So you lost your job.
The first thing you think when it happens, is “Why now?”.. ”Why me?”
You were planning Christmas presents, and buying a tree.
Looking through your massive “Xmas to-do list”, making sure you don’t forget anything.
And then, this happens. And you have to deal with it. Fast!
We are not the same.
Others bounce back pretty fast.
Others take their time.
Others give up.
And with Christmas coming, the excuses to “leave things for later”, multiply.
I mean, it’s Christmas, right?
Who hires during Christmas?
Who will see my resume, and call me for an interview?
There are more reasons than you can think of, to send a resume this time of the year.
Because people and companies have needs.
Needs to fill positions.
Or to meet their quotas and goals.
There are lots or reasons jobs get filled even days before the holidays, and you can do it if you want to.
But more on this, later.
The most important thing for you right now is to stay active and focused.
Because the consequences of the opposite can be pretty severe.
What could go bad?
Let’s go beyond the obvious one; the financial loss which is self-explanatory.
No job, no money. That’s it.
Or less money.
From unemployment benefits, a spouse, or a rainy-day fund..
But the loss of a job, is not just the loss of a paycheck.
We are humans, after all. And we have feelings.
A job loss is much more than “just money”.
- It’s the loss of our “routine” at minimum.
- It can be a threat to our living standards.
- It can also affect our social surroundings.
- Our connections with friends from our work. Our colleagues.
And there’s more..
Unemployment affects our personality.
Maybe we become less aggreable.
Less considerate, sympathetic, and even less warm towards others.
And as the time passes, we start noticing other things.
We become less careful.
Or less vigilant, and self-disciplined.
It can affect the way we perform a task.
Or our ability to take obligations to others, seriously.
For a lot of people, their job defines who they are.
And when it’s gone, they feel there’s no life vest to grab on.
Unemployed Americans for example, are 2x more likely to suffer, or have received treatment for depression, than those with full-time jobs.
And one in every five long-term unemployed people are, or have been treated for depression!
They also tend to spend less time interacting with people.
Less than 2 hours daily.
Have you noticed that?
Not feeling like you want to talk to others?
The folks at Buzzfeed might be feeling like that..
In case you missed it, Buzzfeed is planning (according to the Wall Street Journal) a massive round of layoffs.
Eight percent (8%) of its US workforce!
The story broke after company revenue targets dropped by 15%-20%.
Job cuts will mostly affect business and sales staff.
It’s a really surprising story.
Not only for the market, but also for the employees.
Buzzfeed was one of the case studies of social media and digital success in the previous years.
But like many media outlets last year, traffic and revenues dropped.
By a lot!
Imagine living like that..
I mean, imagine been told that layoffs are coming.
You go to work every day waiting for the inevitable to happen.
With the holidays just around the corner..
So what do you do?
Do you postpone your plans just because it’s Christmas?
Or do you start looking for alternatives?
Start networking again?
And updating your resume?
Of course you do. And here’s why!
Company departments have yearly budgets.
Often if they don’t spend the money, they might not get it again next year.
So managers have a reason to fill new positions.
Lots of networking opportunities.
It’s the time of the year to reconnect with old friends and meet new people.
It’s a great opportunity to make some phone calls and attend some events or parties.
They are all around the place.
It’s Christmas after all.
Lots of drop-outs.
A lot of people think just like you.
They think nobody hires at Christmas.
They stop looking until after the New Year celebrations.
Their loss is your gain.
Take care of your image.
It’s also a great opportunity to take a look at your resume.
What has changed since you last updated it.
Then your LinkedIn profile.
If you don’t have one, it’s a great opportunity to create one.
Take a look at your skills and achievements.
Make additions and corrections.
And focus on the skills that will help you get the job that fits you the best.
Contact some recruiters.
Look at your Linkedin profile, or your rolodex.
Get in touch with people you worked or just talked to, in the past.
People like hiring managers and/or recruiters.
Make some phone calls or send some emails.
And don’t be annoying or pushy.
Nobody likes that.
Take an extra step.
You are by definition an expert on something.
Your previous job can attest to that.
So you are in essence, a consultant.
Print some business cards with your profession + consultant as your business title.
If anything else fails, you can at least target jobs that require extra hands as the year comes to an end.
That way, you stay active, relevant, and employed until a full-time opportunity appears.
Look, we can keep adding reasons all day long.
The main point here is that Christmas is as good as any other time of the year to find a job.
And by doing that, you avoid all the bad emotions, conditions, and consequences of giving up.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care or help those around you.
Are you going to take care of yourself this year?
You know that thing when you try to describe something by using a term used
to narrate a completely different story..
And it sticks?
Well, it’s a real thing..
And Black Friday is proof that it’s real.
How come, pilgrim?
Because the term “Black Friday” was used for the first time in 1870.
To describe the day the gold market collapsed.
Gold was a big thing back then..
Like startups today..
but with lumps of shiny rocks 🙂
Here’s a link from the NYTimes archive in case you like history and facts.
It’s a cool little story.
So, here you go!
(The link will open a .pdf from the NYT archive, by the way..so don’t freak out).
And then, almost a hundred years later, “Black Friday” re-appears.
The day after Thanksgiving.
By a bunch of frustrated police officers.
Trying (without much success) to handle the shopping crowds,
avoid minor injuries,
and keep the peace and order.
So they gave the name “Black Friday” to describe their frustration.
And it sticked.
Up until today..
And just like every year since then, Black Friday came and passed.
And this year, internet sales crushed it.
A staggering $5.03 Billion in online sales, 16% higher than last year.
On the other side, retail stores saw a 1% drop in sales.
And Macy’s story helped to reach this number.
I mean, what a terrible thing to happen.
To lose your credit card processors, on Black Friday?
To have to fight a falling share price (half of what it was last year),
to deal with the raise of internet sales..
(You know, the ones that just made Amazon’s Jeff Bezos worth over $100 billion).
..and then this?
I guess, that’s only a natural result of where things are heading..
Less shopping at stores, and more button-clicking on our mobiles and tablets.
So, those were the things that caught my attention on this year’s Black Friday.
I learned the origins of the name, read some stories of success and failure, and saw all sorts of creative, and ridiculous promotions all over the world.
‘Till next year,
Be safe everybody!
Lists for blog posts, for emails, for anything you can imagine.
And people are subscribing and unsubscribing faster than the blink of an eye.
Mostly because business posts and business mails usually serve one function.
“Sell, sell, and sell some more”.
But if you think about it, a selling mentality is just the tip of the iceberg.
A bigger problem is what are you selling and to whom.
It’s like using different tires depending on weather or driving conditions.
Sure, you can drive on normal roads and country roads with the same set of tires.
But it’s not very safe. Is it?
You have to drive slower..
Your tires and shock absorbers get damaged easier..
You risk a flat tire or even worse, an accident.
So, you go on a trip to the mountains..in the winter.
And there’s snow on the road.. lots and lots of snow.
And the brand new “all-weather, kick-ass” tires you bought didn’t deliver.
But that’s what the salesperson at the shop told you.
-”They are good for all conditions”.
-”No worries, these babies will get you anywhere”.
-”No man, you don’t need a pair of snow chains. Just buy these tires”.
Is this how communication should look like?
Are we communicating things that our readers/clients want?
Things that make their lives easier? Or not?
Maybe they think I’m just another “salesman” out for their money?
It’s a really fun exercise to do, you know..
Discover what your audience needs and just offer it to them.
Not like a greedy, money-hungry barbarian.
A transaction is implied most of the times, anyway.. no reason to be a jerk about it..
So why not being a bright spot in their day..
The guy who sells a pair of useful and life-saving snow chains, instead of a super expensive set of useless all terrain tires.
Wouldn’t you like to be served by THAT guy?
So maybe, do it like this.. Talk and sell what your tribe wants,
and stop worrying about people abandoning your lists.
Make people be HAPPY to hear from you, not being SICK of hearing from you.
Be safe everybody,
Today, while driving to pitch a prospect, I remembered a guy from my hometown.
His name was Elias, but everybody knew him as “The Bird Man”.
Every afternoon, he would hold on his shoulder his old, big, silver, double cassette player.
And then he would walk to the middle of a crossroad.
Different one, every day.
Then, he would press play.. and manage the traffic passing through.
We called him “bird man”, because his cassettes were filled with sounds of birds.
You see, every morning, he would wake up at sunrise.
Have some breakfast,
and then he would go out with his portable cassette recorder,
(we only had cassettes back then, kids)..
and record all kinds of birds chirping inside his garden.
He would then put the cassette into his big double cassette player,
and go to “perform” his “civic duty” of managing the traffic in our town..
With the cassette player resting on his shoulder the whole time..
playing all those sounds at max. volume!
It was the coolest thing you could see!
I mean, if you were new to the town, or just passing through,
you would be shocked..
But for the rest of us, it just felt good to see this guy.
In fact, we were looking forward to it.
So, drivers would honk and wave at him,
as a thank you for his..service.
A thank you, to a guy listening to the sound of birds..
and helping people drive safely through the crossroad.
Someone who never asked for anything.
Money, a gift, a cup of coffee.. nothing!
No agenda other than make people’s lives better.
So today I remembered Elias, and I thought..
“What a great way to tell a story or share a message”.
How much better your life would be if people were actually looking forward to reading your post, or click-through your video.
Not because they are your colleagues and they “have to”,
Not because you have the best product or service,
because you make their lives a little better than before they met you!
How can we all be the “bird man” in our lives?
Be safe everybody!
That’s a fun project to build!
And yet, it has become a reality. Reaching the top spot in Product Hunt back in May, and getting lots of mentions from outlets all over the world.
What is it? It’s a site dedicated to failed startups.
Complete with colored coffin vectors, rockets in flames, css, company names, and the reasons the teams behind them didn’t make it.
So, what’s the idea here?
Well, the site is created as “ a resource for entrepreneurs to avoid making the same mistakes as failed startups”. It’s a really cool database. A great idea. With a sad aftertaste perhaps.. But useful for research, nevertheless.
Why did they fail?
Oh, all sorts of reasons. Lack of funds, bad tech, bad implementation.. the list is very long and quite detailed. You can spend a lot of time there if you need the research. Or just because you’re qurious.
And if you take a closer look, you will identify a common pattern in many cases. A reason, often overlooked by the founders of these startups. A reason that can take many forms.
Lack of focus. Lack of urgency. No real pain. Not a clear vision (or Unique Selling Proposition)
If you spend some time there, you will see these reasons popping out all over the place. And they are all symptoms of the same problem.
Bad copy can mean different things in different situations. It can mean no company mission page. A decent one, that is. A page explaining what our greater vision is. Not what solution we found to a problem. The big picture as we see it. This is the first thing any startup (or innovator) should to. Find this one first. Then talk about solutions, pains, and explain what you do. And prove it works!
It can also mean bad conversion copy. A bad homepage, a vague landing page, or mediocre website copy.
It can mean no “about us” pages. Who are we? What’s our story? How did our past and our experiences brought us here? If my clients don’t know my story, my influences, my journey, and my “crazy” habits, how can they relate to me?
How can I fix this?
You need to start writing.
Your big idea.
Your daily routines. Your hopes and dreams. The things you saw today and made you smile (or furious).
And you need to fix your site’s copy (if it needs fixing). Copy is paramount today. Equally important.
In a world full of noise, your stories and the way you talk to your tribe are deal makers -or breakers-.
Your stories can define you. So use them to your advantage.
I know, many founders put these things aside. Focusing on the technical part. Not enough time, right? Or money.. Or not important.
And so we see many companies with a one pager.. Saying something cool.. Which makes no sense to the world.. But it’s cool.. Like a cool dragon..With flames coming out of his mouth..
Or we see a page with a name and nothing else. These are the companies way “cooler” than the ones above. Sometimes they don’t even tell you what to do or where to go.. Go to the app store? Search on google for more info?
You know what I’m talking about.
You’ve seen it so many times.
The thing is..
If you don’t think your story is important enough..
Why should the rest of the world think your product or service is important enough for them to care.
So, give your stories some credit. And start telling them. Because people actually care. They are curious. Who are the guys that made this? What makes them tick?
And if your idea has ended somewhere inside the Startup graveyard, you can try again! Besides, a bad decision is not a mistake. A mistake is making the same bad decision twice -or more, depending on how selfish you are-.
Be safe everybody!