How getting laid off twice in two years got Joshua Waldman a book deal

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I had the pleasure of working with Joshua Waldman last year, and was very impressed with his tenacity and creativity. He had a dream to write a book about his passion for using social media in job search, and he moved this into reality when he secured a deal from Wiley to write Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies.

So first off: ROCK ON JOSHUA!

I am very proud of you.

Second, even if you swear you will never set foot in a cubicle again, it makes sense to understand the job search process in the new world of work. Quite frequently, my friends and clients take a job to become their own venture capitalist, aka secure their financial base while they grow their startup.

Enjoy Joshua’s first-hand account of how he turned what appeared to be calamity into a solid opportunity.

How Getting Laid off Twice in 6 Months Got Me a Book Deal

If you’re like me, dreaming of having your own business thrive in today’s economy, you probably have two voices in your head. The first voice is one of doom and gloom.

It says, “The market is down again, home values mean nothing, all my neighbors are foreclosing, news about the economy is dour, and no one will buy my stuff. I’m never going to make it.”

Then you read Pam Slim’s blog and see other people making it. So you remember successful people saying, “The economy is just one more barrier that means nothing to your success. What matters is your heart, your belief and passion. You CAN make this work, there ARE people still buying!”

I face this conflict every day, even with my For Dummies bookcoming out in September, 2011 and a thriving professional speaking career taking off.

You see, my book deal didn’t happen overnight. And once you’ve been in the trenches, you never take anything for granted again. And that makes you more careful and humble, and it’s something to be grateful for.

The Trenches

In late 2008, I had a cushy sales job with Cisco and I was earning six figures. Not long after, though, the market tanked and my accounts stopped spending money. Overnight, I was one of thousands of laid-off Cisco employees.

But being laid off from Cisco isn’t the worst thing in the world. I was quickly recruited by a Cisco reseller in Portland, Oregon. My wife and daughter were happy to move out of the desert states to the green abundance of Oregon. After three months into the new job, though, my customers started to have budget issues. One large customer fired everyone and hired back 80 percent of them at lower salaries. The economic tsunami was coming my way.

Back from the Dead

During that time, I attended one of Pam’s live workshops, and by the time I was laid off for the second time in six months, I saw several business possibilities and regained a sense of purpose. It felt liberating, but I just wasn’t making enough. So I tried to look for another job.

I used my social networks (primarily LinkedIn and Twitter) to get info interviews. Soon I had my first job interview – and that was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life!

After the volley of the usual questions and answers, fake interest and hidden desperation, I got in my car and started to cry.

Suddenly, the pain and letdown from the last two layoffs came back in one big overwhelming rush. I became aware of a lot of fear. Fear of losing control again. Fear of being let down by a company I loved.

When I got home that day, my family were off at school; lucky for me, because I needed some time to deal with this. I locked myself in our meditation room and started to think back to all of my meditation training and what my teacher, Lama Wangdu, had taught me.

(Side note: I almost became a monk when I lived in Nepal for three years back in 2002.)

One lesson I learned from my teacher was that if you ever want something in your life, you have to visualize yourself giving it to other people in abundance. So I thought about all the thousands of other laid-off and jobless people suffering right then, and I imagined them getting jobs. I saw their smiling faces, I heard their sighs of relief when they got that happy phone call. And slowly, after many days of this practice, my broken heart started to heal.

Do What You Love

Maybe you can guess what happened next. I realized that I had skills that could help other people find work. I knew how to leverage social media to grow a valuable network. I knew, intimately, how the hiring process works. And I knew from Clay’s courses how to market online.

My first two-hour workshop was held in July 2009 at Umpqua Community Bank in downtown Portland, with 12 job seekers. I started speaking, pro bono, at every job-seeking group I could get my hands on. I spoke in front of 200 job seekers through the unemployment offices. I spoke at church groups, exclusive executive clubs, and even in little cafés.

My passion for helping other people grew, and ideas started pouring out of my head and into my new blog And through private clients and information products, I started to make enough money to survive.

What’s This about a Book?

About a year and a half later, I met Charlie Wescott through my dad’s BNI network back in Rhode Island, where I grew up. Charlie is a social media genius; just in passing on a random phone call he mentioned that my blog would actually be quite a timely book. He said other bloggers – for example, Pam Slim and Josh Kaufman – had successfully published books related to their blogs’ themes.

Charlie knew someone at Wiley and made an introduction. So I pitched my book idea in just a few short paragraphs. Three months later, my family and I were having lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant in Beaverton when I got a call. It was Wiley’s For Dummies editor. And they wanted to know if I was still interested in writing the book. Daal Bhat had never tasted so good!

This whole story is a long way of saying that:

•    Everyone feels doubt in the face of uncertainty

•    You really must be passionate about your business if you are a solopreneur

•    There is no more valuable skill than online marketing, period

•    Results WILL NOT happen overnight; give it time

•    You never know how your network will serve you, so be open

•    Always wish for others what you would want for yourself

If you know anyone who is unemployed or looking for a new job, please send them over to Amazon where they can pick up a copy of Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies. And please leave your comments below; I would very much like to hear about your own journeys.

About Joshua:

Joshua Waldman helps frustrated job seekers leverage social media to find work FAST! He is the founder of and the author of the new book, Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies. Sign-up for his newsletter today and get access to his exclusive training videos for free.

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13 Responses to “How getting laid off twice in two years got Joshua Waldman a book deal”

  1. […] Pam Slim is a coach and author of “Escape from Cubicle Nation”. She helps people break away from their day jobs to start their own business. On her blog, you can read many stories of how people have transformed their lives by starting their own businesses. One of her clients, Joshua Waldman, was laid off twice in six months and hit a low point after a traumatic job interview. After hitting the low point, he realized that he had skills that could help other people find work. The result is the book, “Job Searching with Social Media for dummies”. Read about his story and lessons learned here. […]

  2. […] need to have an exit plan out of a job. Any job. Even one that you love. Otherwise, you would be taking a great risk. Why, […]

  3. Kevin Cullis says:


    I think there are more people than you think looking, but I’d change the word from looking for a “job” to looking for “work.” Much more opportunistic, don’t you think?

    Bottom line folks: You need multiple streams of income from work, so I suggest finding a business to run on the side. Scary, but well worth the freedom.


    P.S. Joshua, Mac or PC? 🙂

  4. What an inspiring story! Thanks for sharing this with us Joshua!

  5. An employer who fired everybody and then hired back 80% at lower rates!? That in itself is motivation to quit the cubicle…before it’s too late. I’ve heard some horror stories out there. This may be the worst.

  6. Huge congratulations to you, Joshua! That is so exciting!

    I know several other people have mentioned it, but it’s because it’s so true and helpful, “One lesson I learned from my teacher was that if you ever want something in your life, you have to visualize yourself giving it to other people in abundance.”

    Also, thanks for sharing about how you got your book deal — that process has always been such a mystery to me.

    In the meantime, I am slowly doing my best to help others live healthy, happy successful lives as I am working toward that for myself. I am well aware it won’t happen overnight, and that’s OK because I’m enjoying the process.

  7. Daryl Gerke says:

    Congratulations, Joshua! Like you, I am a member of the “Laid Off Twice Club.” The first time started me thinking about “job independence”, and the second time really got me moving.

    The result — 24 years of running my own engineering consulting firm. It has been great fun, and likely would not have happened had it not been for the layoffs.

    As an aside, the first day in full time practice was the day the market crashed in 1987. Scary? Yes, but I did get the worst day in business out of the way the first day in business.

    So when the inevitible business crises occur (and they will), I know you will do fine. The layoffs have toughened you, and will have served you well.

    Finally, thanks for sharing your experiences! Your advice –along with Pam’s — are badly needed. Just witnessed that need at a professional conference, where 60 engineers showed up for a special session on consulting. Seems many were worried about their current jobs — a sign of the times, I guess.

    All the best,

    PS – You can read about my journey at And I’ll pick up your book and review it on my blog.

    • I’ve had the pleasure in watching Joshua grow. We met at Pam’s workshop in Portland and have had some great chats about social media and entrepreneurship. Josh, I’m so excited for you and I wish you continued success.

  8. Jay Steven Levin says:

    Inspiring story Joshua. Congrats not only on your book, or your endurance and fortitude or even on actualizing your future but also on bringing your spiritual life into your work.
    Will spread the word on the richness of your story and the value of your book.
    Best wishes,
    from that other monk
    P.S. Was wanting to see from which spiritual heritage you came. Now will review.

  9. Max Daniels says:

    That is a gripping tale – “fake interest and hidden desperation” indeed! I will be picking up a copy of this. Thanks, Pam and Joshua.

  10. fas says:

    So basically taking a vacation can spur your creative mind, hope my employer knows that!

  11. Congratulations Joshua! Thank you for sharing your insights with us.

    “One lesson I learned from my teacher was that if you ever want something in your life, you have to visualize yourself giving it to other people in abundance.”

    This is one of the most beautiful and powerful words I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Giving others first – that I’ve heard before, but I never thought of visualizing myself giving whatever it is to other people in abundance. And visualizing people smiling for what they received.

    Thanks Joshua&Pam!

  12. Congratulations, Joshua! The few times we’ve met it’s been clear how focused you are on helping people learn how to use social media.

    My favorite quote: if you ever want something in your life, you have to visualize yourself giving it to other people in abundance.

    We done!