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JibberJobber: The Case To Import Or Not

March 19th, 2019

jibberjobber_import_menuRecently I’ve had a few people ask me how to delete a batch import (you can do it from here). That is, they imported a batch of contacts from LinkedIn or Gmail Contacts, and then found they had a bunch of garbage in JibberJobber, and wanted to delete all of the contacts from that import all and start over.

This happened to me after we did the Gmail Contacts sync, which is really cool in concept, but it dumped hundreds of garbage records into my database. Sadly, I don’t do the Gmail sync anymore… I just don’t want all of that crap in my system.

Why does this happen? 

With Gmail, I have a bunch of email addresses in my address book (aka Google Contacts) that are just garbage. Someone I am not in contact anymore, or addresses that are system generated but there is no human behind them. I have more than one “support@_______.com” address in my Contacts!

What’s more, and this is exemplified better with LinkedIn, just because I waived at someone doesn’t mean I want them in JibberJobber. If I accept you as a first degree contact in LinkedIn, does that mean we will ever have a conversation? Not necessarily. Of the thousands and thousands of contacts in my LinkedIn first degree network, there are thousands and thousands that don’t need to be in JibberJobber, ever.

Why do we have an import/sync function, then?

Frankly, because “everyone” wanted it. Other CRM systems have it, and people don’t like the idea of entering Contacts one-by-one. It really is convenient to click a few buttons and have all of your contacts from one system in JibberJobber. I think, also, that people like coming in to JibberJobber with hundreds or thousands of contacts that they’ve imported, rather than none. The feeling is that you have a network vs. you have no one to talk to.

What is the answer?

I rarely import or sync. I want to control how contacts get into my system. Hands down, my favorite way to get data into JibberJobber is with Email2Log. Why? Because if I email you, there’s a good chance I want to actually have some kind of relationship with you. I can control who and what gets into my system easier than I can with an import, which is likely to import junk contacts.

If I were to start fresh today, using JibberJobber for a job search, I’d skip the import and just put people in manually or with Email2Log. Honestly, that’s what I’d do.

Is there no other way? 

Well, yes, there is actually. If you really want to dump your LinkedIn Contacts or Google Contacts into JibberJobber, I’d suggest you do this:

  1. Export your Contacts (from either system, or Outlook, or wherever you have them) to a csv file (csv opens in Excel, or imports to Google Sheets)
  2. Look at every single record and delete the record (row) of each Contact that you don’t care about, don’t want in JibberJobber, don’t recognize, etc.
  3. While you are there, it wouldn’t hurt to remove any columns that you don’t care to have in JibberJobber.

What we used to say in the 1900’s was “garbage in, garbage out.” Clean up your list before you import records… and you’ll have a much nicer database.

Anything else?

If you do import garbage, you can do what some people want to do and delete the entire import. This is great, unless you have added more information on a Contacts, or created Log Entries and Reminders.

Or, you can do what I do… just delete the bad records one at a time when you come across them. This is a more passive approach, and you have to be okay to see bad records every once in a while… this is fine for me.

And, now you know :) 

 

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Laid-off: I’m Sorry or Congratulations!

March 18th, 2019

jibberjobber-congratulationsFor years my wife and I would say that when someone tells us that they are getting laid off we say “congratulations!” This is because this transition could be wonderful things for you. It could mean that you are leaving an environment that you’ve outgrown, that you are positioning yourself for something great to come.

That was my situation in 2006 as I was laid off from a toxic environment with a boss who stressed me out all the way to an urgent clinic to see if I was having a heart attack. Alas, it wasn’t that, it was “only” the result of a mismatch of integrity that manifested in physical stress to the point of a pre-ulcer.

I ended up starting JibberJobber, and down a very unpredictable but rewarding path.

So yes, for me, congrats were in order. And my wife and I would project that to others, giving them hope and inspiration, letting them know that great things were in store for them.

But, it’s not always that way. Last year when I was employed full time as a program manager some things in our life changed. Fortunately, I had the sense of mind to realize that that job was only one revenue stream… not my entire livelihood. That perspective would prove to be critical come October, when I heard “Your last day will be….”

Yes, this was only one revenue stream. Yes, great things could be in my future. But, I was about to, once again, realize the depth of devastation that a layoff could inflict on a family. These included:

Financial plans needing to be readjusted. When I got the job, that February, we got a new and significant revenue stream. This would allow us to take care of business and personal debt in a way that we couldn’t have imagined before. We didn’t get to live lavishly, but we certainly saw an path to getting out from under the debt stress. When I was given notice of my last day, the message was “and you won’t be able to work on your debt the way you thought you would.”  Fortunately we had (a) other income streams, and (b) opportunities to create more, or ramp up existing, streams. What if the job was 100% of our income, though? It would have gone from being a considerable annoyance to putting us out on the street (sounds dramatic, but I’ve been doing JibberJobber for 13 years and I’ve seen and heard stories like that).

Health insurance changes. Or, I should say, health insurance evaporating. If you’ve read my blog much you have probably seen my posts on surgery without insurance. It hasn’t been our choice to not have insurance. And we definitely know it’s risky. More risky than what we are comfortable with. But, with my job I got insurance. It was a nice feeling. We were in the system, and kept track of our deductibles, etc. We felt safer, and that we could take care of some health things. And then, it all went away. The feeling of safety went away. Health insurance is a luxury that people who have jobs get. Or people who have a certain income level get (we make too much for the affordable care act, but too little to pay the super high cost of paying your own insurance).

Purpose. I was on a cool team building a cool product working for a cool company around cool people. Then, I got booted out of the club. In Covey’s book, 7 Habits, he talks about what your center is. If your center is your title, or your professional purpose, or being attached to a cool company, then you are setting yourself up for a problem. Especially now, with companies ready to change employees like you change your clothes, do not rely on the fulfillment you get from work to be your center. That will change, or go away, and you don’t want to have no center.

So, congrats, or I’m sorry?

I don’t know.

I’m back to my core income streams, and focusing on strengthening them so if I get another opportunity like I had last year, I’ll be more prepared. I feel, for me, a congrats is in order. But I’ve had a hard time saying goodbye to what I had, what I was building, what I was a part of, and what I was becoming. Thank goodness my mind has been in “career management” all these years, with an emphasis on income streams.

I hope that for you, once the “I’m sorry” wears off, you get to see the beauty and security of “CONGRATS!”

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How To Start A Job Search

March 12th, 2019

7 steps to start a job searchI started my first real job search in 2006. Even way, way back then, going to the “want ads” from newspapers was an outdated strategy. Now, no one talks about using newspapers. But there is still plenty of confusion on how to start a job search. Below are the steps I suggest to anyone who is ready to start their job search

7 Steps to Start a Job Search

1. Stop, calm down, take a moment.

One of the worst things you can do is react to panic and fear. I know unemployment can be one of the scariest and most emotional situations of your life. Let me encourage you to really take a pause, calm down, get in the proper state of mind for what could be a complex but doable process. But please, go into this with the right mindset.

2. List job titles you want to pursue

It is critical that you know what your target is, and specific job titles is part of your target. In my 2006 job search I listed two roles I wanted, and in the course of my job search I added a third (more exciting) title. Your list can change with time, so don’t worry about committing to any particular title, but you should have a list of titles to pursue. Eventually, this list should be whittled down to something manageable (instead of including every job title that you are qualified for).

3. List companies you want to work for

You must have a list of target companies where you want to work. This will help you in various ways, including focusing your networking efforts and search on the right companies. Also, when people ask how they can help you in your job search, you could say that you are looking for introductions to specific target companies (I suggest you name three or four specific companies).

4. Make a list of network contacts

This is one of the harder lists to make because we tend to second-guess whether people should actually be on the list or not. You think of someone, then before you write them down talk yourself out of listing them for one reason or another. Let me encourage you to skip the second-guessing, and just list EVERYONE that you can think of on your network contacts list. You might not communicate with all of them, but as your job search goes on and on, it might make sense to reach out to people who you had earlier passed over.

5. Create and refine your job search marketing material

I could make an entire list of your job search marketing material, the most obvious of which is your resume. In addition to your resume (and at least one general cover letter), you need to have some basic statements down. These include your Me In 30 Seconds (aka Elevator Pitch) statements (you could have various statements for different audiences) as well as a response to “tell me about yourself?”. Expect to use these statements regularly and refine them almost every time you use them.

6. Figure out your job search organization system

No doubt I recommend JibberJobber (I’m the creator of JibberJobber) instead of job search spreadsheet. Whatever you use, know that this organizational system is a central part of your successful job search. I quickly outgrew my spreadsheet in about two weeks, as do many job seekers, because as a job search goes on you add more contacts, companies, and jobs, and you want to log interactions between any of those records. Again, I could write a great deal on this, but suffice it to say you’ll need some system to stay organized.

7. Reach out to contacts with purposeful requests

This is one of the hardest parts of the job search for many people because this is where we start to communicate with people. We generally like to help people, not ask for help from people. But we need to work through those feelings and ask our contacts for help. Please, do not ask them to “review your resume.” Imagine you get ONE request from each friend. Do you want to use your one request for a review of your typing? NO. Purposeful requests include meeting (in person or on the phone) or asking for introductions to people who have your target titles or work at your target companies. Each purposeful request changes based on who you are making the request of, but please don’t waste your first (and maybe your only) request with something trivial.

These are my seven steps to start your job search. Did you notice that I didn’t include networking with recruiters? Perhaps you should network with recruiters, but in my experience, it is generally a waste of time. Focus on the steps above, iterating and going through each of them as you get closer and closer to your dream job.

My goal would eventually be to have as many informational interviews as I could get, which is a very powerful job search strategy. Each of the steps above can lead up to a great informational interview strategy.

 

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We are simplifying JibberJobber… now, you simplify your job search

March 5th, 2019

Years ago I hired a UX contractor named Udi… a super cool guy who taught me a lot about UX. UX is “user experience,” and refers to what you see on a page, with the goal of helping you do what you need to do. We’re not talking as much about graphics, colors, or graphical design as we are talking about how we simplify the user experience so that you can do what you want to do without being distracted or overwhelmed.

An example: on the homepage, the signup form had too many form fields to fill out. Udi said that we want to reduce the number of choices a user has to make… and every field was a choice. Interesting, isn’t it?

Another thing Udi told me was “I’ll be taking out more than I’ll be putting in.” Because JibberJobber was about eight years old back then, and we didn’t design with UX at a central focus (our focus was functionality). There was a bunch of clutter (there still is too much clutter :p).

Sometimes removing things is… good.

So, we’ve been on a journey to clean, and simplify. As I think about this, I can’t help but thinking about how this applies to my users. As job seekers, we sometimes have things we need to remove. Have you ever heard a thirty second pitch that has so much unnecessary information that it doesn’t do anything good for the job seeker? REMOVE the stuff that isn’t important! Please, go through your thirty second pitch and figure out what is important and what is a distraction!

Furthermore, what are you doing in your systems and processes that are not getting the hoped-for results? Are you doing things that are wasting your time? Are you doing things that are not productive? Are there things in your process that you should simplify?  Apply some UX concepts to your job search and focus on the most important results you want, and then work backwards from that.

I hope that the changes we roll out are not too noticeable. My hope is that people just say “JibberJobber is easy to use” and “I know what I’m doing.” If they say “wow, this is a lot cleaner than it has been” then we’ll know how far off the mark we’ve been :p Many of the changes are subtle, but that subtleness reduces what I call “mental friction.” The goal, as Udi says, is to reduce choices. At first that rubbed be wrong, but really, using JibberJobber should be easy and intuitive (even if what we accomplish on the back end is not easy).

Your goal, as a job seeker, should be communicating the right messages to the right people and getting closer and closer to your next job. Now, what can you simplify?

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If You Are Very Frustrated At Work…

February 27th, 2019

jibberjobber_frustratedAfter I landed my dream job, and the dust settled, a little before my boss quit (which would be the demise of my dream job), I was having various frustrations at work.

I was frustrated that my voice wasn’t heard, regarding improvements or ideas.

I was frustrated that the hierarchy at the organization, which felt overly fabricated, was limiting my (and others’) ability to make more of a difference (even though it was a “flat” organization)

I was frustrated at the amount of red tape, office politics, and positioning for power, and how that took so much time and energy, taking away from getting work done.

I was frustrated at other things, but you get the point.

What I’ve learned is that those frustrations are probably very normal for someone in my situation, going from an entrepreneurial environment to a corporate bureaucracy.

My dream job had zero security. I just had to live with, and get used to, those frustrations. I could see myself slipping into a corporate role where production was not as important as politicking and “playing the game.” The problem is that was not satisfying for me. The paycheck was (almost) satisfying, and the benefits were cool, but those pulled against my integrity, and that was the most frustrating thing.

If you find yourself in a place where you are very frustrated at work, my advice is this: figure out some side hustles. Figure out how to make money doing other things. I’m not saying you will leave your job, but the power you get from having other income is amazing.

These side hustles can be your creative and work outlets. You can build them to be real income-replacing businesses, but even just having some extra money come in, and having something that you are 100% in control of, can be just what you need to release some of that frustration.

I dare you. Give it a try.

 

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Why Horrible Managers Thrive

February 25th, 2019

jibberjobber_horrible_managerI was recently talking to a friend about a horrible manager he works under. The stories he tells… yuck. Not creepy or inappropriate, but just horrible, horrible leadership.

A few months ago I was chatting with a colleague about a horrible, horrible VP he worked under. Again, not creepy, but the types of management and leadership stories that make you cringe and think “I’d never work for that person.”

I bet most of you have stories of horrible bosses.

Why does this happen? Why is it this still a thing today?

I have theories. None of them are good.

My theories are generally based on two things:

The first has to do with the bad manager. I think the “bad” manager might be super charming (like a narcissist can be super charming), and this gets them their job. Maybe, they continue to be super charming to those above them, but horrific to those below them (on the org chart). Management doesn’t really see this because they are too busy with their own stuff and have more of a hands-off leadership style.

The second has to do with very poor leadership above the bad manager. Assuming the leaders know there are problems with this person, for various reasons they don’t address the problems head-on. Perhaps they are afraid of the bad manager. I knew someone who had so much dirt on the owners of an organization that this person was assured a long career and a great retirement (she had a lot of power). I knew someone who was just a bully, and the leadership above this person was afraid to do anything lest they be bullied. Just a couple of the many, many examples.

What is baffling, to me and the JibberJobber users I’ve talked to about this (they bring it up, not me), is WHY are these people still in their positions???

“Bad managers” is a real problem in today’s workforce. Having a bad manager put me in instacare thinking I was having a heart attack (it was just a pre-ulcer, which the stress of two degrees, having a family, and other stuff never did to me. But this bad manager had a serious impact on my physical health). Having a bad manager will have an impact on your grumpiness, your relationship with loved ones and neighbors, your self-esteem, etc.

Why, oh why, do bad managers get to thrive?

It’s like the good employees get friendzoned (I’m sure their is a better word for this) while the bad manager gets the big prize.

What does this mean for our career management?

 

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Speaking of Soft Skills (Favorite Friday)

February 22nd, 2019

I came upon this post this week, where I talk about a forbes article that quoted me with 2 of the “7 most universal soft skills.” I mentioned creativity and curiousity, of course. the other five were interesting.

What really got my attention, though, was what people put in the comments. There are some very smart and observant people talking about soft skills they think are critical.

Check it out her: Universal Job Skills.

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“Some people think you have to have a personal brand… “

February 20th, 2019

I heard this statement recently.

Yes, some people think you have to have a brand.

The reality is, though, you already have a brand. It’s not like you have no brand, and you are a slouch. It could be worse, actually. You might have a brand with negative consequences… that you are lazy, undependable, a grouch, etc.

The pundits say you need a personal brand.

I say you already have one.

The question is, is your existing brand what you want it to be?

In my $5,000 on-stage presentation I talk about having an intentional brand, one you purposefully work on, vs. having an unintentional brand. This is likely a brand you don’t know about, or a brand you aren’t happy with.

I want you to understand that you already have a brand (whether you “need” one or not). And that if you are not happy with that brand, you can do things to make it a brand you could be happy about.

I even have a Pluralsight course on personal branding: Developing a Killer Personal Brand.  Want a 30 day pass to Pluralsight, where you can see all of my courses? Just let me know :)

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Creativity: The Most Important Leadership Quality (?)

February 19th, 2019

jibberjobber_creativityBack in 2010 Fast Company had an article titled “The Most Important Leadership Quality for CEOs? Creativity”  Of course, I heard this during my workout yesterday, while listening to a Ted talk :p

The soundbite that stuck out was that about 60% of CEOs cited creativity as the most important leadership quality.

This stood out to me for two reasons. First, I recently finished creating a Pluralsight course on how leaders can boost innovation in their teams. Really, this is a big fat course on how to be and think more creatively. Whether you are a leader of many or a leader of one (yourself), creativity is important. Even back in 2010 it was important.

By the way, the article has a bunch of interesting nuggets… what they thought about “integrity”, what they thought about global business, etc. Check it out.

The second why the article stuck out was because for years my two favorite “c” words are creativity and curiosity. I wrote a blog post about this, but I can’t find it right now. However, here’s some quotes from me on Forbes where I talk about creativity and curiosity, again from 2010: The Seven Most Universal Job Skills.

I never, ever thought I was creative. I couldn’t draw well, I wasn’t very good at artsy stuff… One day I was talking to some career coaches and I said this to them and they got pretty excited. “You aren’t creative? Jason, you created JibberJobber! You wrote two books! How can you think you aren’t creative?”

It was then that I learned that creativity doesn’t mean being an artist. I learned that we can all create, and that we can all think creatively.

Furthermore, I’ve thought a lot over the years about how much we create vs. how much we consume. I am concerned that we live in a society that is hyper-focused on consumption, which takes the time that we could otherwise produce (or create). I’m not saying we can’t relax, and we have to always create… but I think we are here on this third rock from the sun for a bigger purpose than to just binge watch Netflix and Hulu our entire life.

What can you create?

How can you make creativity a part of your brand?

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The Path To Success Is Not Perfect (or is it??)

February 18th, 2019

jibberjobber-career-successI was listening to a Ted talk this morning and this soundbite caught my attention: The path to success is not perfect.

I immediately thought about those Family Circus comics where a kid was supposed to go “straight home” and went all over the neighborhood, a few times, in anything but a straight line, before he got home.

We have a plan of how our careers will go (mine was a pretty straight path to some executive corner office…. undergrad, MBA, and then a quick path up management to the executive level). Pretty simply. Pretty planned.

Alas, when I’m pressed to describe my career it was not the straight line… it was not even a soft curve off of the straight line. It was more like the kid in Family Circus, with circles, backtracks, tangents, and going places that had nothing to do with the end goal!

Back to the phrase… in my mind I thought: “The path to success is not a straight line.” Notice I changed it from “not perfect” to “not a straight line.”

Is there a difference?

Generally, your path to success will not be in a straight line. You’ll have setbacks and things that feel like circles. These can be SO frustrating, especially when you are in the moment! But, like mutual funds, which generally move up and to the right, your career generally works out well. Looking back you can kind of laugh at those setbacks and loops. Maybe.

Not a straight line.

But, for you, can it be perfect?

I look at all of the things I’ve done… it feels very eclectic. Indeed, it has been eclectic. But each of those weird things built on one another, and got me to where I’m at today. I have not yet “arrived,” and I’m not yet “done.” But each of those things have helped mold my thinking, my strategy, my strengths, and my wisdom into what they are. If you read my blog last year, you know it was a combination of weird skills that got me my last dream job. They were looking for a mismatch of weird specialties, and I had it.

For me, my path has been perfect.

Not easy, not always fun, not always financially rewarding, but perfect.

I’m writing my own path, as are you. What seems like a mistake might lead to a super opportunity in the future.

So, chin up, adjust your perspective, and keep moving forward. You never know what greatness awaits you.

 

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