2015: It’s Over

December 31st, 2015

365 days ago, give or take a few days, pretty much everyone made “new year’s resolutions,” or whatever you want to call them.

Lose weight, read more, learn the piano, give more, worry less, get a promotion…

Today, it’s over.  The time has come where we can look back and think “uh yeah, that didn’t work out the way I planned!”

Oh well. There’s always 2016.

Whether you accomplished any of your goals or not, let me share something that I’ve learned over the years.  It’s not as much as what you’ve accomplished as it is how much you’ve grown and changed over the years.

Don’t get me wrong: accomplishments can be great.  But as I’ve continued to not hit my goals year after year, I’ve come to realize that more important than hitting them is how much I grow and change.  And perhaps more important, whether I’m enjoying life or not.

Almost ten years ago, when I created JibberJobber, I had some very lofty goals.  They were seemingly unreachable.  The truth is, I didn’t reach them. But looking back over the last ten years, I’ve grown. And, my family has grown.  I could have fixated on the goals, and beaten myself up for not having hit many of them, but that wouldn’t have stopped my kids from growing up. The oldest is old enough to move out of the house. What if I would have neglected personal growth, and my family, for the last ten years… her last ten years at home?  I would have missed it all.

My point is, goals are great. But instead of solely thinking about the end (or achieving the goals), make sure you focus on, enjoy, relish in, and are thankful for, the journey. I believe it’s how we navigate the journey that determines our success.  When you work on your 2016 resolutions, don’t forget to enjoy the journey, and appreciate the growth you get along the way.

With that, goodbye 2015, and Happy New Year!



Cleanup: Associate Documents Much Better

December 30th, 2015

In the “we really should do this, but it’s never a big enough priority” category, we had a work order that has been nagging at us for too long.  It had to do with the pages to add or edit Contacts, Companies and Jobs. Right above the Notes field is the Associate Docs field, and this has had a list of the documents you had in the system, with a checkbox next to them. You could simply click the checkbox to associate any of your documents to any Contact, Company, or Job record.  Pretty nifty.

Except… if you had, let’s say, 100 documents, then you would have 100 documents in that list, which made your form unnecessarily long.  So, we recently consolidated this functionality and put it under a link… here’s what it looks like now:


Let me point out three things:

  1. This tells you how many documents are associated to this particular record (the record you are on)
  2. This tells you how many documents you have in the Document Manager
  3. This is the link where you can associate existing documents, or upload a new document and have that associated.

This is much cleaner than before… !

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JibberJobber: Leveling the Playing Field for Job Seekers

December 29th, 2015

I found a blog post where I talk about leveling the playing field for job seekers from March 2008. In it, I share this mission statement I came up with:

“JibberJobber’s mission is to provide a real, useful tool to the masses, helping them through job transition(s) and with their personal efforts to nurture relationships.

JibberJobber should help “level the playing field.” By that, I mean that a job seeker seems to be at a huge disadvantage because they are in a position of want and need, and have less power than the job givers. HR and hiring managers have time and tools. Recruiters have time and tools. Both of these groups (usually) have income. A job seeker has a much higher sense of urgency … getting back to me “next week” hurts, and “next month” might mean my car gets repo’d, or my house goes into foreclosure.

JibberJobber doesn’t fix the sense of urgency but it gives power to the job seeker, helping them manage information, track statuses, organize appointments, prioritize contacts and job postings. Because I don’t have to scribble in a notebook, or use a homemade tracking spreadsheet, I can feel like the empowered professional that I am.”

This was pretty cool to read since I’ve been talking about the sense of urgency and empowerment for many, many years, and I’ll continue to talk about it for many years to come.

I want job seekers to not feel disadvantaged by lack of tools… hence, all of the stuff we’ve been working on for almost ten years.

Here’s to ten more years!

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“You should go into sales for a year or two!” (advice from my brother)

December 28th, 2015

After I lost my job my brother gave me that advice.  Sales, for a year or two. Learn how to sell, learn what sales is, hone your people skills. No matter what I would do after that one or two years, I would use those skills for the rest of my career.

Really, it was brilliant advice.  I had spent years focusing on “hard skills,” technology, my degrees, working in my field… but I really hadn’t paid much attention to my soft skills.

I wasn’t too rough around the edges, and my nature was such that I would do fine in many settings.

But I was never educated in formal sales.  Part art, part science, sales was something that was really for someone else… not me.

I liked his advice but chose a different path.

Now, almost 10 years into my journey with JibberJobber, I wish I had a couple of years of sales under my belt. I wish I understood what it takes to be a successful salesperson.  I wish I had been on a sales team, and had the experience of closing big deals. Salespeople get the highs and the lows, and work through it all with a goal in mind.  I was at lunch with a sales professional who said that sales is all about daily discipline. Discipline to make those phone calls, send those emails, do whatever paperwork and stuff you had to do to make closing the sale feel really, really easy for the customer.

I haven’t had that experience.  But I wish I would have.

In 2016, I want to offer that experience to some of my JibberJobber users.  I’ve already been in talks with people who might be on my sales team.  People who have been in a professional sales capacity.  People who have sold millions of dollars of things, or sold to many hundreds of customers.

I’ve been asking a lot of questions, and doing a lot of listening. I’m soaking it all up.

The plans are still in the making, but I hope that this starts in January.  I find myself vacillating between “this is the most amazing idea ever :)” to “this will never work :(“… I know that I have to do this, and I want to EMPOWER my JibberJobber users.

I have a great idea, some great plans, and A LOT OF QUESTIONS. I have a lot of details to figure out, and we are still working on the product that we’ll sell.

I hope that doing this, and giving people the opportunity (which I’ll outline later), will somehow make up for me not taking my brother’s advice almost ten years ago.

Here’s to an interesting 2016!

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Holiday Job Search Activities

December 23rd, 2015

What does a job seeker do during the holidays?

There are plenty of articles saying how great this time of year is to talk to people at gatherings, around the dinner table, etc.  Sure, do that.

What I find to be most productive is sharpening the saw, tying up loose ends, and preparing for a busy January.

This means I’m scouring LinkedIn and employee lists, doing research on people, and figuring out who I want to talk to and what I want to achieve with them (first conversation, introductions to others, etc.).

It’s quiet time.  It’s time spent on the computer, researching, storing info in JibberJobber.

That’s not what I want to do, really… but it’s necessary to do, and since there aren’t many other things happening, this is the right time to do them.

Happy holidays, even for job seekers!

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Breaking: Pluralsight Gives $20M of Value to Job Seekers in 2016!

December 22nd, 2015

This was announced last week, but it’s still new enough, and will last long enough, that I consider it breaking news.

The White House has an initiative called TechHire, which is designed “to empower unemployed, job-seeking Americans to get the programming and IT skills they need to begin and sustain well-paying careers in technology.”

I knew that Pluralsight went to the White House in August (see pic below) and has been in talks with the White House and the TechHire initiative… now they are announcing what the $20M is going towards: free accounts, with 50 specific courses, for unemployed in the U.S.  5 of the 50 courses are mine.  Remember, when you watch a Jason Alba course on Pluralsight you can get another one week upgrade on JibberJobber!  (details here)

The great thing about the 50 courses is that they are courses to help someone get up and running as a techie. You don’t need any technical experience, just a desire to learn.

Here’s the press release.

Here’s their blog post (with information about the courses).

Here’s the signup form!

Below is the list of courses… the five highlighted, at the top, are mine (and each qualify for another week of premium JibberJobber). What I love about this list, as well as the rest of the Pluralsight library, is that I can say that these courses are taught be some amazing, talented people!

Job Search and Career Management Courses

  • Designing a Killer Job Search Strategy
  • LinkedIn Strategy: Optimize Your Profile
  • Effective Phone Skills
  • Effective Email Communication
  • Leadership: Getting Started
  • Careers in IT: How to Get Your First Job
  • Resumes, Research and Writing on the Job Hunt
  • Build Your Career with Michael Lopp
  • The Art of Public Speaking and Effective Presentations
  • Career and Survival Strategies for Software Developers

General Technology and the Technology Industry Courses

  • Learning Technology in the Information Age
  • The Future of Technology Careers
  • Introduction to Business Information Technology
  • DevOps: The Big Picture
  • Big Data: The Big Picture
  • Introduction to Virtualization
  • Web vs Apps: The Big Picture
  • Cloud Computing: The Big Picture
  • Web Security and the OWASP Top 10: The Big Picture
  • Software Engineering Essentials

Front End Web Development Courses

  • Front End Web Development Career Kickstart
  • Your First Day With HTML
  • Your First Day With CSS
  • Front-End Web Development Quick Start with HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Play by Play: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with Lea Verou
  • JavaScript QuickStart Vol 1
  • JavaScript QuickStart Vol 2
  • JavaScript QuickStart Vol 3
  • Learning To Program – Part 1: Getting Started
  • JavaScript Fundamentals for ES6

Technical Support Courses

  • CompTIA A+ Part 1: Computer Hardware
  • CompTIA A+ Part 2: Networking
  • CompTIA A+ Part 3: Peripherals and Best Practices
  • CompTIA A+ Part 4: Operating Systems
  • CompTIA A+ Part 5: Mobile Devices and Troubleshooting
  • CompTIA A+ Part 6: How to Build a Computer
  • Technology Troubleshooting Essentials
  • Practical Networking
  • Windows Client Administration Fundamentals
  • Linux System Administration Fundamentals

Data Professional Courses

  • Excel 2013 Fundamentals
  • Excel: An Analytics Superhub
  • Data Analytics: Hands On
  • Data Analysis Fundamentals with Tableau
  • Data Visualizations using Tableau Public
  • Business Dashboard Fundamentals
  • Introduction to Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence
  • Cloud Business Intelligence: The Big Picture
  • Introduction to SQL
  • NoSQL: The Big Picture

Are you ready for a career in technology?  From programming to databases, from understanding the big picture of technology to the big picture of data and underestimated tools like Excel, Pluralsight has stepped up to the plate to help YOU get started, and explore the opportunities, and get the training you need to be qualified!

If you want access to all of the other 4,500 courses in the Pluralsight library, the upgrade is only $30/month.

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The Good and Bad of the U.S. Federal Unemployment Rate

December 18th, 2015

Sitting in a job club, networking with other job seekers, we were talking about how great the unemployment rate was. This was in 2006, and times were good. Except for the 20 or 30 people in the room.  Newspapers excitedly reported how great the economy was.  And then someone said

“The unemployment rate for me is 100%.”

While the world (at least the newspapers) celebrated such a great economic time, I sate in the room with a couple dozen people who didn’t feel the celebration.  All of us wondered “if it’s so good, why can’t we even get a meaningful interview?”

Why the discrepency?  What is the unemployment rate?

Honestly, I think it’s a bunch of crap. If you want to see why this is such a garbage number, check out The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment, an article on  I’ll highlight some of the article below, but I said I’d share the good of the unemployment rate.

The only good I can think of is that it provides one standard, a metric, that economists can use to track and measure.  That’s it.  It’s been around for a long time, and can be used as one factor to understand what the economy is doing.  Of course, politicians can use this to paint a picture describing how great they are, and how effective their leadership has been.

But this number, with the name it has (unemployment rate), really is a big lie.

Here are some reasons why:

— A low unemployment rate is apparently not good.  Read this and this and this and this, if you want more info on that concept. Again, this number is a number that economists should appreciate, as a metric to track, but the rest of the world (especially the media) should largely ignore (or, understand better). Doesn’t it make sense that the goal is 0% unemployment?  Not according to those links.

— If you are one of the people counted as unemployed, if you don’t find a job after a while, eventually you’ll not be counted as unemployed anymore. Here’s an example: you have a job (not counted as unemployed, right?)… then you lose your job.  Counted as unemployed? Not until you register with the government (think: unemployment insurance).  If you never register your new status, and take welfare, you aren’t counted as unemployed.  If you start your own business, which largely feels like you are unemployed, you are still not counted as unemployed. But let’s say that you get unemployment insurance… yeah! You are now part of the unemployment rate!  But if you can’t find a job, and you run out of welfare (I think this is at 6 months or 12 months, but I could be wrong), you drop off of their roll, and guess what?  As far as the numbers are concerned, you are not unemployed.  Even though you are very unemployed, you are not. So this is only tracking a certain segment of the unemployed.  Supposedly we are tracking those people, but it’s really impossible to track. More info? Research “long term unemployment

– If you work part time, or have a business and make enough so you don’t qualify for unemployment insurance, the government considers you successful enough to be off of their stats.  You are not unemployed anymore, and they celebrate that you have found something.  But that something is typically what we all call “underemployment.” Doing something to get out of the house. Doing something to earn money and try to have dignity, even though it’s not enough. This is such a penalty for some people that they will avoid any type of work or initiative because it jeopardizes their piddly unemployment insurance…. so what should be an incentive to get a real job is actually more like handcuffs.  I know this because I’ve had people tell me they can’t have reportable income until their benefits have run out, or else they will lose their benefits.

Does this disgust you?  Read more at the Gallup site.  And the next time you see this number reported, for better or worse, you’ll know that it doesn’t necessarily mean what the public thinks it means.



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New: JibberJobber for Military Spouses

December 17th, 2015

This post has been a long time coming. Without further ado, let me announce that

we are extending the one year premium upgrade offer to military spouses.

This simply means that if you are a military spouse, you can get a JibberJobber account and then use the Contact form to let us know you qualify for the one year JibberJobber upgrade (like we have done for veterans since 2006).

Please share this with everyone you can think of. There are veterans, and military spouses, who need this.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this JibberJobber page: Military and Veterans.

Download information for veterans and military spouses as a one page flyer (pdf)

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Emails You Receive… How to Log Them Into JibberJobber?

December 16th, 2015

I got this question from Leigh:

“How do you use Email2Log to add emails you receive into JibberJobber?”

This is a great question. There are a few ways to get an email into JibberJobber… let me review them:

Email2Log: when sending an email to a person

Anytime you send an email to someone, and you want to log that email into JibberJobber, use Email2Log like you normally would. This is a premium feature, but it’s easy to get Premium (you can watch my videos on Pluralsight, and for each course you watch (which you would otherwise pay $50 for from JibberJobber), you can get another 7 day upgrade). There is no limit on how many weeks you get – just be honest about how many times you watch my courses. Here’s how you do this.

Email2Log: when NOT sending an email to a person

Let’s say that you have an email in your inbox and you want that email to end up in JibberJobber, but you DO NOT want to send a reply to the person who sent it to you. You can simply FORWARD the email to JibberJobber… it’s super easy, but there is a little bit of trickery to ensure you have the control you want (for example, let’s say that the email was sent to 10 people… but you only want it to be associated to one person… the trickery I speak of let’s you have control over that). Simply reference this post from 2012, titled What to do if you forget to BCC to JibberJobber?

How can you do it without using Email2Log?

Okay, no Email2Log. You want to go old school. Simply go into your email, copy the text you want in the Log Entry, and then go into JibberJobber and create the Log Entry (with the proper associations), and paste that text there. Simple.  Just takes longer than the Email2Log option.

So there you go… it’s pretty easy to do this stuff.  If you want help with Email2Logs, or Log Entries, or anything, first check out the videos in the Getting Started section, here.

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How to Lifehack Pluralsight Videos

December 15th, 2015

I’m not talking about hacking videos, and I would never recommend you pirate the courses. Aside from that being unethical, I think there is an inherent danger in using pirated stuff.

What I’m talking about is a lifehacker style hack, and it’s very, very simple.

When you are watching a Pluralsight video, increase the speed of the video. I’ve found that I can watch my videos at about 1.3x or 1.4x, and still get the entire message. Anything faster than that is too distracting for my brain. Just click on the speed (or, odometer) icon, and then choose the speed you want. This means you can fit more courses into your day :)


Each time you watch any of my 32 (and growing) courses at Pluralsight, self-report on JibberJobber and we’ll upgrade your JibberJobber account for a few days.

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