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Want a Good Laugh? Read This….

September 11th, 2018

I got this Ask The Headhunter post in my email this morning:

Employee quits, boss wants her to refund employment agency fee

Oh. My. Gosh.

At first I thought this was a joke. But Nick is serious about his advice… this isn’t a joke. This is one of the reasons why finding and keeping a job feels like a joke.

Some of my favorite parts:

“… the recruiting and hiring process usually blows up in the job seeker’s face — not the employer’s.”

“Most agencies play fast and loose because they get paid to fill a job, not to deliver the best hire, and everyone suffers for it.”

“What’s your company doing to make sure it’s a good place to work?”

“I suggest you improve your recruiting and interviewing processes — and how you manage.”

The question makes me wonder if the person who wrote it, and wants to go after the ex-employee, is an embarrassed narcissist. Too bad we don’t know who the company is, so we can know to never, ever work there. Who’d want to work for a boss that is even entertaining this idea?

When I’ve had people who have reported to me resign, my response to them is “you have to do what is best for you and your family.”  Seriously, we need to be more kind, more accepting, more human, about this whole thing. Sure, you might be in a pickle, but there are human lives and families at stake here. If you had a better environment and paid more perhaps you wouldn’t lose your people. (perhaps)

The sentence that most stuck out at me was this:

“Once you’ve got the hire for five months, whatever happens next is a management problem, not a placement problem.”

In my new role at BambooHR I’ve been learning a lot about culture, and HR buzzwords like employee satisfaction employee performance. When these are buzzwords they can maybe inspire a bit of change. But when HR, managers, and organizational leadership really care about these things, culture changes for the better.

Seriously, would any of you want to work at a company where the manager would even put this crazy question (read it here) in writing, much less send it to Nick?

There aren’t enough face palms in the world for this one.

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Happy Labor Day! When The Unemployment Rate Hits 100%!

September 3rd, 2018

Hey there… I’ve been blogging here over ten years and have posted a number of times about how I feel about the unemployment rate. It’s pretty much a facade. The only saving grace is that it is standardized, which means that every time you read an unemployment number it is measured the same way it has been forever.

What does 3.1% mean? What does 7% mean?  You think a low unemployment rate is awesome, but economists tell us it is not awesome. It means there “isn’t enough supply” (supply being us, workers), and it’s unhealthy for the economy. Economists like it when the unemployment rate is a bit higher… because there is a healthy tension instead of things being off-balance.

I remember one speaking trip to Minneapolis where I was doing a few keynotes. At breakfast I saw the front page, above the fold headlines, which bragged about how the area’s unemployment rate was really low (one of the best in the nation). This was clearly written by a journalist, not an economist. Anyway, I was about to speak to about 100 unemployed professionals who were experiencing something different than a celebratory economy.

I don’t care what the government or journalists say about the unemployment rate…. when you are unemployed, your unemployment rate hits 100%. It’s demoralizing to read how great the economy is doing when you in a job search… especially after the first few weeks of the job search honeymoon.

If this is you… if you are experiencing 100% unemployment, ignore the numbers and ignore the comments about how great things are. Your reality is not aligned with what people are saying. I know that. I lived that.

What do you do?

Get to work, doing the right things. Spend time and effort in the right places. Figure out a system that works, and then work the system! Put time and effort and patience into it, and reevaluate and tweak the system to ensure you do more of the right things and less of the wrong things.

And phooey to those unemployment numbers, when yours is personally 100%. Get to work so you can get back to work.

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How Are Others Doing Job Search?

August 29th, 2018

From the beginning of JibberJobber we designed it so that you see first Contacts, then Companies, then Jobs.

This was a subliminal and purposeful order so that you would first think about contacts and networking. “They” say that 85% of jobs are found through networking, and anywhere from 2% to 14% of jobs are found through job postings.  So why not focus on networking, instead of trying to focus on applying to posted jobs?  That’s what “they” say we should do.

Anyway, I just looked at some stats on JibberJobber and found that the most popular section in JibberJobber is the Contacts section. This was pretty awesome to see… people are using JibberJobber to manage their network. GOOD JOB!

The next most popular, neck-and-neck, is the Jobs section. This is where people are going to organize and track postings, contact points, etc. This is not surprising, and it’s really quite important… but it still is cool to me that the Contacts section (barely) beat it in popularity/use.

Coming in at about less than 1/2 of what those sections got was the Companies section. I get that. When I started my job search I didn’t understand the value of target companies, and how they play a role in my job search. Maybe other JibberJobber users have the same confusion, OR, maybe they are applying to multiple openings at the same company (which makes sense).

I find this data and usage interesting. Here’s my ask of you:

Please think about, consider, and reconsider how TARGET COMPANIES play into your job search strategy. 

Target companies could drive your decisions about who to talk to, where to focus your informational interviews, where to spend your time, what roles to apply to (maybe you are looking for X, but your target company needs X+Y or X-Y… does it make sense to look at the opportunities of where you want to be and what you can or want to do?  I’m not saying to drop everything for the company, but if the company is right, maybe it makes sense to adjust your career trajectory a bit to get in the right place (or, as Jim Collins (Good to Great) would say, to get on the right bus).

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Career Management Can Be Fun!

August 22nd, 2018

I remember going to lunch with John. He was an executive in transition and it seemed he scheduled about five meals a day with people. He didn’t eat much in any of them… but he loved networking with people and realized that once you get someone at a restaurant, you typically have their undivided attention for a good thirty to sixty minutes.

One of the most memorable things he said to me is “This is so much fun!” Here’s a guy who had his executive-level income on pause, and he was having FUN!

It would be more fun to do this with a salary and benefits, I thought. But yeah, I was right there with him. Even as an introvert I was having fun. I loved meeting with people, understanding them and what they needed, and figuring out how I could give and serve and add value to them.

With no strings attached. With a simple belief that if I helped people, they would maybe help me. If they didn’t, no big deal. It felt great to help others.

I will say that the job search is not necessarily fun. There are too many emotions attached, and there is too much on the line. Waiting to hear back from employers, hoping that your network pulls through for you, wondering if you’re networking enough, and all of the tiny things that mere mortals don’t have to worry about, like a typo on a resume. Too. Much. Stress.

Once you let go of thinking that everything depends on every thing you do or say or see, and you relax a bit, then seriously, start enjoying the job search.

Enjoy meeting new people.

Enjoy setting your own schedule.

Enjoy the freedom to take care of your health.

Enjoy not commuting.

Enjoy this time because soon enough it will end. And you’ll be too busy and tired to network, and be healthy, and have time to yourself.

This is YOUR time!

 

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Career Management, Job Search, and The Swimming Pool

August 20th, 2018

Which is more important, learning and doing career management, or learning and doing the job search?

One is a fix to hopefully a temporary problem.

The other is a long process to work on a long problem.

You’ve heard the whole give a person a fish thing, as if giving a man a person is not nearly as good as teaching him how to fish.

But what if the man needs the nutrition RIGHT NOW? What if teaching the person will take too long?

Have you ever swam down to the bottom of the pool, and on your way back up looked towards the surface and thought “Oh my, I don’t know if I can make it the last few feet?”  I’ve done that (more than once). It’s a scary, scary feeling. No matter what had been worrying you, at that very moment, the only thing you can think of is getting that life-saving breath. Oxygen, freedom, living. That’s all that is on your mind.

You certainly aren’t thinking “I think I should start learning some swim strokes,” or “I should start practicing my breath-holding techniques.”

This is the difference between job search and career management. Once solves an immediate need (income) the other solves a long-term issue (preparation and strength and knowledge).  Both are important.  Both have their proper time.

Make sure you are doing the right things for you right now.

Make sure that once you catch your breath, and get your income, you seriously get into career management. That is what our mission is.

When we first launched we said JibberJobber was a job search tool. That lasted about 30 hours… I quickly realized that we could not be a job search tool. We were a long-term, life-long career management tool.

I’ve seen people who do career management go through job search. It is quick, exciting, and relatively painless. On the other hand, people who are have neglected career management have a painful, scary, fear-driven, and long job search.

You can do this, not just now, but for the rest of your career!

 

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The Impact of Job Loss Lasts For A Long Time

August 13th, 2018

I broke my ankle last January. It’s been over a year and a half. In my post-op (that is post operation for those of you fortunate enough to not know what post-op is :p) visit the doctor said that everything went well, the place where the bone broke will heal and actually be stronger than normal bone, and that I needed to go to physical therapy (although he would show me some exercises if I chose not to).

That was in January of 2017… it’s been a solid 18 or 19 months since the surgery, and I continue to have pain and aggrevation from the break and surgery. Or, wait… is the pain from the break OR the surgery?

My bone is fine, as far as I can tell. But there are two distinct annoyances: First, if I rub my fingers around the area of the surgery (I have a wicked cool scar on my ankle, so I never forget where I was cut) it feels weird. Not normal. I am guessing this would be called “nerve damage.” Second, and worse, my ankle generally hurts. Not “take medicine” hurts, but it is absolutely not the same as it was before the break. Sure, the bone is fine (according to the doctor, it is stronger), but something around it is not. I think it’s the tendons or other soft tissues, or even the nerves in that area.

I know what I did in physical therapy. I can do those exercises anytime I want. I also try to walk as regularly as I can, but I don’t even think about a day when I can run. Or do something that might freak out the ankle, like volleyball or anything where I’d use the ankle hard and in an unexpected way. It’s my new normal. I’m not limited in what I want to do, although things are annoying…

Thanks for reading about my personal trauma so far. I didn’t’ come here to write about that, though. I came here to write about you.

If you’ve read my blog for a while you know I congratulate people who have lost their job. I tell them that this is a super opportunity, and that there is greatness that is yet to come. It might mean a drastic change in careers or a simple change from a toxic environment to an amazing environment. A job change gives you a chance to do a self-inventory. There are some great, great things I’ve seen from people who work through a transition. Stronger, just like my broken bone.

But the reality is there are some things that take a long, long time to get back to okay. Just like my soft tissue damage hasn’t healed yet, I’m still impacted by my layoff from almost thirteen years ago! Get over it? I got through it… I did my own form of therapy, but I am not the same person I was pre-layoff.

Please, think about how this transition makes you stronger. What is it that will heal fast and strong, and will not ever be impacted again?

But acknowledge and be okay with the idea that there are parts of you that will need more healing and therapy for years, maybe decades, to come. Maybe it is your new normal, and you are a bit more reserved. Or maybe you jump into intense therapy mode and figure out how to compensate for this new “pain.”

I validate this in you. I know a lot of people you talk to don’t understand it. But as our economy changes, and we are more open about a different career than we could have in the ’80s, it will be more apparent that people are going through career trauma.

I am also here to tell you that it can be okay. It sucks… SUCKS to go through. You feel alone and hopeless, and even unmotivated to think that maybe the next job you are working so hard to land might be as bad as the last one. But I know that you can heal and recover and get in a good place. It has taken me a long time and a lot of work (and a very patient wife) but I’m just about there. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ve been in that good place for a long time, and just haven’t realized it.

How about you?

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Have You Ever Been In A Healthy Mentoring Relationship?

August 11th, 2018

In school they talked a lot about the power of mentors. “Go find a mentor,” they would say. Someone who was further down the path than we were… someone who could help us land our next job, or deal with an interesting boss, or navigate our career, or help with networking, etc.

I have always been a fan of mentoring. I never found ONE mentor, I found mentoring from a lot of people. I figured everyone had something to offer me, and I recognized that I might even have something, some mentoring value, to most people (as long as they were willing to receive it).

There are two big parts to mentoring: the mentor and the mentee. There are also rules, perhaps mentoring etiquette, of a mentoring relationship. Two of my currently popular courses on Pluralsight address the dynamics of a great mentoring relationship. One is on how to be a great mentor, the other is on how to be a great mentee.

Why are these courses among my popular courses? Because companies recognize the value of mentors. Because we all need mentors. Whether you are on the mentor side or the mentee side, check out those two courses. And if you have a JibberJobber account, go to the course tracker and self-report for extra JibberJobber premium upgrade days just for watching the courses.  If you aren’t on Pluralsight you can get a 30 day pass if you are a JibberJobber user – just login, mouse over videos, and click the first option (Pluralsight videos) to get started.

Any questions? Reach out through the Contact link!

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Still here, still organizing job searches

July 27th, 2018

This is the longest hiatus I’ve spent away from the blog and it is equally weird and frustrating.

As you know, I got a job back in February and turned over a lot of my product duties to Liz. I check in daily, and she sends me detailed reports of what the team is doing, stats, and what she needs from me. I’ve been working to keep up with her and am grateful to have a team that is doing great things for JibberJobber users.

For 12 years we’ve focused on the product. The admin functionality and reporting is weaker than it should be because if there was a choice between making something better for the user or making something easier for us (as admins), we chose the user. Every. Single. Time.

Now, though, we have shifted gears a little. We are still doing things for the user, of course, but it’s the health of the overall company that we are working on. And as we get healthier we’ll be in a better position to help each user. This means that we are working on admin and reporting things. The better we are on the back end, the better we can serve users on the front end.

JibberJobber continues to help people organize their job search. An interesting statistic that Liz showed me crushed an assumption I had. I assumed that people needed to get into JibberJobber and kick the tires, and use it a bit, and then they would upgrade. She showed me that a lot of new upgrades are actually first time signups. People who have logged in from one to three times. That is really interesting, and it changes the way we are thinking.

So what’s new? Nothing and everything.

Nothing because we are moving forward just like we have for the last 12+ years. Everything because we are continually asking ourselves “how can we make this better for YOU?”

The team is still full speed ahead, working on the health of the company and the product. And we’re keenly interested in making JibberJobber better for everyone who is looking to organize a job search, or who just landed their dream job and need to organize their new network.

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New JibberJobber Orientation

July 2nd, 2018

I took some time to update the orientation videos. The most important thing I did was reduce this from 90 minutes to less than 30 minutes (yeah!). The videos are, of course, also updated based on the changes from the last orientation, which are pretty significant. You can find this series in it’s entirety below and in the JibberJobber Video Library (login, then Videos / JibberJobber Videos).

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The Twelve Year Job Search

May 30th, 2018

12 years ago I lost my job. Little did I know it would take twelve years and almost a month before I’d have the job offer that I couldn’t turn down.

It was a long twelve years. I had no idea what I was in for, or what I would create. I had no idea how easy some parts would be and how hard others would be.  I had no idea that the glamorized lifestyle of an entrepreneur is wrought with an immense amount of intense hard work and sacrifice. What’s more, I didn’t realize the sacrifice my family would give.

Twelve years was a long run. For much of that time I didn’t believe that I was employable.

And then it happened. I defied ageism, and even with the bias against entrepreneurs (I could tell you stories), I actually got a job. A real, salaried with benefits job at a real company.

I don’t want to discourage you and make you think it will take years for you to land your job. Part of the reason I had a long-term search was because I chose another path. If I had stayed focus on my job search it wouldn’t have taken so long.

Of course, it’s a great economy right now… so hopefully your job search will go quick. But even when we hit the other part of the economic cycle, when it’s a lot harder, you’ll still be okay. We humans are resilient… and we are smart. You’ll figure this out.

You got this.

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