How To: Best Take Advantage of a Pluralsight Free Pass

November 20th, 2020

I just noticed on the Pluralsight homepage they are offering another Free Weekend. This one is from today, Friday, through Sunday.

Pluralsight Free Weekend

I also have on good authority that Pluralsight Authors (aka, content creators) might have 30 day passes you can take advantage of (just ask an Author you know if they have one).

Disclaimer: I have 36 courses in the Pluralsight library. See them here (they are mostly on soft skills, careers, and professional development)

I wanted to share some thoughts on how you can get the most out of any free access to Pluralsight when your time, and the access, is limited.

Number One: Make a Plan

Pluralsight has over 7,000 courses (and more than 40 interactive, hands-on courses). That number continues to grow. The problem is SEVEN THOUSAND. You could literally spend hours… days just going through the library to see what you might want to learn.

If you just learned about the Pluralsight free weekend and haven’t had time to make your plan, it’s kind of too late to spend much time on it. The clock is ticking.

If you were to get your hands on a 30 day pass I’d say to spend two or three days figuring out what you wanted to learn and watch, make a list, and then work your way through that list over the 30 days.

Pluralsight has the most comprehensive technical library you’ll find. One of the easiest ways to find courses that are really appealing to you is to look at the Learning Paths.

Pluralsight Learning Paths

On that Learning Paths page you’ll see tons of techie content. If you are looking to enhances any technical skills go find the write courses for you. Weather you are into security, graphics, machine learning, web development, front end, back end, databases, etc. you’ll find plenty of awesome courses. There are what I call HIDDEN GEMS in Pluralsight, which include:

All the courses you need for the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification prep courses (14 courses, 37 hours), which you would otherwise pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars for. This is a certification that can definitely help you in your career.

Also, the PMI-PBA Business Analysis certification prepartion (5 courses, 14 hours). If you want to be a PMI-PBA you could binge-watch this all weekend, for free.

I was honored to be able to do a course on emotional intelligence. Here’s a learning path called Emotional Intelligence for Leaders and Managers (7 courses, 10 hours). I can only hope that our world becomes more emotionally intelligent… can you imagine what a difference that would make for your career?

Embracing and Managing Change (8 courses, 7 hours) would have been an excellent path to watch in February 2020, am I right? My heavens, if anything is constant it is change. This is a must-watch learning path to help your adjust your mindset on how change can help propel your career, and even add more satisfaction to your job.

The Graphic Design (21 courses, 30 hours) learning path shows there is a lot more to Pluralsight than developer courses. This is a great learning path to upskill your graphics chops.

The Upgrading Your Technology Career (33 courses, 65 hours) has a bunch of my courses. You know I’m passionate about career management, and I hope you are too. These courses help you rethink your future, and your role in driving your future.

The Learning Paths section of Pluralsight take some of the prep guesswork out of your plan. Once you get started you might find there are favorite authors you want to hear more from. On the top-right of an course page you’ll see a link to the Author’s page, where you can see all of their courses. Find an author you like? See what else they have you’ll be interested in!

Here’s my author page.

Make your list, check it twice, Then get watching. You only have three days this weekend!

IF YOU GET A 30 DAY PASS, I recommend you spend a few days creating your list, and schedule when you’ll watch the courses, and then redeem your pass.

Number Two: Choose Your View Speed

The default speed that you watch your Pluralsight videos is 1x. You can easily change that, and many people do. On the Pluralsight player, click the 1 in the box, and you’ll see the option to change your speed to slower or faster.

Pluralsight Speed

I’ve heard from plenty of people that their favorite way to watch courses is to change to 1.2x or 1.3x. I usually can’t do 1.4+ because that gets too distracting, but increasing by .2 or .3 can get you through a course faster, which means you can watch more courses.

Number Three: But Slow Down

The purpose of watching these courses aren’t to “get through them” or “cram them in.” You really want to skill up, to learn, to grow. Sure, increase your speed, but make sure you are really learning and internalizing. Perhaps this means you pause the course every once in a while to write down some thoughts on what you are learning.

You should be taking notes anyway, but this strategy to pause and write down your thoughts should really help you learn the content more. Note taking is a learning skill, and doing a personal debrief, where you go over what you have learned and put it into your own words, can be immensely beneficial.

If you are going to invest the time into yourself, and learning, slow down and really think about what you are learning.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to write a comment in the Discussion area of the course telling the author what you got from the course. Not everything, not all your notes, but perhaps the top three things you are taking away, and will work on.

Number Four: Implement What You Learned

In all of my courses I share many, perhaps dozens, of actionable things you can work on. I invite you to choose one or two things to work on, and when you feel you are somewhat proficient, add another one or two things to work on.

For example, in my course on becoming a better listener, I talk about taking notes, or just being quiet, or listening to understand and not thinking about how you’ll react, or having better eye contact… these are specific things you can practice over the next few months.

When you watch a course, include what you will do in your notes. I do this with a checkbox or an underline so I can easily browse through my notes and see actionable things.

In the learning world people talk about Bloom’s Taxonomy, a popular model on how we actually learn. Higher learning happens when you “apply”… which is practicing what you have learned. Also, “analyzing” is part of higher learning, which happens when you have better notes and do a debrief.

Number Five: Teach What You Have Learned to Someone Else

Okay, let’s go to a much higher level of learning… as you take the course, take notes and think about things as if you were going to sit down with someone else, or perhaps your team at work, and teach them what you have learned. You know teachers get a lot more out of a lesson than a student does, right?

Back to Bloom, the steps are remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create. In order to do a 40 minute session with your team, and teach them what you have learned, you will spend hours doing each of those steps. During those hours of understanding and analyzing and evaluating you will really learn this stuff much better than if you just watch a course and walk away.

Even if you just sit down with your bestie and say “hey, let me share what I just learned from this course I watched,” you’ll have a higher level of learning. Articulating the concepts and ideas, and choosing what to share or not share, will help you critically analyze the content.

I dare you to try this. You’ll only increase your proficiency.

The End

You may know that Pluralsight Authors get compensated when you watch our courses. I want you to watch all of my courses, all day long :p I will get more money.

Actually, I’m a lot more interested in your learning and progression. If you only watch one of my courses, but it changes your life and career, I’m fulfilled. I want you to have more peace and happiness because you are taking career management seriously. Whether that means you improve your hard skills or your soft skills, it makes no difference to me. Everything you do will improve your career.

Being intentional, doing this on purpose, and getting something out of it, is all I can ask of you.

The first step is to get your account… here.

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My Kidney Stone and Your Job Search

November 18th, 2020

Part I: Back Story

A couple of years ago, when I was working at BambooHR, I had an immense pain in my belly/back/gut. I hoped it wasn’t something life-ending like cancer, but you never know. I hadn’t felt anything that painful since I had my gall bladder attacks, many years ago. I really hoped it wasn’t my appendix, which would only mean surgery. The pain was so bad I just couldn’t imagine it being anything that was no big deal.

I think it was a Sunday when I finally dragged myself to the urgent care to get checked out. The visit was a memorable comedy of errors… I’ll never forget when the doctor said I had a kidney stone. I was completely surprised. I didn’t even think about that having been an option.

JibberJobber Pain

So, off to the internet to see what my options where. I like and appreciate doctors, but sometimes their remedies are a little too… cutting. I read a lot of articles and watched a few videos and settled on a tonic that was pretty gross. Basically it was about one or two teaspoons of organic lemon juice, one or two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, a squirt of stevia, and water. The higher the pain the more the juice. I’d do this three times a day.

I dreaded the day I’d be in the office bathroom screaming in pain as I passed this little beast. I had nightmares about it. I didn’t want to be “that guy.” Alas, I never had to. About two weeks into my tonic, my pains were completely gone.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I’ve told you the entirety of my ideas on what to do. If you have gut pains, go to a doctor and get a real, qualified medical opinion. 

Part II: Current Story

Fast forward to last weekend. Pains where back, in full force. I immediately self-diagnosed because this is a type of pain you just don’t forget. I didn’t even hesitate to get back on The Juice, aka, my homemade tonic of gross (straight lemon juice + apple cider vinegar).

JibberJobber Hard Things Gross Drink

I was listening to Dave Ramsey a few days ago and ironically/comically he talked about having a kidney stone. I’ve listened to probably hundreds of hours of Ramsey and I haven’t ever heard him talk about kidney stones. Dave was talking to a lady who had a bad toothache and was empathizing with her. The line that stood out was something like this:

“When I had a kidney stone, I would have given a house to someone if they could have gotten rid of the pain!”

It’s funny because no one says “I’d give a house to someone if you could…” But Ramsey is a real estate investor, so he has a few extra houses lying around ready for kidney-stone-relief aid. The message, though, is that kidney stone pain is so bad it really should be talked about more. Perhaps it could be included in the list of the hardest things that people go through.

Friday night was the worst… turning around in bed was really, really painful. I didn’t sleep well Friday night. Saturday was super painful, and getting up from a sitting position required help. I could walk (hobble) after I got up, but getting up was almost a show-stopper. Saturday night was really painful, but not nearly as bad as Friday night.

JibberJobber Sleepless Nights

And here we are on Wednesday, each day (and night) having gotten way, way better. The Juice is working, I hope. I’ll continue to horse it down, even while I hold my breath, because I know that horrid concoction is somehow helping do something magical to the little beast in my precious kidney.

If this is like last time, in a week and a half I’ll have no memories of the pain, and go back to the diet that probably caused it :p That’s how we roll, isn’t it?

Part III: Your Story (Or, Your Job Search)


As a job search blogger I have somehow figured out how to have just about everything, every life experience, relate back to blogging. This morning I woke up thinking about how this relates. Surprisingly, my focus wasn’t on the pain… I know just how painful and scary and painful (yes, I said that twice) a job search is.

Instead, the correlation is The Juice.

There are two parts to this. The first is that it is weird. I normally don’t drink organic lemon juice, nor do I ever choose to drink apple cider vinegar. I would definitely not normally choose both. Seriously gross.

When we are in job search, we have to do things we normally don’t do. Like, talk to people. Reach out to people like a salesperson, cold contacting them. We have to get out of our comfort zone and do the hard things.

The word that comes to mind is “amargo.” I learned that while living in Mexico. Amargo literally translates into “bitter,” and can be for taste as well as phrases like “the bitter truth.”

The bitter truth of the job search is that you will have to do the lemons and the vinegars. Actually, that is your blessed opportunity: you get to learn and grow, and along the way you will meet some amazing people who will become a part of your professional network.

JibberJobber Bitter Truth Lemons Lemonade

At first it is super hard. But as you do it, it becomes easier. It isn’t something you dread, rather it’s okay. And then, after a while, when you got the hang of it, it is actually enjoyable.

NOTE: I don’t think lemons and vinegar, especially as much as I’m taking, will ever be enjoyable. But networking and branding and career management really can be enjoyable!

The second part of The Juice solution for my kidney stone, and the analogy for you, is that this is something I need to do three times a day until the problem is resolved. And, in your job search, you need to do the right things consistently, every day, until you land your next job.

SPOILER: Please, please, please do not stop networking and personal branding and career managing once you land your job! Your next job transition is statistically in the next 2 to 5 years, and if you continue doing this stuff during that time (as we say, “between job searches”) you will have a much easier transition!!

I created the to take the guessing out of what your tonic should be every single day. Even weekends (optional!). I tell you exactly what three things you should do every day for six weeks. By the end of the six weeks you will know what to do the seventh, and eighth, and eightieth week. I train you, gently, to manage your own career.

Just as it is critical that I drink my tonic three times a day, every day, until my problem is gone, it is critical that you do the right things for your job (or career) every single day. Depending on your situation that might mean you do networking and informational interviewing, or you focus on personal branding, or other things. I don’t know what your tonic is (unless you are a job seeker, then your tonic is The Job Search Program!), but I do know you need to do this stuff every single day.

Sure, take a break on weekends and holidays.

But don’t take too many breaks. Or you’ll end up where I was in 2006: no job, no network, no brand (reputation). It was a horrible, depressing place to be, and a difficult hole to dig out from.

The Conclusion

And so now you know about my personal life, and how my weekend was. And you can see how I can turn a kidney stone into advice for your job search. Charming, right? Please, please take my two points to heart:

  1. Figure out your tonic.
  2. Drink it daily, even multiple times a day if necessary.

My immense, intense pain sucks. But I know that soon, even in the next week or two, it will be history.

JibberJobber Peace of Mind

I know the pains of a job search. They are far reaching and acute. I also know that they can go away. Whether that is because you start a side hustle selling Aunt Ethel’s Famous Spaghetti Sauce or because you land your dream job, your pain will go away.

I’ve seen it happen, across the U.S. and around the globe. We land on our feet. We are resilient. And even though things seem hopeless, you will get through this.

As the good book says, and as a kidney stone doctor says, “this too shall pass.” 

With the right tonic, and time, and discipline, your pain will pass.



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Election Results and 100% Unemployment

November 6th, 2020

There are a lot of big questions waiting to be answered over the next few months, based on whoever wins this unprecedented election between Biden and Trump. One of the questions is, what will happen to/with the economy?

This question translates to, “what will happen to me? My income, my spending power, my ability to finance the lifestyle I want.” What will happen to the unemployment rate, which for at least a couple of years has been really low? How will COVID-restrictions impact economic growth and jobs and an economic recovery?

Who will work, who will not work?

I am reminded of a trip I took to Minneapolis. I think it was the trip where I have 14 keynotes in 3 days. It was exhausting for my voice but exhilarating for my mind. Minneapolis remains one of my favorite places to speak because of the amazing, forward-thinking culture of career management the volunteer leaders across the city have created (yes, I’m talking about you, Lonny Gulden!).

Anyway, I met a friend for breakfast at some pancake house and noticed the headline on the newspaper in the lobby. It bragged about how amazingly low the city or state’s unemployment rate was. Something to be so proud about, I imagined there was a lot of back slapping and congratulating in the state’s government offices.

I was struck with the contrasting feelings of those I was about to meet with. Everyone in the room I was soon to enter, and address, didn’t have three point something unemployment. They had one hundred percent unemployment. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.

Being unemployed is suffocating. It is one of the most scary things you can go through, and it can last months, even years. It is horrifying.

While there was congratulating at the state offices there were people who were terrified at the meetings I was about to attend.

100% unemployment struck me in 2006, during an amazing economy. Regardless of how I was “awesome,” as people who reviewed my resume said, and regardless of how everyone was hiring and no one could find talent, I was some kind of anomaly. I was so horrible I couldn’t get a job even though there were plenty of jobs to be had.

100% unemployment can touch anyone at any time.

It is the cancer of our career. You never know how or when or why. It could be because you went to an awesome company but your boss is toxic. It could be because you made a big-enough mistake at work and there were no options to keep you on. It could be because winds shift and there just isn’t much demand for what you offer.

Unfortunately, it could be because you are old, or any of the other reasons people discriminate.

You can prepare for this. Unemployment is a brutal mental game, and I’m not sure you can be completely ready for what you are going to face during unemployment. But you can certainly prepare with tactics, and techniques.

I’ve been blogging about these tactics and techniques since 2006. I’ve created over 35 courses on Pluralsight to help you prepare. Many of them are clearly for job seekers. Some of them might not seem to be for job search, but they help you with soft skills like listening and communicating and having empathy and presenting yourself well and nurturing relationships and following up and… oh wait, that is all good stuff for job search.

The tactics and techniques are not a secret. That you’ll likely go through a job search that you didn’t want to be in before you retire is not a secret.

Get serious about YOUR career management. This is your responsibility, and your opportunity.

We’d like to help, however we can. But it’s up to you to put the work in, before, during, and after this unwanted job search.

Go. Do. Improve.

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