Last year, I had a great plan for finishing my dissertation. I was going to finish my dissertation. And then start a job search. And if I started the job search too late, I could stay on another year as an RA or just publish everything that I need to publish before I move on with my life. And I thought that I wanted to work in one of two semi-academic institutions anyhow, and both seemed reasonably interested in me.
But somehow we started having job market preparation talks with our program, and career services had job market preparation sessions for everyone, and I spoke with a professor after his talk and he asked if I was on the market so I devoted a week to preparing materials which I ordinarily wouldn't have done. CV, cover letter, teaching statement, dissertation abstract, research statement, writing sample!
So last year I started relatively late, which is to say, I didn't start in July when the first of the job announcements go out. This year, when July rolled around and I got the first of the announcements that I planned to apply to, I'd recently resolved my own job situation, so was only off the market for less than 3 months. I applied to this postdoc in mid-September, and just a few days after submitting my application got an interview.
Wow, what a relief to have something go right now.