I was working on some cover letters today--actually, I'm still technically "working" on them; this is supposed to be a break--when I noticed just how much less tense and anxious I am these days.
Now that I no longer actually expect to get a job this year, and am just hoping that some not-horrible one-year comes my way, I feel a kind of peace. No longer do I wait anxiously for the phone to ring. Checking my email has gone back to being a way of procrastinating, rather than the heart-stopping life-or-death distraction it had become. I don't much care about the job market wiki. Really, it's much calmer here than it's been in a long time.
I'm still putting together applications, of course. But I don't expect this batch to come to anything, either. Applying for jobs is just something I do now. It's somehow totally separate from the actual question of employment. This is similar to a feeling I've had for big chunks of my grad-student days, when I've vaguely sensed that my purpose was simply to carry large stacks of books from one place to another. I didn't read the books; I just transported them. It's all about the process.
So, now, I apply for jobs. I don't get jobs. I realize that this sounds facetious, but I don't mean it that way. I think what's happened is that I've gotten enough rejections to quit hanging my hopes on any particular application, or any particular job, and really, I do feel better.
It's oddly okay.
(At least, that's how I feel today. I make no predictions regarding the rest of the week.)