Company Culture Is as Real as Personal Brands Are

August 13th, 2015

Before JibberJobber, I worked at a company (Varsity Contractors) that did over $200M in building maintenance (janitorial, taking care of big buildings, etc.). I was the first IT Manager, and did things like web development (internet and extranet), networking management, user support, buying computers, upgrading the server room, etc.  I was a jack of all trades.

Before I got there, the CFO managed about five contractors who did all of the IT stuff.  Taking that over was a blast, and I learned and grew a lot.  I am forever thankful for that chapter in my career, where I learned a lot.  One thing that I’ll never forget is the power of a company culture.  Varsity had a rich history, and great contracts.  But the margins were super-thin, and we all know janitors don’t make a lot of money.  But I entered a world where culture was highly touted, and one of the most critical things in the organization.  And the fruits of having a strong culture would be hard to believe, had I not witnessed them myself.

One thing that stands out: watching people do ANYTHING (legal, ethical, etc.) for the company.  Not to the point of giving up their family or integrity, but managers would really do anything for the interest of the company.  They would do it gladly.  It was as if they had ownership in a big machine, and they were immensely proud of this machine.  I witnessed this for years, and was in awe at how powerful the culture was.

Why?  How?  That is for another post.  In this post I want to just talk about the idea of culture… it is real, and it is powerful.

I share this with you because of three blog posts I recently read:

Company Culture Is A Myth, by Laurie Ruettimann. I’ve followed Laurie for years, and love her thinking.  But I don’t agree with her post.  Many of her commentors, who are in HR or recruiting, don’t agree either. Read the comments, and note the big difference between “culture” and “fit.”

Does your job search plan address company culture? by Martin Buckland. I also love how Martin thinks… he’s an executive job search coach in Canada, and puts out great stuff.  This question reminds me of someone I know who transitioned careers and chose to go into a company that paid well (for a while… then they did a bait-and-switch… snakes!), but had a demoralizing, soul-crushing culture.  This was a first-hand example that proved that money isn’t everything, and that money can’t compensate for certain horrible things.  Go after money, and disregard culture, at your own peril.

Why Am I Here? By Kylie Hunt, a new Pluralsight author.  Kylie is in Australia and in this inaugural blog post, she talks about why she left the company she has been at for over 10 years. Specifically, the leadership and the culture pushed her away, to a point of being unhappy, and she had to leave. Is it any surprise that her first course in Pluralsight is titled Boost Productivity Through Employee Happiness? Note: I can give you free access to her course, and to all of mine… just watch the short how-to video on this page. Bonus: watch any of my courses, and you get an additional 7 day upgrade on JibberJobber.

You can poo-poo the concept of culture, but having been there, and hearing from hundreds or thousands of job seekers over the years, I know, and cannot deny, the existence and power of company culture.  That could be at the meta level, or within a small team, or anywhere inbetween.

What are your experiences, positive or negative, with culture within a company?

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The Power of Informational Interviews

August 12th, 2015

I did a course on Informational Interviews because I believe it is a mega-powerful tactic for networking. When I speak I tell the audience “if I started a job search today, 90% of my time would be spent on informational interviews.” That’s a strong, and true, statement. Informational Interviews are for more than just job seekers, that’s for sure. Here’s the link to the PS course:

Pluralsight Informational Interviews Jason Alba

Here’s an article from executive career coach Martin Buckland about informational interviews. Read his article, then check out my course for easy how-to’s.

Not a Pluralsight member?  No problem! Watch the short video on this page to see how you can get 30 days of unlimited access, no strings attached, and for each Jason Alba video you watch, you get free premium JibberJobber (when you self-report in JibberJobber)!

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How JibberJobber and Pluralsight Help Veterans and Job Seekers

August 11th, 2015

It’s obvious that JibberJobber is all about empowering job seekers in their search, and with their networking.  You might not know that Pluralsight is helping job seekers, too.  If you want a 30 day unrestricted pass to Pluralsight, check out the short video on this page.  You can watch all of my videos, as well as any of the 3,000+ videos in the library, at no cost.  I would say the value of this is priceless, or at least worth hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars, but the normal list price for Pluralsight videos is only $30/month.

Anyway, check out this partnership announcement: White House Demo Day: Pluralsight partners with TechHire to give $20M in free courses. My friends at Pluralsight went to D.C. and met with White House people… and announced twenty million dollars of freeness they are giving away.  That is to help people in their careers, and that is awesome!

Also, check out what they are doing for “USAR Soldiers, direct family members, and veterans”: 50% off Pluralsight – we’ve got your six! I think this is a great start to helping this audience transition to civilian jobs, and help their family members.

At JibberJobber we’ve been doing this for nine years, and it was awesome for me to learn that Pluralsight has similar initiatives!


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The 10 Hour Job Search… ?

August 5th, 2015

In 2009 I wrote a charged blog post titled The 10 Hour Job Search – Seriously.  There are over 30 comments on that post… some of them agreeing with me, some thinking I was crazy.

In the post I suggested things to do where you could easily spend 45 hours.  Realize that my take on this differs if you are working full-time, or if you are a tiny town where no one networks, or [insert your special circumstance here].  The spirit of my post, though, is that just because someone at an outplacement company says that the average job seeker spends 10 hours a week in the job search, that does not mean that you have to be average.

Also, realize that all of the stats you read about “job seekers” would be a lot more accurate if they were more reflective of you: your industry, your level, your title, the companies you want to work at, the community they live in (size, kinds of jobs), etc.

The point: don’t be average!

Read the charged comments here.

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What is a Career Management Visualization?

August 4th, 2015

Almost eight years ago I introduced the idea of a career management visualization, and on this post I shared an example of my personal career management visualization.  How would you word your visualization of your career?  Check out mine here: Career Management Visualization – an example

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The Power of Positive Thinking for Job Seekers

August 3rd, 2015

Last year I wrote The Job Seeker’s Secret Weapon: MENTALITY. It’s a post that refutes a claim that the job seeker’s secret weapon is a mobile device…

In the post I share a time in my job search when I got a rejection to a job that I was sure I was going to get.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Read it here.

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