About the Episode

Burnout can happen in a lot of ways- including the daunting reality of searching for a job. Avoiding burnout during a crucial time can seem impossible. Join Josh Stern and myself as we talk about finding the balance between dedication to the job search and finding some time for yourself.

Join us as we offer tips and tricks to making it through the job search!

Josh brings an extensive background in marketing and operations, holding roles at WBD Sports, Discovery, Inc., AT&T, DIRECTV, Kmart and world renowned advertising agencies. His experience includes the launch of international OTT platforms, creating digital and linear commercial brand initiatives, enterprise strategy and product marketing to drive acquisition and foster retention, as well as partnership programs with every major sports league. In addition to this work, Josh has led sales marketing organizations responsible for creating unique brand campaigns, resulting in over $1B in annual revenue.

Fun facts about Josh – he once appeared in an episode of Man Caves with Tony Siragusa, has taken multiple flights in a blimp, completed two marathons and famously denied Justin Bieber entry in the DIRECTV Super Bowl party. (There is a rationale for why he did this).

Stern has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Maryland. He is based in Rye Brook, NY with his wife Ali, their two children and dog.

Episode Transcript


You’re listening to Balance, Not Burnout, a podcast helping leaders rethink the speed of their business. And I’m your host Mark Williams. Join me as I explore the power of a more intentional, balanced approach to leadership. Thanks for listening.

Good afternoon, everybody. This is Mark Williams, and welcome to Balance, Not Burnout. And I’m super excited for season two. This is our first episode of season two. And today, we’re going to talk a little bit about a different kind of burnout, burnout can happen in a lot of ways, including the daunting reality of searching for a job. So avoiding burnout during a crucial time may seem impossible. So I have a special guest with me today a marketing executive by the name of Josh Stern. Currently, he is CEO of his own job search. Joshua, myself as we talk a little bit about finding the balance between dedication to the job search and finding some time for yourself. So please join me in welcoming Mr. Joshua Stern. And Josh, if you don’t mind, giving us a little bit of your background and what got you into the situation of searching for a job. Hey, Mark, thanks for having me. Yeah, a little bit about my background, as he said, a marketing executive and you know, tongue in cheek CEO of my own job search here. But my career has spanned the opportunity to work for some great brands, from retail to media and entertainment, to video distribution platforms, ad agencies, hospitality, sports companies, you name it, I’ve done it. I love brands, I love consumers. I’m passionate about that.

And, you know, opportunity to bring new products, reinvent old products, has been exciting for me. As you mentioned, you know, burnout here and focusing on job search. What’s gotten me here is, unfortunately, the all too familiar and happening more recently, now is crop Corporate cost cutting. And so as companies are looking at their bottom line and how to save some money there, the easiest way to do it is to cut heads. So I was a victim, or you know, I will land a new job. So someone else’s benefit of cross cutting measures and lost my job for that. Yeah.

It’s been a while for me. So I’m a little naive in this share with me what in 2024? A job search looks like? What are your avenues? What do you do? How long do you search? How do you reach out? And to whom? Yeah, it’s a great question. And thankfully, you know, through products like LinkedIn, you know, even us old people that are still using Facebook, from time to time, it seems like you’re on Facebook, really is spending your day looking around LinkedIn, seeing a lot of comments, expanding your network. I laughed, because right before this, I got a text from someone you know, with LinkedIn. Now you could see who’s looking at your profile. So a former colleague, and someone I’ve done business with happened to look at my profile. So I texted him and said, Have your cyber stalking me? And he said, Yes, I must be doing that now. And you know, so it was doing a set amount of work, oh, let me let me keep my ear, my eyes and ears open for you. So you know, the day entails, you know, honestly, getting on the computer in the morning, seeing what’s out there. And also just staying active, staying visible, whether you’re actually searching for a job or reading other people’s comments, give your input, I would recommend to everyone don’t be negative, you know, my comments are always positive, reinforcing. If I see a job that I think is appropriate for someone else, I’ll tag them so that they can see it because it may not be coming up in their feed, depending on how the Ag algorithms work on a lot of these sites. Sure. So you are very active on LinkedIn. Describe for me, your your thought process behind that and, and, and the motivation just to keep doing it every day. Number one, I’m impressed with the self discipline. That would be tough for me. So talk to me about you know, the avenue, especially LinkedIn, because I do follow you and you are quite active. Yeah, I mean, my Avenue is just be honest. That’s the type of person I am and be transparent. A lot of people when they lose their job, they may hide it for a while and they say, you know, I lost my job. It’s a bad thing. I don’t want people to talk to me about it. I don’t want people to know, I took a very different approach. If I’m going to be vocal about it. I’m not ashamed by it. Yes, it’s unfortunate. But if I allow people to see what my thought process is and what’s going on it may someone from a company may see it and say, You know what we like this individuals personality. Let’s learn a little bit more about them and see if they’re a match for our company. Do they have the skill set? Do they have the background do they experience or are we just looking for a good person and he fits that bill? Yeah, I will share with you. In my experience. Whenever someone has not worked out at the office. It is definitely not because of their skill set. I have found it’s a culture fit.

Generally speaking, if you’re going to hire someone, you go through the rigmarole of the of the interviews, and the resume reviews. And all of that you get someone that’s sitting in front of in front of the hiring manager can do the job, they have the skill set. Now, is it really? Is it a fit for culture? So yeah, as much of your personality that you can show online makes sense. To me, that makes a lot of sense.

How do you handle the just the fatigue of it all? Obviously, at the end, at the end of the day, you leave your home office, and you’re and you spend some time with your family? And and how do you handle that? How do you deal with it, whether it’s wife and kids or significant others? And just the toll that that takes? Yeah, I mean, whenever when I was employed, or unemployed, I’m a huge believer in work life balance. You know, I’ve always said to my colleagues, my team members, direct reports, whether vertically, you know, above me a vertical, you know, or below me, is you need to have that balance. And so your family and your health come first. So you got to carve time out of your day to do that. How do I do that when I get the kids ready for school, thankfully, my daughter is at the age now where she can drive. So I’m not shuttling them back and forth to school, but make sure they’re ready for school, get them out of the house, make their lunch. And then make time in the evening when they’re back. I love to cook so I make dinner for them. That’s another way to, you know, allow you to vent to get out some of the frustration that you may have in times as you’re searching for the job. And the other piece is I’m an avid

workout person and called a gym rat, if you want to is my that’s my time today. That’s my hour when I’m out there, as I was preparing for this conversation with you and I was thinking about it was I like to go for a run several times a week, when I’m out on the run, thinking about getting that runner’s high thinking about that emotion of finished getting to the finish line, it takes my mind off of searching for a job and allows me to focus on something else. So you know, I encourage everyone to find something as an avenue for them. That is a distraction, or allows your mind to reset and focus on something else, besides the fact that you may be looking for new employment. Sure. A side note, I take a walk almost every day, literally in the middle of the day. And for me, it’s shoulder taps throughout the day, drive me crazy, oftentimes interrupt a thought process or something. So if I step outside, 1520 minutes, get a little sunshine fresh air, it does change my mood and my attitude. So I can imagine a job search just that. Just the weight of that. And having that is can be tiresome it can be it can be grueling, I’m sure at times. So yeah, I’m sure those runs are fantastic for you. Yeah, you even when you’re employed, you know, encourage that, you know, the, what came out of COVID is the fact that many of us are working hybrid or full time remote. So the ability to go and take a walk and get outside and get that fresh air is great. Or even if you’re inside an office there to avoid burnout is carve out time in your schedule. Go for a walk, you know, I’m in the New York area. And all too often is you go and you get lunch and you’re back at your desk. You know, I feel like outside of New York, and it may be you know, hopefully I’m not wrong. As people do take their lunch, they get away from their desk, but find another 30 minutes in your in your calendar and go take a walk go outside your building, if you’re on you know a campus who I’m sure there’s a trail or some sort of park or bench, break up your mindset. So you’re not staring at the computer all day, it’s going to be better for your health and better for your mind to just take a break and not work all the time. I am curious, are you looking for roles that

that are local? Or will you would you be willing to do remote work anywhere and describe for me that process? I haven’t looked? When I was looking? The last time there was no such thing as remote work? Right? It was It wasn’t like post COVID It was pre COVID. Right. So there were some jobs that people work from home, but they were far and few between. I’m curious in the search today, does that come up often? People asking, you know, is there is there home office requirements? Describe for me what you’re looking for number one, and number two, what’s the climate out there? Yeah, the climate is challenging. I’ll answer the last question. First, the climate is challenging as there are more and more layoffs every day. You know, big tech is certainly going through a major downsizing at this point. But other companies as well. Remote is a possibility. There are a lot of companies out there that are realizing there’s good employees everywhere. And maybe we need to expand a little bit and not require them to be in the office or you can work remote but there’s a certain amount of days that we need you in the office. So we’ll bring you here or you’ve got to travel here. So I think companies are being more flexible about it to really get the best talent and the best individual inside the role there. I was speaking with someone this morning that

have a part time role. And they said it requires quite a bit of trouble, you can do it where you are based right now, but you’re required to be on site or at an event as part of the role. So if you know your requirement be 24/7, there, that’s fine. I think they’re trying to strike the balance with

people are not ready to go full time back into the office yet, or we’re so accustomed to being home part of the time now that it’s not a full requirement to be in an office five days a week, or even be in the state where the company is based. Yeah, I’m gonna, I’m going to ask you some interesting questions of while you are employed, and you may have known that the layoff was coming. If you were to share with our listeners, let’s say there are layoffs happening in your company, you think you might be slated for that? What kind of preparation can someone do prior? Maybe they know it’s coming, or they’re concerned that it’s coming? I don’t know your own situation. But what kind of preparation? What’s the best way to prepare for that situation?

Is Don’t blame yourself?

You know, don’t great advice on you. There’s there’s a lot of factors that go into layoffs, I’ve been on both sides of the equation where we’ve had to downsize and you have to review employees and determine who’s going to make the cut and who’s not. And it’s a very difficult position to be in. So don’t take it personally, if you do you lose your job. Sure, there, you know, if if you get fired, that’s one thing, if you’re let go, or you know, your company’s eliminating your position as they position you know, as they translate it now, there are there are factors beyond your performance there. The other thing I could say is, you know, as you’re growing your career and starting out often is safe, don’t live above your means you Oh, there are going to be times where the situation where you may get severance or you know, you’d get a buyout a certain amount of money, and it’s going to take some time to find a job, don’t be in a position where you know, you don’t have the financial means to keep going for a little bit longer. And I would just say, to prepare for it is the first day you get informed that you’re going to be let go to the you know, whether it giving you two weeks notice it’s immediate is start reaching out to your network, let them know that this happened, make people aware that you’re available and on the market, they’re going to respond quickly. And you’re going to see who your friends are, and over the people that really want to go out of their way to help you out. I’m going to touch on that for a second. But you pulled the financial professional out of me.

I would second your comments about a safety net. I was always taught anywhere between four and six months of savings as a safety net, that somewhere liquid, just in case of a situation like this, right? So it does take a while to find a job. And you don’t want the added stress of a financial situation. So I echo that 100% fantastic advice. You said to reach out to your network. I’m curious how you did that phone calls, obviously to your close friends. But do you post something on LinkedIn? Do you literally say, Hey, I’m out here. This is my post and I’m looking for it. I’m curious what that means. How do you let your network know all of the above?

postings, phone calls, group chats, you know, everything under the sun. You know, I posted something recently and a someone that I attended high school with and her husband who I got to know and got his career started in sports television. I hadn’t spoken to him in a while. But the phone rang one night and it was him and he said, You know, I saw your post. You did so much to get my career going. What can I do to help you now? awesomes though, you know, karma plays a big role in this, you know, good things come to good people.

It’s difficult right now for me to search a job but I know so many people were in the same predicament. I spent just as much time looking for me as I’m looking for them and constantly forwarding them. Here’s jobs, they’ll reach out to me Do you know someone here? Yes, I know someone there I’ll send a note on behalf you send me an email with the job that you’re looking for all the information your application, why you’re right. I’ll pass it along to the person that I know. Again, it comes back to it’s not an embarrassment. You know, this is your time to you know, as a marketing individual, promote yourself promote your brand. That’s what I’m doing is I’m getting out there with my brand to everyone I know to get me through this difficult time.

Resume let’s talk resumes not your specific resume, but resumes in general. Are they still used? Are they should they be tight? Should they be everything you’ve ever done? Describe

From what you put together for yourself and your marketing, so I would imagine you market yourself a little bit better than John Q everyone. I’ve solicited feedback, I’ve given feedback.

This one baffles me because my resume is tight. You know, as part of my layoff, I received outplacement services, they did look at my resume, they made some suggestions put on there. We’re living in a time right now, though, is where there’s 1000s of applicants, you know, there was one yesterday for a major airline that someone posted, and they said, within minutes, it was no longer accepting applications, because they had so many applicants within a short time period there. But you go and apply for these roles. And with these algorithms and AI now that your resume and your application may not even be seen by a human. So AI is looking for certain, you know, words, phrases, experience in there and weeding them in or weeding them out.

So make it tight. constantly review it. I’m a big fan of writing a cover letter because you it shows you took the time to invest to learn a little bit more about the company, do your research, and send a personal note of why you think you’re right for that job. If it works, great. If it didn’t, someone may remember that note next time and they go do it. But you investing your time is going to get the company to invest their time in you. Sure. I’m curious if you’d recommend doing something that’s a little unorthodox. So let’s say shooting a short video and sending it with your resume. Or

I had a friend in high school and when I’m talking 40 years ago, that actually printed his resume on a basketball and sent it to a sports company. Right? So he was trying to be different. Would you recommend doing something that outrageous? Or is that you think pushing the limit today?

I’m maybe close to doing that.

Thanks for being honest.

I mean, I had a friend that texted me today who said, I may go old school style dress up and go start knocking on doors. You know, in the days when we used to just go to the office and ask for a job. I think the situation, you know, depending on the situation, if you have a connection there and you feel you can get to the hiring manager or you can get to the right person, if you marker, you know the right person, and I know it’s gonna get to you and I sent you something, you know, the financial side of us sent you something catchy related to financial as we’re looking for appointment, I know you’re gonna view it, you know, it’s gonna get into your hands. Yes, do it.

I take a little bit of a pessimistic approach here, as I feel like things go through mail rooms, and they sit there you don’t know someone’s in the office or someone’s assistant or someone else looking at it. And they’re like, Okay, great. Here it is in the circular file. Yep. Yep. I would agree. Advice for those that. And you had mentioned this prior in some of your roles, you’ve actually had to let some people go, I have done that as well. It’s the unfortunately comes with the roll. It’s the worst, probably one of the worst things someone has to do is to let someone go, how does someone prepare for that?

Don’t bring your emotions into the room

is the first thing you know, be work with your partner in HR to get the messaging, right so that you don’t put yourself the company or the employee that you’re talking to in an uncomfortable situation or a predicament there.

Say what you need to say, but don’t say anything more than that. Because it’s the as the person that’s receiving the information, it’s very difficult. So for them, you just you want to be as succinct as clear. And let them know what resources the company is making available to them. And then let them process it. Sure. But But I want to go back to one previous thing you said about sending something unconventional there. I would say if you have a great interview and you go in person and you meet with someone in your thank you always write a thank you note by the horse that always do that. But if you’re going there, you know and you’ve had a great meeting and you want to send you know, a very innovative thank you notes to get that offer letter and get you over that one. Yeah, then go have some fun, go be creative because that door is open and you already have a relationship there. So you know, think about the right time of where you want to use your ammo the right way. Yeah. You’ve had you’ve worked for some fantastic companies. If I were to have just met you and I would argue you and I are pretty close to that. If I were to say Hey Josh, what are you really good at? What do you what do you love to do? How would you how would you describe the perfect role for you?

Wow. I would say the perfect role for me is

at heart is I love brands and I love consumers of bring

Doing things to you know, I worked at advertising agencies worked in marketing departments for a long time, say what you want about what the role of ads are. But what I really love to do was really show the true value, the true differentiation of why we’re selling you that product, why we’re talking to you about that product, and bring the brand to life and do it in a way that positions you that consumer is going to buy this is going to get the same enjoyment, the same experience out of it, that we’re trying to promote, you know, in our marketing collateral to you. Yeah, I love that. Thank you for that. It’s funny, I just, literally a few days ago, I was in Nashville, and I did a presentation on adapter die. And it was to financial professionals who are also proprietors. And usually I open up with the same question. So imagine room of about 100 sole proprietors. And I asked them, How many of them have a brand. And usually only about 20, or 30 people raise their hand. And the funny part of it is I tell them, they all have a brand, they just don’t know it. And their brand usually is what people say about them behind their back. And I tell this story, if you’re a trick or treat, or if you remember trick or treating, every kid in the neighborhood knew the house, they gave out the good candy. That was their brand. Right. So even if you don’t think you have a brand, you have a brand and I love some of the comments that you made about does that brand does purchasing that fulfill the brand, right your your thoughts of that brand. So I love that.

And always, no matter where you are in your career and the touchpoint, you’re representing that brand. So whether I’m the most junior person on the team who’s sending out meeting notes, to I’m the one that’s entertaining a client, you know, out to dinner, you’re the face of the brand. And also, you know, think about down the line. My experience, when I was working with DIRECTV and national advertising and getting people to pick up the phone and switch from cable or another opera and DirecTV. We were selling a service. But we also had to make sure that everyone at the call centers, everyone at the installation networks, you know, when the trucks roll and come to your house, they knew our messaging, because they’re the front lines, and they’re the face of the brand. We’re behind it, promoting the brand. But we’re not actually touching the consumer with the brand. Those are the people. So think about everyone in your company in your circle in your world that touches your brand to make sure they have clear understanding of who your brand is, and what it stands for. Awesome. If our listeners can help you, how can they find you? They can find me on LinkedIn, I’m searched. If you search me for Joshua Stern, they can do that.

I do have social media profiles, I’m not active, because I’m boring in that sense.

You know, and I try to separate, it’s fine, I’m fine. And I accept that there’s nothing like little self deprecation there.

You know, and I like to keep my social life separate. You know, I’m not one who’s going to post Oh, I took my kids here or, you know, what would they did, everyone got the participation trophy and soccer or whatnot.

But I’m active on there, you know, you can search by, you know, Joshua Stern, I was a WVD sports, I was in discovery, DirecTV, you know, a whole list of companies, or encourage for the listeners to reach out to me, you know, if you have a job lead, great, you just want to chat that you’ve been in the same, you know, same experience that I’m going through, or you think you’re gonna go through it, and you just want someone familiar to talk to. I’m there, like, I’m a big listener. And that’s the most important thing. You know, as you’re going through this. And I think on some of the things you hit on, if you gotta let someone go, or you’ve got to be a manager, or you’re unemployed, or you’re hiring is listen, take the time to listen to people you and I have in conversation, because that’s what a podcast is. But listening is so important in your life, whether it’s at home with your family, your colleagues at work or friends, listen to them, because they want your advice sometimes, or they just want someone to talk to and you don’t even have to respond. Sometimes you’re just giving them an opportunity to talk because maybe they need to get something off their chest or they’re excited about something and just want someone to hear awesome advice, especially when someone started to feel a little burned out. Right. Oftentimes, it’s just needing someone to express something to and I think you’re right, my wife tells me all the time, you don’t have to fix everything. He just needs someone to vent to, and you’re here to vent to. So great advice. I always ask this question towards the end. It’s Saturday morning or Sunday morning. You have no responsibilities you can be with whoever you want. Do whatever you want. What’s a perfect morning for Josh?

Wow, no respond, no chores, no chores, you can do whatever you want with whoever you want and go wherever you want. Describe for me that morning for you.

Honestly, I think, you know, if the weather’s nice, I would get up and just go for a long run nice. And just go out there. You know, I, I love it. I know running is probably not the greatest sport for you and you know, a lot of runners, but there’s no better feeling of getting out there getting on the road, you know, attacking that hill, breaking a sweat, getting your runner’s high. And then coming back and saying, I ran five miles, I ran 10 miles, whatever it is, you accomplish something. And you know, life is about accomplishing things, and just getting out there and doing it and doing something for yourself. You know, for me, it’s running it for someone else, you want to get into the kitchen and you want to make some cookies. And that makes you feel good. You’ve accomplished something, you know. And that’s important to feel like, we’re useful. We’re doing something we’re accomplishing things. And

that would be the perfect morning for me. I’m not a sit around type of person. I can’t. Excellent, excellent. Excellent. Well, Josh Stern, first of all, I wish you the best of luck, I will keep my eyes and my ears open. And I’m asking I’ve got a very large network as well. And so I will push to my network as much as we can do. And if we find something well, we’ll definitely send it your way. I want to thank you for your time this morning. It really is a difficult time, obviously that you’re in, we wish you the best of luck. Thanks again for being a guest. It’s Joshua stern looking CEO of his job search and looking for the next opportunity in some sort of marketing role. I want to thank all the listeners for being on season two, episode one, and we’ll see you next time. Thank you, Mark.

Thanks for listening. If you think balance is as important as I do, at work and all throughout your life, help the show out by leaving me a five star review following me on social media, or sharing the podcast with someone you think would appreciate it. If you have comments or questions. I’d love for you to join the conversation with me on LinkedIn. I want to thank OBI Creative for producing the podcast and swells beats forgetting the music for me. Thanks for sharing your time with me today. And until next time, this is Mark signing off.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai