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SHEIFGAB: Staying Sane, Motivated and Productive in Job Search

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This book is dedicated to you in your job search. Only you know the pain, the anger, the frustration, the highs and lows of the job search. But I have met you, and many others who have walked in your shoes.  

Job seekers who have won this transition game. Job seekers who stayed Sane, Motivated and Productive during an arduous journey. Job seekers who walked into the interview twelve feet tall AND bulletproof, and found that well-paying job.  

The SHEIFGAB! building blocks will help you on this journey to do it and make it happen 

This book is dedicated to you. Good luck. 


              Conor Cunneen  

Recipient President's Gold Medal for Volunteer Service for work with "unemployed.*"


"unemployed." As I indicate in the book, I believe the word "unemployed" should be banned from job seekers vocabulary. There is a huge difference in mindset between someone who believes they are in job search and the person who believes they are unemployed. 



Review of this book for job seekers

SHEIFGAB! is one of the best books I have ever read on how to plan your time during a job search. As always, Conor writes with a sense of humor, great examples, and organizational ideas. I have facilitated Job Search Networking Groups for many years. SHEIFGAB was the basis of my group for the past few months, followed by a guest appearance and presentation by Mr. Cuneen! The book and our discussions were so motivating for our meetings. Every chapter starts with a motivational quote and ends with Finbarr's cheat notes.

Although the focus of SHEIFGAB! is the job search, it is also a valuable tool for any stage of life. Having STRUCTURE for you day, HELPing others, ENVIRONMENT change, IMPROVING yourself, FAMILY respect, GOAL setting, ATTITUDE in your presentation and BEHAVIOR/BRAND is of value to students, homemakers, retirees and anyone going through a life change.


Staying Sane, Motivated and Productive in Job Search skillfully addresses an issue only those in job transition can appreciate At a time when job seekers are involved in what for many is THE most important, frustrating and difficult job ever—trying to find that well paying job—morale and productivity are at a low ebb. 

Based on Conor Cunneen’s acclaimed SHEIFGAB! presentation (“The best two-hours spent in my job search” – LinkedIn recommendation), this is a book written with passion and knowledge by an author who has a deep appreciation and empathy for job seekers.  As Conor is a Chicago Humorous Speaker of the Year, you will also be laughing and learning while reading this insightful book. 

On a visit to the United States, Irishman Finbarr Kozlowski  is invited to present his SHEIFGAB! concept to a group of frustrated, disillusioned, pained and dispirited job seekers. In a book that written by a Chicago Humorous Speaker of the year that will have you learning and laughing,  Finbarr demonstrates 8 down to earth, real-world, zero-cost, implementable concepts to help you Stay Sane, Motivated and Productive in Job Search and walk into that interview 12 feet tall and bulletproof 

  • Structure: THE key building block to staying motivated 
  • Help others: You Help yourself and your job search 
  • Environment change is critical for job seekers 
  • Improve yourself and you improve your job prospects 
  • Family: Do NOT take parking spots at home 
  • Goals: S-HAGs = Small Highly Achievable Goals 
  • Attitude: What do I want my Attitude to be? 
  • Behavior creates Brand. Employers buy Brand 





Finbarr moved his hand through a mop of red hair, still damp after the shower as he matched the resumes on the kitchen table with the people he met two days previously. His host and cousin Jake Boyd looked encouragingly at him, “You ready to rock there Finbarr?” 

    “I think so. A bit nervous though. I sometimes think I should keep my big mouth shut. If I had not attended that job club on Monday I wouldn’t have this presentation today. It’s funny, isn’t it? No matter how competent a person is, there is always a sense of apprehension when entering a new environment.” 

Scheduled to spend four weeks in the United States researching his book on the transition process, a topic dear to his heart and one he often spoke on in Ireland, the Irishman had agreed to present his transition program to a number of job seekers. 

    “Finbarr, you are an amazing specimen,” Jake responded. “You really are. You present a short piece on successful transition at a job club and they love it. They ask you to do a longer version and you wonder, you wonder if it will fly! For crying out loud, you are the person who says you’ve got to SHEIFGAB the World, you’re the guy who says ‘You’ve got to Do It and you’re the guy who says ‘You’ve got to Make It Happen in this transition process.’ ” 

    “That’s right, that’s right, I do,” he smiled. 

    “Here give me a look at that sheet again.” Jake grabbed the one page handout - SHEIFGAB the World – Eight Building Blocks to Successful Transition. “So SHEIFGAB is an acronym for these eight building blocks?” 

    “That’s right, that’s right, Structure, Help, Environment, Improve, Family, Goals, Attitude, Behavior. Every one of them will help the job seeker become more productive and engaged during the transition process and when that happens, he or she can walk into that interview room twelve foot tall and bulletproof.” 

    “Twelve foot tall and bulletproof! That will impress any recruiter. It’s a confidence thing, isn’t it? That’s good stuff Finbarr.” 

    “Thanks Jake. It is a confidence thing. It is a mind game. If the SHEIFGAB concept works back home, it will work here in Chicago. The job seeker is the same all over the world I guess - going through the same emotions.” 

    “Like what?” 

    “Job loss - job transition really hurts people Jake. I could see it at Monday’s meeting. The ideas, the concepts are the same the world over. Frustration, pain, anger, sometimes self pity - you know ‘Why did it happen to me?’ kind of thing. Job transition is designed to do your head in. Think about it - everyone coming to the meeting this morning had on the job training and trained for paid employment. Yet, none of them received any training for job search and none of them, NOT ONE had the slightest idea of the emotional rollercoaster they would experience during the transition process. It hurts people Jake and it hurts their family and it hurts their friends, so that’s why I’ve got to get them to SHEIFGAB the World, to Do It and to Make It Happen.” 

    “Does SHEIFGAB mean anything?” 

    “It’s an Irish word for ‘Do It” and “Make it Happen.” 


    “Jake! That you would doubt me! I’m shocked. Well - it’s kind of an Irish word. I mean it’s been created by an Irishman.” 


   “That’s right, that’s right. So that makes it an Irish word and it allows me say to job seekers – SHEIFGAB the World, Do It and Make It Happen.’  

    “And I think they will Finbarr. You will have them jumping and dancing higher than Michael Flatley. Who’ve you got attending?”  (continued after review)


Review of this book for job seekers

If someone had told me you could write a humorous book on the job search process, I would have wondered how much time they've been spending at the pub. But then I read Conor Cunneen's book on "Staying Sane, Motivated and Productive in Job Search" and realized this is just the type of book I would have expected this slightly zany Irishman would write. I first saw a presentation from the author when I was in transition four years ago. His SHEIFGAB concept, providing 8 building blocks to help you through the challenges of the job search, is full of insights and ideas that will lift anyone who is struggling through what Conor calls a "rite of passage."
It is a fine read by someone who obviously empathizes with the job seeker. I loved the so called "cheat notes" at the end of each chapter which recap concisely and accurately the key points.
Yes it is a humorous book, but one that will not just make you smile, it will also genuinely help in your job search. Now, click the "Add to Cart" button and read this book; it's a high payoff activity.


Prologue Continued

Finbarr  paused for a moment and then quickly counted the resumes. As he did so he shook his head. 

    “Ha! We’ll see who turns up. Fourteen people at Monday’s meeting said they would come, but look how many confirmed. Seven! I’ve got seven confirmations right now. That is something that pisses me off. The lack of follow through amongst job seekers amazes me. Fifty percent of those who made a commitment haven’t followed through and that is the same the world over. Don’t these people realize they are doing themselves a disservice?” 

    “A lot of people in job search don’t like to bother others; they feel as if they are intruding Finbarr.” 

    “Bullshit. When you are in job search, what are you doing? You are selling the most important product you’ve ever sold in your life. You’re in sales, Jake. When did you hold back on a sales call because you didn’t want to bother someone?” 

    “Only once if I recall, but man you’re getting antsy. Time for me to make a few phone calls.” Finbarr looked again at the resumes of the confirmed attendees. As he did so, he guessed their age. 

Nicole, 36, relatively new to the job search process. Formerly an account executive in a marketing services company. He remembered her shy smile. 

Bill, 47. Not easy to forget. This guy was obviously disillusioned and angry after nine months in search. Formerly a project manager with a large insurance company. 

Viktor,  42, a mountain of a man, well dressed with a large bush of white hair and an enthusiastic handshake that made Finbarr wince. Viktor’s job in car sales was terminated four months ago.  

TJ, Accountant, in job search seven months. Finbarr struggled to recall him.  

Tammy, 39. Seven months in transition who had jumped from job to job. 

Sally 51, a paralegal. Her husband’s job was in jeopardy.  

Charles 42. Software developer. This was his third time in transition since 2001. “I’m getting good at this transition thing - unfortunately!” Charles said. 

Finbarr thought, “Ha! If someone was to write a book on the transition process, this group would be a microcosm of the whole scenario. It’s not surprising I suppose - transition impacts everyone these days. It’s a rite of passage. If job seekers could only appreciate that.” 

    “You calmed down yet, couz?” said Jake as he re-entered the room. “You should get moving if you want to get to the career center on time.” 

Finbarr carefully gathered the resumes and paperwork and placed them in his backpack. “You’re right, I don’t want to be late. Wouldn’t make a good impression. I’ll see you this evening.” 


Finbarr moved to the door, then paused. “Jake, you said there was only one occasion you didn’t make a follow up call. How come you remember that?” 

    “You would ask. I sent a proposal to a potential client. I got pretty short shrift from her when I did follow up and wasn’t that pushed about doing a second call which she did suggest. So I let it slide. I bumped into that woman at a networking event months later. She was really nice – that surprised me, and she told me she had been expecting another call from me. When it didn’t happen, she gave the business to a competitor. The reason she was cranky the day I phoned was because her husband had filed divorce papers. Pretty good reason I suppose, but I lost a sixty grand contract because I didn’t follow up properly. Maybe you should tell your job seekers that. Always follow up.”  

     “I’ll tell them that Jake. How’d you find out all this?” 

     “You would ask! We dated for a few months after that conversation. That time I did follow up. Tell your job seekers that Finbarr. Always follow up. Now get out of here.” 

    “I will Jake, I will. What is it you Yanks say, ‘Have a nice day now.’ ” 

    “And top o’ the morning to you Finbarr.” 

As Finbarr opened his car door, Jake called out to him. 

   “Hey Finbarr.” 


   “SHEIFGAB the World, man. Do It, Make IHappen. And tell them to follow up.” 


  SHEIFGAB the World™  

Staying Motivated & Productive in Job Search


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