Before Jason Alba started JibberJobber, a web-based career management tool for job seekers, his dream was to be a big-company CIO. And by early January 2006, at age 32, he was on his way to achieving his goal.
Alba possessed many of the traditional requirements for a CIO job: He had a Bachelor's degree in computer information systems and an MBA. He could code. And in his role at the time, he oversaw product design and development, customer service, sales and a staff of about 22 as the general manager of Nuvek, a software company in Utah. He had been working at Nuvek for six years.
But on January 8, Alba was laid off. Suddenly, nothing in his life was certain except the need to find another job. And fast. He had only six weeks of severance, and his wife, Kaisie, was three-months' pregnant with their fourth child. They had no health insurance to cover the cost of the birth, let alone anything else.
So Alba did what all job seekers do: He polished up his résumé-highlighting the financial impact his accomplishments had on his previous employers' bottom lines-sent it to 30 recruiters, applied for 100 jobs, and he waited.
His phone never rang.
From General Manager to Job Seeker
Alba says going from being the "king of the hill" general manager of a software company, who was treated with respect and responsiveness, to an unemployed job seeker who couldn't get a phone call from an entry-level HR clerk was a tough adjustment.
While he waited for calls and applied for jobs, Alba read the book Multiple Streams of Income and tried to come up with anything he could do on top of a full-time job that would provide him with additional income without requiring much effort. Alba didn't want to rely on a full-time corporate job for 100 percent of his earnings after experiencing how quickly that income can vanish.
One idea for an extra revenue stream struck Alba while he and his wife were reviewing their household budget, shortly after he was laid off. As they considered expenses they could trim or eliminate, Alba's wife wondered how their monthly mortgage payment and their grocery bill compared with other families' spending and budgets. The question gave Alba the idea for a website where people could enter their zip codes, their household income and their various expenses and compare how they stack up financially with others in their area. (A similar website, Wesabe, already existed.)
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