Sometimes, Things DON’T Work Out for a Reason

April 29th, 2019

Despair in the job search - not a real picture of me. Ever hear the phrase “things work out for a reason?”

This morning I was thinking about some of the things that didn’t seem to work out in my career, and the emotions around each failure, and then think about where I’m at today.

Where I’m at today is not wildly successful, or even where I want to end up. But I’m doing better than if some of those things actually had worked out.

One of the first big blows to my career plans was when I was in college. I was working full-time for the federal government as a clerk making about $11/hour. That was good enough money back then that I was working with people who were breadwinners. Granted, they weren’t winning much bread, but it was enough to live on. Older adults, people with kids, etc. I had the opportunity to take a series of tests to be a contract linguist, which would have paid around $24/hour. This was really good money. Just as exciting was the fact that I would be able to work as a contractor, remotely, on my own schedule. This could give me the flexibility to finish school, perhaps do other contract jobs, etc.

I got through the first three tests fine. The last test was very subjective, and I “barely failed.” I think there were some politics involved… definitely enough circumstances that I could have brought it up. Instead, I walked away, feeling really bad about missing this super opportunity.

Fast forward to when I got laid off in 2006. My career path and plan was defined and going well. But then, some bad stuff happened. I was working in an environment, with a person, that wasn’t good for me. My plan changed when The Board decided to let me go and keep the toxic person. Everything came to a halt. Just a business decision, I kept telling myself. Meanwhile, no income, but bills kept coming in. This “business decision” had a huge impact on my personal business!

Things should have worked out, but they didn’t. Why??

A few months later we launched JibberJobber.

Within a few months of launching JibberJobber I was on the phone with someone who was in a decision-making or big influencing position in her organization, and we were talking about a very good-sized monthly contract. This was “it.” It would have been awesome. We made all the progress we needed to make, and it felt like we were days away from a signature. Talks of them acquiring JibberJobber were surfacing. And then, radio silence. For months. No return to email or phone. Nothing. I found out later that her division had been sold off, and she couldn’t talk about anything. Something great was about to happen, and instead it died.

I could tell you more stories like these. Things didn’t work out. I think, for a reason.

What are your things that aren’t working out right now?

Trust me when I say I feel the pain, discouragement, despair, etc. that you feel when things don’t work out. Things you’ve worked hard for. Things you’ve invested your time and heart in. But for some reason they just don’t work out. The pain you feel is deep, but TEMPORARY. If you keep working, keep trying, stay creative and hopeful, then you might get to work on Plan B, or Plan C, or Plan D.

I’m not encouraging you to hold out and find your success, however you define that, until you are in your sixties. I am encouraging you to look at why things aren’t working out with a renewed perspective. Each time the thing I planned for, worked for, and counted on didn’t work out, it led me to a time of questioning myself and my future. But, I pushed through it, kept working, and something, somehow, worked out.

I can definitely say that some of the Plan B things were much, much better than some of the Plan A things.

Keep on it, work through it, exercise your creativity, and just wait to see what Plan B or C or D will bring!



Welcome Thrive Global Readers Who Don’t Want to Be a Hot Mess in a Job Search!

April 25th, 2019

This morning I noticed an uptick in signups… and this article written by career coach and HR executive Barbara Schultz: Strategies to Avoid Being a Hot Mess in Job Search

I love the Art of War quote under the title:

Thrive Global Art of War Barbara Schultz

If you can’t read it there, it says:

“strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

I love that! Is your job search SLOW (in which case, evaluate your strategy) or is it noisy (lots of action, no results, in which case evaluate your tactics)?

Go read Barbara’s article. Of course, she recommends JibberJobber to keep your job search organized… I’m always grateful for a mention like this. And then tell me, how is your strategy, and how are your tactics?

Here’s a link to Barbara Shultz‘ LinkedIn profile:

Barbara Schultz Career Coach HR Executive

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Pluralsight Channel: Jason Alba’s Career Management Courses

April 23rd, 2019

Another Pluralsight channel I recently created is called Jason Alba’s Career Management Courses. Again, if you need a 30 day pass, just let me know. Once you are logged in to Pluralsight, you’ll be able to see the channel (click the image below to get there, once logged in).

JibberJobber Pluralsight Channel: Jason Alba's Career Management Courses

The courses in this channel include:

Designing a Killer Job Search Strategy

Developing a Killer Personal Brand

Informational Interviews

LinkedIn Strategy: Optimize Your Profile

LinkedIn: Proactive Strategies

Effective Email Communication

Effective Phone Skills

Presenting to the Boss(es)

Prioritizing Time and Managing Time for Greater Productivity

Building and Managing Your Career Plan

Becoming a Better Listener

Career Management 2.0

Writing and Marketing a Book

How to Get Your Next Promotion

Onboard Yourself: What to Do After You Land Your Dream Job

I hope this helps you with your career and job search goals!

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Pluralsight Channel: Jason Alba’s Path to Management

April 19th, 2019

I just created a “channel” on Pluralsight called “Jason Alba’s Path to Management.” This is a collection of currently 13 Jason Alba courses, which are listed below. To get to the channel, you have to login on Pluralsight (want a 30 day pass? Ask me…), then click the link for the channel (here).


The courses there now, which will be added to as I do more courses, include:

Management 101

Leadership: Getting Started

Becoming a Better Listener

How to Have Difficult Conversations

Creating and Leading Effective Teams for Managers

How to Speak to Business Leaders

Prioritizing Tasks and Managing Time for Greater Productivity

How to Be a Great Mentor: Ge More out of Mentoring

Presenting to the Boss(es)

Working on a Team

Effective Email Communication

Working and Communicating with Different Personalities

Boosting Innovation: How Leaders Can Create Innovative Teams

Whew… that is a lot of learning! If you need a 30 day pass to Pluralsight, ask me.

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Two New Pluralsight Courses Added to the Tracker

April 17th, 2019

The last two courses I did were just added to the Pluralsight Tracker in JibberJobber. These were the courses I did after over a two year break. The first How to Have Difficult Conversations, which I was inspired to do because of my work at BambooHR. This was a big theme at that company, and they talked about it a lot. The course is one hour, thirty six minutes.

The second course is titled Boosting Innovation: How Leaders Can Create Innovative Teams, which is one hour, forty five minutes. This was a fun course to work on because I love the idea of innovation and creativity, and I love the idea of creating an environment where they are fostered and nurtured.

Once you watch those, or any other Jason Alba course, go into the Tracker (Videos, Pluralsight Videos, then it’s under Step 3), and click the plus button to show you watched it. You can do this as many times as you watch a course, even if it’s the same course over and over.


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Job Search Book Recommendations from Rob Joseph

April 15th, 2019

I love JibberJobber users. They are smart, and collectively have an amazing breadth and depth of knowledge and experience. In a recent email conversation I had with Rob Joseph, a senior commercial manager in Cleveland, Ohio, he wrote this:

Some additional feedback: Up until now, my favorite job search books have been Don’t Send A Resume (or, How to Land Your Dream Job) by Jeffrey J. Fox and The Two-Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton.  Some of your advice coincides with Dalton’s. Fox is more unconventional, but his approach has helped me before.

One of my favorite books is Jeffrey Fox’s “How to Become a Rainmaker.” A fast, easy read that was very inspirational. I am excited to read Jeffrey’s other stuff…


Steve Dalton helps Duke MBA candidates with their job search (sounds fun!). Even though we tweeted: I’ve also _never_ seen a seeker successfully integrate a CRM into their job search. Less tech is better here IMO, I’ll forgive him for that. I wouldn’t recommend something like Salesforce, or or CRM that is designed for sales, but JibberJobber, a CRM designed specifically for the job search, is a must-have, imo.  Yes, I’m biased. But I’m also right, because I have seen seekers successfully integrate JibberJobber, their job search CRM, into their job search, for 13 years.


What are your favorite job search books?



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Hacking Pluralsight to Learn More, Faster

April 12th, 2019

Pluralsight is a superb library of thousands of in-depth technical training courses designed for programmers, IT professionals, and anyone in the tech space. I have over 30 soft skill and professional development courses in Pluralsight. Watching any of my courses qualifies you to get free JibberJobber upgrades. I can get you a 30 day pass to the entire Pluralsight library! (to get your 30 day pass, first get a JibberJobber account, then click Videos from the top menu)


Some of my courses are designed for job seekers (Designing a Killer Job Search Strategy, Informational Interviews, a course on your LinkedIn Profile and another course on a proactive strategy for LinkedIn, etc.), some are designed to help you be a better communicator (Becoming a Better Listener, Presenting to the Bosses, Working and Communicating with Different Personalities, Effective Phone Skills, Effective Email Communication, etc.), some are designed to help you in your career (Career Management 2.0, Building and Managing Your Career Plan, etc.)… you get the point. See all of my courses here.

Disclaimer: as a “Pluralsight author” I get compensated for every minute… indeed, for every second that anyone watches any of my courses. Whether you are a paying member or use the 30 day pass and don’t spend a dime (you don’t even give them your credit card on the 30 day pass!), if you watch my course, I get compensated.

So, you got your 30 day pass… you have access to thousands of courses (there are over 100 soft skills courses, 30+ of which are from me, and tons of courses on everything from database design, game design, UX, project management, and of course, a plethora of programming courses)… how do you get the MOST out of your Pluralsight experience? Here are two hacks to get more out of your Pluralsight experience:

Change the Video Speed

This is my top tip. The default speed is, of course, 1x. You can go up to 2x, in .1x increments… Is 1.5x good enough for you? Do whatever feels comfortable… 1.3x, 1.5x, etc. It’s up to you. Here’s the deal: if you listen to a one hour video at 1.5x, it takes 40 minutes to go through it. You save 20 minutes! (Did you think it was 45 minutes? Here’s an easy explanation of how that math works – intriguing, I know :p)

To change the video speed, start to play a video, then in the lower-right area of the video player click on this button, to see the speed options.  Only do it as fast as you are comfortable… but if you can do more than 1x, you’ll finish a course faster, and be able to watch more courses!

Pluralsight Playback Speed to listen to more courses

Watch a Course on Your Mobile, Even When Offline

When you are on your mobile device, you can choose courses to watch while you are offline. This will download the course and allow you to play it from anywhere (think: while 30,000 feet in the air, while your phone is on airplane mode!). This means you can learn while you work out, while you are on the subway, while you are on vacation in the mountains (I know, I know)… anywhere. Once you get back online, the app communicates to the Pluralsight server and shows that you have watched the course. Remember, you still need to go into the Pluralsight Tracker on JibberJobber if you want to report having watched the course and get JibberJobber premium upgrades.

Here are the instructions to get and use the Pluralsight mobile app (you probably don’t really need instructions, but here they are).

Pluralsight Mobile App

Watch Jason Alba Courses while you do dishes

I put a lot of work into each course. I had fun doing the visuals, and spent hours agonizing over how things looked. I also realized that my courses did not require visuals to learn about the topics… the visuals were a nice complement but not necessary. I’m not saying don’t pay attention to the visuals, but if you want to just listen to my courses, as you work around the house, or drive to work, go for it! Think of my courses as something of a podcast, or audio booklet. If you feel like you are missing out on a certain visual, you can always switch back over to your mobile or PC and watch them.

Remember, after you watch any Jason Alba course on Pluralsight, go to Tracker in JibberJobber and report them to get free JibberJobber upgrades! There’s no limit on this.

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The Myth Of Overnight Success

April 4th, 2019

pexels_bloggingStory 1

When I wrote my first blog post for JibberJobber, back in 2006, my thought was “I’m a super writer. Number one, in the bag.”

A few years later, after writing almost every day, I went back to that first post to see what it was about, and what my style was. I was appalled that the post was so bad.

Story 2

I spoke in Minneapolis on my first tour there, and knocked it out of the park. I had multiple engagements and lots of people talked to me after each presentation. I knew I did a super job, and left the area proud of my accomplishments.

About three years (and maybe a hundred presentations) later, I was back in the Twin Cities. After one presentation, someone came up and said “that was really, really great. I was here three years ago and you are way better than back then!”

I thought that this presentation was as good as that presentation… I hadn’t realized I had improved, but the thing that stuck out was that if I was “way better” then I must have really stunk three years earlier!

In both stories I looked at how bad I was when I thought I was really great. I was a bit discouraged, and concerned that I didn’t have the self-awareness to recognize I had a long way to go to improve. That is one way of looking at it.

The other way to look at it is that I did improve, measurably and markedly. I did not do this overnight. Rather, it happened because I continued to practice my crafts.

This will happen for you, too, as you continue to do certain tasks.

The more emails you write the better you (should) get.

The more calls you make the better you sound, and the more comfortable you are.

The more interviews you go to the better you come across to the interviewer.

The more you do your thing, the better you get. You may not see it, and you may not recognize the growth you experience, but others will. Keep practicing, keep doing, and reap the benefits of continual improvement. This applies to every aspect of the job search… especially the ones you don’t like to do!

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