The Longest Day (What To Do When the Phone Doesn't Ring)

I'm writing towards the end of the official "Longest Day" of the year, June 21 (otherwise known as the Summer Solstice).

This longest day is traditionally one of my favorite days of the year, particularly as I enjoy attending solstice celebrations run by The Revels, an arts organization which promotes an understanding and appreciation of music, dance, and rituals from around the world.

On this official "longest day," I think of the unanticipated "longest days" of job seekers: the appointed time when you should be hearing from prospective employers (as sometimes promised), but the phone fails to ring or you don't receive any e-mail.

A friend who is currently in the job market, recently e-mailed me towards the end of such a day, "Should I be worried?, " she asked. "They told me they'd follow-up with me today regarding a second interview. I followed up with a thank you note last week, should I try again?"

My advice in this situation--and in similar events--is to be patient. On the other side of the employment process is an internal labryinth: there are interview feedback and authorization to hire forms to be submitted, there are colleagues on vacation, and there are often multiple positions to be filled simultaneously. In other words, frequently, a lack of immediate response from an employer means nothing more than that they are busy. (I encouraged my friend to wait four days before calling to touch base on the status of her candidacy.)

The best thing to do when you're waiting for the phone to ring is to ensure that you're busy, too. Seek out other opportunities and throw your name in the hat. If you've nothing else to do, plan an activity that you won't be able to do once you return to work do to your schedule. Program a "Google News Alert" to do employment-related research for you so you can wow your prospective employer when the time comes to follow-up. Above all, have fun: when you do land your dream job, you may find that your next "longest day" is one of an "endless to-do list!"

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