How To: Ordering by User Defined Fields on List Panels (UDF Data Types)

February 23rd, 2018

A few months ago we bit off a project that we had been putting off for years because it was enormous.  Well, we thought it was enourmous.

When we rolled it out the first time we found out just how enormous it really was. And then we had to push it out the second and the third time… ouch.  Many thanks to all of the JibberJobber users who stuck with us during this painful project. This will “go down in history” as one of the biggest and most painful projects we have ever tackled.

Did I mention, THANK YOU to those who stuck with us and helped us through this?

Alas, a few weeks we finished, and we think we are done now. This project started small “I just want to order by my custom fields on List Panels.” Turns out, this project would touch (in a big way) our database, every Detail Page, every Add/Edit page for Contacts, Companies, Jobs, of course every List Panel, etc. And, as icing on the cake, we would run user data through a conversion to make the types work right.

Lots of landmines in this “little project.” And we stepped on a few.  But no data was lost, and we had some exceptional (and exceptionally patient) users help us through.

What this means is two things:

  1. When you create a custom field you can now assign the type (like: integer, text, etc.)
  2. Because of this, you can now “order by” on the List Panels.

Seems simple, right? It would have been if we architected it this way a decade ago.

To do #1, simply go to the Add/Edit page of any Contact, Company, or Job, and add a new custom field (down at the very bottom) (you can also do this from a Detail Page, under the Add button on the right):

From the Add/Edit Page:

jibberjobber-add-custom-field-add-edit-page

From the Detail Page:

jibberjobber-add-custom-feld-detail-page

When you select NEW, you’ll be asked for a name of the field (not the value of data… name of a field is “best friends name,” the value would be “Sally”), and the data type (which helps us order it appropriately):

jibberjobber-custom-field-type

If in doubt just leave it as a String… that just means regular text. But if it is a number use Integer (or one of the other options). I’d use String and Integer for probably 95% of my custom fields.

That’s about it… the rest is not that visible, except the beautiful ability to simply order by a custom field in the List Panel… simple enough, right?

 

 

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Lessons Learned From My First Real Job In 12 Years

February 15th, 2018

I’m just finishing up my second week working full-time at BambooHR, a company that loves and lives company culture and serving people.  I am pinching myself wondering if this is really real, and when will it end.

To say I was jaded because of my past experience at my last real job, getting laid off due to politics and kingdoms and self-protection (of others) and horrible culture and irresponsible leadership is an understatement. Over the years I have posted thoughts about not being hireable, not trusting companies to manage your career, etc.

I still 1,000% believe in personal career management. That can’t change because in today’s world no one will do it except you.

But I also have renewed faith that there is a place out there that you can love, and there is a job out there that can be just right for you.

Not too long ago (a year or two) I had a conversation with my friend, Robert Merrill (a Utah Sr. Tech Recruiter) if I could ever get a job again. I asked him what I could possibly do. I felt like my skills were not appreciated, that I was getting too old, that I hadn’t stayed up with relevant things in the workspace, etc. I had created an ecclectic background and didn’t even know what tasks I would do.  He said “Jason, clearly you are a product manager!”  Ah yes, of course, that I was. I had been doing it my whole career, and especially (not necessarily that well) with JibberJobber!

When it was time to throw my resume out there I was picky about the companies I wanted to work at (and contribute to). They, apparently, were picky, too. I got rejection after rejection. At least this time I got into the first or second interview before a rejection, but still, having someone say NO is a blow to the ego. You get enough blows and then you are in the corner, in a fetal position, whimpering, and hopeless.

I was getting to the point where I was getting rejected enough that I questioned whether I really had the chops to be a product manager (all the while, I was the product manager for JibberJobber). Companies where I would be a great fit because of my industry knowledge and subject matter expertise were overlooking me. Some said no, others would ignore me (except at meetups, where we were best friends. Ouch).

By the time I found the Program Manager job at BambooHR I had to adjust what I was looking for. Maybe product manager wasn’t for me? Maybe that was a pipe dream? Maybe I was too old? Maybe I hadn’t done the right certifications to really be one?  And… my heavens, this company is not three miles away. I would have a real commute (yuck).

But from the minute I got the reply from the hiring manager, through the interviews, all the way to my first day there, it was like a dream. Everything fell into place, my experience and background were not only appreciated, they were made for this job. This was a hand-in-glove perfect fit. What they wanted was a very unique skillset and I just happened to have created it over the last 12+ years.

Looking back I can see how important it was for me to start my own (huge) project: JibberJobber. It was critical that I built the team, created the strategy, and put together a vision for moving forward. It was critical that after the creation and startup and ideation stage I stuck with it for 12 years. One question I got in my interview was “You obviously like to strategize and create things… when it’s time to execute will you be happy, or will you go off looking for the next thing to create?” Me: “I’ve stuck with JibberJobber, in execution mode, for over a decade.”

I can see how important it was for me to write my first (and second and third) book(s). Did I say important? How about critical. It was critical that I wrote my first book. This made me a published author, with a “best seller” status. It led me down the path to write other books (which were relative flops). It opened up a new world for me and set me apart from people who always wanted to write a book. I was someone who actually finished it… I was a doer, a finisher.

From that stemmed the super important role of being a paid professional speaker. I spoke at conferences, schools, companies, association meetings, and job clubs. I did keynotes and workshops. This experience taught me about a whole new world, both the business side of being a speaker and the tactics and techniques that speakers employ (but hopefully not the annoying ones).

This lead to doing online webinars, which led to do 30 courses for Pluralsight. Courses for Pluralsight…! THIRTY! It was a hard four-year run and by the end I needed some time off (but I wanted to get another ten more in the library, and ultimately have 56 (to beat out one other guy :p). Alas, it wasn’t my decision to stop, but it was a refreshing change.  I am a freaking Pluralsight author. That is hard to become nowadays (timing is everything, isn’t it?).

This role at BambooHR was looking for someone who had entrepreneurial experience, with product management (from start to finish), project management experience, and experience with books, ebooks, webinars, podcasts, professional speaking, course creation, etc.

I look at what I’m doing now and realize that this job was made for me. It was waiting for me. And I was made for it, and I was waiting for it.

“Everything happens for a purpose,” they say.

Going through the everything is HARD. For someone like me, impatient and wanting to be in control, it’s extra hard. But looking back I can see how everything I did has fallen into place and helped me get here.

If you haven’t read, I’m still running JibberJobber. My team has stepped up to the plate and is doing a great job… so no worries about the future of JibberJobber.

My message to you is that you need to keep working. A rejection might be a blessing… many rejections might help you recraft and restrategize and refocus.

I have been saying for years that you need to substantiate yourself. That’s what I’ve done (kind of without knowing it, I just thought I was hustling). But here I am, substantiated, and now contributing in a dream job (while getting to keep my dream company :p).

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Report: First Week as a First Class Citizen

February 12th, 2018

When I lost my job 12 years and a month ago I learned that job seekers are treated like third class citizens. Or, maybe it’s just that we feel like we are treated that way. I remember checking my mail one day, as a job seeker… it was a beautiful day but the neighborhood was eerily quiet. I seemed to be the only human around.

Things changed, of course. I became a business owner (which has a lot of similarities to being unemployed) and an author (which was amazing), a professional speaker and a Pluralsight “author.”  I worked my way out of being a third class citizen, but it was seriously hard work, and it was years in the making.

This last week, everything changed. On Monday I started my dream job at BambooHR, a company that makes award winning software for small to medium businesses. I’m still pinching myself because this job is too good to be true and a part of me is wondering if I’m going to wake up from a dream. Alas, I made it a week and I still have the job! NOTE: I’m still running, managing, and keeping JibberJobber. Read about that in my announcement here.

My job at BambooHR is like a a combination of all of the things I’ve done over the last 12 years: I was brought in to create programs and products. I’ll explain more as we move forward, but I’m in my happy place of concept, strategy, vision, planning, etc.

So how was my first week? Well, I got reintroduced to the power of a real company culture. BambooHR was founded on the premise of “we want to create a great place to work so great work can take place,” even before the founders had figured out what what their product, market, or industry would be.  Isn’t that amazing? This company was built on “let’s build a great company culture” before even figuring out the money part of it! Bizarre, isn’t it?

Company culture was the foundation of this company, and they ferociously guard it. That is an amazing foundation, and it’s an honor to be able to be in it, and contribute to it.

I realize that this week I’m still in honeymoon phase. I’m still enamored by all of the new, and the transition. But I’ve talked to others, some who have been here for a few months and some who have been here years, and I’m seeing that this is real. Their investment in culture, and employees, is real. And that is amazing.

So how was my first week? I wrote a course at Pluralsight on how to onboard yourself (instead of waiting for HR to put you through an incomplete onboarding process). I’ve done some of the self-onboarding things from that course.  I’ve found that I am also anxious to just jump right into my work.

The first day was mentally exhausting, of course. I met a lot of new people (who know my name, and I’m learning their names). I learned a lot about company policy and spent I think two hours learning about all of the benefits and perks (holy cow!). I met with my boss for a couple of hours and got settled into my workspace.

The next three days I got a bigger and better vision as I was able to talk to my boss more, as well as have important conversations with people inside the company. This is new to a lot of people and it’s been interesting asking them what they think we are doing and what my role is. I spent Friday in my boss’s office (he is out of town) and filled up his entire whiteboard, then brought in another whiteboard (and filled it up) with a massive brain dump.

I’m super excited. I wish I knew the names of more people but that will come. The commute is not my favorite but it could be worse (I drive about 20 miles against traffic, so I am usually at the speed limit the whole way). I drive past a bunch of recruiting billboards and company offices and think “why would I ever work anywhere else?” Definitely honeymoon stage, which I’m hoping lasts a good three to twenty years :p

Last week (and today) I’ve spent about an hour of very focused work on JibberJobber each morning. I even got a couple of morning workouts in… today I was lucky enough to get up at 6 (instead of 4). My brain is just going and going and going.

So there’s my one week report. I feel like this is a fairy tale, a dream that I might wake up from. I know there will be bumps in the road but I’m very happy where I’m at, and thankful that I have a team at JibberJobber that is moving the product in the right direction.

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Work/Life Balance: Finding The Right Company For You

February 7th, 2018

My friend Robert Dagnall, a resume professional in Southern California, said “I’d like to read about your experience with work/life balance as you move into this new role.” Here are my thoughts after two days working there (and lots of research).

When I started interviewing at BambooHR I had read that they were one of Utah’s top company’s to work for. They’ve even gotten national recognition as best company to work for. You hear about all the perks from tech companies like unlimited free food, game rooms, laundry, massage, transportation to your living quarters, etc… to me it sounds ridiculously expensive (and it is). As a business owner I wonder how sustainable those perks are, but then you think about how profitable the companies are and then wonder why they don’t buy rocket ships for everyone.

Back to BambooHR. They don’t have a cafeteria… they barely have a couple of break rooms with a few fridges. They proudly boast they don’t have game rooms, and nowhere have I found any of the other perks mentioned above. What I have found is a culture where they live work/life balance. This is not just something they talk about in their job descriptions to hook you in, or something they quietly live. This is something they reinforce and protect vigilintly.

When I talk about “finding the right company” I mean you have to find the company that is right for you. I have five kids and a life. There is no way I could live at work… eat three meals there? No way. I need to be with my family. Do my laundry there? Play games after work? Look, I know it sounds like heaven, but I’d rather be with my family outside of work than hanging out at work for a couple+ hours each day.

Now, if I were single, that would be different.

One of BambooHR’s messages to me was “we want you to work hard while you are here, but then leave and go get fulfillment outside of work. If we have all the fun perks we would just be trying to keep you here.”

In their seven values you’ll find these things:

Enjoy Quality Of Life

Make It Count

You aren’t going to enjoy quality of life if you are sitting at your desk with investment banker hours and pressure.  And, if you make it count while you are at work (that is, give 100% to your work while there) then you can walk away, ready for another day, and give 100% to your family or hobbies or whatever when you are away.  This is helping their team have work/life balance.

Let’s think about it differently: this is what one founder simply calls Life Balance.

Alright, still, this could just be talk, right? Because at the end of the day a company wants to grow bigger, grow faster, be better, squash the competition, hit goals, and stay alive.  It’s all talk in the hiring phase, but once you get on you have so much work you have to come in early, stay late, and then go home and work more… right?

Last night I did work late. My boss and I were in an interview and I left my phone on my desk. I didn’t see a clock so I couldn’t tell how late we were. The interview ended and we were debriefing for a few minutes when the CMO walked by. She said, “You guys aren’t supposed to be here.” It was 5:20. She was telling her VP and me to go home… at 5:20.

Generally, people start clearing out at 5:00. We were already 20 minutes late.

If you Make it Count, and really give 100% to work while at work (not to Facebook or browsing the news or hanging out at the water cooler, etc.), then by 5:00 you just might be ready to go. You have put in a solid, honest work day, focusing on the right things, making progress, and you are ready to go do other things, recharge your batteries, and come back the next day refreshed.

I have talked about one aspect of work/life balance (aka, life balance). There are other components that I’ve seen, including paid-paid vacation (where you get paid time off AND they give you thousands of dollars towards vacation expenses), a generous holiday schedule, health benefits that significantly reduce worries around current and future health issues, reimbursement for Financial Peace University (and a completion bonus after you take the course), and more.

As you figure out the right company for you you need to weigh all of these things. It’s not just salary vs. salary, or commute vs. commute… the entire job/work experience should be weighed from one company to another. I’m driving 20 miles past a couple of my target companies, and I’m doing it because for me BambooHR is the right company. Last night, driving home, I was smiling as I passed all the companies that didn’t pay attention to my resume, or passed me over in interviews, thinking thank goodness I didn’t work at those companies. I found a life balance company just right for me.

I have talked to people who only compared company opportunities at the salary level. There is so much more to choosing a company than just looking at the salary.

More on work-life balance from BambooHR:

Is There Really Such A Thing As “Work-life Balance”?

Holidays and Work-Life Balance: Three Important Questions

Work-Life Balance vs. Work-Life Integration

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Transitions, Moving On and Moving Forward

February 5th, 2018

This is one of the weirdest blog posts I’ve every written.

An Announcement

In a nutshell, I got a job. A real, go to work, at an office, in a company, job.

It’s been twelve years and almost a month since I was laid off. Here I am, twelve+ years later and I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.

What does this mean for JobberJobber? Nothing, and everything. Nothing because nothing big will change.. We’ll keep moving forward, and the team has plenty of work to do. Everything because of the way I’m restructuring things, I’ll be more focused on strengthening the core of JibberJobber, and doing the right things for the product and our users.  More on that below.

A “Coincidence”

Is there such thing as a coincidence?

A few weeks ago I started my fourth book, which I’m leaning towards titling The Twelve Year Job Search. Little did I know that half way through writing this book I would accept a job, almost exactly 12 years to the day I was let go from my last “real job.”

The intense emotional roller-coaster I’ve been on these last few weeks was something I was not prepared for. I know a lot about the job search process but had forgotten just how intensely stressful parts of it can be (for me, the parts where I have no control).

A Real Job

For the last twelve years my “real job” has been entrepreneur, founder, owner, and more. I’ve authored three (published) books, became a professional speaker, authored 30 Pluralsight courses, done webinars and podcasts and written ebooks and white papers and blog posts (for others). I built my JibberJobber team bringing in talented contractors from around the world, five of which work as a team on the product right now.

I was looking for a product management job, and happened to see an opening from a company I was really, really interested in (BambooHR). The job wasn’t on the product team, but the description was close enough that it piqued my interest. As I read it I thought “I’ve done all of these things… I could totally do this.” I applied on a whim, thinking I was really more suited for a product management job.

You can read all about this job here: I need a top notch program manager

bamboo-program-manager

This is one of three postings I found for this job (they were all a little different). I thought, “Is this real? I know it’s not in product, but man, it seems like this job was written for me!”

A Company and A Boss

I got a reply from the hiring manager and was brought in for my first interview… and the rest is history. But more importantly, in my research and then interview process, I fell in love with the company. BambooHR makes HR software (including ATS software – that strikes me as funny) for small to medium companies.

It’s not the software I fell in love with (I hadn’t had much exposure to it), rather I fell in love with the history of BambooHR and the culture they have created. As I learned more I couldn’t help but want to be a part of this culture. I want to contribute to this culture, as I build out the vision of the thought leadership programs under my new boss, Rusty (see link above).

I found Rusty’s Ted talk, and a short talk he did for Toastmasters, and read about his background. He is the type of person I want to work with. I am excited for the opportunity to learn from him and build these programs with him. I trust him, and believe in his vision, and want to be a part of this!  I know the alternative… working for someone you don’t like or don’t trust, and I have no interest in that. I feel lucky to have found this opportunity at this company for this leader… a great combination!

A Future for JibberJobber

JibberJobber was born almost twelve years ago. We have had over 100,000 people sign up and try to manage and organize a job search. We currently have five people (aside from me) with dedicated roles, including customer support, QA, server admin, and software development. I have been the product manager, and with this big change I started to transition many of my functions to Liz, who many users have already interacted with.

I plan on spending time, regularly, with JibberJobber, as the Chief of Product. Liz will add product manager to her duties, and will work closely with me to ensure the team focuses on the right things for our users and our future. While my team will continue to stay busy, we’ll make sure the limited amount of time we have is spent on the most important projects.

When I spent four years developing Pluralsight videos I spent a lot more time there than as product manager in JibberJobber. After Pluralsight I went back to JibberJobber with a renewed interest and was appalled at where we were at. I take all of that on me, as product manager. This time I will not make the same mistakes. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with Liz talking about vision and priorities, and have met with each of my team, and I’m dedicated to making this a great time for JibberJobber, not a time of strategic neglect.

I hope this is reflected in the product, and your experience.

A Conclusion

I’ve written a few more pages but really, this is too long already. If you have any questions, let me know. I’ll be available mornings and evenings, and hope to continue our relationship.  

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12 Years Ago An Idea Was Born

February 3rd, 2018

Twelve years ago, in February of 2006, I was a few weeks into my job search. I was spinning wheels, stubbornly doing the wrong things, frustrated, and depressed.

I wasn’t excited to get out of bed and do things that weren’t working, only to find a job at a company that might not keep me around for long. I had lost hope that there was an awesome job at an awesome company that I could fit into. The silence from recruiters and hiring managers was puzzling and demoralizing.

From my frustration I tried to figure out what I was doing wrong. I thought of the job search as a process, and set out to understand the process and see where I was failing.  It was during this exercise that I realized there was an opportunity to make things better for me and millions of job seekers. And that is how the idea of JibberJobber was born.

It’s been a crazy, fun, hard, challenging, rewarding twelve years. In this twelve years I’ve authored 3 (published) books and 30 Pluralsight courses. I’ve spoken hundreds of times in multiple countries and been on tons of webinars and podcasts. I’ve been treated like a (mini) celebrity and I’ve been strongly challenged on some of my ideas. I’ve made friends that will last a lifetime (users, partners, colleagues), and I have great satisfaction in knowing that I have helped individuals and families during some very dark and hard times.

I found my opportunity in my dark hours. I wonder, if you are in dark hours, what opportunities you will find. I hope yours are as rewarding as mine have been.

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