Every week, Auntie Evan and Uncle David scour the news to find a Hire or Fire of the Week. Hires display impeccable aplomb and go above and beyond what they’re expected to do on the job. Fires do the opposite. Tune in every week to see who’s getting Hired or Fired next.

SHOW DATE: JUNE 26, 2013

We all know how it’s like to forget what you’re going to say in front of a crowd. Now imagine millions of people watching you say something so cringe-worthy on national television that you become an instant meme.

You’d think that Marissa Powell—the third-place winner of this year’s Miss USA pageant whose atrocious answer to one of the competition’s question has gone viral (video shown below)—would be the fire of the week. But Ms. Powell is this week’s hire, and there’s an important reason. Yes, she gave a horrifyingly bad answer, but you could tell from the look in her eyes that she knew what she was saying was bad. She had a genuine awareness of the problem (unlike Ms. South Carolina’s flub from 2007), and she made a genuine attempt to stand strong. And Ms. Utah pushed through.You could tell she wanted to run off the stage, but she stuck with it till the end and survived, despite the incessant flurry of ridicule. She even ended up going on several talk shows to discuss the flub. Talk about gonads.

This is a good example to follow for anyone who streams to overcome any hurdles their job is likely to throw at them: take a stand and don’t run away from your mistakes, no matter how embarrassing they are.


By Aleksandr Smechov



SHOW DATE: JUNE 19, 2013

You’re applying for a new position and you have just the right person to ask for a lead, but there’s one thing holding you back: you haven’t spoken to them in three years. Don’t let the risk of embarrassment ruin a perfectly good opportunity to get closer to the job you want; you’re just using that time gap as an excuse to hold yourself back from success. Give them a call and say: “Hey, hope you’ve been well! Got a lead?” There are only two things that can happen: they say yes or they say no. If they say no, move on, no big deal. If they say yes, you’re that much closer to the job you want.


By Aleksandr Smechov




You know how once in a while you fantasize about not just leaving your job, but leaving your whole career? Just starting over from scratch in an entirely different field? You’re not alone—these days more people than ever before are reinventing themselves professionally.  But since that requires developing a whole new set of professional skills and tools, maybe it’s time for you to take a “vocation vacation”—a vacation where you learn new job skills.

While it might not sound like your idea of “getting away,” think about it—if you learned enough skills to enter a new career in a new industry, you might love your job so much that you no longer want to get away.

One website that caters to this hot new trend is www.pivotplanet.com. There, you can find mentors and advisors in almost any field who will help you to switch careers—sometimes by letting you intern with them for a couple of weeks. Imagine spending your next vacay in Napa learning how to make wine, or on the set of a film, learning how to make movie magic! Now doesn’t that sound like a great way to get away?



SHOW DATE: MAY 29, 2013

Cockroaches are generally regarded as the spawn of Satan.  They’re creepy.  They’re crawly. They spread germs and disease.  And even when you’re armed with a hefty shoe, they’re virtually impossible to squish.

So why would we want you to model your behavior after these pests?  Because, as a species, they are virtually indestructible. And that’s how you need to be if you plan on surviving in today’s workplace.

A recent study published by Science found that cockroaches are actually evolving to avoid and become immune to the toxins and poisons that harm them. Every time we come up with a new chemical to kill cockroaches, they simply adapt. Every time a new threat comes along, the cockroaches come up with an antidote. You know that old saying that cockroaches will be the only thing standing after the apocalypse? Looks like it’s true.

While it’s unlikely that your employers are trying to kill you off with poison, traps, or a giant shoe, your job security is still under constant threat. Computers and robots are replacing people. Jobs are being outsourced to China. New, complex software is constantly being introduced into your industry. Change is all around you, and it never waits to make sure you’re ready for it. It just keeps coming, and if you don’t keep up, you’re history.

While it’s easy to feel powerless in such uncertain times. But you’re not. You can survive it.  You just need to become a cockroach.  Here’s how:

Be open to change. Stop resisting. Accept that change happens whether you like it or not. This isn’t about giving in—it’s about developing as mindset that accepts the way things are.  Once you do that, you’ll stop passively cowering whenever change rears its ugly head, and begin to embrace change in a proactive way. Just as vinyl was replaced by cassettes, cassettes were replaced by CDs, and CDs are being replaced by MP3 files, the tools you use at work are going to replaced by new ones. Get over it.

Reinvent yourself constantly. This means learning new technology, software, and skills—not when you absolutely have to, but when they’re still new.  If that means taking a class or doing some research on your own, do it. You can become the person who can train others instead of the person who “needs to get trained”.  In other words, you go from being a liability to being an asset.  And when you learn a new technology, you are creating a new job.

Embrace new people. Don’t just embrace the new technology—embrace the people who come with it. Too often, people distance themselves from the “newbies” and the “kids”.  They see them as the enemy. But that’s a sure-fire way to set yourself up for being replaced. Instead, reach out to the new people. They’ll be eager to gain from your wisdom and experience, and they’ll be happy to teach you what they know. This also means that you should ask for help if you’re struggling to learn new things. You probably shouldn’t ask your boss, but you can ask a co-worker or someone else you trust. Don’t avoid what’s scary—the best defense is a good offense!

Recognize crossover skills. Be aware of what skills you have that are universally applicable to any job.  These days, more and more people have to change industries. Your hard skills might not be able to transcend that gap, but you likely have many great soft skills that can—such as writing, creating consensus, or being a good negotiator. Knowing what they are will allow you to showcase your greatest strengths in your resume and in interviews.

If you’re looking for something more immediate and tangible than the above, here are three things you can start doing right now to adapt within the workplace:

  1. Understand social networking.  If you’re not using it, you’re going to get left behind. And having a Facebook account is not enough. You need to be on Twitter and LinkedIn—and actively managing your online profile!
  2. Keep your Microsoft office skills current. Do you know how to use all the new bells and whistles?
  3. Be willing to toss out #1 and #2.  Remember, it’s about adapting!  In 10 years, there may be no Facebook or Microsoft, so master them while they’re here, but be willing to jump ship to the next technology when it’s time!




SHOW DATE: MAY 15, 2013

Are you always trying to network with the people at the top of the “corporate ladder” because they’re the ones with all the power? Well then you’re very likely missing out.  You should be networking just as actively with the “newbies” and the “young-uns” as anyone else. Sure, they might not be in a position to hire you now, but some stars rise faster than others, and you never know where that junior executive will be in three years’ time. Even more importantly, though, it’s the younger crop of workers who have the newer, fresher ideas.  They can provide you with tools and techniques you might not otherwise be aware of.  And they’ll also keep you hip and relevant, meaning that never again will you be the laughing stock of the office for thinking the assistant with “Bieber Fever” is out sick.

Will Your Next Vacation Get You Fired—or Promoted?


While vacations sometimes feel like “playing hooky” from your professional life, the
truth is that they actually make you a better worker: When you have a healthier work-life
balance, you’re going to be a better, more productive employee. Companies like Google
are starting to acknowledge this fact by taking away their employees’ cell phones when
they go on vacay to ensure they really relax.

Despite this, chances are that you’re too scared to take all of those hard-earned vacation
days. A recent study shows that the average American accrues nine unused vacation days
every year. Well guess what—if you’re not going on vacation, then you’re completely
missing the boat (and the cruise ship). The fact is that, if you go on vacation the right
way, your vacay won’t put you at risk for getting fired—it could actually get you

How? Well, first, you have to develop what we call a boss mentality. This means that
you need to think and act like a boss, even if you’re on the lowest rung of the corporate
ladder. You might think you don’t have it in you, but you do—you’re the boss of your
house, right? You manage to cook, clean, get the kids to school, pay the bills, and keep
a roof over your head, right? That’s a boss mentality! Now you just need to apply it at
work. Here’s how:

1. DECIDE that you are leadership material. Again, you do it in your “home” life, so
you can do it at work.

2. BECOME the “go-to guy” in your position. When someone is having problems,
stay five minutes late to help them, whether you like that person or not. Be
proactive when you see problems instead of complaining about them. Suggest
ways in which you can help beyond your assigned duties.

3. BE COACHABLE. Be inquisitive and open to learning new things.

Once you have developed the boss mentality, you will naturally begin to excel in your
job in ways you never thought possible. But just as importantly, your coworkers and
your own boss will begin to see you as a leader—someone who deserves to be promoted,
because you already have the traits, skills, and knowledge of someone in a position of

So, how does this apply to vacations? Well, you just apply the boss mentality to how you
approach your vacation. Here’s how:

1. Make Your Vacation Request a solution, not a problem. When you’re thinking like
a boss, you’ll understand why boss’s don’t want you to leave: they’re nervous. So, if you
pitch a vacation as an apology (i.e., “I hope it’s not too inconvenient, but I really want
some time away”), you’re increasing your boss’s anxiety and he’ll see your vacation as a
nuisance. Instead, pitch your vacation as a solution:

When you ask for time off, present your boss with a plan for who will cover your
duties at that exact moment.

Tell your boss which projects will be done by the time you leave.

Determine who will take over your calls and emails

Provide a rationale for why the dates you want are actually GOOD timing for
your company/group/team.

2. Ensure everything at work and home is taken care of before you leave. Plan
who is going to pick up your mail, water your plants, and feed the cats. That will allow
you to enjoy your vacation instead of worrying about life back home. At work, don’t
just ask people to cover for you. Send an email to your boss and your coworkers with
this information in writing. This not only covers your butt if someone drops the ball,
but ensures the office can function without you. And, it’s a classic example of the boss

3. Make sure your boss can check in with you when you’re gone. Vacations are for
checking out mentally, but you want to make sure you can be reached if necessary. So:
Provide your boss with contact info for where you can be reached.
Set up an email a schedule for when you will check email (e.g. once every day),
and stick to it.
Before you leave, ask your boss and other coworkers if there’s anything they

If you follow all of these tips, you’ll be able to have a relaxing vacation, knowing that
everything at work is taken care of. But you’ll also show your supervisors that you have a
boss mentality—and that means that they’ll come to realize that you not only deserve that
vacation…you deserve a promotion!

Create Buzz Around Your Job Application


When you apply for a job, it’s not time to hope that fate steers you the right way. It’s time to take control. That means leaving nothing to chance and actively ensuring that you
create positive buzz around your application. After all, the job doesn’t always go to the most qualified person, it goes to the person who everyone is thinking and talking about.
So you need to make sure that you are that person—even before you set foot inside the

So how do you create buzz about your application?

By following these 4 guidelines:

1. You need a social media presence. Like it or not, people who get your resume are
going to cyber-stalk you. They’re going to look you up on Google and check out your
photos on Facebook (and if you think that’s inappropriate, too bad). If they can’t find you
in cyberspace, you’re sending a message that you are unimportant. So make sure you
are on Facebook and Twitter, and make sure your photos and profile info is appropriate.
And if you have a hobby or passion, showcase it through a personal website—send out a
message that you are active and engaged, and hiring managers will see you as someone
who gets things done.

2. Your cover letter needs to stand out. If your cover letter feels like a generic form
letter you use for every job you apply to, you won’t be taken seriously. You need a cover
letter that will grab your reader’s attention and keep it. So:

Be bold. Don’t waste anyone’s time with vague statements. Be confident, sell
your greatest strengths, and make it clear why you rock.

Be specific. Show that you have the exact skills, tools, and qualities that the ad
mentions. Mention the ad and the company to show that you wrote this cover
letter for them.

Tell them how you will make their lives easier. Give an example of an
accomplishment at your old workplace, and make it clear that you can do the
same for them.

3. Prepare your references. Don’t just hope that your references are still around and
willing to put in a good word for you. Call your references and tell them to be prepared
for a call. Not only will your references appreciate the warning, but it will give them a
chance to prepare their sales pitch for you—the very buzz you need.

4. If you get an interview, that means you’re 2/3 of the way there. They like you, so
you need to go in with confidence. But you also need to be who you really are. Don’t try
to be what you think they want to see. Be genuine, because you wouldn’t have made it this far
if they didn’t like the real you!

Don’t engage your brain in a crisis. Trust your gut instea


SHOW DATE: June 13, 2012

Smart people often second guess themselves. But here’s the deal: you get it right
when you have to. Smart people don’t take short cuts in their thinking—less
intelligent people rely on shortcuts more. So less intelligent people often do better
in a crisis, because they’re able to come up with a solution FAST. Instead of acting,
the smart ones are spinning their wheels inputting their options into Excel. So don’t
overthink it. Under pressure, play dumber. Listen to Uncle David and Auntie Evan
examine this further below: