When Your World Seems To Be Crashing Down #CareerManagement

January 23rd, 2020

Last week I got a message from my adult daughter that started in a way that no parent wants:

“I’m okay, but…”

She was driving down a road when a kid pulled out in front of her (he didn’t look both ways before he pulled into the road). A crash was pretty much unavoidable in that situation. Luckily she, and her 5 year old passenger, were okay. The other kid was okay too. We think the insurance company will “total” her car. Not only did this moment of indiscretion cause physical pain that would linger, but now we have to spend time with the insurance companies and figure out a replacement vehicle. No one wins in this situation.


We feel blessed and lucky that everyone walked away intact.

Saturday morning I was with my son at our rental house (which is a long story, I should write about that in another post) fixing a water leak. We had spent a considerable amount of time and money on this project, finding a leak and then paying for a plumber who ripped out a lot of Sheetrock. We had to replace carpet and all of the Sheetrock… it was a big project and had taken a lot of time away from my day job.

I get a call from my youngest daughter’s phone, and a crying girl tells me I have to come home RIGHT NOW. I try to figure out what is going on, is someone dying, etc., and learn that the caller is actually my middle daughter who just got her driver’s license. Just days earlier I had officially put her on my insurance. Her license was barely a week old. This girl has been on fire for the last school year, very disciplined in all that she does, and we have seen a lot of personal growth in her. Really cool stuff. She was on her way to the gym but made it only about 20 feet out of our driveway when she hit demolished our neighbor’s brick mailbox.

She did not bump the mailbox. She demolished it, and then drove over it! Within 48 hours we have our second totaled car.

This time I came home to a police truck and an ambulance, with my daughter inside getting checked out. Fortunately she walked away okay, although her wrist is beat up and pretty bruised. It puts her out of violin for a while (she is first chair) so she can’t practice or play… and it changes her gym routine. Oh, and yes, more insurance phone calls, and a weird conversation with our neighbor.

How did this happen? Don’t ask me.

I’ve had enough, you know? My wife and I decided years ago that we want a boring life. This is the type of excitement that we could do without.

Note: I still haven’t called the insurance company to make a property claim about my water damage. When I called about this Tay vs. the Mailbox accident (I’m now naming them, just to keep them straight), they said “oh, you already have a claim for your daughter.” “Um, yeah, this is for my other daughter….” ūüėź

What do you do? You press forward. You love your kids. You are grateful that nothing worse happened.

Side-story-that-merges-in-with-the-main story

My in-laws, who live in our house, had left Thursday morning for a road trip to Arizona to see my father-in-law’s brother. They got news Thursday night that my oldest got in an accident. Then, Saturday they got news that my middle daughter was in an accident.

They were driving home from Arizona and a few hours south of our house they hit a snowstorm. No big deal. We live in Utah. We slow down, drive careful. But outside of the snowstorm my father in law hit a puddle and spun out. I’m tired of telling accident stories by this point, so I’ll just share a picture of his totaled car:

They have the same insurance company as we do. I’m sure they are getting tired of claims filed from my address!

I did the math on this situation… we have totaled 3 cars in the first 3 weeks of 2020. If we extend that out we are projected to total 52 cars by the end of the year.

Please, oh please, don’t let that be the case.

Give me boring.

I should say, I do not want 52 totaled cars by the end of the year.

It’s been a stressful few weeks for my household and our insurance adjusters. And it’s been a little stressful.

But seriously, things are okay. We have insurance. Everyone is okay, although sore and bruised. Cars (and mailboxes) can be replaced.

While cars are crashing all around, my world is not crashing all down.

Years ago, when I got laid off, it felt like my world was crashing down. Everything I had been working on culminated into me sitting around with no income, wondering what I could do for a living. Wondering if I could even get an entry level job at a burger joint.

I felt like it was all crashing down, but indeed it was not.

My perspective was darkened by depression and by focusing too much on my immediate needs and fears. Looking back at that time, now, from my current perspective, I can see that it was just part of the path I had to go down.

That path is part of my story, and it is a reason why I am where I am today.

I’m not done, mind you, but I’m in a better place than on that dark and dreary Friday the 13th when I got laid off.

My message to you is that whatever you are going through, recognize that it is not your destiny to remain there. You will grow out of it. Or you will be pushed out of it. But your future can be as bright, and stable, and peaceful, as you want it to be. It might take time. It will take work. But your current now by no means has to be your future.

Work through this time. It will be okay.

P.S. Just for fun, here is a picture of the almost done water damage job. This is before the carpet,¬†texture,¬†paint, etc. Looks like a small job but it certainly didn’t feel like it when we started :/




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Soft Skills Deliver Hard Results: WOW!

January 22nd, 2020

Pluralsight Soft Skills MatterNOTE: not sure why the bunny pictures. But I figured “soft”… and bunnies are cute. And that is just the mood I’m in right now :p¬†

Check out this awesome post from HealthLeadersMedia titled Soft Skills That Deliver Hard Results. There are some super quotes in here… which I’ll include below.

I am a champion of soft skills. I generally like people, and want people to have rich and fulfilling lives. As long as I can remember I’ve cared about how people get that fulfillment, and have enjoyed learning about and from people.

JibberJobber is a tool to help people get back to fulfillment. I love talking to my users, and meeting job seekers when I present.

In 2012 I was asked to create a course for Pluralsight, which lead to me working on over 30 courses, many of which are soft skills courses. As I’ve been able to spend time and brain cells on soft skills I’ve fallen in love with the topics, which go broad and deep. From communication to listening to empathy to emotional intelligence to personality assessments to communicating up (and down)… I’ve been blessed to have my head in this space for a long time.

A few weeks ago my 16 year old daughter was chatting with me about my courses and she said something like: “It’s really cool that you can teach soft skills to programmers, who have really good hard skills, because when you have soft skills and hard skills… wow!”

Out of the mouths of babes, #amIRight? (<– Don’t judge too hard on that, I hear “am I right daily from my 10 year old son :p”)

Anyway, back to soft skills. I have always taken the position that the work I do on soft skills courses, along with my colleagues who talk about teams, HR stuff, project management, and other soft skills, add a very important and complementary line of thinking and training for people who are excelling in their hard skills.

Here are my Pluralsight courses. Did you know that if you watch my courses I give you upgrades on JibberJobber? If you don’t, ask us how… it’s easy.

Jason Alba Pluralsight Courses

Having said all of that, let me share some quotes from the article, which you need to read. It really is awesome. Read it here.

“It’s time to think about incorporating a culture of joy and love into your¬†[work/company/team] to turn things around.”

“‘Soft” skills’ used in work environments are the new “‘hard” skills.'”

“if implemented well, softer skills can help healthcare organizations reap hard results in employee engagement, patient safety, and nurse retention and recruitment.” This article is for healthcare professionals, but the point is transferable to your industry. Soft skills can have a real impact on your culture and your bottom line, and other things: ”¬†‘hard’ issues like financial goals, patient outcomes, and patient experience that healthcare organizations are eager to achieve.”

“The American Medical Association estimates physician burnout costs range from $500,000 to more than $1 million per physician.” How much does burnout cost you, and your employer?

Culture. Empathy. Love. Joy. Resilience.

These are all words used more than once in this article.

Can you imagine working in an environment where those things are prevalent? Can you change your own environment by focusing on those things?

This is why I love the courses I get to work on at Pluralsight. Soft skills matter.

You can find my soft skills courses here:

Jason Alba’s soft skills courses on Pluralsight

Job Search Soft Skills

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That Time I Networked With Randy

January 9th, 2020

JibberJobber Network Clubs

A hundred years ago, in 2006, I forced myself to get to a network meeting for job seekers.

When I say forced, I really didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to take the time, which I thought was not as productive as sitting on my laptop monitoring Monster job postings, and hoping to be one of the first to apply. I didn’t want to network with people who didn’t have a job because, frankly, I judged them to be broken, or unhireable, or whatever. Yes, I was that much of a jerk. I know some of you have the same thoughts, though.

But really… what good would networking with people who didn’t have a job be? How could those who needed, and couldn’t give, help me?

I was a short-sighted dork.

But on that fateful morning, after a couple of false starts and fake attempts, I walked through the doors and experienced something that would be life changing.

As we went around the room so everyone could introduce themselves, I listened in awe. You see, I was expecting broken people with bad careers and having made poor career choices. But I heard person after person share their 30 second pitch, and was shocked that the people in the room were accomplished professionals. They were well spoken, well dressed, and really cool people.

Why were they there, then? Every person had their own story (which they didn’t share in their 30 second pitch). I learned about company mergers and acquisitions, I learned that I wasn’t the only one who had a toxic boss, I learned about discrimination, and other things that go into downsizing. Of course, some people were there because of their own doing… but it was there that I looked around and realized:

I was not alone.

For about six weeks I had been alone. Very alone. And lonely.

But going to a network meeting with job seekers was exactly what I needed to start to heal. Instead of sitting on Monster waiting for a new posting to apply to, judging myself and wondering what was wrong with me, I could talk to, listen to, and learn from people who had great careers and were also unemployed.

It really was an epic moment for me.

And then there was Randy. Randy was at least ten years older than I was. He was, in my mind, an executive. When he did his 30 second pitch I thought “oh my, that is almost exactly my pitch!” Project management, product management, general manager. The difference was that I was coming out of a tiny company with little-to-no mentoring, and very small-scale experience. I guessed that Randy had 20 years of REAL general manager experience. He was the real deal.

Randy came, a few weeks later, to say he landed a job, and thanks for everything. He then pulled me aside and told me about how LinkedIn was so critical to his job search. I was hesitant… I was already looking at job boards all day and felt like I had too many accounts elsewhere… did I really need to get on LinkedIn, too?

Laughable, I know.

Randy made a huge impression on me. I saw in him what I could be in the next 10 or 20 years in my career. I saw a strong, self-confident professional who was at a not fun part of his career, but held his chin up and moved forward, optimistic that he would land well.

He gave me hope for the future. His example encouraged me to move forward. He helped me understand that job clubs were not full of broken people or losers.

Whether you go to job clubs to learn about job search techniques (mine were outdated), to network with others (job seekers make some of the best networkers), to get your name out there (stand in front of 30 or 60+ people and give a good 30 second pitch and you’ll start this process), or just to be around other humans… I don’t care why you go. Just go. Go so that it can be your lifeline.

You never know, maybe YOU will be someone else’s lifeline.

Here are some other posts I’ve written about job clubs over the years:

10 Reasons to Frequent Job Clubs

The Power of Job Clubs

The Power of Job Clubs and Job Ministries

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Banal Comments And Your Reactions

January 2nd, 2020

Over at Pluralsight I just turned in my 35th course, which will be titled Leading with Emotional Intelligence.

I have to be honest, I was excited to do this course… but I didn’t realize how much doing this course would impact me. I had a stack of books about emotional intelligence on my desk, I had dozens of tabs open with articles about emotional intelligence, and I watched a lot of videos on Youtube. I was immersing myself in what others were talking about so I could formulate how I could really share.

A friend offered to come over and chat about emotional intelligence, as she teaches about it weekly at a high school. My wife and I spent a couple of hours with her, getting a brain dump, which was fascinating and way more interesting than any research I had done so far. I took pages of notes, learning about the five pillars of emotional intelligence, and understanding how impactful EQ really is in this world. A couple of weeks ago I tweeted this:

I am convinced that the world would indeed be a better place if leaders, and everyone, had higher EQ. That is, we were more aware of our own reactions and triggers, and we “self-regulated” better, and we were aware of and genuinely cared about others. (those are only three of the five pillars of emotional intelligence, but just those three would have a huge impact!!).

Back to banal. In a recent course I delivered I got a comment from someone that it was banal. Banal isn’t a part of my every day vocabulary (although I’ve thought the word daily since :p), so I had to look it up. It is at the Shakespearean-insult level:

– so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring.
– lacking freshness or novelty
– implies a lack of any significant or convincing quality.
– devoid of qualities that make for spirit and character.

Synonyms include trite, inane, sophomoric, dumb, stupid, bland, and vapid.

Yeah, so, banal is not a compliment.

If you put yourself out there, you need to take the good and bad. I’m fine with that.

Years ago I wrote a post about or to career center employees because they didn’t support, recommend, or get JibberJobber. Individually many did, but it was so disappointing to not get the support I thought I deserved.

My coach wrote me a multi-page email telling me to never do that again, and that if they didn’t get it, it was really my fault. It was a scathing letter, and he was 100% right. Lesson learned.

I reacted.

This year, in 2020, we will have plenty of opportunities to react. The Pluralsight course I just did was a deep dive on emotional intelligence. Reacting is a big part of that…. starting with self-awareness (what sets me off? Why do I feel certain ways in certain situations, or because of certain people?) and then going to self-regulation.

Self-regulation. Or, self-control. When we regulate our emotions and feelings (not the same thing). When we have more control over what we do, think, say, express. When we are in more control, and more intentional about what and how we communicate.

I took a few days to think about how to respond to the comment about my banality. Then I left a very short, kind response. And I walked away. That’s it.

I’d rather spend my time building up people than fighting and arguing. I don’t need to be right, but I know some people need to feel loved. And that’s what I’ll work on in 2020.

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Podcast: Jason Alba and Valerie Sokolosky

December 16th, 2019

I met Valerie Sokolosky years ago through the Reach personal branding training. A few weeks ago I was honored to be her guest on her podcast series talking about my story. Our conversation includes job search (of course, that was the beginning), networking, branding, multiple income streams… you know, all of the stuff I like to talk about :)

Check it out here on Youtube:

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Pluralsight Courses Make Me Hide

December 11th, 2019


I’ve been hiding for the last couple of weeks because I’m at the point in my next Pluralsight course where I can’t do much else. I normally have a half dozen things I’m working on, all with their own levels of complexity and needs. I say I have “business ADD” because I need to work on multiple things at the same time. I also usually have multiple books I’m reading at the same time.

But, I’m nearing the finish line for my 35th Pluralsight course, which is on emotional intelligence for leaders. It’s a really cool course and the more I’ve gotten into it the more I’ve come to really appreciate EQ. I’ve learned some really cool things that will impact me for many years.

The course is due tomorrow… so aside from some customer and tech support here and there, various meetings that I’ve had to be in, I’ve been missing in action. AWOL. Quiet.

I dislike not being able to do all of my normal stuff, but soon enough (early next week?) I’ll be back, spinning all of my plates. For now, though, I’m hiding. Thankfully, I have the right team to cover for me :)

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#42DaysOfJobSearch and #100DaysOfCode

December 4th, 2019

On Twitter I’ve been seeing the hashtag for #100DaysOfCode from people who are spending 100 days to learn how to program. It’s inspiring, and fun to watch their progress. It’s really cool to read when someone posts about a new contract, or turning in a project to a customer. Here’s an example:

The stories that accompany this hashtag are all about empowerment through education and creating financial security by creating personal value. This speaks to my heart!

For weeks I’ve been thinking about introducing something similar. It will be much, much smaller… but still, I’m introducing #42DaysOfJobSearch. I want people in job search to be inspired, to be intentional, to make progress, to share progress, and to have hope. I want them to shoot for something, and make progress every single day.

Who is #42DaysOfJobSearch for?

Clearly it is for the job seeker. The person who feels alone, feels dejected, and needs a job (and hope). It is also for people who are preparing for a job search… Exhibit A:

Whether you are part of the 19% of BMO staff who are getting let go, or the thousands of WeWork staff out on the street, or you came from a tiny company (like I did) that doesn’t do outplacement… #42DaysOfJobSearch is for anyone who wants to better their career.

Even if you have a job right now, but feel underemployed or unsatisfied.

Why 42 Days?

Simple: because seven times six is 42! And because 42 is the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.”

Actually, because the Job Search Program is a six week program that you do seven days a week. During the 42 day journey you should be making as much progress, and have as much excitement and hope, as the people who are doing #100DaysOfCode.

Also, because 42 days seems like enough. It’s better than the one+ year job searches that I hear about. I want people to be intentional, directed, and purposeful, and make an impact on their future and income RIGHT NOW. I don’t want you to wait for months. I want you to have success NOW.

I want to know how your #42DaysOfJobSearch is going! I want to hear your progress, your stories, your tiny wins, your big wins… I want you to share and inspire others. Whether you share it on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or just send me an email, I want to hear and share this journey with you.

Learn more about the 42 day Job Search Program here. And send me updates on how you are doing.

Job Search Program Effective Job Search

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Cyber Monday Means Pluralsight’s Biggest Sale Yet (40% off)

December 2nd, 2019

That’s right: for $179 instead of $299 you get a year of Pluralsight. This is freaking awesome.

When people ask me what Pluralsight is I say “have you heard of LinkedIn Learning? That used to be Lynda? Anyway…. Pluralsight is like that, but they focus more on developers and technologists.”

Not a techie? Bear with me… it gets good for you, too…

First, for techies. Pluralsight finds the best of the best to teach technical courses. These are people who are flown around the world and paid bank to speak at conferences or do corporate training. They are deep into their fields of expertise, and are either passionate about teaching or they are learning teaching skills. Pluralsight then works with these content producers (aka “Pluralsight Authors”) to ensure they have quality audio, video, and visuals. You won’t see the scratchy audio or video quality you might see on one of the bazillion Youtube tutorials. A few years ago at the Author conference the CEO stressed again and again (and again) QUALITY in our courses. They want it, and they help us create quality.

I just counted around 300 “Learning Paths” that Pluralsight curates. Hundreds of them are for programmers and technologists. Here are some not-so-technical learning paths that you might find interesting. Remember, for the next few hours (until midnight tonight) you get ALL of this for $179 instead of $299! 40% off!

Pluralsight Learning Path Managing Projects PMP

Pluralsight Learning Path Adobe Video and Audio Production

Pluralsight Learning Path Being A Technology Manager

Pluralsight Learning Path Business Analysis

Pluralsight Learning Path Data Analytics Literacy

Pluralsight Learning Path Graphic Design

Pluralsight Learning Path Leadership Management for Project Managers

Pluralsight Learning Path Program Management Professional

Pluralsight Learning Path Project Management Professional

Pluralsight Learning Path Scrum Framework

I’ll continue to tell you when Pluralsight has sales. But be forewarned… I’ve never seen a discount like this before. Do it now, before time runs out:



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Depression Sucks: Darkness in the Job Search (Tips From the Arctic)

November 18th, 2019

JibberJobber Depression Arctic Darkness

Depression clouds thinking. Depression can cloud everything. My most-commented on post was, I thought, a throw-away that no one would comment on.

But depression is too real, and the post connected with people. Check out the post, and the comments, here.

I live in a valley surrounded by mountains. Sounds charming, but there’s way too many people who live here to make it as charming as a Hallmark setting. Instead, and unfortunately, the mountain/valley arrangement gives us what they call an “inversion,” where we get air trapped over our valley for a while. When I say “air,” think dark, yucky pollution.

Winter here is an issue. It can be dark, gray, cold, unwelcoming, and then you have the inversion. Seasonal depression… that’s what they call it.

I think some people get career seasonal depression. I did, when I was in my job search (exhibit A). Many people I talk to are discouraged and depressed, anxious and on-edge. It just comes with the circumstances. I continue to look for anything to help myself and others who tend to go down that path, and was really quite interested in this article on Fast Company titled

I live in 24 hours of darkness each winter. Here’s how I stay sane

Please take the four minutes they say it will take to read this article. I think the entire article is fascinating.. Below the article are related links… explore those, too. I’ll list the five things the author lists to do, but please read the entire article for context. I don’t want you to brush over this list and think it’s a good idea… I want you to internalize the ideas.

Whether you live in the Arctic and won’t see the sun for a while or you live in sunny Florida and see the sun as much as you want, if you are in a job search you might be in your own darkness. These tips can be a part of your remedy.

  1. Keep a routine. Just make sure that what you have in your routine is actually working. Ditch the tactics that aren’t getting you anywhere.
  2. Plan excuses to be social. Job clubs, anyone??
  3. Opt for a technical solution. I might suggest, for job seekers, turn this around and opt for a non-technical solution Рthat is, TALK TO (MORE) PEOPLE!!
  4. Find things to look forward to. This is why, in my Job Search Program, I talk about vision so much. You will land a job, you won’t be unemployed forever.
  5. Don’t fight the darkness. Recognize that the job search sucks, and accept it, but don’t accept defeat. Know your enemy, as Sun Tzu would say.

Here’s the article:

Fast Company Depression


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Pluralsight’s “Upgrading Your Technology Career” Learning Path

November 5th, 2019

PluralsightPluralsight has designed “learning paths” to help you know what courses you should watch in order to achieve a certain objective. Many of the learning paths are geared towards learning specific programming languages, and are really cool because you get an awesome amount of breadth and depth for that language from multiple authors (which means you get different perspectives).

About the¬†“Upgrading Your Technology Career” learning path: 12 authors with lots and lots of courses to help you become better in the workplace. Pluralsight does an unparalleled job in helping you become a better technologist… and these courses are designed to help you have a fulfilling career because of your soft skills and professional development.¬† Here are the courses:

Starting a Technology Career

Learning Technology in the Information Age    Dan Appleman

Onboard Yourself: What to Do After You Land Your Dream Job    Jason Alba

How to Be a Great Mentee: Get More Out of Mentoring    Jason Alba

How to Stay Abreast in the Ever-changing World of Tech     Doru Catana

Maintaining Your Technology Career

Working on a Team    Jason Alba

Productivity Tips for the Busy Tech Professional    Richard Seroter

Conflict Resolution in the Workplace    Stephen Haunts

Making Work from Home Work for You    Kevin Murray

Working and Communicating with Different Personalities    Jason Alba

Time Management in a World of Interruptions    Boris Hristov

Prioritizing Tasks and Managing Time for Greater Productivity    Jason Alba

Time Management for Technical Professionals  Doru Catana

Keeping up with Technology    Dan Appleman

The Future of Technology Careers    Dan Appleman

Growing Your Technology Career

How to Be a Great Mentor: Get More out of Mentoring     Jason Alba

How to Speak to Business Leaders     Jason Alba

Moving from Technical Professional to Management    Shelley Benhoff

Management 101     Jason Alba

Leadership: Getting Started     Jason Alba

Introduction to Leadership and Management for Developers    Dan Appleman

Creating and Leading Effective Teams for Managers     Jason Alba

Management Strategies that will Increase Productivity Today     Jay McFarland

Owning Your Technology Career

Developing a Killer Personal Brand     Jason Alba

Informational Interviews     Jason Alba

Relationship Management and Tracking for Your Career     Jason Alba

Turning the Corporate Ladder into an Escalator       Jay McFarland

Change It Up!      Rob Conery

How to Get Your Next Promotion     Jason Alba

Career Management 2.0      Jason Alba

Building and Managing Your Career Plan     Jason Alba

Play by Play: Crafting a Brand for Growth and Prosperity Lars KlintTroy Hunt/

Career and Survival Strategies for Software Developers    Dan Appleman

The Dark Side of Technology Careers     Dan Appleman

That is A LOT of viewing…. pick and choose what is best for you right now, and what will help you get more fulfillment and maybe that next promotion at work.

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