Being neither up nor down: reflections on job searching limbo

Oxford defines the word ‘limbo’ as ‘an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition’.  According to this definition ‘limbo’ has neither a negative or positive connotation.

Another definition from the same source, Oxford, equates limbo with ‘a state of neglect or oblivion’.  It might seem appropriate to write about ‘limbo’ on Blue Monday which, apparently, is the most depressing day of the year.  (Penning this post today is just a coincidence).

Limbo can also be referred to by some Christian denominations as the ‘the supposed abode of unbaptized infants’.  (Definition courtesy of Oxford again).


To be left in limbo typically equates to being stranded, bringing to mind the children’s nursery rhyme the grand old Duke of York.

Oh, the grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men,
He marched them up to the top of
Everyone stands up
The hill and he marched
Them down again. Everyone sits down

And when they were up they were up.
Everyone stands up
And when they were down they were down.
Everyone sits down
And when they were only half way up,
They were neither up nor down.
Everyone half-way up

Words, with reference to actions, courtesy of

‘Limbo’ can be a time to reflect on strengths and weaknesses particularly when applied to looking for work.  The disappointment of failing to secure jobs that I have applied for, or been interviewed for, has caused me to, in the grand old Duke of York’s terms, to reassess my strengths and weaknesses.  One of the most challenging aspects of this kind of limbo is realizing that things you regard as a strength are not always seen as being strong enough in the eyes of recruiters.

To return to the grand old Duke of York, looking too far up or down can lead to dizziness/vertigo.  I much prefer establishing relationships face-to-face by way of networking or introductions.  Hope to meet you at networking event soon.  Heading off to #connectingHRMCR this Thursday, January 19th.  Maybe see you there.

Thank you for reading.


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