Of Shovels and Holes and Jobs

December 7th, 2020

You probably know I’m a fan of Dave Ramsey. Last month I wrote this tweet:

Dave is very principle-based, and his advice is meant for each of us, no matter where we are at. I love how instead of saying to start with six months of emergency fund he says to build up to just a month. One month is much more doable than six months, right? If you made $60k a year, you’d have to have $30k for a six month emergency fund (kind of… you could reduce that amount by what you pay in taxes, probably). Who can fathom building $30k into an emergency fund? I can stomach the idea of building $5k, but $30k just seems impossible.

And so he says to start with the one month, then build to three months, then build another three months. And then you are in a good place!

In my tweet I talk about the other part of emergencies… the part that hopefully gets you back into an income stream before your emergency fund runs out. When I ask how employable you are, I’m talking about things like:

  • What skills do you have, or can you learn? Pretty important to convince someone you can actually do the job, right?
  • Who do you know? Or, as they say, it’s not who you know, but WHO KNOW’S YOU! If this sounds like networking, it is.
  • What do people know about you? Or, in jargon: What is your personal brand?

My final thought on the tweet is to BUILD your employability… or any of those three things. Please, please become more employable. I don’t want you to spend months, even years, figuring out how to replace lost income. I want you to enjoy your career, which isn’t done when you are fretting to figure out how to provide for the basics (like a roof over your head).

JibberJobber Ramsey Shovel Hole

One of the analogies Dave uses that I love is that of the hole and the shovel. For example, he’ll have someone call in who is $100,000 in debt but only makes $20,000 a year. They have a very big hole (their debt) and a very small shovel (their income). Contrast that to someone who calls in and has $500,000 in debt (“WOW!!”)… but has $400,000 of income. They have a very big hole, but a massive shovel.

For most people, your shovel is your job. But when you create multiple income streams, or your partner has a job, you grow your shovel from just your job income to all the income. Creating a bigger shovel with more than one income stream is an immensely powerful concept. Businesses do it all the time. Remember the old, original Amazon, which sold books? They have since diversified into streaming video and hosting websites and a slew of other things. When we diversify our income we create opportunities to grow our shovel. The diversification can also create a buffer to protect us from unforeseen threats, such as a job loss or a pandemic.

Of course, filling in the hole, reducing expansion of the hole, or stopping more holes, is also critical. Can you imagine only needing a little bit of money to pay immediate bills, without worrying about loans and mortgages and other typical debt? I hear being completely debt free is so liberating. Even if you lose your job you won’t have your debtors breathing down your neck for past due payments.

In summary:

  • Build your emergency funds.
  • Build up your shovel.
  • Reduce the hole you have to fill.

These are three core elements to having financial peace, which can lead to financial freedom, setting you up for financial wealth.

P.S. Here’s an example of Dave talking about the shovel/hole (at minute 3:20):

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JibberJobber was unavailable for a few hours yesterday and we are sorry :(

October 15th, 2014

Yesterday I rolled into the office and pulled up my normal sites – JibberJobber,, etc.  None of them were coming up.

Oh crud… :(

I could tell you what happened, technically, but it really doesn’t matter.  I could tell you about the meeting I had with my server admin yesterday in the evening, after the dust had settled, but that doesn’t matter (and it would be a bad idea to publish how what we are doing with our server).

The bottom line is that we were down for a few hours, and it was unscheduled.  And we are sorry :(

We work hard to make JibberJobber better, faster, secure, and more valuable to you.  None of us like down-time.  We scramble to figure out what is wrong, and get the site back up before anyone notices.  Yesterday we scrambled, but it took longer than it should have to get the site up.

We are putting a plan together to help with the “next time” this might happen.  We already have various things in place, such as nightly backups and off-site backups… and a few other things.  Now we are going to the next level.

The preliminary plans for that next level includes some new components that could also increase the speed of JibberJobber, so I’m pretty excited about that… but that’s down the road.

For now, just a simple “we’re sorry.” We’re aware, and we’re working on doing better (even though it’s not uncommon for a website to go down or have issues, we recognize that the service we provide is a service that needs to stay up!).




I’ve been tied up recently… :)

September 12th, 2013

Sorry for not blogging all week!  I’ve been plowing through a really intense deadline… moved a lot of stuff, including weekend activities. I finally wrapped it up today… and am getting ready to head to Chicago next week.

Also, been working with my dev team on the next release, which is going to be really cool.

I should be back in the blogging saddle now…. feels like it’s been a while since I took this much time off of the blog!

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JibberJobber User Training on Wednesday Morning – Join Us!

August 6th, 2012

Hey, it’s time to jump on a user training on Wednesday morning.

There are a bunch of changes we’ve incorporated into JibberJobber.  If you haven’t been on a webinar for a while, come.  If you have questions, come.

I love answering questions on these webinars. I get asked about security, backups, imports, when is LinkedIn going to acquire JibberJobber, and a host of how-to’s.  It’s a fun time.

If you come 10 minutes early, and I’m there, I open it up to ANY questions… ANYTHING.  If it’s about JibberJobber, I wait until the webinar starts… but for that 10 minutes you can ask me about anything.  Come and ask… :)

If you are a career coach, career counselor, or resume writer, please come (and ask me what deals I have for you and your clients).

You can sign up for Wednesday’s webinar here.

You can see the list of JibberJobber webinars scheduled for the year here.

You can see the latest recording of the JibberJobber webinar here.

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Happy Holidays!

December 24th, 2010

I’m taking the rest of the week off to be with my family.

My Christmas as a job seeker was, I think, more fun than my last year as an employee.

I know there is something good, even better, for you.  My thoughts are with each of you this season as you struggle through the lows, but I know the highs are coming!

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Veterans Day

November 11th, 2010

Thank you to all of the men and women who have served, and currently serve, our country.

I’m in Washington D.C. and I wish I would have scheduled time to go spend time at some of the military monuments and reflect on the history of the U.S. and many other countries.

I know many are unsettled about this war and past wars, but this is not a day of debate about what war is right or wrong – it is a day to reflect, respect and honor men and women who leave the comforts of their home, their friends, the safety of their hometown routine, and their jobs to put on a uniform and respond to their Commander in Chief.

I know many do it enthusiastically and many do it with reservation and fear – but they do it.  They go into lonely, dangerous places not sure if they will come back.  They do it for a higher purpose (maybe a purpose they don’t fully understand or support).

By the way, if you have suffered from an accident at work while serving your country you might be entitled to claim compensation. Visit for professional advice from the experts on what to do next.

Then, they come “home.”  The return from Vietnam was the definition of disgusting as many didn’t welcome them – they spit on them and rejected them.

What a very sad time in American history.

Today they come home under better circumstances, but the unemployment, homelessness and other challenges they struggle with is equally disgusting.

Hopefully we, as a people, can change that.

To those who serve, or have fathers and mothers who have served: THANK YOU.

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I’m sorry, I’m thankful, I’m excited!

October 1st, 2010
If you bought the bundle deal in Virginia or Maryland and are wondering how to redeem it, use the Contact Us form at the bottom to let us know your JibberJobber username. If you were in my presentation and DID NOT buy the deal but want “the other thing” please use the Contact Us form to request it.

I’ve been pretty busy lately. After we got evacuated from our house because of a fire close to us I spoke to a group of entrepreneurial accountants and bookkeepers at the annual Universal Accounting conference on Monday.

Tuesday I got up around 4:30am (I am so not a morning person!) so I could catch a flight to Dallas for a conference for Resume Writers. I was fortunate to be invited to speak at a job club near Dallas (Career Jumpstart near Richardson) that was celebrating their 5 year anniversary – what a treat! I love job clubs because they provide so much strength and support to a community at the individual level.

Wednesday through Saturday I did conference stuff (some terrific conversations, strategic ideas/plans and renewal of friendships/relationships), and then flew home. I rolled in around 7pm to do two quick loads of laundry and see my family for a short 15 hours.

Then, Sunday morning I hopped on a flight, this time to Maryland/Virginia. I spoke seven times in three days, including two six hour workshops. It was fun, exciting, and somehow exhausting.

Wednesday night I was gassing up my rental car… utterly exhausted from presenting, driving and networking, and I was looking at the beautiful evening sky and trees around the gas station thinking how blessed I was.

I had spent the last 72 hours running like crazy and touching, heart to heart, over 500 people. In my presentations I heard some “wow!” remarks, as I shared some of my ideas, and saw lights go on. I saw people “get it” … they really “got it” – they internalized my message.

Some of them would change strategies and tactics and have different results. Some of them were stuck in their job search and that’s what they needed to hear.

That’s cool.

But even cooler was what happened to the people who were stuck in life. Downtrodden, depressed, deflated. The job search is such a trying time – it is harder than most things we’ve ever had to go through and people have been beat up so long they don’t think they are worth what they used to be worth.

I got comments and emails from some of these people and after the meetings they indicated they got unstuck. They were now empowered and enabled. They got the glimmer of hope back…

People ask if I’m a motivational speaker.

I’m not. I don’t get up and “hip hop hooray!”

But I thrive on knowing that if I can touch just one person, and help get them unstuck, then I’m successful when I speak. That’s what I hope for. Indeed, before I present, it is what I pray for: to touch just one person and hopefully help them get unstuck in their life.

Thank you to each of you who support me, in any way, as I move forward with what I consider my (current) “mission” in life!

And to those I met in Virginia and Maryland – let’s enjoy this journey together!

(back to the title… I’m thankful for the chance to do what I do. I’m sorry I didn’t publish my schedule so you could join us, and I’m excited as we move forward :))



Geeky Fun on April One

April 1st, 2010

Preorder the LinkedIn for Job Seekers DVD here.

Every year I think I’m going to plan for a fun April Fools thing at the JibberJobber level but two things happen:

  1. I run out of time – I usually have a DOH moment the morning of April 1, realizing I didn’t think of or plan for it in time, and
  2. I don’t want to confuse – My stuff is confusing enough already… and I haven’t come up with a non-confusing, on-brand prank that would be funny and not drive people away.

So I do… nothing.  Which kind of bugs me, because I like pranks.

Here’s a list of fun pranks companies did, collected by TechCrunch.  The list can take some time to go through, and while I don’t intend to distract you from your work or job search, I thought I’d pass the light-hearted humor on :)

Check out pranks from Google, TechCrunch, Kodak, TripAdvisor, Ben & Jerry’s, Indeed, and more here.



Thank You

December 28th, 2009

I have a lot on my mind as I finish this year/decade.  But the most important thing to share with you is what I just wrote on my LinkedIn blog:

I know, it isn’t Thanksgiving … but I wanted to write and thank each of you for your support, your readership, and your evangelism.

Many of you know my journey here (and on JibberJobber) started from a miserable job search.  There have been tough times – tough financially, socially, etc.  But we have made it through quite a bit, and have big plans for the future.

I realize, though, that none of this could have happened without your support – and believe me, we’ve felt your support!

So, with that, a heartfelt THANK YOU!

My heart is full with gratitude.  I think about many of you often – the ones I have met personally, the ones who I’ve not met but have corresponded with, and the ones who have come across my site and blog and who hopefully have received some kind of support or inspiration.

Thank you for everything!



JibberJobber Competition

November 3rd, 2009

Over three years ago I knew about direct competition.  I’m not talking about spreadsheets, I’m talking about companies who have websites that are very similar to JibberJobber.

I haven’t blogged about competition for a few reasons, but it makes sense to blog about them now.

The first competitor launched the week after we did, in May of 2006.  It was called Isabont, but has since been renamed to Virtual Job Coach.  I had a phone conversation with the founder that November and found him to be a nice person.

For a while it was just Isabont and JibberJobber – we did a lot of stuff the same, and I tried to watch what they were doing.  Over time I heard about other sites that were considered competition – we watched all of them, wondering who was going to do what.

Regularly when I am on the road speaking I hear about a new competitor coming out – it has happened across the country – most recently from someone from my hometown (lol).

Today I got the following Contact Us message (this is the entire message):


I have known about Red Salsa for a while, and figured someone had hired them to develop a competitive system.  Someone at Red Salsa told their team to get JibberJobber accounts so they could reverse engineer the system (or, as the message above says, copy the features).

I sent an email to Red Salsa and asked them what was up, but of course got no reply.

It is unfortunate that companies can’t create their own stuff, and use unethical/deceptive means to reverse engineer someone else’s intellectual property.

I’d love to know who is behind this (is it Red Salsa or someone else), and what they plan to do.  I wish them well as they enter this market with about 10 other competitors.

I think I can only do one thing about my competition (outperform them and gain a critical mass of users/evangelists)… what do you think I should do?


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