The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and controversy. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr
I wonder if MLK Jr was job hunting when he said this?
Nothing will shake someone more than a prolonged job hunt. You begin with spirits high, resume in hand, and with the world (not) waiting for you to come calling. You send out a few résumés... crickets. No big deal, you think, I'm only just starting out, something will happen. You do your due diligence and keep plugging away, reworking your résumé a little, rewriting your cover letter. And then a call. And then another. Off to the interview you go. It's short and sweet so you figure it went well. You sit by your phone checking it every 9 seconds like you were checking it after a first date, but no calls and no emails. You try to shrug it off, but self doubt starts to creep in. You're confidence begins to waiver just a little. I should have done this differently. I should have said this and not that.
Shaken just a little, you move on. But you begin to wonder if that was your window of opportunity and it just closed on your fingers. Nonetheless you don't give up. You can't.
The time between calls gets longer. Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months. You are buoyed, if only slightly, by the odd call back but when the result is much the same as it was before the self doubt is much the same as it was before - only worse. The walks home get a little longer and a little lonelier. Now it's stressful. You're awake at night and it's with you everywhere you go. You walk by someone walking home from work and you just want to be them. You want to walk with the same purpose they do. Maybe if you walk faster you'll be able to get out from underneath this cloud that is hanging over you. This has to end somewhere, sometime, doesn't it?
If the ultimate measure is where a man stands in moments of challenge, then stand in the unemployment line.