Veteran’s Day, Free JibberJobber for Veterans

November 12th, 2018

Today we celebrate Veteran’s Day. For JibberJobber, that means we send a reminder that we have, since 2006, given veterans a free year of our premium upgrade.

This is simply a “thank you for serving our country.”  I know that serving in the armed forces is not easy. You don’t do it for money. There’s a chance you could die, or somehow have a completely different life. Whether you come back with physical or mental scars, the experience changes you. I now that leaving home for months on end can be a significant hardship on you and your family, and have an impact on your career.

As owner and CEO of JibberJobber, the least I can do to back up my “thank you” is to give you access to our toolset, to help you in your career, networking, and job search.

Some questions we’ve gotten over the years:

Is this for young or old veterans?  Does it matter when I served, or which war I was in? 

I don’t care when you served. Vietnam? Yep, sign up and let us know and we’ll upgrade you. Leaving the military now? Yep, sign up and let us know.

Is this just for U.S. veterans? 

This is for any veteran of any country.

Are there any strings attached? 

No… we just want some way to know you are a veteran (usually a DD 214), sometimes your LinkedIn profile, and we take your word for it and give you the upgrade.

How do I get this? 

Just get a free JibberJobber account, then send us an email or a Contact Us with your information (DD 214 and/or LinkedIn profile)

Does JibberJobber get compensated in any way for doing this?

No. The military barely recognizes us (I’ve tried to have conversation at various levels and while people appreciate it, no one wants to step out of line and go to bat for us with the decision-makers that could put this in front of a lot more people, specifically those transitioning out right now). We get nothing but good feelings, since 2006 :)

I have lived in and around the military world for a long time and have a lot of friends and relatives who themselves or their parents have served. This is as much for my friends and family as it is for people I haven’t met.

And seriously, thank you for the sacrifices as you have served. 

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Sanity in a Job Loss

November 9th, 2018

I recently wrote the post Job Loss Grief Stages. While doing so I was looking for old posts I had written about this topic and found this post from 2012:

Dumb Little Man: How to Keep Your Sanity After Losing Your Job

Dumb Little Man, btw, is a blog with “tips for life.” Anyway, in this post the author (Lesley Knowles) shares six IMPORTANT points to keep your sanity while you are also going through the mourning/loss stages.

Depression in the job search is real. In fact, a post by me (a guy) on depression in the job search is my most popular post, with over 500 comments. My issue was that I was used to being very logical and linear, and depression was clouding my thinking. Check it out here: Depression Clouds Everything.

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Remote Workers *Can Be* More Productive

November 7th, 2018

This caught my eye because I’ve seen some situations where remote working is an utter joke:

Remote Workers Are Outperforming Office Workers — Here’s Why

The entire JibberJobber team works remote. We’ve been doing it since 2006. It’s really the only way we can do it because as far as I remember, none of us are very close (in proximity) to one another.

When I got my dream job in February I had to get a car and then commute 22 miles each way almost every day.  The commute was… not enjoyable. The only thing that made it okay was finding an awesome podcast… so now I was entertained and educated and inspired for about an hour each day (give or take). But, the amount of dangerous that I’ve seen on the highway is mind-blowing. Really, there are a significant amount of bad decisions made, and a lot of scary situations… every single day.

My preference was to save on the thousands of dollars of gas and wear-and-tear, and save my own mental stress by avoiding the traffic.

The article says the 3 reasons remote workers outperform office workers are productivity, teamwork, and presence.

I can see that.

However, I can also see a massive amount of abuse. I’ve seen remote workers who get paid but don’t really do anything. In my opinion, as a business owner, that is mismanagement on leadership’s side and dishonesty and even perhaps fraud on the worker’s side.

If you are a remote worker, or a job seeker (doing a job search from your home), let me offer two suggestions:

  1. Develop systems so that you are at least as productive as you would have been if you stayed in the office.  Maybe even schedule your work so that you are doing things that are best done alone…. quiet time for writing, analysis, studying, etc. Or, schedule remote meetings. If you have control over your deadlines and deliverables, schedule the best ones for your remote environment. Also, I have kids at home… I’ve had to establish boundaries for them to know that yes, indeed, I am working, and no, I can’t play with you right now. I’ve also had to establish boundaries for myself, such as not sitting in front of the TV with my laptop. As cool as that sounds, it is too distracting and really slows me down.
  2. Be accountable! When I started my job in February I was a little shell-shocked from my last corporate experience. One of the things that helped me feel in control was to send my boss a weekly update on my projects and initiatives. One of the problems in a creative or strategic role is that you could go weeks and months without much to show. These weekly emails were a great record for me, and for him, to know just what progress I was making, what I had finished, and what I was going to work on next.  When you work remotely I think this is more important than if you are at the office (although I suggest everyone consider doing it). Are you a job seeker? Keep a record, or notes, or a journal, or just put stuff into JibberJobber, and you’ll know that no, you haven’t wasted the last four months, even though it feels like you haven’t made any progress.

To the person who is stealing from their employer, not doing the work when they are supposed to be “working from home,” I don’t have any advice for you. I doubt you are the one reading my blog anyway. I think this happens more often than we think, and I’ll attribute that to a personal integrity + a management issue. Managing remote workers can indeed be tricky. If you are the manager, figure out how to do a better job managing remote workers.

What do you think? Are remote workers really that much more productive?  Or is it better to just brave the commute and go into work?



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“Jobs are temporary in the new economy” (Grow Your Own Beef)

November 2nd, 2018

This is part of the Favorite Friday serious that I started years ago. One of the benefits of having blogged regularly for almost 13 years is that I have a lot of great posts from over the years. My writing style has evolved, but the ideas and principles have not.

In this post, Grow your own beef, I talk about a “three part formula” for either getting a job or having career stability (in a world where it seems like no one has career stability). The three parts are:

  1. Have real subject matter expertise that the market currently cares about,
  2. Have the right credentials, if they matter.
  3. Have the right network, and nurture it.

Read my original post, where I flesh these ideas out, here.

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Job Loss Grief Stages

October 25th, 2018

When you lose your job, you lose…. stuff.

13 years ago I lost 100% of my income. I vowed that wouldn’t ever happen again (that one person could pull a lever and 100% of my ability to pay my bills would evaporate).

I also lost my identity, because no long was I the general manager at a software firm. I didn’t know how to describe my guy, but after a couple of months I felt like the “neighborhood project.” That wasn’t good for my ego.

I lost friends… the people I spent hours with each day, who I had inside jokes with, who I trusted with personal information and aspirations. When you aren’t at the company anymore the relationship changes. I missed the old relationships.

In a way, I lost myself, and my dignity, and other stuff. But I don’t want to talk about what I lost. I want to talk about the weird-to-me stages of grief, and the emotions, that I went through.

If you look at the stages of grief (do a google images search) you’ll see things like: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

I was not expecting to go through various emotions. I seemed to cycle through them by the minute or hour. It’s no fun to be in denial (“did that really happen? After all I’ve done? Is this the twilight zone??”).

It’s no fun to be angry at people who just a week ago you were collaborating with, dreaming with, on the same page with.

But these emotions, these stages, happen. It can be confusing. It can throw you off your game. It can make you wonder if you are broken.

You are not broken. You are normal.

What you need to do is feel unbroken, and get back to functional.

When I cycle through the stages, and my emotions flip-flop around, I have a hard time concentrating. It’s hard to focus on networking, or interview prep, or job search strategy. I need to get back to functional.

I’m not trained in psychology, but here are my two recommendations:

  1. Allow yourself to go through the stages. Don’t get upset with yourself if you need to break down, veg, or whatever during one of the stages. Of course, don’t do anything harmful to yourself or anyone else… but give yourself a break and let these stages run their course.
  2. Do things to be out of the stages. Eventually, with time, you won’t hurt so much. You won’t be so confused. You will feel healed. You will be able to move on. I encourage you to do whatever work you need to do to get closer to that feeling of healing. Don’t be yourself up for the feelings in #1, but what can you do to feel more in control?

I remember in my last job search (January of 2018) I was pretty sure I was going to land The Big One. But I had been there before, years earlier, and I was sure I’d land a different Big One. When I didn’t land it, I was devastated. So this last time, instead of slowing down in my job search, I sped up. I networked more, I did more job search stuff… so that if they came back with a “we’re sorry, but we chose someone else” then I could be like “it’s okay, I have other stuff in the hopper.”

What I’m saying is: keep busy. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch… and do whatever you can so that if one thing doesn’t work out, they aren’t the only game in town. If you have other stuff going on, you’ll spread the risk and the dependency on one thing.

Stay busy, allow the emotions, and move forward. All of that is good advice. But I totally validate the feelings and confusion that you are going through.


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Career Plan A, Plan B, Plan C… Plan Z

October 24th, 2018

My dad and father-in-law had careers where they had pretty much one job for decades. After they retired they both got another job. They were young, and why not work for another 10 years?

My career has been quite different. I’ve had a host of jobs, and have owned my own business for almost 13 years now. Jobs have come and gone in a way that they couldn’t have imagined back in their day. While many things about my career have been fun and exciting, it’s been frustrating not knowing that I’d continue to have a certain job for the next few weeks, or months, or years… much less until the end of my career.

The stress of not knowing, and worrying about, and spending time actively pursuing career management, is not one of my favorite things about the careers of today.

But I’ve had to have Plan B, and Plan C, and Plan D, and when those don’t work out, Plan E, F, G, H, etc.

I refuse to sit by and think that my Plan A is my employer’s Plan A, because when they pull the plug I’m left with no income but I still have all of my bills. It is on me to make sure that I’m financially ready and able for changes to my income and my main job.

That is why I’m so big on “multiple streams of revenue.” When I got laid off back in January of 2006 my boss and the board of directors effectively took away 100% of my income. When I started JibberJobber I hoped that I could generate maybe $100 a month so that when I had a job again, and got laid off, the person who did it could not take away 100% of my income.

That was almost thirteen years ago. Right now I have multiple streams of income. My job is one of them. I also have JibberJobber, my Pluralsight royalties, and two rental units. It has taken a lot of work to get to this point. It has taken serious investment, strategy, and luck and risk. But here we are… multiple streams of income. This is my Plan B, Plan C, etc.

Life, and careers, is not easy. But we must be strategic about it.

Here’s an idea for those of you who are not ready for, or haven’t figured out, multiple streams of income: consider one of your income streams your career management efforts. That is, if you can’t figure out a side hustle, or a business, or rentals or investments or whatever, then spend time networking. Not once a month, but more often. Network strategically. Network on purpose. Network for real.

Your network should help you get solid in your revenue streams. Maybe that means that for the rest of your career, you’ll have a strong network that will keep your unemployment times down. Maybe “getting solid” means that your network will introduce revenue streams and opportunities. My message is that I want you to not worry about creating a revenue stream if that seems impossible right now… in place of that, ramp up your networking! It might be the most important thing you do for your career management.

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JibberJobber Job Comparison Tool

September 19th, 2018

Years ago I conceptualized a tool that would allow us to compare job offers or opportunities, side-by-side.  This week we released what I’ll call version 0.9. That is, it’s almost ready to be version 1 of awesome – we already have a list of features for version 2).  To get an early look at this, go to one of your Job Detail Pages and click on the Compare button towards the top-right:


In the next interface you add other jobs you want to compare against this job. You can see I’ve added two additional jobs, and in the box I simply start typing the title and I’ll have a list of other jobs to choose from:


From that last screen I click on the blue Compare Jobs button, and I come to this page… you can see each of the three jobs I’ve chosen across the top, with a number (which is a comparison score). Along the left are the criteria I think are important to compare against:


I’m a lot more interested in just the four things showing, so I click the settings button… the one in the middle of the three buttons on the right, and get this dropdown:


From there, I can easily add or remove critieria that I want to see on my comparison page. For me, the most important things to compare include salary (as ONE component of compensation), strength of health benefits, 401k match, opportunity for growth, strength of company in the industry, opportunity the company has to grow, the team I’d work with, etc.  To see those fields you have to put them in at least one Job record as custom fields. We’re working on making it easier to do that from this interface (then we’ll be in Version 1.0!). For now, you can simply check or uncheck the fields you want to show along the left (and, go into a Job and add any other custom fields, which will then show up in this dropdown).

In the screen above you can also see the three boxes with “10” in them… this allows you to weigh critieria differently. For example, if the commute time is more really important to you you will weigh that heavier than something else.

The reason we built this is because choosing jobs just based on salary is flawed. Salary is one part of the picture, but it should not be the only thing you consider.

Have ideas or requests? Shoot them to me at We’re working on making this better right now, and are anxious to hear what you think!

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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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