The Dirty Truth About Lying On The Job

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SHOW DATE: AUGUST 13, 2014

Everyone knows when you lie on the job. They can practically predict everything coming out of your mouth is utter..

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When we go to the car dealership, we prep ourselves for “lie time,” where Jack the car salesman will talk sales for the next few hours. What a waste of time: when Jack tells the truth, we are more apt to buy and it saves time for everybody.

It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

The other day, Auntie Evan got ready for an 8am meeting at the office with our accountant. The accountant comes in with his gold earring and slicked back hair and double tan, and on the side shadowing him is this big nameless muscle thug that he randomly invited.

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Walks in, sits down, we tell him what we want done with our house. The first thing the accountant does, and we could swear his tan triple-darkened and his gold earring started to twinkle a little brighter, was jump in with a suggestion for a realtor—from whom we knew he would get a percentage from.

Not a good start.

He should have addressed us first and then truthfully acknowledged that he knew a REALLY good realtor, and despite him getting a percentage from the referral, the the guy would do wonders. It would have been more honest, less “sales-y” and more authentic.

By pretending that it was just a good referral right off the bat, it only created bad blood between us. The rest of the conversation was virtually OVER.

You do this at work and don’t even notice it: you make promises you can’t keep (you may get busy or forget), you say things to expedite a meeting and you don’t lay it down straight to your boss.

Truthful conversations get things done FASTER. Don’t even look at this from a moral perspective. Things are more efficient when they aren’t marred by bullshit. Either you’re not telling the truth, or you’re allowing somebody else to lie. The last thing we want is a culture of lies and half-truths proliferating the working world.

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If you don’t know how to do something, and you pretend that you do, that’s lying. If you don’t say that you’ll be late, that’s lying by omission. I have a suggestion, and this is going to be CRAZY. If you don’t know something (ready for the insanity?): start with, “I don’t know” and… wait for it… “But let me help you. We’re going to find out how to do this together.”

THAT’s the way to go.

Pop culture example? Sure: we LOVE our summer TV guilty pleasure, Big Brother. Everybody was rooting for this guy Cody from the beginning, but he had this nagging habit of saying he’ll do something and never doing it. Now the whole fan base is against it.

After a while, you end up being the lonely guy in the dirty apartment, with a bottle in his hand… OK, maybe we’re getting sort of grim here.

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Check in with yourself. Conduct a mini self-interview. Are you telling a client, co-worker, boss, lover etc. something because you want them to like you more or to avoid confrontation? Or are you telling them the truth?

Tell us the truth and you’ll have us on your side. In fact, you’ll have everything: the trust, the job, the promotion and the career.

Job Talk Daily Live – May 14, 2014

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Job Talk Daily Live – May 7, 2014

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Job Talk Daily Live – April 30, 2014

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How to Quit Your Job Without Shooting Yourself in the Foot

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A few weeks ago, Harry—an eight-year member of the Forster-Thomas team and one of our lead consultants who we depended on to run so much and guide so many subordinates—quit with no warning. So why do we still love him? Why is the door always open for him to return? Why would we always give him a great reference?

It’s the way he did it that counts: with complete authenticity, grace, and appreciation.

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He made sure to send a resignation letter that explained his struggle openly—a desire to go after a career change and take an offer that utilized skills he felt he had but could never be applied to in his role at our company. In his heart, he’s a filmmaker. Truth is, he’s a damn good one, and we always knew that. He was also open about the fact that he wanted to take a risk and go after an opportunity to really be one. Can you blame a guy for that? Nope. Opportunity knocked. Do I think it was a mistake financially? Yup. But life is not always about a paycheck. And that’s what he basically said in his resignation letter, plus the fact that he loved working with us and gave us eight, count ’em eight, great years!

And to make matters better, he made sure to complete all of his work before he left. He met with my partner and me in person, went over what was done, what was unfinished—and how and when he’d be available even after he left to answer any questions.

So you’re definitely quitting? And they haven’t made you an offer you can’t refuse? Here’s what you can do to make sure the door doesn’t hit you on the ass on your way out:

*Spill it! Be honest when you take a job—especially one that pays well and requires training. Let them know after you get the offer, up front (that means before you formally accept), that you have this “other thing” you’ve always wanted to do and that you’re doing it on the side. Then it’s really no big shock if the side gig becomes your day job and you do leave down the line. Ah…honesty. Works every time.

*Were you raised by wolves?! You know your mother taught you to say thank you. Don’t be like our former employee Katie. Hopefully you grew in that job you’re leaving and it helped you get the next gig. Let your bosses know in that exit interview, letter, or before your last day, what you learned. Skills you didn’t have before. And let your boss or supervisor know how she helped you grow—even if he or she was an ass (always take the higher ground). Be specific. Make your growth something big picture like you learned how to manage during a deadline and include something on-the-ground like how you were given an opportunity to master Windows 8 or taught to value a property.

*Pour some sugar on me. Even if it wasn’t the best place to work or your boss wasn’t that lovely, always take the high road and make it a personal thanks. Stop by, handwrite a note or, at the very least, send an email from your personal account and let them know how difficult the decision was to leave him or her. Supervisors and bosses are people too. Doesn’t matter if they don’t respond the way you want them to.  Remember, you represent you. It’s just who you are.

*Clean your room and put away your toys. That means make every attempt to finish what you started before you leave. A client meeting. A filing system. A report. Make sure you let your coworkers and your boss know where everything is, what you’ve completed, and what’s ongoing. Leave them with the tools to get it done and make it easy for the next guy or gal to come in and hit the ground running.

After all, its what your Auntie Evan always says: leave people and things better than you found them. That’s how you don’t burn bridges.

 

–Auntie Evan

Follow me on Twitter: @AuntieEvanSays

TOP 10 WAYS FREELANCERS CAN DOMINATE THEIR CLIENTS

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SHOW DATE: JULY 25, 2014

You’re being taken advantage of, and you don’t even know it.

One out of three workers in America is a contracted worker, or freelancer—meaning they get a 1099 instead of a W2. Or they get paid under the table.

HUGE problem: most of these freelancers walk through the door saying, “please use me ANY way you please. I’ll do EVERYTHING you want me to do.” Basically, they act like they haven’t gotten their freelance cherry popped yet.

How you begin your relationship with a client or company determines whether the gig is going to fall through or thrive. Will there be insanity along the way? Or will the seas be calm and steady?

Before you even breathe, there’s that split-second where the client (or prospect, or employer) knows, unconsciously or otherwise, whether she can miss a few scheduled meetings, not pay on time, and basically hold you by the balls.

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The dirty truth? You get taken advantage of because you want to be liked, and this absolutely DESTROYS you and your dignity in the long run.

In fact, a worthy employer or client can tell how submissive a contractor will be from the cover letter.

We’re using a combined 50 years of work experience to compile a list of absolutely VITAL advice that will help prevent you from bending over backwards (or forwards) for your client or employer.

1) NO EFFORT and NO CREATIVITY spells DEATH: STOP transcribing your resume onto your cover letter. It’s redundant, annoying and shows no creative thought process. You don’t have to list where you’ve worked when it’s clearly displayed in greater detail on your resume.

2) Tell a STORY: Can you paint a picture of who you are as a hire by describing ONE moment where you excelled at what you do in an unconventional and exceptional way? There ya go, you’ve got the start of a GREAT cover letter.

3) Focusing on ME ME ME: Yeah, we get it. You’re hot shit. But what about us, as clients, or employers? What will you do for US? This is where you fall through the cracks to join the heaps of rotting bodies of unemployed 1099ers. Start expressing what you can do for OTHERS, not just yourself.

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4) Puppydogs don’t get jobs: Calm yourself. If you’re hyperventilating from happiness or nervousness that someone actually CHOSE you, start cultivating a less reactive, more authoritative personality. Fake it till you make it if you have to; desensitization comes naturally with time and MANY interviews and sales pitches.

5) If you’re promising me the MOON, I’ll know you’ll give me the CHEESE: And by cheese we mean crap work based on bullshit claims. Get realistic and don’t offer everything on your plate and then some if you’re not sure you can provide at least half of what you’re claiming.

6) Look AMAZING: Self-explanatory. People like to pay people who keep up hygiene and look their best. End of story.

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7) Always leave a paper trail: Have a contract and some kind of schedule to keep track of your time that you can show the client. This brings you respect, shows that you’re organized and fronts you as the lion in the relationship, not the gazelle.

8) Watch the clock: For those who have clients coming in late on a consistent basis, make sure they know from the get-go that if they’re ten minutes late, they lose ten minutes from their time.

9) Scraping the bottom of the barrel: This one should get you VERY excited. If your prices are low, hike those suckers up. A moderate-to-high price shows that you respect yourself, that you take yourself seriously, and that you’re willing to take the time to put in the effort instead of doing a bait-and-switch and pawning your responsibilities off overseas. Imagine you’re on old 42nd street in New York City, and you have your standard selection of, um… hookers. How would you react is Candy offered you a quickie for $10? Exactly.

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10) GET PAID IN ADVANCE: You’re terrified to ask for money in advance. But if they’re struggling to pay for even an HOUR in advance and take their chances, WALK OUT. Fish in bigger ponds and don’t undermine yourself by grunting away regretfully for someone who can’t even drop a few bills for your skills.

Be powerful. People stop their nonsense and listen to you when you’re able to stand up for yourself and value your time and your money. Trying to be liked will only get you ONE place: broke, sobbing and alone.

GET FIRED-PROOF EVEN WHEN YOU’RE ABOUT TO GET FIRED

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SHOW DATE: JULY 2, 2014

No matter how long you’ve known your co-workers or boss, no matter how buddy buddy you are with your work peeps and superiors, you can never rely on friendship to save your ass on the job.

Let’s make this crystal clear: friendship is NOT leverage.

If you had to choose between your favorite co-worker and your job, which one would it be? We all know the answer. There are very few people on the planet that will willingly throw themselves under the bus for you at work.

Don’t rule out the fact that great work relationships are a bad thing. It’s only when you use them as a support beam for your career when you discover the foundation won’t hold.

You ALWAYS, ALWAYS have to have leverage when it comes down to matters concerning your job. What does leverage mean? It means you have options, some sort of barter than can be taken place to cover your ass in case of emergencies.

Friendship is not barter material. It’s not something used to tip the scales in your favor.

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Let’s get practical. You’re walking into your boss’s office, about to have the Talk about the fate of your job. How would you prepare? How do you make sure that you have enough leverage in the interaction to tip the scales in your favor?

Here’s a few golden tips from Auntie Evan and Uncle David:

1) Never walk into your boss’s office asking about the fate of your job. It’s like waddling into the room with your tail between your legs. Powerlessness and pleading only make you an easy target.

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2) This is not the most helpful tip when you’re too far down the rabbit hole, but vital to the Job Talk mantra nonetheless: you have to be really good at what you do if you want some serious leverage.

3) Create leverage if you don’t have it. The best leverage is having another job offer. Have a place you can go to in the worst case scenario. Just like your partner looks at you more lustfully when someone else is vying for your attention, you’re a much most attractive prospect when there are others vying for your employment.

4) If you don’t have that offer to fall back on, get out there. Get a headhunter, get your resume out. Afraid you’ll be found out? It’s a bogus fear: if you’re going to be fired, there is nothing to lose. If you’re looking to be promoted, now you’re just that more attractive. It doesn’t mean wave that acceptance letter in management’s face; just don’t leave yourself at somebody else’s mercy.

5) If you’re playing high-stakes job poker and put up the “I’ll quit” bluff, you better be willing and able to follow through with it. To add on to the metaphor, get your poker face primed and ready: walking into an office full of emotions (read: anger) is sure to spell disaster. Emotions are easy to manipulate, and are the biggest form of anti-leverage on the planet. Additionally, when you’re going through your spiel, start off with what you want and need, and then transition to the fact that you’ll be looking for alternative employment otherwise, not the other way around.

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Bottom line, steel yourself. Stop thinking everyone is your friend, and if they are, don’t count on their support when shit hits the fan. When the reaper comes knocking, keep the five tips listed above taped to the inside of your eyelid: in the tentative job world, leverage is king.

HOW TO MAKE AN EXTRA $230,000 WITH YOUR LOOKS

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SHOW DATE: JUNE 25, 2014

Auntie Evan just ran into a colleague who was in the New York area that he used to work for Forster-Thomas. We’ll call her B.

Auntie Evan hadn’t seen her in a while, and she wanted to take on some work while she was in New York. That was fine and all, but there was one small problem: her appearance.

B was 150lbs overweight, her hair was three different colors, she had pimples showering her face and she was unclean.

Auntie Evan’s consensus? Looks matter. Better looking people get jobs. B wasn’t going to get on board looking like that.

Uncle David is horrified at this maxim, but Auntie Evan has a point: the “fact” that good looking people do better in life is, in fact, a fact.

Auntie Evan cites University of Texas economist Daniel S. Hamermesh’s research that attractive people earn $230,000 more over a lifetime. Even an average worker is likely to earn $140,000 more than an ugly worker.

Auntie Evan does admits B was overweight when he first met her, but she was attractive and kept up appearances. She looked good.

Don’t let your ego get in the way when thinking about your attractiveness. Just because you don’t look like Pitt or Jolie doesn’t mean you’re not attractive.

Wash your face. Brush your teeth. Comb your hair. Wear the part. It’s not what you’re born with, it’s how you own how your look.

Take one of our employees, Ben. Classically good looking, a sharp dresser. But he didn’t start off that way.

Ben used to come in looking like a mess: shorts and polos several sizes too large, and generally an unkempt appearance. One day Auntie Evan told him if he came into work one more time dressed liked that he wouldn’t have a job. Ben listened.

Even if you work from home, pulling yourself together makes you feel great. And people can see that mustard stain over Skype, so it’s pretty much a must no matter where you are.

Looking good and being good looking are two different things. You don’t have to feel like you were blessed by the beauty gods to look the part.

Here’s a good tip: dress a level up. If your supervisor or boss wear a suit, adapt their style.

Forster-Thomas is an educational consultation company that helps students get into college and graduate school. Auntie Evan and Uncle David can’t make it fly that they have 50 years of experience between them and that they know what they’re talking about if they don’t look GOOD.

This applies to a creative office, a corporate office, a lax office, whatever office. Good looks matter, but looking good matters a lot more.

Check out our interview with Rachel Lefort on the phone, a former Ann Taylor designer, for some amazing style advice to make you look great no matter how much you were hit with the ugly stick at birth.

Secrets of an Office Dominator

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SHOW DATE: JUNE 18, 2014

Most people need to be dominated in a relationship, be it in business or in life. One person is going to be the good guy and the other the bad guy.

And if you’re one the one receiving the commands and complaints, it can be quite frustrating. But is it crazy to think that if you removed the dominant figurehead from the relationship, your job, and your life, wouldn’t function as well?

We don’t find it crazy one bit.

If Auntie Evan doesn’t tell Uncle David to take out the trash during an in-home client Skype call, would Uncle David, as frustrated as he is over the domination, ever do it? If Auntie Evan doesn’t forcefully impose the company’s new pricing model in front of their employees and Uncle David says squat because he doesn’t want to embarrass the image of the company, would the business ever progress?

The dominator, essentially the task-master, whips you into shape. Every office has one. We get it (at least, Uncle David does), we realize it can be a pain in the ass to be told what to do all the time.

But it’s necessary. Every yin needs a yang. This doesn’t mean you can’t make the relationship with your dominator a synergistic effort that produces ideal results. You can even become a dominator yourself.

Coming straight from the horse’s mouth, Auntie Evan reveals how you can make a relationship with a dominator work for you, not against you. Use these points to understand the necessity of a dominator, or become one yourself.

There are three things dominators do that lets them stay in the position they’re at:

  1. They are loud, forceful and tenacious. Like pit bulls. They are the first ones to get their head into the discussion.
  2. They find a weakness and exploit it (Uncle David doesn’t like loud confrontations, for instance). They know you’ll give in, and they do solely to get ahead with their vision.
  3. This is the big one. They are willing to walk away from a client if things are not going their way. They have it in their heart that what they have to say is the right thing, and they know they’re really good at what they do. So for the relationship to be maintained, the client must be good at what they do, be a hard worker, and comply with the dominator’s vision. For a successful dominator, everything is replaceable, be it a client, a teammate, a spouse, or even their own role in the company.

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A dominator is committed to a cause, such as making more money for the company. If she loses a few clients along the way to get to the ones she needs, so be it.

The office dominator is an essential chess piece, because they’re the ones that gets results. Become one of them, or be dominated by one (and later become one yourself). Either way, you’re moving your career, and more importantly the company, forward.

Do the Right Thing at Work Without Everyone Hating You

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SHOW DATE: JUNE 4, 2014

There’s an age old problem that plagues us incessantly at the workplace: do I do the right thing, or the popular thing?

Say the popular co-worker who’s always coming in twenty minutes late, and you’re covering for him, or his co-workers are covering for him.

He’s a decent guy, a family man, and you don’t want to hurt him or his career. But it’s starting to affect the team and the office morale.

Do you report him or do you keep him safe from scrutiny?

Speaking to him may not work. He might say, “Yeah, sure, I’ll come in on time,” without it ever coming to fruition. And if you ask again, you’ll become that annoying co-worker who’s always nitpicking.

The question to any problem you have in the work place is, is it more practical to say something, or put your head down?

It’s painful to be the hall monitor blowing her whistle. You’re not getting promoted for it, and if you are, you’re going to be the supervisor or boss nobody respects.

Auntie Evan and Uncle David have two divergent opinions:

Uncle David: In this economy, you have to put your head down when you see your company is heading in a bad direction or someone is causing a problem. Don’t be the moral police, or you won’t get anywhere.

Auntie Evan: UD, if that’s how you feel, if you can’t step up, then you’re not really there for your company. Then you’re the small individual who only looks after himself and his paycheck.

When it comes down to brass tacks, do you need to be popular or liked to get ahead, or do the right thing and open your mouth?

AE: When things are not going well, you can’t just put your head down and hope nobody notices. It doesn’t matter what company you’re at, when you’re hurting the product because you’re keeping your mouth shut, it never works out for anybody in the end.

UD: But remember when you worked at that organization, and the new, younger program lead got hired and made a bunch of mistakes, and you called her out and were shunned for it? Only when you left the job and they saw all the mistakes go down did they call you up again.

So how do keep the company your number one priority when calling someone out, and at the same time avoiding looking like the hall monitor everyone wants to jam into a locker? Here are Auntie Evan’s foolproof steps to doing the right thing while still saving face:

1) Carefully document when the co-worker(s) makes a glaring mistake that affects the team and the company as a whole. Write down the date and time, and what was done. As objectively as possible (not, “At 4pm on Tuesday the bitch didn’t wash her coffee mug.”).

2) More importantly, take to heart that you’re doing this because you want the company to be great, because you want the country to be great. If you play the “what’s in it for me” game, you’re going to crash.

3) Don’t make it look like you’re trying to cover your own ass. If you get somewhere early, and all you can do is gloat how you’re the only one on time, you’re doing it wrong. It’s about thinking, “how can I get everybody in on time.” Put the organization, the community, before anything.

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