You know it’s true.

You lied to get your job. Eventually, you have to put up or get out.

If you say you know how to work with Excel, eventually you’ll have to learn Excel.

What’s brought this subject up is our office manager, Roberto.

Roberto said he could be a copy edit during his interview. Obviously one of the things you need to do to be a copy editor is spell. When we asked him to read over some client work, the ugly truth was revealed.

He didn’t see a difference between “desert” and “dessert.”

But seriously, this is not the worst sort of lie. There’s all types of lying. Half of Americans admit to lying at some point during a job interview.

We are not in favor of lying. However, our personal belief is that you should do everything you can to get the job. But you have to be able to rise to the occasion if you plan on stretching the truth a bit.

In Roberto’s defense, he was good at English. He had good grades in his English classes. So when he saw that we wanted someone who preferably knew how to copy edit, he said he could.

Our problem is not that Roberto said he was a copy editor. Our problem is that when he got the job he didn’t get ass over to The Learning Annex and learn copy editing.

Just because you have an English degree doesn’t mean you know how to copy edit. Just because you know how to use a computer doesn’t mean you know how to use Excel.

You have to be cautious. This is where the lie gets crazy.

Sometimes you don’t know that you lied. And you find out later that what you said you know how to do you don’t actually know how to do.

What you do then is take a class.

There’s a big misconception. It’s never too late to learn the skill you said you could do (but can’t). Even when you’re found out.

But what’s the difference between an acceptable lie and an unacceptable lie? It’s fine to stretch the truth a little to get the job, but it needs to be something that you can back up.

An example would be saying you can copy edit, if you’re not going for a copy editing job.

If you have 4 out of 5 skills and the 5th skill is something you can learn, say you have all five.

Heath Ledger supposedly got the lead role for A Knight’s Tale by saying he knew how to stage fight. Which he didn’t. But when he got the job he immediately went out and learned how to stage fight.

Here’s an unacceptable lie. If you’re not 6’2”, don’t say you’re 6’2”. This goes for acting gigs, shoots and online dating. If you say you’re 180, and you’re actually 280, that’s a big fat lie.

If you say you worked at Morgan Stanley when you didn’t work at Morgan Stanley, that’s unacceptable.

If you say have a Bachelor’s and you don’t, that’s unacceptable.

These are career destroyers.

These are usually lies made up from thin air.

There’s a difference between faking it till you make it and flat-out lying.

You know in your heart when you’re hustling and when you’re just making shit up. It’s the same feeling you had when you were five years old and knew you were doing something wrong.




Every single year, our office manager, Roberto, makes appointments during this time when he should know—just as he’d known for the past five years—that we’re off.

Who makes appointments on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?

Be aware of your boss’s traditions and holidays. Or else it’s just going to be embarrassing.


In fact, be aware of the holidays of people you work with directly. If a co-worker you interact with on an almost daily basis is celebrating year 5774, send him a Happy New Year email.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish, Muslim or whatever. It’s about being aware of your network’s traditions. So when time comes and the holidays roll out, you not only know not to schedule appointments, meetings or events, but also that this is the time you should be wishing people a happy holiday.

Uncle David and Roberto always celebrate the Night of a Thousand Stevies, “the largest and most beloved Stevie Nicks fan event in the world.” Auntie Evan never forgets that this day is off-limits.

And that’s exactly how you should operate in the office.

Honor other people’s cultures, traditions and holidays. Don’t throw a banquet or anything. Just ask them if they’ll need help around the office that day. Acknowledging that you know is enough.

Let’s say your boss is gay. And you just put a little equality flag on your desk on Gay Pride Day. Or you put the flag up on your Facebook profile pic for a day.

The acknowledgement makes all the difference.

It can get you a lot of respect. It’s how you network and get jobs. Don’t miss the opportunity to show that you are aware of what others find important.

It’s also vital to be aware of what you’re entitled to during your holidays.

Private employers can make employees work on holidays. There’s no state of federal law against that. However—and here’s the catch—there are laws that ban religious discrimination.

So it’s illegal to let your employees off on Christmas but not Hanukah if there are both religions in the office.

What a lot of companies do is give you a set number of personal days you can take off.

If your boss isn’t giving you these but she is giving others a day off for their holiday, you need to tell her to give you the equivalent days off.

(The Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to accommodate employee’s religious holidays.)

Wrapping it up, it makes a huge difference if you reach out and acknowledge your employer’s, co-workers’ and friends’ religions and traditions. It’s enough to warrant you respect, grow your network and even grant you a job opportunity.

Also know your own rights when it comes to taking days off. You’re entitled by law.

Till next time.

Should Punching Your Wife Get You Fired?



For some, this is a glorious day in the world of sports.

In a world where football players seem to be exempt from all of the rules the rest of us have to live by, where they can do anything they want and keep their multi-million dollar jobs, finally we get something more than dismissive behavior.

Baltimore Raven’s running back Ray Rice was recently fired for beating his wife.

We all saw the video of clocking his wife.


And yes, this is horrible.

But on the other hand, should personal life interfere with work? Isn’t it, you get fired for what you did wrong on your job, not outside your job?

There hasn’t even been a trial yet, and already the NFL has Ray Rice lock, stock and barrel condemned.

This may be a slippery slope to a world where you hire or fire somebody based on what goes on behind the privacy of their own homes.

Some may call it a question of morality.

When is it OK for an employer to fire you for what goes on behind closed doors?

Janay Rice understands that because the NFL interfered in her personal life, they basically ruined her life financially.

Who you are in life is who you are on your job. If you’re a person that beats your wife and has flagrant disregard for any morality, then who is to say you won’t be like that on your job?

If our employee Tom got caught and turned out to be an escort, then it would now be known that our company hires prostitutes. Our calls might drop and our reputation may be damaged if Tom continues parading around the offices.

Ray Rice is a public figure. We’re all public figures in our communities.

We can break it down further to morality and legality.

When Ray Rice dragged his wife to the elevator—that was a question of morality.

When he clocked his wife—that was a question of legality. It’s illegal to assault someone.

A company has a vested interested in its brand image. If an employee is stealing or killing people, that company has the right to protect its image.

If you’re doing something outside your company that violates every moral code out there, it’s your life, your choice.

But if you’re getting knee-deep in legal snafus, or your moral blunders are making their way across media channels, your own life is negatively affecting your employer’s image, which is a substantial reason to be fired.

Bottom line, your personal life is a reflection of how you act on the job and vice versa. Keep both in check and you’ll be fine.



The Dirty Truth About Lying On The Job



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


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.


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.


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.


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.

Happy Cabby! Or: Shut The F*ck Up and Listen to the Experts!


The following is a completely true story.

So I walked out of CBS after a great Job Talk radio show and hailed a taxi to Grand Central. After I got in, the driver asked, “You want I take sixty-five street over the Central Park?”

To Grand Central? Now, if you know NYC geography, you get that we’re on 10th and 57th. So, why would he head uptown to go down to 42nd & Vanderbilt? “Why wouldn’t we just go across 57th and take a right on Broadway?” He looks at me like I’m crazy and I realize he’s right—it’s 1pm, and traffic will be insane on 57th.

So I do something you’ll never believe your Auntie Evan did: I let go of my inner control freak. “You’re the professional here, you go the way you want to,” I say as my phone lights up with texts—everyone knows I’m out of our radio show now.

So, off we go. Cabbie driving. Auntie Evan texting.

happy cabby photo 2

Ten minutes later I look up and there’s no trees, there’s no Tavern on the Green, there’s just a billboard for some musical that everybody from LA wants to see called “If/Then,” and a lot of white people in sweatpants and Ohio State jerseys. So I’m confused. Why are we on Broadway? I told him to go the way he wanted! Did I get the one taxi driver in New York City actually afraid to disagree with me? But what’s done is done.

Then Arif casually makes a left onto 46th. And a baaaaaaaad feeling descends upon me. You know what I’m talking about if you live here. It’s illegal to turn left onto 46th from practically anywhere midtown–midday!

And there he is. A handsome NYC cop (ah, uniforms) pulls us over.  Oh crap. It is 1pm on a Wednesday in Times Square and I am with a Muslim man who has just broken the law—I am never making the train. So I calmly tell Arif I need to pay and walk the rest of the way.

Then Officer Handsome knocks on my window. I roll it down and he asks me what time my train’s at. (Apparently Arif had told him we were headed to Grand Central). I tell the officer, and ask “I’m not making that train, am I?”

“Probably not,” he replies.

So, with a blank look, I calmly say to Officer Handsome, “He’s getting a ticket, right?”


We were all calm, and in the ensuing silence, Arif and I knew what Officer Handsome knew: He was going to run the cabbie’s license, something like an unpaid parking ticket would set off an umber flag, the closest precinct is going to be somewhere not near 46th Street, and Handsome is going to be responsible for taking Arif there.

So I have to ask—while what is probably the entire Big Ten fanbase races past toward Jersey Boys–“For real, Officer? Do you really want to go through all of this?”

Something in my doe eyes must have gotten through, because Handsome returns to Arif, points his license at him and says, “Your passenger just got you out of a ticket. I’m giving you a warning.”

Arif begins to explain himself to the cop, and I reach through the partition and gently place my hand on his shoulder. “No,” I stage whisper. “Don’t speak.” Officer Handsome giggles, and I announce, “We are going to leave now, and this young man is going to take me to Grand Central….” Arif looks at me, and I finish my sentence: “for free.”

I glance at both men and ask “Are we good, boys?”

Officer Handsome looks at Arif and says, “It would be a good time for you to leave.”

Arif is the happiest cabbie in New York City. “How do you want me to go to Grand Central?” he asks.

happy cabby photo 1

“It’s all up to you!” I say—making damn sure he heard me this time. “You’re the expert.”

Moral of the story:

Always listen to the professional, be he a cabbie, a tragically not-yet-famous radio show host, a lawyer–or anyone who has or does spend more time than you doing something, anything you rarely, if ever, do. If you hire an adviser or a consultant, if you are a numbers guy and you find yourself working with the PR department, or if you are a parent hiring a college admissions consultant, shut the f*ck up and let the expert do his job! And if you get in his way, it is your responsibility to get him out of a jam.

And also, at the risk of using an overused phrase that originated with people who we shook off like dandruff across the pond in 1776, “Keep calm and carry on.”

Because today, I went from 46th Street and Broadway to Grand Central for free.

–Auntie Evan

Why You Were Rejected from Your Dream Job–And How to Buck up Before You F*CK up


John (not his real name), a 28-year-old law school graduate, was beyond pissed off when he walked into my psychotherapy office in Brooklyn. He had just been turned down for an analyst position at AIG after his fourth interview in the reinsurance industry this year. His Facebook fantasy, the one in which he shares the grand news “I’m hired,” was demolished—along with his ego.

John just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t chosen for the job: The interviewers seemed to like him a lot. He was fully qualified. He had connections at the firm and, most importantly, when we met for our initial session, John said, “It was a rough year.” He felt he “really deserved a break.”

Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. The bottom line is: getting dumped sucks. Getting dumped by a potential employer is demoralizing with a twist of financial impact (#bittercocktail). John, however, was too busy licking his wounds to constructively understand where he was responsible for the rejection and how to deal with it, and how to face it the way the candidate who got the job would.

You have to be living under a rock if you don’t agree that the job market is competitive. But let’s not focus on the economy, your parents, the “unique” stress of the millennial generation, or Mercury in retrograde. Whatever the reason, you didn’t get the offer. Here’s the thing: the best place to look—when things don’t go according to plan—is at yourself.

All of the justifications you have for why you weren’t the “chosen one” are probably true. It sucks to be a millenial. And yes, the guy who did get the job is sleeping with the hiring manager. So what? You’re not looking at your responsibility in the matter. As a result, you feel defeated and cannot move forward. You can’t get back on the job- search horse. Wanna be successful? Or wanna give up? The choice is yours—not AIG’s, the reinsurance industry’s, the hiring manager’s, or Mom’s.


Stop playing the blame game because it’s only going to screw you up, especially in this case, where the “Oh, cruel world!” anger is only going to stop you from being the best version of yourself—the person they want to hire.

Here’s my advice on how to take responsibility, move forward and get the job:

1. After age 26, stop blaming Mom for your bad luck.

2. Recognize that there is no master plan against you being devised by the universe.

3. It’s not fair. But the truth is, it never was. Not in the 60s, the 80s, or the 00s. Not for you, not for me.

4. You are allowed to feel upset when things don’t go your way.  So, go ahead and wallow in self-pity.   But, put a time limit on it. (Actually choose a date and time).  Only then can you move on and be your most powerful self—and land the next job.

—Aimee Barr




You give them an inch, they take a yard.

No, that’s not another one of Job Talk’s esoteric sexual puns—it’s the ill matter of performing favors for co-workers. (Do count the sexual puns in this article, though—the number’s listed at the rear.)

Being asked to break the rules for somebody and bending over backwards just because you’re friends not only puts you in a compromising position, it takes away your power and credibility.

The reverse is doubly unsatisfying: nobody wants the victim who always needs to be paid early because his finances are a disaster. Bringing the drama of your everyday life to the office by asking for special favors (especially getting your check early) not only kills your chances at a promotion, it lowers your status in the office considerably.

No matter how small the business, companies’ systems are set in stone for a reason. It’s to prevent workplace sanfus where co-workers are placed in vulnerable positions that detract from office performance and pile on dysfunction.

Business environments, especially at small-mid sized companies like Forster-Thomas, can get very close and familial. If you want it to stay intimate, everyone has to follow the guidelines set in place and not kneel down for any little favor.

You’re going to get ahead at work only when you stop focusing on being liked or looking for others to break the rules for you. Offering leeway only serves to open a Pandora’s box, where the compromise snowballs into a bunch of he-saids and she-saids and workplace drama that gets you nowhere.

Know the rules and stick to them. You might like your co-workers. Really like them. But the only way you’re going to move up and maintain workplace relationships is keeping your power, your dignity and your favors to yourself.


Sexual puns in this article: 69




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.


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.


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.


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.

Email Snafu: Fixing Errors When Emailing Foreigners

Full Marketing

My secretary, Todd, recently copied me on an email he sent to a potential client in Beijing. (Let’s call her “Emma,” since every Chinese person I know seems to give themselves a Tweedy English name).

Here’s how the email read:

“Hi Emma,
I’m a rittle confused. Did you mean 10 am or 10 pm EST for the Skype call with Evan and David?

Rittle?!?!? When I saw it, I was, of course, mortified. (Maybe I giggled a little). Was Todd mocking Emma? Was it just an honest typo? Or is Todd a big racist? (I can imagine him thinking “rittle,” not intending to actually type it…and then OOPS).

So what do I do? Fire Todd? That goes without saying. I do it twice a week. But what do I do about Emma? What’s the business etiquette reboot? Is there one? How could we, well, save face?

Do I:

A) Make Todd send an apology?

B) Correct the mistake and send the apology myself?

C) Ignore it and hope that Emma doesn’t catch the mistake? I mean it’s not as if I don’t often have to guess what she means in her emails: Just the other day she wrote: 并把相应的航班行程和价格发给您,如果没有问题咱们就出票. Translated by Google, this means: “And the corresponding flight itinerary and prices sent to you, we would have no problem if the ticket…” That was clearly meant for somone else, but it was later followed up by another email—in English—that read: “China is limited but his leaves all of us working for the Chinese families. A room to have the families well informed of the US education.”


It took a few minutes of going through old emails for me to figure out what the f*ck she was talking about, but I eventually got it.

Now, I want to be clear: This is not just a Chinese issue. I have had some of the strangest emails come from France, Portugal, and Germany—not to mention Scarsdale—that have been completely unintelligible. And I am sure my attempts at responses in Spanish et al haven’t been much better. Still, this email from Todd—unintentional though it was—bordered on racism. I think.

To that end, I have this to say: Slow down when writing emails. And always reread them—no matter what. But you didn’t this time, so here are some possible ways to fix the tres raciale mistake:

1)     Arriba, Arriba! Andale, Andale! (To quote Speedy Gonzalez):  The second you realize the faux pas (or slip-up, en Français), just send the exact email with the correction. Don’t bring any attention to it. Sometimes menos is mejor.

2)    Short and Sweet: Still worried? Ok. Ok. So, you’re too worried to say nothing. So, make a joke out of it. By this I mean, Make fun of yourself for the error—followed by an apology—in front of everyone copied on the email: “Oops, I meant to write ‘little’! Damn carpal tunnel.”

3)     WWJD?: You’ve dealt with this colleague (Emma) before and she’s not forgiving. In fact, she’s a real asshole. Well, you’re just going to have to bend over and—as Jesus would say—“turn the other cheek.” Don’t even wait until she realizes the error. Preempt her anger with an apology…plus the corrected version.

Of course, there’s always lying. Send out a BCC email that looks like an apology form letter. Lead with “During this very busy season [even though it’s mid August], a small number of emails may have been sent to you with misspellings. They were in no way intended to offend the recipient…” You get the point, but this is really a last resort, and should only be implemented if you receive an angry response to the original email—and/or you’re a damn coward.

–Auntie Evan

Do the Right Thing at Work Without Everyone Hating You



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.