Jobster, Take My Breath Away 16

While everyone is inhaling to blah-blah-blah Jobster over the rumored downsizing, dehumanizing, rightsizing, realigning and pocket lining of the business – all probably in the works, concurrently no doubt –  I would venture to make a couple of suggestions as to where we should look for inspiration in what is about to unfold…

Article number one:  I am quite sure Jason Goldberg doesn’t give two hoots what people think or say about him. I don’t know Jason Goldberg personally, far from it. I would not presume that what I suspect is true is indeed the case. But I imagine that Jason Goldberg’s need to win – survive if needs be – is far stronger than his need to be liked, loved or even understood. His low need for approval – call it hubris if you like – will make the decisions he has to execute in the coming days as easy said as they will be done. And the quicker it is done and over with the better for Jobster. Look to Jason Goldberg for a lesson in “getting on with business.”

Article number two:  Any business decision that negatively impacts the security and comfort of an employee is a damn shame. It is. But in the broader context of things, let’s not get overly sentimental if the business dictates that a number of passive candidates now become active. Isn’t that what “Tag yourself. Rank your skills. Get found.” is about? Isn’t that the Jobster model, premise?

Article number three: Until we get something concrete from Jason Goldberg, forget whether Jobster is a good business or a bad business, or is well managed or badly run. None of us on the sidelines have any direct impact on outcomes within the business so what does all this huffing and puffing contribute to the happiness or well being of someone who is about to get axed, or not, as the case may be.

Article number four:  If there are layoffs, let’s hope the opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade isn’t lost as Jobster proactively markets their displaced talent through the Jobster network. If Jobster can pull off an outplacement coup using their own network – wow! – that will make for some positive press. There’s nothing like lemonade to keep the bile down.

Article number five:  Kudos! to Jason Goldberg for being a seminal figure, business blogger. Bravo! As I read his post who cares about profits? the feeds on his blog had no fewer than 17 links to articles and comments on the speculation surrounding Jobster, his business/leadership and current predicaments. We are about to witness a case study in transparency and how authenticity can make or break a CEO. For anyone who adheres to these principles of openness and naked conversation, this is going to be an object lesson from which we all take away something of value.

In closing, as to what the final outcome of all this will be, don’t ask me. I don’t know. Unlike some, so quick off the mark, I shall wait to see. With bated breath.

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16 thoughts on “Jobster, Take My Breath Away

  1. Reply Rosie Dec 28,2006 9:53 am

    Nice article, Amitai. You’re probably right. Also, it’s funny because so many other companies do this sort of thing but they aren’t open to criticism the same way Jobster is because of Jason Goldberg’s position in the recruiting community/blogging/etc. I’ve always had a personal philosophy about things like this: cross that bridge when I come to it and worry about things then.

  2. Reply Maureen Sharib Dec 28,2006 12:06 pm

    Ami, you Bleeding Heart you. You surprise me.

    “Article number two: Any business decision that negatively impacts the security and comfort of an employee is a damn shame.”

    WHY should employees be comfortable and secure? This flies in the face of progress. I say You go Jobster – cut the fat – trim the excess – business is competitive and if you have comfortable and secure employees you have fat and excess. Let them eat (and choke on) the cake they have become so accustomed to consuming. When it runs out they’ll figger it out. We all do, sometime.
    ;)

    “Competition is the whetstone of talent.” ~ Proverb

    Maureen “Antoinette” Sharib
    Telephone Names Sourcer
    513 899 9628

  3. Reply Recruitomatic Dec 28,2006 12:31 pm

    Maureen, thanks for the opportunity to clarify what I meant by “comfort and security.”

    It was not to imply this is an entitlement at work – characterizing the Jobster employee – but rather what we all aspire to for having commited to do our jobs wherever we happen to be employed. As for what it means to a person – on a human level – to be laid off, well, that is a damn shame. Having been the layer-offer and the laid-offed more times than I care to mention, I can attest to it being a damn shame, a matter-of-fact.

    As for “You go Jobster – cut the fat – trim the excess – business is competitive and if you have comfortable and secure employees you have fat and excess.” Of course, how could I disagree? That was not my contention in Article number two, but eluded to in Article number one.

    As for “Bleeding Heart”, is that a compliment? If not, I shall remove your telephone number from your comment as your bill for advertising services remains unpaid. Or are you having troubles of your own?

    Happy New Year, Maureen. I love ya!

  4. Reply Maureen Sharib Dec 28,2006 12:34 pm

    LOL

    The endearment is likewise – I love you too Ami and OF COURSE it’s a compliment! Back-sided, but a compliment none-the-less!

    Please, please, please DON’T remove my telephone number. Someday, somehow, I’ll pony up my bill.
    ;)

    Maureen “LoveBug” Sharib
    Telephone Names Sourcer
    513 899 9628

  5. Reply Jobster Dude Dec 28,2006 1:19 pm

    Great post! Maybe next time you can take your tongue out of goldberg’s ass and write an impartial article. Sheesh!

  6. Reply Recruitomatic Dec 28,2006 1:50 pm

    Jobster Dude:

    1. Nothing I write here is impartial.

    2. As I commented over here:

    “I cannot comment on the comments above. Everyone is entitled to a point of view and some of those posted here may be fair, or not. It seems to me that if someone is going to make damning remarks about Jobster and personal attacks on Jason Goldberg – nothing wrong with that if you can back it up – at least have the “character” yourselves to put your name to the comment so that you too can be held to the same standards of scrutiny you seem determined to apply here.”

    3. Anyone who leaves an insulting comment on this post who does not identify themselves – i.e. put your money where your mouth is – will have their comment deleted [unless I like it].

  7. Reply Martin Snyder Dec 28,2006 2:29 pm

    I think the special case of Jobster is why there is now a blogstorm, and its got little to do with Jason and his blogging.

    Re: layoffs- the list of large firms that survive for decades without any RIF action is slim. Workforces can and will get out of line with market situations.

    Jobster is an anachronism. Locked in amber, it’s a perfect specimen of .dot com thinking, execution, and perhaps, fate.

    How many of those hires were driven by vital business need, and made with the utmost care? Probably half. The other half were to drive headcount, so Jobster could be an organization that could justify it’s own checking account balance.

    Layoffs as a result of image burnishing are sad, but those employees were living by the sword anyway.

    Why?

    Because dot.com style, massive amounts of money were thrown at a ‘business opportunity’ that existed on a hypothetical plane. (hypothesis: Jobster sounds like Friendster, which got a lot of buzz, so maybe we can do with employment what Friendster did with social arrangements) Jobster is the experiment.

    The hypothesis did not bear out and has not apparently supported a new theory of the self-fulfilling business prophesy, but it has reinforced the fairly well understood .dot com theory that a business probably needs an organic reason to exist in order to thrive.

    Jobster went .dot com on every level; news releases, retooling of the model, massive spending on intra-industry branding (ERE San Diego 2006 was basically a Jobster exhibition inter alia) Every employee brought aboard and now scared and / or dead folks walking had a chance to look at the business model and culture before jumping on. The signs were there.

    The .dot com theory holds that some business can actually survive and find a niche, and come back smaller and wiser over time to a good money maker. Few do, but it’s at least a possibility.

    If Jason Goldberg came out and said “we clearly had .dot com fever but the spell has broken, and here is what we are going to do” it would be better than saying “things are great but we have to make adjustments”. If things were great, the workforce would closely match the market.

    I hope Lefkow survives or lands on his feet – I like his blog and he is a class act in person.

  8. Reply Jeff Tokarz Dec 28,2006 6:38 pm

    Jobster’s success or failure will not be decided by people opting to weigh in on rumors of its contraction … unless, of course, they are better informed than Jason Goldberg, Jobster’s investors, etc.

    I’ve yet to see a true stakeholder contribute to this topic du jour! Until then … this blogger (and competitor) will begin preparing for the New Year and Jobster’s prosperity!

    Happy New Year!

  9. Reply Martin Snyder Dec 28,2006 9:15 pm

    Jeff I might have to suggest that their success or failure may actually have something to do with what people think about them in the blogosphere. The intra-industry branding strategy is about getting grass roots to drive usage and the idea of boundng success is important to momentum when you have a $48M load to pull. Why do I even know that figure?

    Because they spent a lot of money for the real estate that they occupy in our brains. Since some of our customers and some of their customers have similar needs, and IMHO they will be in the ATS space before too long, its my job to pile on- my stakeholders would expect no less! If these are rumors, and no RIF occurs, I’ll be surprised and so will most everyone else, and all of our zings will be back on our own laps.

    I’m sure the Jobster crew will weigh in on their blogs- but probably not this one. If your not down with the POF (price of fame) …..well…. I’m not just going to stand here while you badmouth the American way ;-)

  10. Reply Recruitomatic Dec 30,2006 10:24 am

    Martin and Jeff:

    Thank you both for your comments – adding value to this thread – and for your contributions to this topic elsewhere around the bubble.

    I find it interesting to see how the tone and direction of the comments on – John Cook’s post Facing threats, Jobster targets profitability in 2007, the trigger of this blogstorm – has expanded to talk about Jason Goldberg’s CEO blogging, transparency and what appears to be poor judgment all round at Jobster. Also, IMHO, Jason Goldberg’s lackluster performance in reply to the brouhaha validates some of those comments and does not adequately address any of them. One would have thought his time at Bill Clinton’s White House would have better prepared Jason Goldberg for handling such a controversy, rumors. It seems not.

  11. Reply Recruitomatic Jan 3,2007 12:26 pm

    If you were trying to leave a comment here and couldn’t, my apologies. The gremlins were at work. Everything should be good to go now but shoot me an email if you find you are unable to comment on this thread and want to.

    Cheers!

    Carl, thanks for the heads up ;-)

  12. Reply Restaurant Jobs Jan 3,2007 12:34 pm

    Amitai, I thought you were the voice for civilized conversation on John Cook’s thread. I would have to agree with some of the observations of Jason’s style if not the way that they were expressed.

    Not sure that Web 2.0 is well suited with CEOs who are cut from the mold of DOT Bomb wunderkinds. I haven’t seen the business maturity (at least in communications style and content) that indicate Jason Goldberg is a “CEO 2.0″

    I limited information on which to judge Jason (not being a customer, employee or investor) but as a potential customer I found the sales experience unhelpful and the product overpriced. As an occasional observer of Jason’s blog, I have expressed diametrically opposing views in my article “Will Recruiters Become Extinct?”

    Not sure that Jason’s position in the “Clinton White House” was a lofty one filled with responsibility or the opportunity to receive mentorship from Slick Willy. If it were, there would more than likely be an impressive title included in the reference to his time there.

    Keep up the great work, I love reading your input.

  13. Reply Recruitomatic Jan 3,2007 12:40 pm

    Carl, in reply to your comment, check out Jason Corsello on The Human Capitalist who posts Why CEOs Shouldn’t Blog.

  14. Reply Restaurant Jobs Jan 3,2007 1:00 pm

    Hey Amitai, already read it… ;-)

  15. Reply Recruitomatic Jan 3,2007 3:35 pm

    1. John Cook’s Venture Blog has an update: Jobster announcement to hit Wednesday with some fresh perspectives and a new thread of comments.

    2. Also Weddle: Don’t Leap to Conclusions Over Jobster’s Fate on ERE’s Inside Recruiting for an alternate view.

    3. For a real “insider’s perspective” check out this comment on a Jobster employee’s blog.

    4. And finally, Jason Goldberg posts Jobster 2007 – sounding more “corporate” on his blog than is his habit – announcing layoffs and plans for the business.

  16. Reply Recruitomatic Jan 4,2007 12:29 pm

    1. Interesting perspective today from Martin Snyder who comments above. Martin posts Shoe Drops at Jobster: Adjustment or Decapitation? and mentions that top execs being axed looks like, well, a beheading of the organization. But, apparently not Dave Lefkow as hoped above.

    2. In fact, Dave Lefkow posts Need Talent? putting a human face on the previous bland communiques coming out of Jobster, Jason Goldberg mute. Matt Martone adds to the outreach on his post Let’s quit CEO bashing and get these people back to work.

    3. The Recruiting Animal posts a reply to Jason Corsello in his post also titled: Why CEOs Shouldn’t Blog.

    4. Jason Wagner, always good for a thoughtful analysis treats us here: How to Break a New Year’s Resolution in 44 hours or less (or yet another post on JobsterGate 2006).

    5. Jim Durbin posts an insightful comment on the whole debacle: Jobster and the Blogosphere. Jim is very astute, I think.

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