Never again say: “I lost my job.” Instead, say this:

November 25th, 2013

A few years ago I was inspired to write a post suggesting we don’t talk about or refer to “job security.”  The idea was that there is no such thing as job security… of course.  I proposed that we replace the phrase with INCOME security.  That is, I am working on securing my income, which might come from multiple sources (not a single employer), might come sporadically (when I make a sale, or through quarterly royalties, or monthly rent payments, etc.).

Doesn’t that make sense?  Shouldn’t we be working towards securing our INCOME, instead of chasing the 1900’s romantic idea of JOB security?

I thought it was brilliant, and wished I could come up with more of those ideas.

Last week I did.  I was thinking of a friend of mine who lost his job as a programmer.  My wife was concerned for him and his family (the sting of our unemployment can come right back when a loved-one starts their journey) but I told her I wasn’t worried about him at all.  As a programmer of some hot languages, I was sure his job search would be very quick and easy.  And it was.  He has since landed and really has nothing to worry about.

As I was thinking about him, and his very short journey, I was thinking about the scariness, and stigma, of being unemployed. Or, of losing your job.  Especially now, with the holidays near, where we’ll “have to” spend time with family and loved ones, and we all talk about what’s going on in our life… no one wants to be that one person who is unemployed.  The token loser.  Something must be wrong with you.  Right?  I know how it feels.  I was there, for many months.

I was thinking, what if we go away from those stigmas (and assumptions) of “I lost my job,” and shift the mindset (or, have a “paradigm shift”)?  What phrase would change the meaning and take away the sting?  I came up with this:

“My contract ended.”

Think about it… a lot of people have contracts that end.  And when the contract ends, you move on to the next contract.  It’s not a horrible surprise (contracts are meant to end, whereas in some fantasy universe we tend to think that jobs aren’t supposed to end).  Okay, sometimes the contract ends early, but not contractor believes their contracts will end when they are ready to retire.

Contractors should always prepare for the ending.  They do this with:

  • fiscal responsibility (spend less than you make, save money for the bouts between contracts, etc.)
  • filling the pipeline (networking, putting bids out, etc.)
  • marketing themselves (know how to talk about your products/services, know when to talk about them, know who you want to talk to about them, etc.)

An employed person, though, who fears losing their job, doesn’t do these things the same way a contractor does.  The employed person fears losing, the contractor prepares for the loss.

This phrase, when said out loud, changes the course of the conversation.  Instead of “oh, you poor person who must have caused too much friction at work!”, it is more of a “Oh, sorry to hear that, what’s your next contract?”


This phrase, when you INTERNALIZE it, empowers you to be more in control of your career.  You really do become the CEO of Me, Inc.  You are no longer a victim of a bad boss, of HR, of the market, etc.  You are empowered to prepare for the end of the contract.

Isn’t this awesome?

Many years ago I started working at a janitorial firm.  In the first month or so of that job we lost a $5M contract.  I went to work the next day a little nervous, wondering what kinds of cuts they might make at the corporate office.  The CFO seemed happier than usual, and I somehow remember him whistling in the hallways as he went about his duties.  Later I asked him to explain how they could lose such a big contract and still be happy, or not be overly worried.

He replied that the company had been in business for a long time, and that they had won and lost many contracts.  It was no big deal, and there would be more contracts they would win.  And in fact, they did win many more, and the company grew a lot while I was there.

That mentality is the same mentality that we, as CEO of Me, Inc., need to have.

What do you think?




The Recruiting Animal Ask The Expert Recording

November 22nd, 2013

Here’s the Ask The Expert call we did this month with The Recruiting Animal.  Candid, of course.  Enjoy!

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The BEST article on video interviews for job seekers

November 21st, 2013

I’ve seen a lot of articles on video interviews, this one easily takes the cake: How To Nail A Video Interview.

Save it, print it out, highlight it, and read it three times before you do a video interview.  There are examples of what not to do (keep your finger out of your nose, even if you think the interview is over / don’t get sloshed to “calm your nerves”) and a great list of what you SHOULD do.

Yes, you can buy the guy’s book if you want, but make sure you save this article for a quick reference when you are preparing for the interview.  From lighting to makeup to waiting 3 seconds after the question is asked… this stuff WILL make or break your interview.


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What’s new in my world

November 19th, 2013

I really try to stay away from these kinds of update posts for various reasons, but I feel like my blogging has been too sporadic over the last year or two.  So here are some updates on what we are working on:

I’m not travelling as much as I used to

When my LinkedIn book came out I was on the road quite a bit, and in demand.  Since there are probably close to 50 books on LinkedIn now that has changed.  I’ve had many requests to speak for free, or when people find out there is a fee, they find their cousin or some local social media “expert” to come in… I’m told those guys will “do it for a free lunch.”  More power to them.   Pros and cons of not travelling as much. I miss my new friends in my favorite places, including Maryland/Virginia, Minneapolis, Silicon Valley and East Bay, and Phoenix (what am I forgetting?).

Also, I have never marketed myself as a professional speaker, so I didn’t maintain a “pipeline” of potential gigs.  My professional speaker friends do a lot of marketing and can be on the road a lot, but I’ve always just kind of sat back and waited for the calls to come in.  That dried up as more and more people entered the social marketing space.

I’m doing a lot of video recording and webinars

I feel like I’m always working on yet another video deadline, and I see no end in sight. I need to redo all of my JibberJobber videos, and finish the fourth edition of the LinkedIn for Job Seekers video.  I’ve also been doing career management courses for Pluralsight, catering to IT professionals.  My hope is to build them a world-class career center video library. It’s been fun but each course is really a huge undertaking.  Considering how many hours I would be on the road for one presentation (or a week of presentations), I kind of prefer this alternative – I get to see my family more, and no hotel bed is better than my own bed :)

JibberJobber is moving forward in important ways

I have two developers and a QA professional working for JibberJobber, and we continue to have a ton of projects we’re working on.  Certain metrics have improved greatly over the last year, and we’re working on design and user processes (UI/UX) like never before.  It’s hard to manage the “this would be a cool/useful feature!” and “we need to go back and clean up some stuff” and “we need this to be more intuitive.”  Intuitive means simple, but the stuff JibberJobber helps with is not necessarily simple.  Making the very complex very simple is not very easy.  But that’s the challenge we’ve signed up for!

My books are always on my mind

I need to update the LinkedIn book, the Facebook book just got a massive upgrade, and it feels SO GOOD to have the 51 Alternative to a Real Job book done! I wish I had more time to market each of them.  The messages are excellent and needed, I just need another 24 hours each day!  I have a few others in mind, and am thinking about giving the ebook market a serious run.  We’ll see if I can fit that into my list of priorities.  I’ve just finished a course on authoring books for Pluralsight and it’s really on my mind.

I might schedule another live webinar, but I’m kind of nervous

As a reference, I had an awesome webinar on January 17th this year.  The next morning I was on the operating table having an emergency surgery. If I schedule another webinar, will I only be jinxing myself?  Really, I’m not superstitious… but … :)  After all of this research, though, I think I’m positioned to give a KILLER webinar on writing and marketing a book. There is money to made as an author, and what it does for your brand is amazing.  I might decide to do that. I should schedule it for January 17th just to spit in the face of superstition :)

I have also been writing somewhat regularly on my 51 Alternatives to a New Job blog, as well as my LinkedIn blog, and sometimes on my Jason Alba blog… but it’s been a big time management battle this year.

So that’s what’s going on in my world.  What did I miss?  What can you tell me about what’s going on in your world?



How to make me really, really want to help you (awesome networking tip)

November 13th, 2013

This is something I’ve blogged about and talked about quite a bit, but yesterday I got an email that reminded me of how powerful this technique is.

And when I say technique, I’m saying this is something that awesome networkers do, whether they are introverts or extroverts, whether they are power connectors or have neglected their networking for a long time.  In other words, you can do this right now, today (probably).

I got an email from a friend.  A number of weeks ago I sent an email introducing this friend to someone he should network with.  Don’t you do that – introduce two of your contacts to each other?  His reply was very simple, one line:

“Thanks for the introduction to so-and-so.  I called her and we had a really nice conversation.”

That. Was. It.

No reporting on what their conversation was, no gushing over-the-top thank you.  Just a quick confirmation that he actually acted on the introduction.

You see, when I make an introduction to people in my network I am risking.  When I hit send I secretly hope that you and the other person will connect, and maybe even get value out of your new relationship.

Many times, I’m left hoping, and never know what happens.  Because too many people don’t follow-up.  Many times I forget, so it’s no big deal.  But if I’ve introduced you to a heavyweight in my network I’m going to wonder, and perhaps worry, just a little bit.  I’m going to be hopeful, but I’m usually not going to ask if you even got my email (because you didn’t follow-up).

If you do follow-up, with a simple one-liner, like what the person emailed me above, I will be really excited, and here’s why:  I’ll know I can trust you with my introductions and contacts.

Honestly, when I got the email above my thought was this: “Who else could I introduce to this person?  He actually appreciates it, and follows-up on it!”

I wanted to work for him, right then!  I wanted to help him.  And the trust level increased significantly.

Want to make someone really want to help you?  Simply follow-up with them, especially if they have “given” you anything, whether that is an introduction, advice, or anything like that.

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Well, it’s official: No 40 under 40 for me!

November 12th, 2013

I’ve waited for 40 years to land on someone’s 40 under 40 list… any 40 under 40 list… anything.

But as of today, I’m not qualified.  I am, as they say, over-qualified!

Darn 😉



Happy Veterans Day!

November 11th, 2013

Happy Veterans Day! Today I think about the family and friends that do and have served in the military. What an amazing history this planet has. It’s sad that military and wars have had to be such a big part of it.  But I’ve known many servicemen and servicewomen who have the utmost integrity, and have served in a way to make their country proud.

Let us think of them, and remember them and their many sacrifices today!

Here’s a post I recently did with a list of service providers who provide discounts to veterans who need help with a career transition:

Career Service Providers Who Provide Discounts for Military Veterans

Remember, is the site for military and veterans, where they get one year of JibberJobber services free (as a thank you for their service).

Please share this blog post and these resources with your network :)

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Understanding the ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems)

November 7th, 2013

There is a lot of buzz about how to get your resume through an ATS (aka: applicant tracking system).  An ATS is to a recruiter what JibberJobber is to a job seeker.  It is a tracking system.

Before I go on, if you don’t think you need JibberJobber to keep track of your job search, realize that HR and recruiters are using some kind of ATS or tracking system to keep track of you.  Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight – get on JibberJobber!

So here’s a great article on ATS systems: Ensuring Your Résumé Avoids Applicant Tracking System Pitfalls

In yesterday’s Ask The Expert call with The Recruiting Animal, Animal said he doesn’t use an ATS, and that is really something that internal recruiters are going to use.  In other words, getting your resume through an ATS is not going to be an issue for ALL recruiters.

Check out Arnie’s article:)


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Psychology of Job Hunting: The Recruiting Animal – Free all day today

November 6th, 2013

The Recruiting Animal told me this would be free all day today, as a follow-up to yesterday’s Ask The Expert call with him: The Psychology of Job Hunting

If you miss the free today download (for the Kindle… you can download a Kindle app for free on your PC), then just pay the $2.99 tomorrow.

Thanks Animal!



National Career Summit happening this month!

November 6th, 2013

I’m a couple of days late on this, but it’s not too late to sign up.  This is a series of free teleseminars by some big names in the industry. See the schedule here and sign up here!

I think you’ll be able to access the recordings later, too, so register.  It’s free and there’s nothing to lose.  (maybe next year they’ll have a course on how to organize your job search with JibberJobber :))


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