My Kidney Stone and Your Job Search

Part I: Back Story

A couple of years ago, when I was working at BambooHR, I had an immense pain in my belly/back/gut. I hoped it wasn’t something life-ending like cancer, but you never know. I hadn’t felt anything that painful since I had my gall bladder attacks, many years ago. I really hoped it wasn’t my appendix, which would only mean surgery. The pain was so bad I just couldn’t imagine it being anything that was no big deal.

I think it was a Sunday when I finally dragged myself to the urgent care to get checked out. The visit was a memorable comedy of errors… I’ll never forget when the doctor said I had a kidney stone. I was completely surprised. I didn’t even think about that having been an option.

JibberJobber Pain

So, off to the internet to see what my options where. I like and appreciate doctors, but sometimes their remedies are a little too… cutting. I read a lot of articles and watched a few videos and settled on a tonic that was pretty gross. Basically it was about one or two teaspoons of organic lemon juice, one or two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, a squirt of stevia, and water. The higher the pain the more the juice. I’d do this three times a day.

I dreaded the day I’d be in the office bathroom screaming in pain as I passed this little beast. I had nightmares about it. I didn’t want to be “that guy.” Alas, I never had to. About two weeks into my tonic, my pains were completely gone.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I’ve told you the entirety of my ideas on what to do. If you have gut pains, go to a doctor and get a real, qualified medical opinion. 

Part II: Current Story

Fast forward to last weekend. Pains where back, in full force. I immediately self-diagnosed because this is a type of pain you just don’t forget. I didn’t even hesitate to get back on The Juice, aka, my homemade tonic of gross (straight lemon juice + apple cider vinegar).

JibberJobber Hard Things Gross Drink

I was listening to Dave Ramsey a few days ago and ironically/comically he talked about having a kidney stone. I’ve listened to probably hundreds of hours of Ramsey and I haven’t ever heard him talk about kidney stones. Dave was talking to a lady who had a bad toothache and was empathizing with her. The line that stood out was something like this:

“When I had a kidney stone, I would have given a house to someone if they could have gotten rid of the pain!”

It’s funny because no one says “I’d give a house to someone if you could…” But Ramsey is a real estate investor, so he has a few extra houses lying around ready for kidney-stone-relief aid. The message, though, is that kidney stone pain is so bad it really should be talked about more. Perhaps it could be included in the list of the hardest things that people go through.

Friday night was the worst… turning around in bed was really, really painful. I didn’t sleep well Friday night. Saturday was super painful, and getting up from a sitting position required help. I could walk (hobble) after I got up, but getting up was almost a show-stopper. Saturday night was really painful, but not nearly as bad as Friday night.

JibberJobber Sleepless Nights

And here we are on Wednesday, each day (and night) having gotten way, way better. The Juice is working, I hope. I’ll continue to horse it down, even while I hold my breath, because I know that horrid concoction is somehow helping do something magical to the little beast in my precious kidney.

If this is like last time, in a week and a half I’ll have no memories of the pain, and go back to the diet that probably caused it :p That’s how we roll, isn’t it?

Part III: Your Story (Or, Your Job Search)


As a job search blogger I have somehow figured out how to have just about everything, every life experience, relate back to blogging. This morning I woke up thinking about how this relates. Surprisingly, my focus wasn’t on the pain… I know just how painful and scary and painful (yes, I said that twice) a job search is.

Instead, the correlation is The Juice.

There are two parts to this. The first is that it is weird. I normally don’t drink organic lemon juice, nor do I ever choose to drink apple cider vinegar. I would definitely not normally choose both. Seriously gross.

When we are in job search, we have to do things we normally don’t do. Like, talk to people. Reach out to people like a salesperson, cold contacting them. We have to get out of our comfort zone and do the hard things.

The word that comes to mind is “amargo.” I learned that while living in Mexico. Amargo literally translates into “bitter,” and can be for taste as well as phrases like “the bitter truth.”

The bitter truth of the job search is that you will have to do the lemons and the vinegars. Actually, that is your blessed opportunity: you get to learn and grow, and along the way you will meet some amazing people who will become a part of your professional network.

JibberJobber Bitter Truth Lemons Lemonade

At first it is super hard. But as you do it, it becomes easier. It isn’t something you dread, rather it’s okay. And then, after a while, when you got the hang of it, it is actually enjoyable.

NOTE: I don’t think lemons and vinegar, especially as much as I’m taking, will ever be enjoyable. But networking and branding and career management really can be enjoyable!

The second part of The Juice solution for my kidney stone, and the analogy for you, is that this is something I need to do three times a day until the problem is resolved. And, in your job search, you need to do the right things consistently, every day, until you land your next job.

SPOILER: Please, please, please do not stop networking and personal branding and career managing once you land your job! Your next job transition is statistically in the next 2 to 5 years, and if you continue doing this stuff during that time (as we say, “between job searches”) you will have a much easier transition!!

I created the to take the guessing out of what your tonic should be every single day. Even weekends (optional!). I tell you exactly what three things you should do every day for six weeks. By the end of the six weeks you will know what to do the seventh, and eighth, and eightieth week. I train you, gently, to manage your own career.

Just as it is critical that I drink my tonic three times a day, every day, until my problem is gone, it is critical that you do the right things for your job (or career) every single day. Depending on your situation that might mean you do networking and informational interviewing, or you focus on personal branding, or other things. I don’t know what your tonic is (unless you are a job seeker, then your tonic is The Job Search Program!), but I do know you need to do this stuff every single day.

Sure, take a break on weekends and holidays.

But don’t take too many breaks. Or you’ll end up where I was in 2006: no job, no network, no brand (reputation). It was a horrible, depressing place to be, and a difficult hole to dig out from.

The Conclusion

And so now you know about my personal life, and how my weekend was. And you can see how I can turn a kidney stone into advice for your job search. Charming, right? Please, please take my two points to heart:

  1. Figure out your tonic.
  2. Drink it daily, even multiple times a day if necessary.

My immense, intense pain sucks. But I know that soon, even in the next week or two, it will be history.

JibberJobber Peace of Mind

I know the pains of a job search. They are far reaching and acute. I also know that they can go away. Whether that is because you start a side hustle selling Aunt Ethel’s Famous Spaghetti Sauce or because you land your dream job, your pain will go away.

I’ve seen it happen, across the U.S. and around the globe. We land on our feet. We are resilient. And even though things seem hopeless, you will get through this.

As the good book says, and as a kidney stone doctor says, “this too shall pass.” 

With the right tonic, and time, and discipline, your pain will pass.