3 things I learned from pausing Cube Rules

By Scot Herrick | Cube Rules Commentary

Jul 11

Most people would not have noticed because they were looking somewhere in the past where a thousand articles have been published, but since May, 2017, I officially paused Cube Rules.

For a lot of reasons, I needed to back away. Cube Rules was becoming more of a burden, I didn’t know if I was making a difference with the site, and, to be fair, the site was not producing any income.

And, if you read marketing gurus, I had no interest in building a big audience only to then start fulfilling whatever objectives I have for the site.

So I paused. I needed to in order to gain perspective. To figure out if what I was writing really made a difference.

What happened since then?

In between normal life, my family also took a week-long trip to Paris. Trudging 45-miles in shoes, seeing some of the great art of our times, and living a lot of the cafe life was renewing. I didn’t think specifically about Cube Rules or my day job, but it was a useful exercise in just clearing out the cobwebs.

Figuring out what was important.

The first question

The first question I had to ask myself: Did the content and products I was producing really have the potential to make a difference in people making transitions in corporate?

You need to understand, I follow about 70 career sites. I see their content every day. 90% of their content is completely different than mine.

Stuff about how management can, essentially, make their cubicle dwellers feel better about their company or something close to it.

Fashion in the office (there is more than one career site “ranked” in awards that focuses on this…).

Or career sites that talk about how you can create a business (when the site is about careers, not about building businesses…).

I, seriously, look at those sites and just wonder how they are helping people land jobs, have job success or build any type of employment security. The honest answer is: they are not.

And where the 10% overlaps on my subjects, the stuff looks like it has been written by people who have never really worked in a cubicle, dealing with Corporate politics, policies, and trying to figure out how to survive and thrive in a place where you compete with everyone on the planet for your job.

Certainly, not all of my content is awesome. But a whole lot of it deals with real issues in corporate life. A whole lot of it directly addresses what people face in cubicles every day. And, since I work in one of those cubicles in my day job, I have a certain point of view. Living the dream, so to speak, gives you a unique point of view…

I did an interview yesterday – one that was about the career expert side of Cube Rules and not job interviews that I do for my day job — that asked a lot of good questions (like, what have you learned about work over the course of your career?).

When I go back over the past years of work on this site to try and answer that question, the thing that stood out of me the most was like, “Damn, you have really written some very good stuff here!”

So the answer to the first question — yes, the content and products I have here have a huge potential to make a difference.

The second question

The second question was: What is the best way to serve people who hope to become Cubicle Warriors?

The way I currently present and sell my products clearly is not the answer. This is something that can be improved upon.

While the content on the site is, IMHO, very good, the actual products need to improve. Not necessarily with the content (though that can be better), but the approach needs to be different.

Instead of “here is your download,” the better approach would be to build classes on my various subjects allowing users to break subjects up into smaller chunks, increase the variety of methods of providing the information, and making the content better over time while still giving those who started out full access to all of the improved content for their reference.

I don’t have all this worked out yet, there are a few things I need to change on the site and how stuff is presented, but I know what I want to present and have the tools ready to create the classes. Obviously, more on this later.

The third question

The third question is: are you, Scot, motivated enough to do this?

It’s a valid question. Maintaining a web site, producing content, creating classes, managing clients — all that takes a serious commitment. Is it worth it? After all, this is the question that produced the pause here in the first place.

And after a lot of time, the answer to this question is yes.

There are two reasons for the answer to be yes.

The first reason is this: there is a great need for this work because, frankly, people are really horrible at doing career transitions. It’s because it is a job skill that isn’t used much.

But, seriously. I’ve been fortunate to be a “hiring manager” in that I do the screening interviews for candidates for openings in my department for my day job. If you didn’t make it past me, you never got the opportunity to do a second interview with the panel that really does the hiring.

I was the “gate” you had to pass once you got past the HR screening interview.

And even though our HR group is pretty good at screening candidates, I have to tell you: these interviews were just absolutely awful. And I didn’t pass on many candidates.

The validation to all of that was that if you made it past me, the panel unanimously agreed with my interview results and you got a job offer.

Now, given the market (oh, soooo much better than 2009!), not everyone accepted the job offer. But they got one to evaluate.

The deal about all of this isn’t about what a great interviewer I am or whatever. The big deal about this is: there is such a small threshold for job candidates to overcome to get to the next interview because the competition is just horrible.

That’s not going to be the case all the time — but most of the time, if you know how to do a job interview right, you can move on in the process. And get a job offer.

How can that be ignored?

The second reason is this: I enjoy helping people. Sometimes it is very frustrating in that people ask for advice — and then don’t follow it.

But it is sooo satisfying to have someone want to change, take the advice and get results.

A small example are the people that I have helped with their resume who, after months of no interviews, now get multiple interviews simply because they change their resume to match up with what I recommend.

You are talking people’s livelihood here — making a difference in their ability to provide for their family, their self-worth, and be able to live a life without the big corporate axe hanging over their heads.

Being able to help someone get the interview, get the job offer, be successful on the job is just so satisfying.

What’s next?

Obviously, this isn’t going to be the viral post bringing in thousands of readers. It is much more of an accountability post so I can put my thoughts out there and figure out the path forward.

So this will take a bit. I have the outline for multiple classes — but one miracle at a time. The content I produce I’m happy with, so that will continue. The web site changes will happen over time.

But after wandering for a while, the answer is: I still have stories to tell. I can help people.

You still deserve to be a Cubicle Warrior. And I intend to help you get there.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.