When I go back to the church where I went to my weekly job club (aka career ministry), ten years ago, my knees still get weak. I get nervous about sharing my 30 second pitch, and “networking.” You see, I’m an introvert, and walking into a room full of job seekers is not my idea of a “good time.”
But this job club was perhaps one of the most important things I had done as a job seeker. I went from doing this job search thing alone, in my house, to talking to others and really figuring out what I could do better, and as important, realizing that I wasn’t alone in this seemingly horrible journey. I got support and training, and I’ve been an advocate of job clubs ever since.
Humbling myself, going regularly, and even participating, defined the pivotal point in my job search. Even though I chose to start JibberJobber, instead of pursue a job, the time I spent with others, serving and getting served, brought me out of my depression and hopelessness.
My question to you is this: what job clubs are in your area that you go to, or would recommend? Let’s get a list of these resources, participate where we can, and encourage others to go. Leave a comment or email me and let me know about job clubs local to you.
When I was on the phone, on a board conference call, I knew that I was going to get laid off. The principal who was in the room with me (there were two people in my room, me and the other guy, and three people in another city) had already told me before our call that I was going to get let go.
How kind of him to prepare me.
Of course, I had already seen plenty of “writing on the wall” regarding the inevitable elimination of me, as the general manager. I ignored the writing on the wall. I downplayed and minimized what it meant. I delayed thinking about it. If only I could get more results, or clean up certain things, or fix other things… if only I could do the job I was hired to do, and have an intense focus, maybe those things that were written on the wall would simply disappear.
The gut says “this is real” but the brain tries the logic and rationalization tricks to say “um, maybe not *that* real… we got more time….”
We got more time. Famous last words.
Let me share two truths with you about the writing on the wall:
Ignoring it won’t make it, the message, or the reality of what’s to come go away.
There is writing on the wall for all of us. If you want a discouraging (or perhaps a full-of-opportunity) read, research the gig economy.
The bottom line is what I’ve been preaching for 10 years: YOU MUST own, control, and manage your own career management.
Here are some symptoms that you might get let go (I’m not sharing these so you can be paranoid, rather so you can be prepared):
Layoffs are announced, or you hear people talking about them. No owner or boss wants this rumor to get started… so if you are hearing about it from someone reliable, especially a manager, then it’s time to open your eyes and prepare.
You learn that the company/organization is having financial problems. Yes, sometimes financial problems are solved by creative measures, like dumping inventory, or moving out of an expensive building, or simply increasing sales. Just realize that sometimes the creative measure might be decreasing head count.
You aren’t performing and your boss regularly makes comments about it. I had a sales guy who was opening a new area… but wasn’t making any progress. I was hearing about it from my colleagues (at my level), but the reality is this sales guy knew how things were going, and had no progress to report. There is a fine line between being optimistic that something great will happen, and being realistic about nothing at all happening. Make sure that you are communicating as much as you should during this time, though, especially if you are building something out of nothing… the metrics will look different at an early stage, and sometimes you might have to walk your boss through this (multiple times).
You aren’t getting phone calls and emails replied to. It’s weird to go from people responding quickly (or at all) to getting NOTHING. There was a time I was doing business (with JibberJobber) with another company, talking about a very cool relationship. Then, all of the sudden, my contact wouldn’t communicate with me at all for two or three months. Later I learned that her company was acquired, and she wasn’t sure what her role would be (if there was one). We went from very serious to on hold, without her telling me we were on hold. It’s confusing for sure, but it’s a big sign that there is an issue, either with your career, their career, or the company.
People get real (or unusually) serious when talking to you, or won’t look you in the eye. Have you had a relationship with someone at work where you could always access them and have a friendly conversation… but now you sense something in the relationship has changed? That is what I’d call “writing on the wall.” Or, maybe they have indigestion, or their own problems… it’s not always writing on the wall. But if it’s long-term, and from more than one person, I’d look into it.
You ask if your job is in jeopardy, and you don’t get a straight answer. Let me give you a straight answer: YES. Your job is always in jeopardy. You should always be ready to give someone an updated resume, and you should always have warm networking relationships (instead of ignoring your “network” until you need something from them).
I don’t want to discourage you, or to make you more paranoid than you should be. I want to give you permission to think differently about your career, and your role at ta company.
I give you permission to network, even while you are employed.
I give you permission to have an updated resume, even though you are happy at your job.
I give you permission to interview at other companies, even though you aren’t necessarily looking.
I give you permission to take control of your career back from those you gave it to (professors, mentors, your boss, HR, the company owner), and watch out for Numero Uno (translated: YOU).
I give you permission to actually enjoy this a little bit. I know it’s frustrating to think about changing jobs, and dealing with strife at work, and disruption a-la-who-moved-my-cheese.
For now, this is the new normal… and if that’s the case, I challenge you (because you are smart, and you can figure out challenges) to figure this out. What can you do right now, next week, this year, next year, to have more control over your own career. I’m not asking you to look for job security (that is so nineteen hundreds!!), I’m asking you to do things to manage your career.
One of them is to stop ignoring the writing on the wall, and preparing yourself for when that writing becomes reality.
Since I wrote the book on LinkedIn (in it’s 4th edition, which is now outdated), I have been keeping an eye on LinkedIn. Not so much the company or product, but the utility. When I speak at job clubs across the U.S., I listen to users. I want to know what value they get, and search for success stories.
The story from users has changed over the last few years. How about for you? Is LinkedIn doing the job for you?
Here is some food for thought:
LinkedIn’s new digs: the SF skyscraper. This article has some beautiful photos of the office, which are amazing. This is what a company valued at around $30B (last I checked) gets to buy. Very nice.
If you want a feel-good story, then DO NOT read the comments on that post. Otherwise, you’ll find that all but one or two are really, really down on LinkedIn.
Speaking of being down on LinkedIn, check out this interesting post by Patrick Moore, LinkedIn employee #32 (from 2004 to 2005): LinkedIn has lost its Vision (posted March 26, 2016). Patrick proposes a fascinating idea behind why LinkedIn has lost its value: “the members and their willingness to keep their profile up to date.” His post gives a very interesting insight from a former insider on the value proposition of LinkedIn, and a bit on the landscape and competitors.
Does LinkedIn still add value? Yes, it does for me. But I continue to hear one theme from people: LinkedIn has disrespected their users. Not once, not in one year… over time. It’s a pattern, and when I hear someone say (like I did yesterday) “I don’t do anything on LinkedIn anymore…,” there’s nothing I can do, but listen.
For now, we continue to get the value we can out of it, and wonder what will be next.
“Outsourcing the job of job search may feel calm, as you are head-down, performing the assigned tasks. However, this method of career management can derail you–and your career–if not kept in check. You must commandeer your own job search. Strategically enlist people, tools and processes to help arrive at your personally prescribed destination …”
Yes, you can outsource it. But don’t do it blindly. Don’t stay hands-off.
And when she says “strategically enlist tools,” let me recommend JibberJobber as THE tool to help you organize and manage your job search.
I have a dream and a vision to revolutionize career management. I’ve been living that dream for ten years. Executing on the dream means identifying areas for improvement and new thinking, and executing what’s identified.
I know it is crazy to think this way, but why let the big guys define how we should do things?
With that, we’re working on a new kind of job board experience. We’ll roll it out in phases this year and next year. The very first phase is just getting job postings up and running on JibberJobber. And today I want to share three that were just posted:
One of the first thoughts that comes to mind is: “Um, I live paycheck-to-paycheck! I only have enough money for the next 10 days!”
I’ve been happily employed, unhappily employed, unemployed, and an entrepreneur. At various times, in all of those different phases, I have felt poor. I’ve been thinking about this post for months, and I have finally resolved to just write this post, even though I’m going to miss something. So that’s what the comments section is for!
Here are ten things I’ve done to feel less poor. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment.
I buy razors from Costco. I get a package of 52 for around $35. Maybe $45, I can’t remember. They aren’t cool, robotic, electric, swivel-headed, but they do have 3 blades on each disposable razor. I used to have the cool ones, with replacement cartridges, but those were more expensive than this find. I shave maybe twice a week, which isn’t much, so this box lasts me forever. I get the right tool for the job, without feeling like I’m spending luxury prices.
Buy a new (shirt, jeans, socks, etc.). It’s amazing how high quality, great fit clothing can make you feel “like a million bucks.” I’m not saying to swap out your entire wardrobe, but if you feel poor, and then dress in either really cheap clothes that don’t last long, or your old clothes that used to look good but are now faded, sagging, etc., you’ll only extend how you feel by how you look. For me, just getting nice, new socks, make a difference on how I feel. Instead of “I’m not worth it,” switch that around, and move on from feeling like all you deserve is stuff you really don’t want to be seen in public in.
Fix that dumb thing that has been bugging you. Sometimes there’s a thing that is bugging us 24×7… perhaps it’s a chipped faceplate for a light switch (the fix is less than a dollar), or a wall that just needs to be repainted (for less than $30), or maybe even just washed! Instead of mentally moping about how you’ll do it when you can afford it, do it now, and treat yourself with respect.
Re-evaluate expenses. I love walking in a store past the satellite TV company sales reps. They say “what do you do for TV?” When I respond that we don’t have TV, they don’t know what to say. Speechless. Don’t get me wrong, we watch plenty of shows, but we don’t subscribe to a monthly, other than our internet connection. Look at all of your monthly committments, and question which ones you really need. You might be surprised that you are spending $20/monthly here, or $80/monthly there, and not getting any value out of it. That can add up to hundreds and hundreds of dollars of money that could go towards your needs.
Buy (and eat) healthier food. When I eat unhealthy, I feel it. Maybe it’s because I’m in my 40’s. Maybe it’s because my body is malnourished. Contrast that to days I eat really healthy. Feel great, more energy, etc. Instead of sitting around like a slug, feeling full and bloated and low-energy, I am anxious to get up and get out and work and/or enjoy. Sitting around gives you more time to think about all the stuff you don’t have, where getting out helps you slow down and enjoy the here and now. Is healthier more expensive? Kind of. But if you feel like it’s too expensive, than start a garden… even if it’s just in your living room.
Change your idea of “fun” from expense-based to free (hiking, people watching, bird watching, etc.). What is your perfect idea of having fun? It probably includes spending money on a trip, a ticket, a meal. Those have been rewards… what if we change our idea of fun to be more of an experience that we can have without spending money? When I took my family on a trip last summer, the most amazing, fun places we stayed were campgrounds, not hotels with pools. The campgrounds allowed us to connect with nature and the community we were in. We socialized with others, and there’s one family we still have a relationship with.
Stop pouring over the news and social media. This is a great place to compare your life and abilities with others… and many times it’s harmful. I love seeing what others are doing, and celebrating their accomplishments, but it’s easy to compare your seemingly dull everyday life with what they post, which is usually the highlights of their life. Why not go make your own highlights, away from the great comparison machine?
Focus on paying down your debt and punching interest in the nose. Feel poor? Maybe you are. But you don’t have to be that way forever. I love listening to the success stories of people who call into Dave Ramsey’s show. They are laser focused on addressing the problem head-on, and determined to change their life. Stop ignoring your financial issues. Learn about them, figure out a plan, and work your plan.
Pick up a revenue stream that empowers your earning potential. When I was writing 51 Alternatives to a New Job I decided to try something I had never done before. Long story short, I went out with my kids and we made about $40/hour painting house numbers on curbs. I had no idea that you could make that much money doing that. There are easily dozens and dozens of things like that you could do. Pick up dog poop in a neighbor’s yard…. not anything to brag about, for sure, but it could give you an extra $20. You don’t make that money sitting around watching shows.
Be genuinely happy for others’ financial success, vacations, new purchases, upgrades, etc. I think it’s human nature to look at someone else’s fortunes and only be jealous because of the state of our misfortunes. Whether they earned it, inherited it, or even deserve it is not our concern. It’s not within our control. But how we react is. Can you celebrate their new house, or upgrade, or new shoes, or new job, or great haircut? If you can’t celebrate theirs, what makes you think you are going to enjoy yours, when it comes? Practice appreciation by appreciating, and when you get gain, you will appreciate your own stuff more.
Probably everyone on my blog feels financially poor to some degree or another. This list is my attempt to share some ideas and tactics on how to minimize those feelings. What are YOUR suggestions?
There are a few organizations that have multiple people using JibberJobber as a CRM. We weren’t designed to be multi-user, but if you are okay with a handful of people sharing one account in a company, then we’re a pretty okay solution. Here’s a (modified) question from Jane Roqueplot, who’s career (resumes, coaching, assessments) company uses JibberJobber as their CRM:
We have a new assistant on staff. I want her to learn JibberJobber, but I don’t want her to learn with our existing records. I want her to self-study and watch your videos, etc. I’m thinking she could access a temporary JibberJobber account so she can learn it. What do you think?
Very smart to have her get familiar with JibberJobber without going into your live data. Here was my edited response to her, which might help you if you are in a multi-user environment:
I just brought on a new developer and the first thing I had her do was the most important: watch the orientation (90ish minutes), and then the getting started videos (120ish minutes). She needed to watch the orientation to get an idea of what I was excited about, and watch both sets of videos to understand the breadth and depth of JibberJobber.
If I were to hire an admin, I would have them watch one or the other, and maybe both, and definitely let them know about both. For training, have her get her own account, which she then would have forever. Give her a list of tags to use [Note: Jane’s setup is optimized to get value out of tags]. She could enter kids, nephews, cousins, neighbors, etc. Going through that process, and maybe a few exercises you create that your team does (like getting certain reports), would do a lot to bring her up to speed.
In a nutshell:
Watch training videos – these are broken down to 10 minutes (more or less) so you don’t have to carve out 2+ hours just to watch them all.
Start up your own account.
Put information in about people you know, including personal contacts…. and just play around.
The learning + doing model should help you get up to speed on using, and getting value out of, JibberJobber.
Before we go into that, let me share why this is on my mind. What I share here will sound obvious, but it’s something I rarely share.
As the CEO and founder of JibberJobber, I have various defined purposes (or, The Why), for things we do.
Why do I spend money on my programmers?
Why do I spend money on my QA?
Why do I spend money on marketing?
Why do we work on this project instead of that project?
Why do I work on Pluralsight videos?
These, and many more questions, always come back to a principled purpose. When I recently started working with my new UX designer (Udie Chima), he asked a question similar to this: “What is the reason we are making these changes?” My answer came easily because for the last few years I had been sharing it with my development team. The purpose of any design and development we do in JibberJobber is four-fold:
To encourage people who come to JibberJobber to actually signup (measurable: increase signups)
To encourage people who signup to actually use JibberJobber (measurable: increase users)
To encourage people who use JibberJobber to upgrade (measurable: increase upgrades)
And, a new purpose, to encourage people who come to JibberJobber to watch my Pluralsight video courses (measurable: increased number of hours viewed)
Throughout the design process with Udie, he would come back to any of those purposes. When he presented his proposal for a revised home page, once you are logged in, to my team, he emphasized what specific elements were designed to increase any of those four things (focusing on #2).
His proposal was very purpose-driven. I’m sure that having clearly defined goals, or purposes, helped him as he conceptualized the design. Add a new widget? The question is “WHY?” If it helps us hand-hold a new signup so they can become a user, then let’s consider it. If it does not, then it falls lower on the list or priorities.
The purpose becomes your standard, helping you make decisions. It is closely aligned with guiding principles (ours are to empower people, as we treat them with respect, while building a sustainable business).
Back to you: What is your (career) purpose?
Is your purpose to “find a job?” If so, it is not that hard to do. But… check out this article: 5 of America’s fastest growing jobs pay less than $25k. Great, you have a job, but you make $2k a month. Maybe that is fine, but for many people (and breadwinners) that is barely enough to pay for 1/2 of your living expenses, much less any leisure.
Is your purpose to “change the world?” How will you do that? Everyone wants to… some do it on a macro level, some on a micro level, but many just miss altogether because they are waiting for “that thing” to happen before they start changing the world, all the while neglecting themselves.
Is your purpose to “find a place in society again?” This speaks to losing a job, and losing your identity… and is kind of an act of desparation. You might be more driven to get a status/title back than to have the right income, role, or influence.
Is your purpose to “use your degree?” While I was in school I heard that 75% of graduates ended up working in a field NOT related to their major. Just because you got a degree in something you thought you were interested in or passionate about doesn’t mean you have to work in that field.
Is your purpose to “follow your passion?” If your passion is immoral, unethical, or simply unmonetizable, you might have to get a day job to pay your bills, and the follow your passion in your off hours. Not that I’m advocating immoral or unethical :p
Is your purpose to “make a lot of money and prepare for retirement?” Nothing wrong with that, but I’m guessing that there are other things you could do to make a lot more money than you have… for example, sales, realty, recruiting, investment banking, consulting, or other things that normally scare the heck out of people, to the point where they get a more comfortable job, earning less than they could. Not to mention, if that is your purpose, then when you get off work you should either (a) go to another job, or (b) work on your side business, since you are out to make more money. Nothing wrong with any of those, unless you do it while sacrificing your other obligations and relationships.
Is your purpose to “continually learn?” The problem with this is that learning can be an excuse to put off the rest of life. I hated how professors at school would say “in the real world,” meaning “when you graduate and get a job.” The idea was that we were in some sheltered bubble and didn’t know a thing about how the world turned, how to have professional responsibility, etc. They really thought we were putting off life for a few years while we sat around pontificating, playing socrates and Aristotle? I’m all for learning, but don’t fall into the trap of someone I knew, nearing 40, who’s goal it was to die before he left university (lest the student loans would catch up with him, and he’d have to get a job).
I have heard each of these… but as you can tell, I want you to dig deeper.
My personal purpose looks something like this:
“As a father and husband, I provide for my family so we can pay all of our bills, and have money left over for our family to have experiences and buy things that we want to give us an enjoyable, rewarding, rich, and nurturing life. I model a work ethic and attitude that inspires my children (and our friends and associates) so they can have hope in their future as they prepare to earn a living, and change the world . As an entrepreneur, I work to create a suite of resources (including JibberJobber, learning courses, blog posts, etc.) to empower people in their life and career, helping individuals and (their families) with tools and hope, as they live a richer life.”
When you have a purpose, even if it evolves, it’s easier to make decisions in life (big and small), aligned with your purpose.
And, as I mentioned earlier, consider the principles you abide by (or, your guiding principles), and come up with a purpose statement that you can work with and live by for many years to come.
Today, let’s power up the Log Entry and make it a lot more important. When we create a Log Entry, we are usually creating an opportunity to follow-up.
When you create a Log Entry, you can make it an Action Item by simply adding a due date. That is, put a date that you will take action on, or follow-up on, the Log Entry. From yesterday’s example, in The Good Log Entry, we put these two lines:
He will follow-up with an email introduction, Said that if I don’t hear back from him by Monday then call him.
He also said he would introduce me to some contacts at the Product Management Association chapter that I really need to talk to. Didn’t have names, but follow-up on week of 4/18.
The Good Log Entry was definitely good. But what if we just log stuff, and never do anything with it?
That’s where Action Items come in. A few years ago I was talking with a user who said “JibberJobber is my follow-up tool.” YES! That’s exactly where the value of JibberJobber is! It’s not just organizing and tracking. It’s not a file cabinet to just put stuff in and never do anything with the stuff. The value is that we have stuff, and we act on the right things at the right times!
The next step, on creating that Good Log Entry, is to simply put a Due Date. Let’s say it’s for 4/18. Then, you can get reminders at various places. Premium users can get reminders in their email, and in some countries, their text messaging. Otherwise, on JibberJobber you’ll see a few reports or widgets where you can see your Action Items.
We want JibberJobber to be your follow-up tool. Anyone who has been an active job seeker for more than a couple of weeks knows how crazy hard it can be to keep up on everything you are doing… and almost everything could use some TLC in the form of a follow-up.
That’s where JibberJobber comes in.
Can you create an Action Item with Email2Log? Yes! Just put a line like this anywhere in the body of the email:
The ____ can have a date, like 4/18/2016, or something like this: +4 days.