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Career Management Can Be Fun!

August 22nd, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy meeting new people.

Enjoy setting your own schedule.

Enjoy the freedom to take care of your health.

Enjoy not commuting.

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

This is YOUR time!

 

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Career Management, Job Search, and The Swimming Pool

August 20th, 2018

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

One is a fix to hopefully a temporary problem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Impact of Job Loss Lasts For A Long Time

August 13th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How about you?

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Have You Ever Been In A Healthy Mentoring Relationship?

August 11th, 2018

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

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

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

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

Any questions? Reach out through the Contact link!

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Still here, still organizing job searches

July 27th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

So what’s new? Nothing and everything.

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

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

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New JibberJobber Orientation

July 2nd, 2018

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

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The Twelve Year Job Search

May 30th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

You got this.

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JibbeJobber Price Change Info For Previous Users

May 29th, 2018

Last week I announced a price model change for JibberJobber. Robert had a great question that I didn’t address in my post:

What does this mean for subscribers that let their account fall back to free accounts?

Are their Contacts and Companies retained, just without the ability to add any more without a paid membership?

Thank you for asking, Robert.

First, once you enter Contacts and Companies you can always access them. Let’s say you are on the 7 day trial… and import a thousand Contacts. Then, you go to a Regular (free) account… so, you are over the 25 Contact limit.

Can you add more Contacts? No, you are over the limit.

Can you access the thousand+ Contacts already in your system? Yes. You can view them, add Log Entries and Reminders, associate them to things, see them in reports, etc.

Second, what does this mean for subscribers that let their account fall back to free accounts?

As I mentioned above, once you get the records in you can use and access the data. You just can’t add more, if you are over the limit.

Third, what does this mean for anyone who signed up before May 21st?

Anyone who signed up before the price change gets 90 days before the 25/25 limit kicks in. We’ll send emails to help them make the decision before the 90 days is up.

Thank you for your support… we’re working hard to make JibberJobber a great tool for you!

 

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JibberJobber Price Change

May 21st, 2018

Twelve years ago, almost to this day, JibberJobber went live. It was the best of times and the worst of times. The best because I was living my entrepreneurial dream, and ready to change the world. I was super optimistic. It was the worst of times because just five months earlier I was laid off and went through a horrible job search and experienced real, long-term depression.

For the Last Twelve Years We’ve Had Our Ups and Downs

Mine was truly an entrepreneurial journey. There was optimism and there were some very difficult periods.  I made a lot of decisions that were great,  and a lot that were not great. My pricing decisions have fallen into both of these categories at one point or another. I got a lot of advice, much of which was bad, and changed the pricing model a few times. Today I am announcing a new change that is probably long overdue.

It’s a hard thing to announce because it’s the first time we are going this direction. However, it is a critical decision I’ve had to make for the viability and future of JibberJobber.

The Change

Starting this week, the Free Level allows you to have 25 Contacts and 25 Companies (instead of 500 Contacts and 500 Companies). You still get access to all features except Email2Log, bulk importing, and push notifications on Reminders (Action Items).

What is the Premium Level?

The Premium Level price remains at $60 a year. You have unlimited access to all features, and you can add as many Contacts an Companies as you want, and you get full access to the JibberJobber Video Library.

Who Is This For?

All new signups will have a seven day trial period, where they get the Premium Level. After seven days they go down to the Free Level (25 Contacts/Companies and no Email2Log, etc.) until they upgrade.  Anyone who has signed up before this change will get 90 days of Premium to decide what to do before their account goes to the Free Level.

The Nuts and Bolts of Running JibberJobber

I have been personally funding JibberJobber for twelve years. The free accounts, the people who have used JibberJobber but never upgraded, the free upgrades for veterans, has mostly been funded out of my own pocket. My  two “investors,” my dad and my father-in-law, helped get JibberJobber up and running.

If I were to hire an experienced CEO today, he or she would probably make this decision immediately and without hesitation. He or she wouldn’t have the emotional ties to users, past and present, that I do. It would be a much easier decision because it is the right decision. For me, the emotion makes it’s a hard decision, but I know it is the right thing to do.

I understand that some users will be unhappy but for the good of the system, for improvements and upgrades and maintenance, to have a future with career management, we need to do this.

I appreciate your support. If you don’t support this and you go somewhere else, I respect that.

Here’s to another solid twelve years of helping people stay organized and land their dream job. If you choose to upgrade, please know that we are not squandering your money. It’s only $60 but we take that very serious, and are invested in making this better, faster, and more relevant for you.

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Finding Eggs, Finding Jobs

May 7th, 2018

eggsOne of the things that has happened since I started working, 92 days ag0 (yes, I’m counting!), is that I’m not available to help around the house and yard like I was.  One of the things I shared with the kids was checking on the chickens… do they have food and water, and how many eggs where there each day (we have a chicken coop to  pay off, ladies! Give us some eggs!).

The last week or two we’ve gotten either zero eggs, or one egg, from eleven chickens (one disappeared a few weeks back). This is surprising because even over the winter, when they said the ladies shut down and we wouldn’t get hardly any eggs, we got seven to ten each day.

And now, with nice weather, we get maybe one?

Saturday I finally had time to go check on things, filled the water and the food, and found four eggs in the nesting spot.  That was good. But then, I noticed another four eggs in the wheelbarrow where we keep some of the food, and poked around the rest of the shed (I built a shed and have the coop in one part of it). Guess what I found?

Two more nesting spots.  One had about seven eggs in it.

Overall, it was a good egg harvesting morning (I think I found about two dozen eggs). That night I got another five eggs.  We were back in production, baby! The girls haven’t let me down!

I was thinking about this and, of course, relating it to the job search. Because that’s the weird thinking I do :)

My kids are, really, new at egg hunting. We’ve had Tina (I call my birds, collectively, Tina, from Napoleon Dynamite) for about a year, and I’ve gone out to collect eggs as much as they have. They are learning to get better at checking the water and food, and get the eggs before Tina eats them (ewwww). It’s not rocket science, but there are certain skills to learn, and certain discipline to be had.

JUST LIKE THE JOB SEARCH.

You see, they did “stuff.” Maybe the bare minimum. They thought they were fine, but they weren’t getting the results they wanted. However, they didn’t change what they were doing.

I, the guy who built the coop, had a lot more knowledge. I had been doing this long enough to know there were some hiding places (still not sure how they are getting out, though) where they will lay eggs. I knew that one a day was not good enough, and because of chicken biology I knew that they were laying somewhere.

What I knew was different than what my rookie egg collectors “knew.”

In the job search we think we know what we are doing. So we apply the skills we assume to be correct… even if they were the skills we used ten or twenty years ago. The market was different back then, as was technology, as were we. The variables have changed… and our skills and tactics need to change.

In the job search we think we know where the jobs are, so we look there, and then pout a little when we don’t find what we think should be there. “Oh well, maybe tomorrow.” In the olden days, the nineteen hundreds, that meant looking in the classified ads (in print newspaper). Nowadays there are many places to look, and we kind of have to look around at all of those places every once in a while.

In the job search we think we can do this on our own and if we don’t get the results we want, then it is Tina’s fault (no offence to all of the Tinas out there). But the reality is there is always someone out there who you should talk to to learn the what’s and the why’s and the where’s. There are job clubs that you should participate in, there are resources at career centers, and there are trained and up-to-date professionals in the resume and career coaching spaces. Yes, there are charlatans, but there are a lot of people who really care, really know, and can really help.  When you are tired of getting the low results that you are getting, it might be time to swallow your pride, open your wallet, and get real help to get yourself from jobless to working in your dream job.

I know it sucks. I know it is uncomfortable (my kids did the chicken duties in the Utah winter, rain, snow, etc.). But really, if you aren’t getting the results you want, it’s time to ask someone who has been there and done that for help. Don’t settle for just one egg a day, especially in today’s economy.

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