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JibberJobber is 15 Years Old Today!

May 15th, 2021

Well, we did it!

What is “it”? Maybe it is just staying alive for the last fifteen years. They say most businesses fail in the first few years… and we made it past that.

Maybe our “it” was that we have served over 100,000 job seekers, helping them organize and manage and track their job search and networking.

Maybe our “it is that we have grown and expanded and integrated other products and services into JibberJobber.

I’ll be honest, though… I don’t think about those things as much as I think about YOU. I think about the one person who we are helping right now. That one person might hit my radar because they email us with a bug complaint, or a suggestion, or they upgrade. I look at your name, and if you tell me, where you are in the world. I think about how your job search might be going, and how we can help. Sometimes we help by doing our job well. Sometimes we help by providing a peace of mind… the only friendly, stable thing in your job search.

I set out to get rich with JibberJobber, but I’ve had to just settle with learning that what we’ve created has helped people in a very low part of their life. And that has provided as much richness to me as I could have imagined.

Here’s to another 15 years!

JibberJobber 15 years

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You Have to Start Somewhere

May 14th, 2021

Years ago (in 2006) I started this crazy entrepreneurial journey. Somehow I caught wind of blogging, and realized it would be a significant part of getting my story out so more people could learn about JibberJobber.

Starting my blog was… scary. I wasn’t sure about the technology, my voice, my tone, what I should and shouldn’t say, etc. I didn’t have anyone editing my stuff (still don’t, obviously ;)), and wasn’t quite sure how to do it right. I was also a little nervous about the commitment, realizing you don’t just write one post and then quit. I was in this for the long haul.

So, I started. I wrote a post… this one:

It’s Blog Time

Actually, looking at it now I realize I said “Its” instead of “It’s”… oops and oh well.

I started. I swallowed my pride, I moved my fears and concerns aside, and I wrote my first post. You can’t have a second post without a first post. In that post I was honest and open. I said I was a normal guy with normal experiences. I was bragging about having accomplished anything (the main reason I was writing was because I couldn’t keep my job – where is the bragging in that?)

You can’t have a second post without a first post.

That is a pretty good line. Neither can you have a second call, or a followup call, without a first call. So make the call. It won’t be perfect, but it will be done.

Once you start you can get on a journey. And when you are on your journey you can experience all the good stuff, and learn from the hard stuff. I realized one day that the journey is what it’s all about. So get on it, enjoy it, and help others along the way. But you have to start.

 

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Job Satisfaction and the Job Search

May 13th, 2021

Tuesday I wrote Some Careers Don’t Go As Planned and said it contains one of my more important messages. I wanted to pick up from the last line:

Find joy, happiness and satisfaction along the way or you might be disappointed when you get to your destination.

How do you find job satisfaction, or satisfaction in your career, when you are unemployed or underemployed? How can you look back on a life where what you did at work wasn’t nearly as fulfilling as you thought and hoped it would be?

Let’s go to another blog post, this one from 2017, titled What Is Your Center? #7Habits #StephenCovey. If you are a fan of the late Stephen Covey you’ll probably remember the part of his book where he talks about centers. I was shocked when I read it, thinking that he was going to say your family, spouse, or religion should be your center.

He also said your work should not be your center. Why? Well… if your work is your center, meaning you derive your self-worth and identity from your work (see the blog post about centers for more), and you get laid off, then what happens to your self-worth and identity??

When your center is your work, your profession, your role within a company, your job title, your income bracket, or anything related to those, you are setting yourself up for some serious life disappointment.

Maybe you are the most amazing worker, the person who the whole organization depends on. But what happens when the company fold overnight? What happen when your leader goes to prison and takes a few others along?

What happens when a natural disaster shuts down an industry segment, or a pandemic (too soon?) means you’ll be sitting on your couch (wondering how to pay for your couch) for the next 15 months?

What happens when you have a stroke, or lose the ability to use your hands or feet or eyes or whatever you need to do your job?

When I spoke at job clubs around the country I could see the “what happens when” in the fear in job seekers eyes. Shock, pain, devastation. Loss of purpose left no room for job, happiness, or satisfaction.

I don’t know what the answer is for you. For me, I’ve tried to find ways to give back to individuals in a meaningful way. This has included mentoring and coaching, as well as teaching and sharing ideas. Believe it or not, this blog is a big part of my fulfillment and satisfaction.

Should you volunteer in organizations that really need help? Should you write memoirs, mentor, or coach? Should you find joy in finally getting your finances under control, or delving into the world or fitness or photography or woodworking?

I don’t know. But I’m not a huge believer in “do what you love and the money will follow.” Nor do I believe that if you do what you love (now) you’ll be happy, or satisfied, your whole career. If you are looking for joy, happiness, satisfaction, or fulfillment, maybe you need to do a job where you make enough so that you can support other interests or hobbies… the ones that give you joy and satisfaction.

I’m not here to rain on anyone’s career. I’m just saying that if you have your career/profession be your center, you could waiting for a disaster.

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Some Careers Don’t Go As Planned

May 11th, 2021

In 2019 I wrote this post:

Some Poems Don’t Rhyme

If you are a skimmer (like me) you will miss the point of the post. But I think it’s one of the more important messages I can share.

My post starts out talking about poetry, and how poetry is just different. Some poems rhyme, some don’t.

Some careers go as planned and some don’t. I think one of the most important ideas is that if your career hasn’t gone as planned, you are not a failure. I think it’s easy to feel like a failure, comparing where you are at with where you thought you would be. But every different job, career, role, salary, etc. is just a stepping stone. As long as you are still stepping, there is still more of your career future to write. In my post I wrote:

I had planned my career decades ago. It was going to be linear, structured, predictable, safe, and go according to plan.

Now that I’m 45 I look back and my career has been none of that. It has been squiggly, random, back-tracked a few times, holding my breath many times, and just not really sure of anything.

But somehow, someway, it all worked out.

I’m a planner. I respect planners. But I’m here to tell you that what you should plan for is change. Plan for flexibility. Plan for Plan B and Plan C and Plan Z. Plan to trust others, and be let down. Plan to go all-in and have it all fall apart. Plan to be out of work for months, maybe years. Plan to adapt.

Your career plan will look a lot more like a Haiku than a roses-are-red.  If what you are looking at is unconventional, untraditional, then how would you plan and prepare for that?

Learn. Learn new stuff. Excel at what you do.

Embrace change. Love change. Be excellent at change.

Find opportunities. Sniff them out and act on them.

Be a student of careers and income streams.

Be financially savvy, and don’t limit your options because you overspend and are over-leveraged.

Some poems don’t rhyme, and it’s okay. They can still be beautiful.

Some careers don’t go as planned, and it’s okay. You can still enjoy the ride, and have an awesome ending.

Comparing to others can be destructive. Comparing to what your 12 year old self thought you were going to be when you grow up can be destructive. I invite you to enjoy your journey, and keep working on your journey. And in the end you might wind up with something that wasn’t linear, or didn’t rhyme, but it will have been your journey.

Find joy, happiness and satisfaction along the way or you might be disappointed when you get to your destination.

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Welp. Are people on unemployment lazy scammers?

May 7th, 2021

I just saw this tweet by Liz Wheeler, a “political commentator”:

I don’t care what your political affiliation is. This tweet kind or raised my hairs a bit, as it did the tons of commenters on Twitter. The messages I’m reading in this tweet are dangerous. Let’s break it down:

“should have to show proof”

What does that mean? How do you “show proof,” and how in the world are underfunded government workers going to actually validate any proof that comes their way?

I live in Utah. In 2006 I had to call an automated phone system and declare I made contact with two or three (I can’t remember) new-to-me employers in a week in order to get unemployment for that week. The phone call was impersonal, never talking to a human, just pushing 1 for yes or 2 for no (or something similar, it’s now a distant, fuzzy memory). My point is, people collecting unemployment have definitely had to somehow declare they are meeting requirements for unemployment checks.

What proof do you want? Do you think a job seeker should get some kind of confirmation that they reached out to, applied at, or talked with someone at a company that might hire them? Does that mean hiring managers, recruiters, etc. will need to fill out government forms? Or is a simple email exchange good enough? This can get real messy real quick.

The reality is showing proof, or even the current honor system in most (all?) states in the U.S. is really quite flawed. Either it creates a ton of work and paperwork, which would require hiring tons of people to validate and check and follow-up, and enforce, or we stay with “I promise I did this this week.” Will there be abuse? YES. There is. I have seen it. But I’m not sure there is a way to address it by going to the users of the system… it might be the actual system that needs a complete overhaul.

I think it would be great to study (not that I’m advocating for millions of dollars to go towards more research) how other countries handle unemployment issues.

Look, we can’t even agree on wearing masks, and the media has been much more of a hinderance than a help on getting any kind of good or accurate information out there. Why in the world would we ask the media to solve this problem, with a solution like “should have to show proof”??

“they are actively looking for a job.”

I’m not a rich person hater. I love that people can accumulate wealth. I’m glad Liz is worth over $10M and, according to a google search, makes more than $500k a year. I’m guessing she is worth more, and makes more, but my point is she’s rich. And I’m happy for her.

But I do not like what I’m reading into here, the “they”… they… the unemployed, the scammers, the lazy people. They, the people who the rich support with their taxes. They. Why not “us?” I thought unemployed people were “they” too until I become one of them. And then it was “we” and “us.”

Anyone who feels like “they” is a bunch of lazy scammers is one good layoff away from becoming a part of they.

But I digress. I don’t want to focus on the haves and the have-nots.  I want to focus on what “actively looking for a job” means. Since 2006, when I became immersed in this world, I learned that the government felt I was “actively looking for a job” if I made contact with two or three new-to-me companies that might hire me.

That was a horribly loose definition of a successful job search. Who in the government decided that is the best way to find a job? What does making contact with? Having a real conversation or interview, or just saying “hi, I’m here!” What does a company that might hire me mean? And why in the world do statistics say that 65% or 85% or whatever number you want but definitely more than 50% of jobs are found through networking, but we aren’t “rewarded” (if you call UI a reward) for doing effective job search tactics?

Furthermore, what is a job? If I get a minimum wage job then I’m hired. I’m a success, no longer qualified for UI. The metrics and tracking aren’t accounting for underemployment, or career paths, or training, or anything like that.

This government solution is a one-size-fits-nobody solution, and just wanting to enforce it more is going to hurt more people, the economy, and the strength of any nation more than figuring out real solutions to unemployment.

Hey listen, I’m not an economist. I got a D in my Finance class in college. I’ve never been the sharpest tool in the shed, and I have a brother who wonders about my future because “I can’t keep a job.” I’m not getting paid to entertain on TV, nor am I smart enough to be an elected official. So take my post with a grain of salt, but I’m here to tell you, the system is messed up, and what Liz is calling for won’t fix it, it will make it way worse, and perhaps easier to scam.

I think the government could do a LOT better job of educating us on how jobs are found. Tell us the real numbers on job boards, who is hiring, what tactics work, etc. And please, please have different advice for different people. Industry, role, and level all matter. Advice for a kid out of high school is not the same as advice for an executive looking to replace a $500,000 job. If the government is going to be involved, they should do it right, instead of treating everyone the same prescribing job search tactics that boil down to “it’s a numbers game.” It kind of is, if done right, but if done wrong, the numbers game mentality will really suck.

“Too many people are refusing to work & living on unemployment”

I agree there are people who refuse to work. If they are collecting unemployment then they are likely scamming the system.

But what does “refuse to work” mean? Does that mean they refuse to work at $10 or $15 an hour? I remember hearing, in my job search, to NOT take a low paying job which will take too much of my time and energy when I should be dedicating said time and energy to finding the right job for me, with the right compensation. This is not pride, this is logistics. But if I refuse this low paying job and that low paying job I fall into the “refuse to work.”

I have travelled the country and have met thousands of people who are looking for work. None of them that I’ve talked to refuse to work. They wouldn’t have come to my seminars if they refused to work, would they? But they want the right work for where they are at in their career. For someone who is worth ten(s) of millions of dollars, making almost a million a year, to generalize job seekers in this way is offensive.

Speaking of money.. “living on unemployment.” I’m here to tell you, there aren’t many people who are really living on unemployment. Do you know how much unemployment is? NOT MUCH.

Okay, sure, there are people who are paying their bills on unemployment. Most people, I think, don’t want to make a career out of it. There is no dignity in it. When my wife and I received unemployment we were treated, by the people who administered it, as crooks. They questioned every thing we did, every form we turned in. I could tell their jobs had shifted from “helping people out” to “identifying who is scamming the tax payers.” The power trips and the degrading conversations were horrible. We got off as soon as we could. It might have been the most motivating factor in my job search, to distance myself from those people.

I hope your experience with your UI contacts is much better and more dignified than mine was.

If I were Liz I’d worry a lot more about the entire system, and address root issues, than the symptom of people who are living on unemployment (and taking advantage of other welfare programs). Please address root problems without attacking symptoms that were created by a bad system.

The end.

I don’t have any faith that this problem, the root problems, are going to get fixed anytime soon. I know there are stories of employers reaching out to their old staff, who have been on unemployment, and the staff said “no way, we make more doing nothing than coming to work in your store.” I know there’s a shortage of talent, and the pandemic really tested our already problem-laden system. I know companies have grown, shrunk, or even gone away because of it.

I also know that generally, we as humans want dignity. We want to contribute, add value, create, help, build, serve, etc. We don’t want to sit at home, sucking from society and adding nothing. We can only binge-watch so many shows, play so many games. We want to feel whole again. In part, this comes through the work we do.

I don’t have solutions, I just needed to rant. If you want to seem more ranting, from different perspectives, click her tweet above and look at the comments. It gets fiery.

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