Monday I blogged about not ever allowing one person to have control over my income again. Thom Allen has seen me go from job seeker to business owner and professional career manager over the last few years. I was surprised to see this in the comments from him:
I have seen [Jason (me)] change over the past few years.
Oh boy… here it comes… what exactly has changed? I’m still the same brilliant (lol) person I was three years ago. He continues:
He’s more confident, which is probably a far cry from where he was when he started JibberJobber.
Hm. Interesting observation. I thought that when I started JibberJobber I was pretty confident (or, cocky). But Thom has seen me in various network settings and lunches over time, and he’s got a different perspective than I do.
As I’ve thought about it I wondered where my confidence level was at back then… and where it is at today. I admit today I’m more confident because I’m three years into my business, and I have accomplished a lot. Back then I really had no idea if could measure up to the challenge.
I wonder what people would say about YOUR confidence level, right now?
If you are in a job search, or an extended job search, I bet your confidence level is lower than you might think.
This week at my networking event I met plenty of capable, accomplished executives who seemed to have low confidence levels.
Do me a favor – go read one of my favorite blog posts talking about this very issue – it’s called I Smell Blood.
And think about how you can change your confidence level – because it really does make a difference.
Yesterday I blogged about my cousin who was hired in just a few days from when he found a job posting on Craigslist.
I guarantee he was prepared to have the right conversation when the time came. He was ready.
Last night I dropped in on a network meeting I haven’t been to for over a year. The hostess recognized me and at one point said “Jason, why don’t you take a few minutes and tell us about JibberJobber?” What a golden opportunity to sell the concept to people who needed it. Two years ago I would have messed it up – last night I was surprised, but much better prepared.
Today I flew into Orlando for a surprise meeting. I was just here 2 weeks ago. Due to a series of events that happened from two weeks ago, I’m back and here to talk about some pretty serious stuff.
I am ready. I’ve been ready for a while.
You never know when you are going to meet that key contact – whether it’s online or in person. It might be from a referral, and it might seem meaningless. But you have to be ready. here are some of my suggestions:
Know what you want. If you know what you want, then when an opportunity arrives you’ll be better prepared to react appropriately.
Know how others can help you. People will say “how can I help you?” It is better to know what to say rather than “I’m not sure but I’ll let you know later.”
Know who you are. So many elevator pitches suck – they are misleading and offbrand. If you know who you are, who you want to be, and how to communicate it, you can take advantage of those 10 or 30 seconds you might get. Not prepared? That’s okay, you can just mess it up like most people do.
Last week I met a cousin-in-law who I’d only known from Facebook. He has read my blog and tweets and knows my mind is in career management and job search – and because of that he shared a cool story with me.
He was working in a job that was okay but definitely not where he needed to be – and he regularly was scanning for open positions. He said he included Craigslist in his daily routine to see what new jobs came up.
He told me he saw a new job posted on Craigslist (he’s a senior level network engineer), applied for it, and within 4 days was hired. It was very fast… he was in the right place, with the right skills, and interviewed well, and I’m sure he’ll do great at this new job (which is much more aligned with what he needed).
Craigslist in a job search? If you thought Craigslist was only a place to find or dispose of furniture you might be missing out on an opportunity to find your next gig.
The idea is to use appropriate resources to find out about opportunities… don’t discount Craigslist.
(however, I will say that if you go to the discussion forum for jobs you are absolutely wasting your time. I think this is one of the darkest and most shameful areas that Craig allows on the site – stay away from it)
I lost 100% of my income the day I heard, over the phone, something to the effect of “we’re going to have to let you go.”
I felt equally bad for the other people who were getting let go from my company. We had all given more than 100% to the company. Our loyalty was with the company, which I thought could be shown by the fact we hadn’t taken a raise or bonus for about three years (even though employees from the parent company, where some of us had come from, enjoyed raises and bonuses regularly), but we kept plugging away trying to make a go of this somewhat start-up.
It was a sickening time. Alas, not to worry, I was going to land soon, I felt.
After weeks, which turns into months, I realized that “landing soon” was something other people might do – not me.
One group of people had the power to take away 100% of my income. I was left with 100% of my expenses (mortgage, 2 cars, bills, etc.).
I think one person actually influenced the group to make the decision, and one other person from the group signed off on it, which made it happen.
It really comes down to one person.
In contrast, right now there is not one single person who controls my finances.
I don’t have one single contract or client or user who can do away with 100% of my income.
Even if I weren’t actively involved in my business I would still make money right now. You can learn how I do it in my Multiple Streams of Income posts (the how is not as important as the idea that it’s actually happening).
How about you? Have you relinquished 100% of your income to someone (or something (a corporation)) else?
Another new update we did this week is so simple it barely merits a blog post.
Of course, some users will love it, even though it’s not a huge deal. So I’ll tell you what is was, but I want to wrap it in a concept.
JibberJobber is… well, complex. It’s not simple. It’s very powerful, but the complexity kind of scares some people off.
I bet your job search, or career management, or personal branding management, is also complex. There are tons of books, articles and blog posts about the stuff – it has to be complex.
Sometimes in the complexity we miss opportunities to simplify, while doing something that will have a “significant” impact on what we are doing.
Check out the first time I wrote about this in one of my favorite blog posts titled I Hated My Lawnmower. One tiny change made a huge (significant) difference in my lawn mowing experience. And my neighbors couldn’t laugh at me anymore (for that, anyway :)).
The second time I referred to this was another favorite post titled Permission to Manage Your Career. As someone who’s serious about CEO of Me, Inc, this was a significant epiphany for me.
My message to you is this: perhaps there is one simple thing you can change which will produce significantly different results. Perhaps it’s a job search tactic… or perhaps it’s where you work (messy office vs. clean room or coffee shop)… or perhaps it’s what you wear when you start your day… or perhaps whether you smile when you are on the phone or not.
One simple thing might change a lot.
Find that one simple thing, and then I challenge you to make the change.
Ok, having said that, here’s the simple change we made (thanks to a few users who have suggested this):
On the List Panel one of the columns you can see is the Next Action Item Date. This is now a hyperlink – you can drill down and go to that log entry/action item.
So simple, but a real enhancement for those who navigate a lot through the List Panel view.
There ya go, another cool enhancement, and an analogy of how you can relate the concept to your career management
JibberJobber is a Career Management Tool. One feature that really breaks it out of the short-term “job search tool” and makes it more valuable in your long-term career management is the Job Journal.
Don from Pittsburgh suggested that we give free users the ability to add Job Journal entries without upgrading. After chatting about it with my team we agreed, as this is such a significant part of managing your career.
The Job Journal allows you to record your past accomplishments:
Were you Employee of the Month?
Did you save the company $50,000, or earn the company a $3M contract?
Did you do something that really helps others understand your character, skills, integrity, and what you bring to the table?
Let me suggest that when you most need this information (like when you are creating your resume, or when you are in an interview) is the time you are least likely to recall it.
You know you are awesome, and you have a terrific history of bringing value to your employer – but when you start your job search (or as it drags on) it’s easy to forget your accomplishments – and these accomplishments are part of your story. These accomplishments are what you can use to help an interviewer understand just how valuable you are.
When I was putting together my own interview question responses, and my resume, I easily overlooked more than 50% of my accomplishments – they were long-forgotten.
This is where the Job Journal comes in – login to your JibberJobber account, mouse over Tools (in the main menu) and click on Job Journal. You can enter 25 accomplishments in the free level… sure it’s not unlimited but it’s a great place to start. I’d be quite impressed if you could list 25 accomplishments right now
As you put your accomplishments in the Job Journal, flesh out the story – you should be able to state the Problem, your Actions, and the Results (PAR).
Career Management is a long-term thing, for sure. Please do not lose track of your professional accomplishments – you won’t remember all of them when you really need them – and that’s where JibberJobber and the Job Journal help.
I remember when I was on unemployment and on state medical aid I had two very contradicting feelings:
1. I was very, very grateful that the systems were in place and that I could have something. Unemployment wasn’t much but it was enough to help make ends meet (family was there also, as was my church). The medical was great – we didn’t really use it (birth of a daughter, but we had to pay $2,000 to the state for that) but it was such a relief to know that if something really bad happened we would be taken care of.
2. I was extremely frustrated at the amount of reporting that had to be done to actually get the benefits. Weekly reporting to the unemployment office, and regular indepth reporting for medical benefits. I understand that they deal with scammers and frauds all the time, and they need to address that, but we felt like we were the bad guys when going through the reporting process. It’s already a humbling, embarrassing time, but the state employees didn’t do much to make it easier.
Eventually we got off of unemployment and we got off of the medical aid (early). The reporting process was just too much… Even though it was nice to have those safety nets, it was too close to BIG GOVERNMENT getting into my personal affairs.
Again, I know they have to deal with frauds all the time. But I didn’t like feeling like they thought I was an abuser, a fraud each time I had to go through their processes. (maybe this was just my own insecurities… I didn’t do anything wrong during those times. If you don’t know what I’m talking about I invite you to go through the process :)).
Here’s a story a buddy from Mexico sent me about the dark side of unemployment checks. An unemployed lawyer has a blog… she put google ads on her blog, and the unemployment office punishes her by “greatly reducing” her unemployment checks.
The unemployed lawyer was making about $1 each day, or $30ish a month… and unemployment felt she was doing too much.
One of the great ironies of unemployment – we are here to help you, but once you start to help yourself we’re outta here! Not on your feet yet? Well you shouldn’t have tried to stand on your own, sucka!