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Favorite Friday: My Life Is Impostor Syndrome

March 6th, 2020

I’ve grown to love my Favorite Friday posts. As I find blog posts that I really like, years later, I get to reshare them.

This one is from last year, where I reflect on impostor syndrome. I’ve been hearing a lot about it, and just this week wrote about it again. But I love this post, and I love the image, so I wanted to add it to Favorite Friday:

My Life Is Impostor Syndrome

JibberJobber Impostor Syndrome Dog Unicorn

 

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Impostor Syndrome

March 2nd, 2020

I have been reading a lot about impostor syndrome on my social channels lately.

I think the old me would have said,

“YOU ARE AWESOME! Get over your self-doubt and negative talk and see yourself the way everyone else sees you!”

If I were coaching you I’d say,

“They hired you for a reason! You were the best candidate! Now do the job we all know you can do!”

They had confidence in you… why don’t you have confidence in you?

JibberJobber Impostor Syndrome

I saw someone say impostor syndrome is more common in women. I imagine there are statistics out there that prove that, but I’m hear to tell you, plenty of guys feel impostor syndrome. Unfortunately, this syndrome doesn’t discriminate.

Almost a year ago I wrote My Life Is Impostor Syndrome. I talked about working in a company that I had been following for years. It was really a dream job, with a super boss. But I spent months working through the weird feelings of not being the right person for the job.

Last fall I wrote Why You May Hate Your Next Dream Job. If you have impostor syndrome you will dread going to work. You might feel paranoid that it really isn’t a syndrome, and that everyone else feels the same way (they don’t!).

When I get on stage I sometimes feel like I have impostor syndrome. When I do my courses for Pluralsight I think “why am I doing this course? There are two hundred people who are more qualified than I am!” When I wrote my first book on LinkedIn I could have named you two dozen people who should have written the book (alas, they didn’t).

Sitting here, hiding behind my keyboard, writing a post about YOUR career, I feel like I have a bit of impostor syndrome. Who am I to tell you how to have a great career?

The truth is, these self-doubts creep into our brain and sometimes they settle in comfortably. They grow, and spew their lies.

JibberJobber Impostor Syndrome Self Reflection

A few months into that dream job, the one from the first link, I was in my office with my very smart and capable boss. By this point I was thinking he had all the knowledge he needed, I wasn’t bringing any smarts to the table. He also could do all of the things he wanted me to do… if he lost me it wouldn’t be a big deal. For over a decade I was used to being the chief visionary and strategist, as well as having to do a fair amount of roll-up-your-sleeves work. And here I was, not able to contribute any strategy or vision (because he had that all figured out), and in the learning curve part of doing real work…

So I’m in this meeting and I realize that indeed I did bring value. A lot of value. I was a doer. I was someone who could be giving a vision, and work towards that vision. I could understand the direction and strategy and get the job done. I could work with the right teams, I could represent my own teams in meetings, and I was smart enough to (generally) keep up with what we were doing.

My ability to do all of this was valuable in critical. It allowed my boss to hand over a lot of work, so he could make progress in other areas. I walked out of that meeting finally feeling like yes, indeed, I was the right person for the job. Perhaps there were others who would have been also, but I was just as capable. And for various reasons, I was the chosen one.

It didn’t last, which is okay. I learned a ton from that job, and boss, and opportunity. I had some really great experiences and I had a handful of yucky experiences. What I learned has helped me since then. They got value out of me and I certainly got value out of working there.

When we go into an organization, we’ll have those deceitful feelings known as impostor syndrome. Here’s how I suggest you work through it:

Have patience

Everyone knows, especially your boss and the executives, that there will be a learning curve to go through. They might not tell you that, but if you were being honest with yourself, you would admit you would have to learn stuff… whether it is their software, their processes, the industry, the company culture, etc. I didn’t even mention the tasks you do in your job.

Allow yourself to go through the learning curve. Give yourself time. When I bring on a new person I, as the boss, realize they will need three to six months to work through learning curves. I expect them to be slow, and make mistakes, but within 6 or so months I hope they are up to speed and contributing well.

If I am going to have patience with you for this first 6 or so months, why not have patience with yourself?

Study up

Having patience doesn’t mean just skating along and doing things without intention. I just don’t want you to stress out unreasonably as you ramp up. But some stress is okay… just don’t let it eat into your very soul.

Remember I said you’ll go through learning curves? Well, what can YOU DO to get you through those learning curves? Do you need to read books or articles, or watch courses? What would help you feel like you are learning the right things, at the right pace?

Before you take the drastic step of bowing out, giving up, quitting, do me a favor and WORK ON YOURSELF. You should always be learning, always growing, always improving, even when you don’t feel confident in your abilities.

Please, figure out what you should work on, and then spend time outside of the office to get better. Your boss or colleagues might provide you with some excellent learning materials.

Talk to someone

Fortunately I could talk to my boss. We had some very open conversations where he helped me calm my fears. I wasn’t out of control outwardly, but I was concerned about some things. Getting these things into our regular conversation was helpful for me to realize that some of my worries were mine alone, and didn’t even faze him. That was super important for me to understand.

You might not have a boss like that. Or you might not be ready to have that conversation with your boss. In that case, find a trusted colleague, friend, or even a coach that you can talk through these things with. Sometimes our perspective is biased and skewed in unfair ways, and we just need to talk out loud and maybe get real, grounded insight to help us work through it.

How do YOU fight impostor syndrome? I hope by now you realize it is not just you… this is almost a normal part of onboarding yourself.

JibberJobber Impostor Syndrome Confidence

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Updated Informational Interviews Course on Pluralsight!

February 25th, 2020

Look what I got in my email Friday night:

Pluralsight Informational Interviews

Go to the Informational Interviews course

I’m counting this as my 36th course, even thought it replaces one I did back in 2012 (or was it 2013?).

After doing my first course with Pluralsight, in 2012, I pitched them a course on informational interviews. By that time I had been speaking a lot on stage and was passionate about informational interviews as the best tool/tactic/strategy for job seekers.

Here we are in 2020 and I continue to believe (and) say that. I can’t imagine a more important way for you to spend your time, especially the time you have control over (quiet time, time when no one is reaching out to you, which I had in abundance in my job search).

Beyond being the best tactic for job seekers, it is an excellent tactic/strategy for people who are ready to really, seriously, and strategically network. It’s an super tactic/strategy for small business owners who are looking for partners, customers, investors, etc.

A friend of mine is a professional speaker. He asked “could I use this to get more speaking business?” ABSOLUTELY.

Informational interviews is simply strategic, purposeful networking. It is networking with a system instead of accidental networking.

I believe in informational interviews so much I created a 6 week job search program that focuses on using informational interviews to find leads, and get you closer to job interviews.

Otherwise, for a hour+ course, click on this link to the Pluralsight Informational Interviews course. Need a 30 day pass? Hit me up :)

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When

February 24th, 2020

JibberJobber Waiting For HappinessWhen ____________, I’ll be happy.

When I knew what college I was going to, I’d be happy.

When I figured out what to major in, I would be happy.

When I finally was going to graduate, I would be happy.

When I got a real job, I’d be happy.

When I landed a job, after I lost mine in 2006, maybe I could be happy again.

Once the workplace culture changed, and wasn’t toxic, then I could be happy.

If I could just get a raise, then I’d be happy.

If I could get another raise, I’ll definitely be happy.

Really, last time… I just need another raise, so I can be happy.

I knew a lady who was pretty cool. I didn’t know her well, but we were kind of in the same social circles. One day (after years of lots of hard work) she and her husband became wealthy. They bought a mansion. She drove a crazy cool car. And she always looked happy.

I knew that if I became wealthy (like she had) I would have a big smile on my face all the time, too. I knew that I would be able to relax, and enjoy life, finally. Kind of put the hard parts of “adulting” aside.  When that finally happened, I could be as happy as she was.

I commented about how happy she was to a friend. I didn’t know my friend was her close friend. He said, “What’s cool is that she has always been like that. Even in the hard times, while her husband was building his business, when they didn’t have any money, etc., she was always happy. She hasn’t even changed… she has always been like that.”

It was then I realized I had been lying to myself. I was a liar. Because even when I got to the end of whatever little journey I was on, I wasn’t going to be happy. I would have another journey to work on, and when I finished that, I wouldn’t be happy. I finally realized the endless cycle of “when this happens, I’ll be happy” was just a lie.

I started to think I needed to figure out how to enjoy the journey. Enjoy the opportunity to be on it. Enjoy the challenges and the unknowns and the hard parts. I needed to find happiness while, not when.

JibberJobber While Not When

And that has become my new journey. I strive to be happy along the journey, instead of buying into the lie that I’ll be happy when the journey is over.

Years ago a close friend asked me if I was “happy with where JibberJobber was at.” I quietly thought about and finally responded, “I’m happy, but I’m not satisfied.”

That was so freeing. So empowering. To know that happy didn’t mean the end. There was more that I could do, more than I would do. And I’d let that unsatisfaction drive me.  I figure that is much healthier than having unhappiness drive me.

Happy Monday! I hope this helps shift your thinking about where you are at, especially if you are in transition, so you can find happiness, even in these dark times.

JibberJobber Job Search Dark Times

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EQ vs. IQ Podcast Conversation with Pluralsight

February 21st, 2020

Jeremy Morgan invited me to the Pluralsight podcast to talk about career stuff as well as one of my newest course topics: emotional intelligence.

I tweeted a few weeks ago that this course, Leading with Emotional Intelligence, might be the most important course I have created. I believe that if we, the whole world, worked to improve our emotional intelligence, everything would change. Work would be better, cultures would be better, people would be more kind (to themselves and others), etc.

Check out my Pluralsight podcast interview here (click the image):

Pluralsight Podcast Jason Alba Emotional Intelligence

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Something “New” About Today’s Job Search

February 17th, 2020

Remember back in the 1900’s that having too many jobs, or gaps on your resume, could have been catastrophic?

In the hallway: “Oh, that person is a job hopper.

In a interview: “I see you have had six jobs in the last five years. Why?

In a pre-interview screening call: “What were you doing all of 2017? I don’t see anything on your resume for that year.

These were enough of a red flag to keep you off the short list of desired candidates.

JibberJobber Olden Days

But things have changed. Those attitudes were common when companies were more inclined to keep employees around for a long, long time.

That is a thing of the past. And so is the expectation that you will have worked at a certain company for at least a certain amount of time.

If you have a work history that has holes, or that includes a lot of different companies, that might be TOTALLY OKAY.

In the cover letter (yes, I still believe in cover letters even though some say they are antiquated), focus on your skills that match the job description/requirements.

In your interview, focus on your skills that match the job description/requirements.

Figure out how to communicate your transferable skills.

And then downplay your work history deficiencies.

I’m not excusing people who have horrible work ethics, or integrity, etc. I am just point out that in today’s world, it just isn’t as important as it used to be.

Have a sentence or two you can say if/when it comes up. Practice it, and then use it at the right time.

“Yeah, I know I’ve had six jobs over the last five years. I’m glad you brought that up. Two of those changes happened with acquisitions, and I retained my role even while the company names changed. One company folded… it was a startup and I took a risk joining with them. Unfortunately it couldn’t weather some big industry changes and the owners shut the company down. In two companies I was just not put in the right role, and while I had some executives who were rallying for me to stay, I decided to go to an opportunity that was a better fit for my skillset.” 

Okay, that’s more than a sentence or two, but you get the point. You don’t have to say everything, you should be very, very careful about disparaging anyone (even yourself), but you should keep this very concise, and get back to focusing on why your skills are a great match for this role.

And to address the issue, figure out what you can communicate to diminish their concern that you’ll be a flight risk.

Bottom line: this is not as big of an issue as it has been in the past. Cool, but the underlying reason is not so cool. :/

 

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Multiple Points of Failure in the Job Search #WhyJobSearchStinks

February 12th, 2020

When I was studying for my degree in informational systems last century there was this concept of points of failure. Imagine you have a system (like a computer system, or a vehicle) and something breaks. Where did it break? The bigger question is, where are all of the places that could fail?

In a car you might have an empty gas tank… that blame can fall on the driver, but if you are one of those roads in Nevada that go for hundreds of miles with nothing around, it can be fatal. Other points of failure could be in a seat belt mechanism, the steering wheel, or back in the old days, the Ford Pinto gas tank (which was fatal).

I recently resurfaced a post from 2013 about the villains in your job search. As I read it now I half feel like I was whining and blaming, and half trying to figure out what was broken in the job search. Unfortunately, there is A LOT that is broken in the job search.

JibberJobber Points of Failure

From HR to hiring managers to recruiters to business owners… all of the people involved in the hiring process, to job seekers and their allies (coaches, resumes writers, job club hosts, etc.), there are plenty of places that might be a point of failure.

When I was in my job search, which was a miserable failure, all I knew was that “it didn’t work.” Kind of like when a computer “doesn’t work,” or a car “doesn’t work.”

But I didn’t understand what IT was.

I thought it was me. I was broken. I didn’t have the best attitude. I didn’t know how to network. I didn’t like networking.

Couldn’t people just see from my resume that I was competent? And I could definitely add value to their ecosystem?

I interviewed fine, I thought. I cleaned up well enough.

But hardly any interviews. And no offers. Even though I was accomplished, and my resume looked good.

PAUSE HERE

Please think about your job search. How are things going for you? More than “it sucks” or “it’s broken,” where exactly are you having problems?

If I was smarter in 2006 I would have thought “I’m not getting interviews.” And then, the question: WHY NOT?

When at IT tech comes to check out your broken computer, they don’t throw it away (usually). They do a diagnostic.

When you go to the doctor, they (hopefully) don’t just say “take these pills.” They do a diagnostic.

I want you to do a diagnostic on your job search. Where you are failing, or where you feel pain, might be places  you need to fix. It’s easier to fix “why am I not getting interviews” rather than “why am I not getting a job?” The latter question is too vague.

I want you to find YOUR failure points in the job search.

I talk to people who have lots of interviews, and get to the third or fourth interview regularly, but never get an offer.

Do they need to work on their resume? Probably not. Their resume got them into plenty of interviews.

Are they bad at interviewing? Probably not… they got plenty of offers for second and third interviews.

Their point of failure is not figuring out how to close the deal.

How do you fix that?

I DON’T KNOW. 

I’m going to pull out my MBA answer and say “it depends.”

This is why their are interview coaches. You probably aren’t going to find your answer through an article. Perhaps there is good information out there, but a coach can help you understand whether you have a unique situation or not. If you do, they can talk you through it.

How do you fix your points of failure?

The first step is to identify where you are failing. And then, instead of thinking YOU are broken, fix the issue.

If indeed you have a villain that you need to blame, then fix it (I don’t mean to murder anyone). But then, once it is fixed, MOVE ON.

If you get stuck again, identify your point of failure and address it.

Before you know it you’ll see less failures, more traction, and you might just be accepting a job offer!

 

 

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Podcast: “I’m a leader, how do I communicate that to employers?”

February 6th, 2020

Don Jones, one of my friends from Pluralsight, invited me to an interesting conversation he was going to have with a job seeker. This guy had plenty of leadership skills but wasn’t quite sure how to best communicate that in his job search.

Listen here:

Jjason Alba Don Jones Job Search Podcast

This conversation was only 39 minutes… and I got a chance to talk through job search strategy and tactics. We talked about personal branding, of course, and a bunch of things that I think will help you in your job search.

You can either play it in your browser, or on a podcast service, or just download it from Don’s page, here:

LISTEN: HOW DO YOU DEMONSTRATE A SKILL LIKE LEADERSHIP ON A JOB HUNT?

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Who Is To Blame For A Bad Job Search?

February 5th, 2020

Job Search Villains

I was poking around my blog last week and came across this post:

Who are the Villains in your Job Search?

One of the “benefits” of having written for almost fourteen years is that I come across stuff I’ve written about, and was at one point passionate about, but have since forgotten. It’s like I get to relive a bit of that passion.

Or, it leaves me scratching my head wondering what they huh??

This villains post sounded… jaded. Weird. It’s arguable that since I lost my job in 2006 I’ve been jaded and weird :p While the post was kind of hard to read, I think the point is still valid.

I think the most important part of that post is that you (a) identify the “villains,” or bad guys, or where you need to place blame, or even triggers, and (b) answer the question in my very last line: how will you resolve your villains?

I was recently in a conversation with a close friend about some issues… and for every issue we were trying to figure out the root causes. In having those conversations we identified people or situations at the root cause, but at one point realized that it seemed like we were mostly finding someone to blame for something.

I think root cause identification is great, and healthy. But it isn’t always what you need to do.  Let me put it another way:

I have problems.

I need to move forward.

I can work on root cause identification. But if I spend too much time there, or wallow in that, I don’t leave enough time or space to move forward. Sometimes, I need to set my issues aside, set the blame aside, and do what I need to do: marketing, product, management, etc.

I have to function. I have to make progress. Otherwise I’ll just get caught up in nastiness.

In a way, no matter who else the villains are, I can become the biggest villain if I allow them to rob time from me.

This is the same for you. If you are in a job search, you can blame your idiot ex-boss for your problems. Or you can pick up the phone and ask someone for an informational interview. If the phone is too scary, send someone an email.

Don’t let your villains rob your progress. 

 

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Feedback on “Get Your Next Promotion” Pluralsight Course from Heather MacDonald

January 29th, 2020

Heather MacDonald Program ManagerOne of the most rewarding parts of creating stuff (in this case, soft skills courses for Pluralsight) is hearing what others think about it. Well, not hearing anything… I don’t need to hear that I’m a dolt. But I do love to hear how anything I’ve created has helped you think differently, or inspired you to do something (anything!).

Mark LeBlanc said one of his objectives as a speaker is to impact and inspire. As soon as he said that it became my objective, as a creator.

I was delighted to get tagged in this LinkedIn post by Heather MacDonald, who is working every day to make the world and her work environment a better place (link here). Just looking at Heather’s LinkedIn profile shows me that she strives to help and build others – it is inspiring!

Here’s what she wrote, in case you can’t access her post:

Heather MacDonald Program Manager

Another Pluralsight course I finished recently was How to Get Your Next Promotion by Jason Alba, Product Manager. I am fully aware I’ve only been in my current role for a short time but I am always thinking about what I can do to better support my future plans for my life.

I loved and recommend this course because:

1. It gives tangible steps to figure out what your plan is and how to follow up and get there

2. I love that it talks about soft skills and that it touched on the “cultural fit” issue in applying for new jobs

3. The course talks through how you can take control of your career path so you can truly own your own growth (I have fallen into the trap of believing that if I do a good job people will notice and promote me but I know that’s not typically true.)

There are so many great pieces to this course depending on where you are in your career and what you want to do. I recommend watching the course and understanding where you’re going and what’s next that you can work on.

Where are you on your career path? What’s next for you? What do you need to work on to be ready to move into your next role? Share what you have going on! You never know who else can help you achieve your dream.

#career #lifelonglearning #goals

Thank you Heather, for this very kind review!

If anyone you want a 30 day pass to Pluralsight, to check out this and any of my other soft skills courses, or any of the around-7,000 courses from amazing people from around the world, just let me know. I’ll see if I can find some.

The course she is talking about is here:

Pluralsight How To Get Your Next Promotion

 

 

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