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The Twelve Year Job Search

May 30th, 2018

12 years ago I lost my job. Little did I know it would take twelve years and almost a month before I’d have the job offer that I couldn’t turn down.

It was a long twelve years. I had no idea what I was in for, or what I would create. I had no idea how easy some parts would be and how hard others would be.  I had no idea that the glamorized lifestyle of an entrepreneur is wrought with an immense amount of intense hard work and sacrifice. What’s more, I didn’t realize the sacrifice my family would give.

Twelve years was a long run. For much of that time I didn’t believe that I was employable.

And then it happened. I defied ageism, and even with the bias against entrepreneurs (I could tell you stories), I actually got a job. A real, salaried with benefits job at a real company.

I don’t want to discourage you and make you think it will take years for you to land your job. Part of the reason I had a long-term search was because I chose another path. If I had stayed focus on my job search it wouldn’t have taken so long.

Of course, it’s a great economy right now… so hopefully your job search will go quick. But even when we hit the other part of the economic cycle, when it’s a lot harder, you’ll still be okay. We humans are resilient… and we are smart. You’ll figure this out.

You got this.

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JibbeJobber Price Change Info For Previous Users

May 29th, 2018

Last week I announced a price model change for JibberJobber. Robert had a great question that I didn’t address in my post:

What does this mean for subscribers that let their account fall back to free accounts?

Are their Contacts and Companies retained, just without the ability to add any more without a paid membership?

Thank you for asking, Robert.

First, once you enter Contacts and Companies you can always access them. Let’s say you are on the 7 day trial… and import a thousand Contacts. Then, you go to a Regular (free) account… so, you are over the 25 Contact limit.

Can you add more Contacts? No, you are over the limit.

Can you access the thousand+ Contacts already in your system? Yes. You can view them, add Log Entries and Reminders, associate them to things, see them in reports, etc.

Second, what does this mean for subscribers that let their account fall back to free accounts?

As I mentioned above, once you get the records in you can use and access the data. You just can’t add more, if you are over the limit.

Third, what does this mean for anyone who signed up before May 21st?

Anyone who signed up before the price change gets 90 days before the 25/25 limit kicks in. We’ll send emails to help them make the decision before the 90 days is up.

Thank you for your support… we’re working hard to make JibberJobber a great tool for you!

 

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JibberJobber Price Change

May 21st, 2018

Twelve years ago, almost to this day, JibberJobber went live. It was the best of times and the worst of times. The best because I was living my entrepreneurial dream, and ready to change the world. I was super optimistic. It was the worst of times because just five months earlier I was laid off and went through a horrible job search and experienced real, long-term depression.

For the Last Twelve Years We’ve Had Our Ups and Downs

Mine was truly an entrepreneurial journey. There was optimism and there were some very difficult periods.  I made a lot of decisions that were great,  and a lot that were not great. My pricing decisions have fallen into both of these categories at one point or another. I got a lot of advice, much of which was bad, and changed the pricing model a few times. Today I am announcing a new change that is probably long overdue.

It’s a hard thing to announce because it’s the first time we are going this direction. However, it is a critical decision I’ve had to make for the viability and future of JibberJobber.

The Change

Starting this week, the Free Level allows you to have 25 Contacts and 25 Companies (instead of 500 Contacts and 500 Companies). You still get access to all features except Email2Log, bulk importing, and push notifications on Reminders (Action Items).

What is the Premium Level?

The Premium Level price remains at $60 a year. You have unlimited access to all features, and you can add as many Contacts an Companies as you want, and you get full access to the JibberJobber Video Library.

Who Is This For?

All new signups will have a seven day trial period, where they get the Premium Level. After seven days they go down to the Free Level (25 Contacts/Companies and no Email2Log, etc.) until they upgrade.  Anyone who has signed up before this change will get 90 days of Premium to decide what to do before their account goes to the Free Level.

The Nuts and Bolts of Running JibberJobber

I have been personally funding JibberJobber for twelve years. The free accounts, the people who have used JibberJobber but never upgraded, the free upgrades for veterans, has mostly been funded out of my own pocket. My  two “investors,” my dad and my father-in-law, helped get JibberJobber up and running.

If I were to hire an experienced CEO today, he or she would probably make this decision immediately and without hesitation. He or she wouldn’t have the emotional ties to users, past and present, that I do. It would be a much easier decision because it is the right decision. For me, the emotion makes it’s a hard decision, but I know it is the right thing to do.

I understand that some users will be unhappy but for the good of the system, for improvements and upgrades and maintenance, to have a future with career management, we need to do this.

I appreciate your support. If you don’t support this and you go somewhere else, I respect that.

Here’s to another solid twelve years of helping people stay organized and land their dream job. If you choose to upgrade, please know that we are not squandering your money. It’s only $60 but we take that very serious, and are invested in making this better, faster, and more relevant for you.

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Finding Eggs, Finding Jobs

May 7th, 2018

eggsOne of the things that has happened since I started working, 92 days ag0 (yes, I’m counting!), is that I’m not available to help around the house and yard like I was.  One of the things I shared with the kids was checking on the chickens… do they have food and water, and how many eggs where there each day (we have a chicken coop to  pay off, ladies! Give us some eggs!).

The last week or two we’ve gotten either zero eggs, or one egg, from eleven chickens (one disappeared a few weeks back). This is surprising because even over the winter, when they said the ladies shut down and we wouldn’t get hardly any eggs, we got seven to ten each day.

And now, with nice weather, we get maybe one?

Saturday I finally had time to go check on things, filled the water and the food, and found four eggs in the nesting spot.  That was good. But then, I noticed another four eggs in the wheelbarrow where we keep some of the food, and poked around the rest of the shed (I built a shed and have the coop in one part of it). Guess what I found?

Two more nesting spots.  One had about seven eggs in it.

Overall, it was a good egg harvesting morning (I think I found about two dozen eggs). That night I got another five eggs.  We were back in production, baby! The girls haven’t let me down!

I was thinking about this and, of course, relating it to the job search. Because that’s the weird thinking I do :)

My kids are, really, new at egg hunting. We’ve had Tina (I call my birds, collectively, Tina, from Napoleon Dynamite) for about a year, and I’ve gone out to collect eggs as much as they have. They are learning to get better at checking the water and food, and get the eggs before Tina eats them (ewwww). It’s not rocket science, but there are certain skills to learn, and certain discipline to be had.

JUST LIKE THE JOB SEARCH.

You see, they did “stuff.” Maybe the bare minimum. They thought they were fine, but they weren’t getting the results they wanted. However, they didn’t change what they were doing.

I, the guy who built the coop, had a lot more knowledge. I had been doing this long enough to know there were some hiding places (still not sure how they are getting out, though) where they will lay eggs. I knew that one a day was not good enough, and because of chicken biology I knew that they were laying somewhere.

What I knew was different than what my rookie egg collectors “knew.”

In the job search we think we know what we are doing. So we apply the skills we assume to be correct… even if they were the skills we used ten or twenty years ago. The market was different back then, as was technology, as were we. The variables have changed… and our skills and tactics need to change.

In the job search we think we know where the jobs are, so we look there, and then pout a little when we don’t find what we think should be there. “Oh well, maybe tomorrow.” In the olden days, the nineteen hundreds, that meant looking in the classified ads (in print newspaper). Nowadays there are many places to look, and we kind of have to look around at all of those places every once in a while.

In the job search we think we can do this on our own and if we don’t get the results we want, then it is Tina’s fault (no offence to all of the Tinas out there). But the reality is there is always someone out there who you should talk to to learn the what’s and the why’s and the where’s. There are job clubs that you should participate in, there are resources at career centers, and there are trained and up-to-date professionals in the resume and career coaching spaces. Yes, there are charlatans, but there are a lot of people who really care, really know, and can really help.  When you are tired of getting the low results that you are getting, it might be time to swallow your pride, open your wallet, and get real help to get yourself from jobless to working in your dream job.

I know it sucks. I know it is uncomfortable (my kids did the chicken duties in the Utah winter, rain, snow, etc.). But really, if you aren’t getting the results you want, it’s time to ask someone who has been there and done that for help. Don’t settle for just one egg a day, especially in today’s economy.

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Work/Life Balance: Job, Side Hustle, Husband, Father, etc.

May 4th, 2018

My friend, Debbi O’Reilly (a resume professional out of Florida), asked me if I “find work-life balance more, or less, achievable now?”

She is asking because of my recent transition from full-time entrepreneur to having a full-time job.

Well, days ago my schedule looked like this:

Get up around 6 or 7 (I can’t remember) and do some JibberJobber work for at least an hour.

Work out

Around 8:30 Leave for a full day of work. Leave the office a little after 5pm (they strongly encourage us to leave at 5pm so we can have a life outside of work)

Got home, wife was gone with a friend that evening, and I was going to hang with the kids and do cool stuff. Instead, I slept on the couch from about 6 to 8:15.  Bleh! But I was so tired.

8:15 to 9:00 play cards with said kids, lots of laughing and fun.

9:00 to 10:00 bedtime routine with kids, pillow talk with wife. Then crash hard.

Yesterday was better because I didn’t have a nap, so I got a lot of family time in (ended the day with cards on the deck, which was awesome). Today I rolled out of bed at 6 and here I am, doing JibberJobber stuff.

So, that’s some context into how my day goes: a mix of me time (workout), Bamboo work time (always a full day), JibberJobber time (it’s great to have Liz spinning so many plates, but I jump in almost every day to help), and family time (we have five kids, and I have a wife I love).

Before I got my job I was on JibberJobber almost 24/7. It consumed my thoughts all the time. There was no balance. Of course, I got things done, but sometimes I thought “I should really be sitting at my computer right now doing JibberJobber,” or “I don’t have time to work out, I need to do more JJ email.” JibberJobber was the main income source that I was working on, and doing other things felt like I was “cheating on” JibberJobber. It was consuming.

When I started researching BambooHR I heard one of their founders say something to the effect of not calling it work/life balance, but just life balance. I loved that. A couple of weeks into my job, at about 5:10 p.m., the CMO walked into my bosses office and told us that it was after five, and time to go home. “The work will be here tomorrow.”  That was absolutely crazy to me. BambooHR works hard to reinforce their values, and has measures in place to help us really work on life balance.

That I am expected to NOT work more than the normal 8 hour day at BambooHR is awesome. Of course, I think about my projects and initiatives when I go home. Just yesterday I work up dreaming about a project. That’s human nature. But they really push the idea of going home and doing whatever we need to refresh ourselves, and after 3 months (tomorrow is my 90 day anniversary) it is settling in. I’ve been a bit of a very loyal workaholic for my career, and they are teaching me a different way of life. I hope that way of life permeates down to my JibberJobber team, and they can benefit from it, too.

To answer Debbi’s question, when I’m not at work, I’m present wherever I am: with my kids, on a date with my wife, working on my side hustle, hanging with my neighbor, etc. I’m definitely more present, and have much healthier balance. And I love it. I hope this lasts for a long, long time.

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JibberJobber: Faster and More Intuitive

May 3rd, 2018

When I work with my Product Manager, Liz, and the developers, my consistent theme is to have JibberJobber load faster and to have the UX be more intuitive. This might seem like an easy task, but it’s really a combination of a thousand easy tasks… which is why we can’t just get this initiative done all at once.

Nonetheless, we continue to move in that direction. An example is the new interface you get when you click on a link to add a new Contact, Company, or Job. There are various places that you can do this from… in this example, if you click Add Contact from the big icon on the main menu:

jibberjobber_add_contact_new

Instead of immediately going to the Add Contact page you will see this interface, with the four most commonly added data points for a new Contact:

jibberjobber_add_contact_new_1

You can add any of the four data points (First Name is required, as usual), and then it quickly saves and doesn’t change the page you were on (which is great!), or you can click on More Options and you can go to the big Add/Edit page.

This makes the user experience much faster, and more intuitive (because you are now asked for four fields instead of over 20), and the code is a lot smaller so it’s faster to execute.

Expect to see more of this simplification and cleaning and speed improvement!

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It’s Official Because It’s On LinkedIn!

May 2nd, 2018

Yesterday I sent an email out to a bunch of BambooHR customers who are interested in what we are doing in Thought Leadership… and one of them wanted to connect on LinkedIn.

The only problem is, my LinkedIn Profile didn’t have anything about BambooHR… it was very JibberJobber-heavy!

I’ve been avoiding putting it on LinkedIn because I wasn’t too keen on sharing what we are doing (still in the works!), and because I didn’t want to start getting messages from recruiters who were looking to poach BambooHR employees. Part of me was probably a little nervous about this not really being real… how weird is that?

But, it was officially time to update my Profile.  I didn’t spend too much time on it… here’s what I came up with (because the email I sent out went to quite a few people, I had to have something to show that I really was with BambooHR):

bamboohr_linkedin

Part II

My good friend, who I’ve had a lot of lunches with and we talk a lot about our businesses, wrote this on Facebook:

Based on this post, we are convening a committee to drum you out of the entrepreneurial corps. It was a good run, but ultimately your true intentions, that is to find a job, finally won out.

Here was my reply:

If you reread my posts from the last 12 years, you’ll pick out the idea of “multiple streams of income.” A job is an income stream. For most, it’s the main stream. It was time for me to get a job for various reasons. One of the big benefits is that I’m in the marketing team, and marketing has always been a weakness of mine… so I’m in meetings and rubbing shoulders with people who are helping me get marketing better. Also, one of the reason I was brought on is because of my entrepreneurial background… I think they wanted someone to be a bit of an intrapreneur. This job is unlike anything I’ve seen before, and the entrepreneur spirit, drive, and thinking is a critical part to the job. (I know you get all this, but I wanted to respond for people who don’t know me as well and really did think I was giving up on JibberJobber, which is still alive and well.)

Getting a job was a really hard decision, and my wife and I talked about it a lot and we put a lot of thought into it. In addition to money, I needed to change the scenery a bit… I have been doing JibberJobber for 12 years. It’s been a super run, and we are still running (thanks to my awesome team), but I needed a change. I had no idea that the change could be so good. And yes, adding another revenue stream was great. When Pluralsight slowed down (read: stopped) for me, I had a lot of excess time and mental capacity, and needed to put it somewhere. And the impossible happened: Jason got a job.

Should I be drummed out? I don’t think my independent and entrepreneurial thinking will ever get drummed out. I sure hope not.

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Job and Career PTSD

April 26th, 2018

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while now… not sure how to write it, but I’ve put it off for too long, so here goes.

Before I get into my issues, I want to say that by no way do I minimize combat veteran PTSD. This is one of the biggest issues, in my opinion, of the military, and I wish the governments would do more to help soldiers who come back from war with PTSD.

When I first learned about PTSD, and for years after, it was only associated with combat veterans. It was scary, and it was tied to a high suicide rate, divorce, etc.  Sad stuff. Let’s get a real focus on preventing and treating this for our veterans, please.

Could someone like me… someone who can’t even do five pushups in a row, have PTSD?

When I was 17 I was in a bad car crash. The three others involved, and their parents, were very gracious, and I’ve not felt or heard any animosity from them. Still, it took me a solid two years before I could (a) talk about the accident, and (b) talk about it without shaking. More than twenty years later I get emotion thinking or talking about it, and if I witness an accident a whole lot of feelings come over me.

I’m no psychologist but I’ve always thought this is PTSD.

When I got my new job, almost three months ago, I started to see symptoms of what I’m going to call Job PTSD. This stems from experiences I had over 12 years ago, when I had a boss that caused me a considerable amount of grief. This happened for about three years, culminating in me losing my job.

Let me put that into perspective: When I lost my job, I lost my income, my health insurance, my vacation, future contributions to my retirement… I lost my identity (because no one told me that I wasn’t just my job title), and the hopes and dreams I had worked so hard for. I lost friends… some real and deep relationships, I lost self-respect and self-confidence. I also entered into a period of deep depression and struggled with my relationships, including the most important relationship I had, with my wife.

I could go on, but I don’t need to. You get the point.

This happened because of one person and, really, because I didn’t understand career management, personal branding, and networking. I gave that one person too much power over me.

When I landed my dream job (almost) three months ago I was in a situation where it could all happen again. I’m wiser this time, and more prepared, but still, I put myself in a position where one person could have such a big impact on my life and future.

Soon after starting, while I was going through the learning curve and “impostor syndrome” I started to feel a lot of anxiety. A different kind of anxiety than I had experienced before… this time it was a tight chest, and some other things.

I had some talks with my new boss about it and they were great. But here I am, an fairly accomplished, mid-level professional, having these issues from stuff that happened 12+ years ago. This was unlike anything else I’ve felt before.

For the last week or two I’ve felt MUCH, much better. A lot of the anxiety has subsided. I feel more calm, more at peace, more in control, and less vulnerable. I have less feelings of “what if this happens, and then I lose my job?” I have had feelings about “what if I get backstabbed, or politicked out? What if the project doesn’t work out… what if, what if, what if?”

I don’t have an answer. I am “chilling out,” and working through this. I’m having the right conversations with the right people.

I don’t write this because I have an answer, but because it’s a real thing. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has gone through it. I hope that somewhere, somehow, we can start a dialog that will help people. Because this, job or career PTSD, really sucks.

So, now what?

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How I Found A Job (11/20): Waiting, Waiting, Waiting…

April 17th, 2018

Waiting stinks. Especially for someone with my personality.

How do I wait while not doing the job? How do I not become too emotionally invested in this, only to be let down and have to move on?

Bury myself in any work. Transitioning my duties to Liz, finishing up some projects, chatting with the team about the possible changes, looking at other jobs…

Ugh. Something switched. No other job, no other company, was interesting. I couldn’t imagine myself doing what I was looking for (product management) anymore. I couldn’t image myself working at any of the companies I had targeted anymore. Even the two companies that were really close to my house had no appeal. If I had to work at them I would, of course. But, the idea of not working at BambooHR was becoming unthinkable.

I was getting hooked. Hook, line, and sinker.

Not a good place to be, if you want to negotiate. Or, if you don’t get the offer.

I knew it, but I didn’t know how to not go there.

It felt like it was right, and it was going to happen. But what if it didn’t?

I wouldn’t be prepared for that. More prepared than 12 years ago, but it would still be a hit.

What could I do?

Not much. Wait. Try to keep busy. But with a mind that was mush it was hard to do anything but hope, and wonder, and try to keep self-doubt away.

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How I Found A Job (10/20): The Second Interview and the $300 Suit

April 16th, 2018

I have one real suit.” That is how I started the post about the first interview.

My first interview was on a Monday morning. I got up early, got on the road for a 22 mile commute, and had a fun meeting with Rusty, the guy who would eventually hire me. He said he’d get back with me to come in for second interviews on Wednesday and have me come in and interview with the COO and CMO on Thursday… so I got to wait, and start wrapping up some loose ends (and finishing some JibberJobber projects). I wanted this job. It was made for me.

But I knew I couldn’t get too emotionally attached to this, like I did 12 years earlier. That didn’t end well.

The problem is, how do you move forward in a job search without getting emotionally attached? I think it’s impossible. You are making decisions that can have a dramatic impact on the rest of your life… how can you not get excited and nervous and anxious and _____ about that? How can you not think about what kind of work you are going to do, and who you are going to work with, and what this might become in a few years?

Impossible.

So I tried to keep myself busy. Figure out how and what to transition to Liz (who has done wonderful over the last 2+ months), and my go-to: continue the job search. This is my advice to people who are interviewing and have a chance: keep doing the job search. When you have more in your pipeline you can feel more in control, have more power, and feel like you “have the cookie.” That puts you in a much better place, emotionally and for negotiation, than if you don’t have other opportunities.

So I tried to do that. But I was so mentally and emotionally distracted that it was hard to concentrate.

Man, the job search is such an emotional journey!!

I didn’t hear from Rusty by Wednesday, and I thought I was supposed to interview that afternoon. Ugh… does this mean they like someone else? Someone better than me?  I hated not knowing anything, but having to be cheerful and ready. Self-doubt is real, and it’s discouraging.  That morning I sent a “hey, I have some ideas and questions, can we get on a call” email… and it went unanswered until about 4:45 that day. Rusty said their schedules are too tight, could I come in Monday? Sure, I said, of course. I’ll come in anytime.

Bright idea: why not get a new suit? I had already exhausted my other interview wardrobe (consisting of one suit)… so I went down to the local suit store and got a suit. It has been almost 15 years since I had a new suit, so maybe it was time? I didn’t have $300 bucks for a suit, but I did have $300 bucks to invest in a new job. And, now that the interview was moved to Monday, I had time to get the suit and have it altered.

A few hours later I walked out of the suit shop a few hundred dollars poorer, but excited to have some new threads.

I got home and opened my email… Rusty emailed and said hey, can you come in tomorrow?!

Uh… YES, of course!  And I just had to laugh. My $300 suit would go unused for the interview because it wouldn’t be ready by tomorrow.

I go in and meet with the COO and then the CMO. We has super conversations, and I thought I did well. I followed up for a few minutes with Rusty, and before I knew it I was on the road, driving home.

To wait.

I love waiting.

Which is okay because I love waiting. Actually, no, I don’t love waiting. I am really bad at waiting. But, I need to get better. So I wait. And apply to a job or two, just to feel like I’m stacking my pipeline.

I hate waiting.

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