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Losing Your Job Feels Like a Barn Fire Destroyed Everything

December 14th, 2018

Granted, I’ve never owned a barn. Nor have I ever harvested hay. So I’m not sure what losing it all to a barn fire feels like. But I can imagine.

I posted this November 2nd:

jibberjobber_barn_fire_job_loss

I can imagine the work and investment it took to plant and cultivate 150 tons of hay. The hope and anticipation… what does 150 tons of hay mean for your family? For your future? The work of harvesting the hay and stacking it neatly in the barn. A job that could be dangerous and take more hours than I can imagine.

The work. The investment. The hope. The vision. The chance to make a difference.

All of it goes up because of a barn fire. How did it start? Could something like this ever be 100% prevented?

I read this article about a week after I got notice that “your last day with us is on November 30th.”

Every part of the vision I had for my job, my contribution to the company and to the customers, just got set on fire.

Of course, I had an idea this could be coming. But until the words fall from their lips, it’s just my nervous inclination to allow myself to think of the worst. I had been unsettled for a couple of months since my boss, the VP who hired me, had left. Then, the executives questioned the validity of the program… which meant that my future at the company was likely on the line. They said that even if the program were terminated, they’d find a place for me in the company. I heard that from people who had been at the company for years. “We just don’t lay people off.” “Layoff is not in our vocabulary.”

I was told that they hadn’t laid anyone off for four years. And here I was, the lucky guy who got to be “once every four years.”

I was and am upset for a host of reasons. But back to the barn fire… I put a lot of work into my job. Since February, I caught my boss’s vision, and we worked hard all the way until he left to move towards the vision.

And then, the fire came and burned it all down.

Yes, money was lost.

Yes, investment was lost.

But what really hurt was when my vision was burned. I wasn’t going to be able to change the world, in that way, with that opportunity, anymore.

And that was one of the most painful parts of this layoff.

 

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Self-Doubt in the Job Search

December 12th, 2018

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Maybe a few secrets.

I’ve owned my own business for almost thirteen years now. I’m what they call an entrepreneur. I’m living the dream.

I get to work when I want and do what I want. No, I’m not financially independent… but for many years I have not commuted and worked in an office, I haven’t had to ask for vacation leave, I have been able to stop working with people I didn’t like, and I could choose to focus on the part of my business that made the most sense at the time.

The dream.

Over the years, as I’ve toyed with the idea of having a “real job” and becoming a “productive member of society” and having all of the stableness and “security” the salary and benefits that an employer offers, I’ve had one major problem:

I didn’t know what I had to offer.

I didn’t know what skills or abilities I could bring to the table.

I didn’t even know where to start. I called a friend who is a recruiter and said “Rob, I have no idea what position I would even be suited for. Help me figure this out.”

Without hesitating he said I am clearly a product manager.  Oooooh, I like that. Product manager. It is what I’ve done for about twenty years now. I do indeed love all things product management.

So I made a product manager resume and put it out.

I’m sure of what I’ve done, and what I can do, but when I put my resume out I found that hiring managers in software companies don’t care one bit about entrepreneurs who do product management. We are square pegs, they are round holes. They look at us with pity, maybe disgust, wondering what we could possibly add to their team.

Maybe they are afraid of the entrepreneurial attitude. Maybe we are too out-of-the-box thinking for them. Maybe we are better suited for their job than for a lowly product manager role.

I’m not sure why, but the discrimination I’ve felt as a do-it-yourself, self-taught product manager was tangible.

In one interview the guy said “tell me something. Every product manager here wants to start their own side hustle, and leave their position. You have a side hustle, why would you want to come here as a product manager?” It wasn’t a regular interview question…. he was sincerely asking why in the world I would want to stop living the dream and go into corporate America. It seemed backwards to him.

Another, a VP of product, just couldn’t get past the idea that I owned JibberJobber. He was sure that I would not do my the job, but would do JibberJobber all day long while on his dime. I assured him that no, I would do the job and keep JibberJobber to my own personal time, but he just didn’t buy it. I’m not sure why.

I didn’t really know what I had to offer in the first place. And then, when I got these kinds of reactions in interviews I really wondered if I could actually do anything professionally.

I have written three books. I’ve authored 30 Pluralsight courses. I’ve created and maintained JibberJobber, which is really quite amazing. I have spoken across the U.S. and in Europe. I have an MBA and a CIS degree. I speak Spanish and English. I used to program and have lost any current skills, but I can do html-ish stuff fine. I have been general manager and sat on a (hostile) board of directors.

There’s more of course, but looking back on any of these things, how could I possibly have any doubt that I could do this job, or that job, or another job? Any of those things can be broken down into a set of skills and talents… I’m not lacking skills or talents.

But I doubt. I have thought for many years that I am unhireable. Maybe it’s because what seems to be hired is the younger, less experienced professional. “1 to 3 years experience… others need not apply.”

Am I good for anything?

In January of this year my new boss reached out his hand and brought me into a “best companies to work for” company. It was amazing. He saw me. He say my value. He valued it. And he taught me to see my value and value it.

I think that human nature is not understanding who we are and how great we are (or can be). It’s easier to see that in others, but hard to see in ourselves. Especially when the job search goes on. Especially when you get rejection after rejection. Or you continually get a third interview, but they pass on you and go with the other person. How many times can you play second chair and not get a complex about yourself?

Self-doubt is no fun. It is not productive. It puts you in a place that is not good for your networking or interviewing or just getting out of bed and continuing to fight the fight.

I don’t know how to solve your self-doubt issues. For me, I had to do stuff. I had to write another book, author another course, build more stuff in JibberJobber, get another speaking gig. I had to rack up virtual points to validate myself. Not because I needed the ego stroke, but because I needed to chip away the self-talk (and the silence in the job search, which was almost as bad), and prove that YES, I could do things. YES, I did have value. YES, I should be on your team.

It’s a hard battle, but figure out what you can do to win the battle. The alternative is that you find a way to cope, that you sink into depression, and that you go down a path that could be hard to recover from. Figuring this battle out is a life skill. It is what millennial call “adulting.”

Fight this battle because you deserve it for you. And your loved ones deserve a you that isn’t losing this battle.

I know you have value. I know you can do stuff.

Now, prove it to yourself!

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Recruiters (and others) Smell the Blood of Job Seekers

November 16th, 2018

I had a fascinating conversation with a an HR friend of mine back in 2006, the year I lost my job and started JibberJobber. In this conversation he said “HR can smell blood from a mile away.”

It was as if the world stopped turning because he called me out, and I had a huge epiphany. You can read the original post here: I Smell Blood!

A year later I wrote Are You Bleeding? because by that time I had talked to a ton of job seekers and a common theme was that they were all proactively bleeding. The things they were saying, the way they were saying them, was bloody. It should an immense amount of hurt and grief.

I’m not one to take that away from you, for sure. I went through my own period(s) where I had hurt and grief. But I had to learn that spewing this hurt and grief was keeping me out of networking opportunities, and keeping my friends and contacts from referring me into the right people.

You don’t recommend someone who has fresh wounds that are impacting their thinking into an important networking opportunity. It was like these people were bleeding, and not realizing they were stalling their job search.

It was a hard realization for me, but a super important one. I hoe these two posts help you.

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The Power of Job Clubs and Job Ministries

May 6th, 2016

This week I shared this with my two LinkedIn Groups (Job Search Career Network and the JibberJobber Career Management Group):

When I go back to the church where I went to my weekly job club (aka career ministry), ten years ago, my knees still get weak. I get nervous about sharing my 30 second pitch, and “networking.” You see, I’m an introvert, and walking into a room full of job seekers is not my idea of a “good time.”

But this job club was perhaps one of the most important things I had done as a job seeker. I went from doing this job search thing alone, in my house, to talking to others and really figuring out what I could do better, and as important, realizing that I wasn’t alone in this seemingly horrible journey. I got support and training, and I’ve been an advocate of job clubs ever since.

Humbling myself, going regularly, and even participating, defined the pivotal point in my job search. Even though I chose to start JibberJobber, instead of pursue a job, the time I spent with others, serving and getting served, brought me out of my depression and hopelessness.

My question to you is this: what job clubs are in your area that you go to, or would recommend? Let’s get a list of these resources, participate where we can, and encourage others to go. Leave a comment or email me and let me know about job clubs local to you.

Here’s a blog post I wrote about this back in 2008:http://www.jibberjobber.com/blog/2008/07/09/get-value-out-of-job-ministries-even-when-you-arent-religous/ Check out the comments, which as usual, are more valuable than the post.

In those posts, the groups people talked about include:

  • Sacrament, CA: Bayside’s Career Coaching
  • D.C. area: McLean Bible Church (I’ve spoken there multiple times)
  • San Diego area: NC3 Career Transitions
  • Madison, AL: St. Joseph the Worker Job Networking Club
  • Hoffman Estates, IL: St. Hubert Catholic Church

What are job clubs or ministries that you recommend, or know about?

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Ten Ways To Feel Less Poor #jobsearch

April 21st, 2016

“You are getting laid off.”

One of the first thoughts that comes to mind is: “Um, I live paycheck-to-paycheck! I only have enough money for the next 10 days!”

I’ve been happily employed, unhappily employed, unemployed, and an entrepreneur.  At various times, in all of those different phases, I have felt poor.  I’ve been thinking about this post for months, and I have finally resolved to just write this post, even though I’m going to miss something. So that’s what the comments section is for!

Here are ten things I’ve done to feel less poor.  If you have anything to add, please leave a comment.

  1. I buy razors from Costco. I get a package of 52 for around $35.  Maybe $45, I can’t remember. They aren’t cool, robotic, electric, swivel-headed, but they do have 3 blades on each disposable razor. I used to have the cool ones, with replacement cartridges, but those were more expensive than this find. I shave maybe twice a week, which isn’t much, so this box lasts me forever.  I get the right tool for the job, without feeling like I’m spending luxury prices.
  2. Buy a new (shirt, jeans, socks, etc.). It’s amazing how high quality, great fit clothing can make you feel “like a million bucks.” I’m not saying to swap out your entire wardrobe, but if you feel poor, and then dress in either really cheap clothes that don’t last long, or your old clothes that used to look good but are now faded, sagging, etc., you’ll only extend how you feel by how you look.  For me, just getting nice, new socks, make a difference on how I feel. Instead of “I’m not worth it,” switch that around, and move on from feeling like all you deserve is stuff you really don’t want to be seen in public in.
  3. Fix that dumb thing that has been bugging you. Sometimes there’s a thing that is bugging us 24×7… perhaps it’s a chipped faceplate for a light switch (the fix is less than a dollar), or a wall that just needs to be repainted (for less than $30), or maybe even just washed!  Instead of mentally moping about how you’ll do it when you can afford it, do it now, and treat yourself with respect.
  4. Re-evaluate expenses. I love walking in a store past the satellite TV company sales reps. They say “what do you do for TV?” When I respond that we don’t have TV, they don’t know what to say. Speechless.  Don’t get me wrong, we watch plenty of shows, but we don’t subscribe to a monthly, other than our internet connection. Look at all of your monthly committments, and question which ones you really need. You might be surprised that you are spending $20/monthly here, or $80/monthly there, and not getting any value out of it.  That can add up to hundreds and hundreds of dollars of money that could go towards your needs.
  5. Buy (and eat) healthier food. When I eat unhealthy, I feel it. Maybe it’s because I’m in my 40’s. Maybe it’s because my body is malnourished. Contrast that to days I eat really healthy. Feel great, more energy, etc.  Instead of sitting around like a slug, feeling full and bloated and low-energy, I am anxious to get up and get out and work and/or enjoy. Sitting around gives you more time to think about all the stuff you don’t have, where getting out helps you slow down and enjoy the here and now. Is healthier more expensive?  Kind of.  But if you feel like it’s too expensive, than start a garden… even if it’s just in your living room.
  6. Change your idea of “fun” from expense-based to free (hiking, people watching, bird watching, etc.). What is your perfect idea of having fun?  It probably includes spending money on a trip, a ticket, a meal. Those have been rewards… what if we change our idea of fun to be more of an experience that we can have without spending money? When I took my family on a trip last summer, the most amazing, fun places we stayed were campgrounds, not hotels with pools. The campgrounds allowed us to connect with nature and the community we were in. We socialized with others, and there’s one family we still have a relationship with.
  7. Stop pouring over the news and social media. This is a great place to compare your life and abilities with others… and many times it’s harmful. I love seeing what others are doing, and celebrating their accomplishments, but it’s easy to compare your seemingly dull everyday life with what they post, which is usually the highlights of their life. Why not go make your own highlights, away from the great comparison machine?
  8. Focus on paying down your debt and punching interest in the nose. Feel poor? Maybe you are. But you don’t have to be that way forever. I love listening to the success stories of people who call into Dave Ramsey’s show. They are laser focused on addressing the problem head-on, and determined to change their life.  Stop ignoring your financial issues. Learn about them, figure out a plan, and work your plan.
  9. Pick up a revenue stream that empowers your earning potential. When I was writing 51 Alternatives to a New Job I decided to try something I had never done before.  Long story short, I went out with my kids and we made about $40/hour painting house numbers on curbs. I had no idea that you could make that much money doing that. There are easily dozens and dozens of things like that you could do. Pick up dog poop in a neighbor’s yard…. not anything to brag about, for sure, but it could give you an extra $20. You don’t make that money sitting around watching shows.
  10. Be genuinely happy for others’ financial success, vacations, new purchases, upgrades, etc. I think it’s human nature to look at someone else’s fortunes and only be jealous because of the state of our misfortunes. Whether they earned it, inherited it, or even deserve it is not our concern. It’s not within our control. But how we react is. Can you celebrate their new house, or upgrade, or new shoes, or new job, or great haircut?  If you can’t celebrate theirs, what makes you think you are going to enjoy yours, when it comes? Practice appreciation by appreciating, and when you get gain, you will appreciate your own stuff more.

Probably everyone on my blog feels financially poor to some degree or another. This list is my attempt to share some ideas and tactics on how to minimize those feelings.  What are YOUR suggestions?

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Need Encouragement? FREE ​Encouragement Matters Telesummit

October 6th, 2015

denny_stockdale_headshotI met Denny Stockdale a few years ago, while speaking in the Minneapolis area. Denny is a great guy, and has been a passionate supporter of JibberJobber, and JibberJobber users, for years.

Denny is the organizer of the Enouragement Matters Telesummit, which is FREE, over 12 days, with 12 sessions.  Go to this page and register (at the bottom).  Denny wants you to attend the sessions if you say yes to any of these:

  • Have you ever pursued a big dream that didn’t come true?
  • Have you ever been afraid of failure?
  • Have you ever let the past interfere with the present?
  • Have you ever had “negative” self-talk?
  • Have you ever felt under-appreciated?

 I want you to sign up for this free event if you are (a) a job seeker, and/or (b) a (wanna-be) entrepreneur.

Denny is awesome, and his guests seem like they are really cool.  Here’s what the agenda looks like (more details here… also, these are all at 8pm EST except the two on Saturdays, which are at noon EST)

Monday, October 12: Dr. Dale Anderson: The Chemistry of Happiness: Curtain UP!

Tuesday, October 13: Barry Shore: Reframing the ART of LIVING

Wednesday, October 14: Lisa Bloom, The Story Coach : Your story is your success

Thursday, October 15: Dr. Suzanne Lerner : Transforming Your Inner Critic Into Your Inner Ally

Friday, October 16: Yvonne Silver : Stop “burning out” and start living – the power of your words

Saturday: October 17: Pete Evans : The Go-Giver Attitude to create a Kinder world

Monday, October 19: Kim Clausen : Be HAPPY: Humor And Purpose Power You!

Tuesday, October 20: Caroline Ceniza-Levine and Renita Kalhorn: Encouragement and Resilience: The Secret To Achieving Success In Business and Life

Wednesday, October 21: Elizabeth Craig : 3 Key Tips: Encouragement in Leadership and Successful Career Transitions

Thursday, October 22: Andy Spyros : Creating the Energy of Success

Friday, October 23: Catherine Byers Breet: Falling down (and other great ways to achieve your dreams)

Saturday, October 24: Denny Stockdale : The power of Encouragement, Faith, and Curiosity

Looks pretty awesome, right?  Sign up for the free event, and then attend as many as you can.  I imagine we can all use some encouragement!

NOTE: Denny emailed me and let me know that the event is free, and he will offer the recordings for a nominal price.  If you can’t make it to the live recordings, that is a great option. I won’t be able to give anyone the recordings… you can get those through Denny :)

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Volunteer your way to your next job

July 1st, 2014

According to a LinkedIn article I recently read, people who volunteer are 27% more likely to get a job than people who don’t.  That’s a pretty big difference.

My volunteer experience didn’t work out as well as I would have liked… but if I had to do it over, I would definitely look for more volunteer opportunities.

Aside from increasing your likelihood of getting a job (because of the networking you are doing), volunteering gets you out of the house, and doing something productive.  This has to be a good way to keep your attitude in check.

Are you volunteering?  If not, why not??

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Job Search is 99% Communication

June 17th, 2014

Read this post: 2012 THEME: Job Search is 99% Communication

Last week I spoke at an employment center and brought this up.  From what we say to how we say it, what we wear to how we shake hands, where we look to what our business cards look like… every thing we do, during our entire job search (even at a family BBQ), we are communicating.

Our communication screams: “I’m ready, bring it on, and introduce me to those contacts” or it cries “I’m hurt, and I’m going to wallow in it here, licking my wounds,” or it declares “I gave up caring a few weeks ago… it’s no use.”

Read the post.  And then ask yourself if what you are communicating is really what is in your heart, or where you are at.

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Finding Humor in Your Depressing Job Search (or the bad economy, or whatever)

April 9th, 2014

Here’s some fallout from my 2014 April Fools prank (where I laid myself off, even though I’m the sole owner of JibberJobber)…. on my LinkedIn Group I got this message:

Sorry– I do not see the humor; if the economy and employment levels were decent…well maybe. But not when so many people are in real pain and suffering after 7 years of this “great recession.”

My reply to her, and the group:

Karen, sorry. This was my story (kind of) 8 years ago, and it turned out to be a massive blessing. I talk to unemployed people (usually JibberJobber users) daily, and I know the pain and hurt and suffering… both because I lived it and because I hear it every day. I choose to use humor in my life to help me get through hard times…. nobody has to, but I’m not going to sit around and mope and be somber, essentially empowering the suffering.

No one has to educate me on the real pain and suffering of job seekers.  You see, I was there, but that was during an awesome economy.  During a crappy economy (like that of the last seven (give or take) years, if you can’t get a job you can at least blame the economy.  People might say “when the economy picks up…”  But when you are out of work during a great economy, and can’t hardly land an interview or an offer, there is seemingly nothing to blame but you.  That means a lot of self-finger-pointing, wondering how messed up you really are… which leads to unnecessary and unhelpful pain and suffering in abundance.

The bigger issue, for me, is coping with challenges and trials.  How do you do it?  I tend to gravitate towards humor.  Not always, of course… but I’ve been doing this long enough (8+ years, since I got laid off in January of 2006), to know that there will indeed be an end to unemployment.  That might be because you get a dream job, or you get a “step job” (that is a job that is a stepping stone as you continue to look for your dream job), or you start your own business, or you adjust your expenses and simply retire.  I’ve seen this happen many times over the last few years.

I’m convinced that dealing with our temporary situation in a healthy way is critical to getting out of our healthy situation.  Let me give you two examples:

Coping Strategy 1Let’s say that I cope with stress by eating crap.  So, I’m unemployed and stressed, and I eat at McDonald’s three times a day.  Sodas, fries, high-fructose-corn-everything.  I’m coping with my pain and suffering, and while I plop stuff in my mouth, I feel better, for a second or two.  Between meals I throw down some chips, and have a big cup of soda by me at all times.  I indulge, and it’s good to have no rules on my eating.  I think about going on a walk around the block, but my ankles and knees hurt too much… so I’ll do that “later.”What will that do to me?  From personal experience I know that I’ll physically feel like crap, I’ll probably be more moody, and my clothes will get tighter… this only makes me feel moodier and more depressed.  That’s okay, I’ll cope by eating more crap.

Guess how my next face-to-face networking event is going to go?

I will want to be invisible.  And I’ll probably be jaded enough that I’m not going to have the right conversations which could lead to introductions.  People will smell blood.

Coping Strategy 2

Contrast that with eating much healthier, and exercising. Let’s say I have healthy food around me, in abundance (this doesn’t mean I have to have money or a paycheck, I simply make better choices when buying food).  I eat at least one green smoothie a day (the way I make them, they look green but taste like a fruit smoothie), I drink lots of water, and eat things like soaked almonds, brown rice, etc.  Instead of feeling like I can “cheat” to “cope,” I am now addressing a physical/mental/emotional issue by feeding my cells (nutrition) instead of focusing on feeding my belly (satisfaction).

I feel great, physically.  I take time to exercise, whether it is walk around the block or walk a few miles, do yoga, squats, pushups (even against the wall or stairs), etc. My clothes fit better, I sleep better at night, I feel fit and I have more energy. I can think clearer and have more fun networking.  People want to be around me, they even gravitate towards me (or at least I don’t feel like they are trying to get away from me).

Coping Strategy 1: eating what my tongue wants me to eat, without boundaries, and my stomach feeling satisfied a lot.

Coping Strategy 2: eating to provide nutrition to my cells, as abundantly as I want, with the right foods.

The question: what are the fruits of either strategy?  Which strategy is better for the short-term, and which is better for the long-term?

So let’s go back to my humor thing.  For me, I gravitate towards humor.  Finding humor in things helps me put things in a different perspective that is, many times, easier to understand.  It helps people I work with find perspective, also.  When I’m in front of 100 job seekers, you better believe there is a lot of laughing.  Probably some tears, too, because I get very raw and real.  But there is humor throughout the presentation.  We don’t get enough laughing when we are in a job search, and no one wants to touch our delicate situation with a ten foot pole… but I do.  Because even after eight years, I still consider myself a job seeker.  I am you. I am with you.  And I know there is a time to let your frustrations out, and I’ll be a shoulder you can cry on, or an ear you can vent to, but I’m not going to go in front of my audience and start crying and venting for the entire time.

Laughing releases good brain chemicals (practically natural narcotics).  Why not let job seekers laugh?

Maybe my coping strategy (laughing and humor) is different than your coping strategy (medication, nutrition, hobbies, reading and movies (escapism), soduko, doing the dishes, lifting weights, running, etc.).  I’m not going to list them and say which are better than others, but I will say this: LOOK AT THE FRUIT.  What are the results of your coping strategy?

Does it put you in a worse place, or does it prepare you to do the hard things that you need to do in your job search?

 

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Yeah, so… I’m not laid off. April Fools! (the backstory)

April 3rd, 2014
jason_alba_april_fools_2014_3

Read the post to see why maple syrup :)

Tuesday was April Fools. An announcement on the blog said Jason Alba was laid off.

That, my friends, was an April Fools joke.

I mistakenly scheduled the blog post for the day after about a week ago, without realizing that 4/2 should have been THIS post.  So here’s some of the before and after of JibberJobber’s April Fools for 2014:

In 2011 I wrote a really fun April Fools saying we would lay off the boss who laid you off.  It was really quite funny, and had a bunch of JibberJobber users, people who were in-between jobs, who said SIGN ME UP!!  Even after knowing it was a prank, they still would have loved to have their bosses laid off.

I skipped the next two years because I was too uncreative to figure something out, but around last April I had the idea of me, the guy who talks about layoffs all the time, the guy who owns his own company, and talks about income security, so “no one can take away 100% of your income,” and all of that stuff, to actually be laid off… from his own company!

About a week ago I wrote the draft and passed it by two people: the owner of a PR firm, and a resume writer.  Both of these people are very precise and know the power and impact of a post like this.

Oh, I also printed off a copy and had my 13 year old son run it upstairs to my wife.  He read the headline and got very, very somber, and I think he almost got teary-eyed.  He just came to the realization that something very grave happened… I didn’t mean to make him feel like that, but I couldn’t let him in on it until my wife read it.  She said it shocked her, too, for a bit, then realized it must be for April Fools.  I said our son “was almost in tears…” and she said “I was almost in tears, too!”

“Great,” I thought, “this is going to work :)”

As I slept on it for the next few nights, I wondered what impact this would have, and if I should soften up the message.  The private equity guy was an idiot, and the way I portrayed private equity and VCs was not favorable at all. I also bashed on job boards, and their lack of value for job seekers. I even included the company that paid $1B for Indeed.com… that’s a company I don’t necessarily want to make mad.

Would this have a negative impact on my business?

Would announcing my layoff to users who really don’t know me, or my sense of humor, have a negative impact on them, and give them a reason to have doubt about JibberJobber?

Could I take these risks, just for a bit of fun on April 1?

Obviously, I decided to.  And I think it is okay…. so far.  Hopefully I haven’t done or said anything wrong that is irreparable.

A big part of the prank, in addition to the blog post, was to change my LinkedIn job dates to end in April, and create a new Job:

jason_alba_april_fools_2014

Notice all of my current stuff is under Previous, and there is no Current… and, when I changed my current title, LinkedIn replaced my cool Professional Headline with that title (I wish they wouldn’t replace it without asking).  I even had a cute :( in my new title.  In the actual job I put the link to the URL of the blog post, which if you read, you’d probably figure out it was fake:

jason_alba_april_fools_2014_2

So what was the result?  As of right now, over 20 comments on the blog post, which is more than normal.  11 tweets, 39 LinkedIn shares, and 32 Facebook likes/shares, also more than normal.

The comments are pretty funny… someone said my mom’s comment was the best (“Do you need to move back in with us???”)… I’m not sure if Alex new it was a prank, Fred Coon’s comments made me laugh because of his wit, Deb and others tip-toed around this just in case it wasn’t a joke, Rabbi (and others) jumped right in offering help and emotional support, and Niall declared a ban on maple syrup exports from Canada until the “injustice is righted”!

You guys are awesome… !

On LinkedIn I got dozens and dozens of messages… I got a lot of LIKES on my new title, and a number of “CONGRATULATIONS!”  Someone wrote and said that LinkedIn should be smarter about this – when someone loses their job and changes it to an obvious downgrade in title/status, LinkedIn shouldn’t off a LIKE option.

That makes sense… who would really LIKE or CONGRATULATE someone if they lost their job and are clearly not happy about it.  I had a frowny face…. why like or congratulate?

The last time I changed my job, a few months ago (just to update my profile), I had dozens of people who congratulated me… even though these were minor tweaks and were essentially the same titles as before.

I got a lot more responses on LinkedIn, because of the title change, than comments on my blog… again, people having very supportive and kind comments.  At one point I almost felt bad for leading people to believe I was in a hurting place.

Oh, let me address one last thing: “who would really LIKE or CONGRATULATE someone if they lost their job and are clearly not happy about it?”

I WOULD! 

I do it all the time.  Not every time, but there are times when someone tells me they lost their job and the only thing I can think of is CONGRATULATIONS!  You and I both know it wasn’t the right job or company for you, and you hated it, and there was no more opportunity… I know how much it sucks to get let go.  You take it personal, you second-guess yourself, you go through a range of emotions, doubt and depression can set in.

BUT, for many people, including myself, getting laid off was only the nudge I needed to leave a bad situation, which was a choice I wasn’t ready to make on my own.  Getting laid off was the beginning of a journey to much better things for me, and I’m convinced that it can be a journey to much better things for many people.

So, while I offer my empathy, I also offer encouragement that in fact this can be a time to say CONGRATULATIONS!

 

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