time after about 4 months I decided to open my own consulting business and stopped looking.  After about 2 years that consulting business led me to my next job.

This does not mean it will take that long.  Some people are in the right place at the right time. Also, if you already have a strong and well-maintained network, you may be able to speed up the process.

Likewise, this does not mean that it will only take that long.  For the 1-month rule to be a rule, it has to be an average.  For many of you it will take longer – but hopefully not much longer.

What this means is that you need to be patient and you need to be prepared.  If you think you are at risk for losing your job, evaluate your assets.  If you have no other source of income and will rely on unemployment and savings, how long will they last?  If you don’t have enough money for the rule of thumb it will change your search process. You may be forced to settle for a lower paying job just to get some income flowing.  You might have to lower your standards, or look in another geographic area.  You just need to be prepared.

If, like me, you have a loving spouse with a good job and you can get by, be patient and work the process.  Know that it probably won’t happen overnight, but it won’t happen on its own either.  You have to do the work, build the network, and get the system to work for you.

Patience may be a virtue, but when it comes to finding a new job, impatience often is just as important.

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