Q: I walked away from a toxic situation — still believe it was the right decision — but, boy, is it true that it's easier to look while you're employed!
I could not believe how many nibbles I got that led to nothing and I couldn't help but wonder if it was because I'd left a job. I also suspected ageism at work. One recruiter told me that we'd be going forward and that his security person would call me to start the clearance process. A few minutes later the security person called and the first question she asked was my date of birth. I know that's required for a clearance, so I gave it. She hemmed and hawed about foreign relatives for a few minutes, then said they'd get back to me with next steps. I left a voicemail for the recruiter a few days later, but heard nothing.
So, after 10 months of this kind of behavior I found myself talking with a company that put me through four phone screens and four in-person interviews (eight different people). Each person assured me I was the "best fit" for this job, but the decision guy would not pull the trigger.
Then I got a call from a company who set an interview after a brief phone screen. They called me back a few days later to meet the chief executive and they called that evening to offer me the job. It's the best work/life balance I've had in years. It's a hectic pace each day, but with no evenings or weekends. And the company dynamic is great — generally friendly and upbeat.
Things truly do work out for the best — it usually just takes longer than we would like.