HIRE OF THE WEEK: OKLAHOMA 1st GRADE TEACHER BECKY JO EVANS

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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: MAY 22, 2013

When a massive tornado tore through the Oklahoma City area, Becky Jo Evans didn’t become a victim; she became a hero. The first-grade teacher rounded up six students, brought them into a bathroom at the center of the school building, and used her body as a shield to protect them as the school was torn apart by the storm. She has been widely hailed as a hero for her bravery, and should also be lauded for taking responsibility and never once saying: “That’s not one of my job duties.”

ARE YOU A BLAMER OR AN EXCUSE MAKER?

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SHOW DATE: MAY 15, 2013

“It’s not my fault.”  Admit it: you’ve said these four words countless times.  Sure, sometimes you use this phrase as an excuse, but sometimes it’s true. After all, it’s not your fault that Brandy, the new admin assistant, forgot to get a confirmation from the client, right?!

Wrong. If you want to be truly successful in your career and get that promotion you’re convinced you deserve, then you need to be a real leader. And leaders are people who take on great responsibility—not just for what they do, but for what happens all around them. In other words, if you want to achieve success, you need to embrace a new mindset—one that requires you to be 100% responsible for everything.

Think this all sounds impossible? It’s not. Keep reading and we guarantee you’ll get it… and maybe even get that promotion, too.

First of all, let’s look for signs that you’re not being responsible enough in your career.  Do you ever say any of the following phrases?

  • “That’s not in my job description”
  • “Don’t blame me for that”
  • “I’m doing the best I can”
  • “That’s one of Sarah’s duties”

If you say any of the above, then you’re not being responsible enough at work. And chances are, you’re being one of two classic archetypes:

  1. The Blamer: The blamer always tries to shift responsibilities, obligations, and blame onto others.
  2. The Excuse-maker. This person always has a great reason why something didn’t happen, and it’s always a factor outside his/her control.

Bringing this mindset to work isn’t just unproductive; it’s also stopping you from being as great as you can.  Yes, it’s scary to take responsibility for everything around you. It feels like it’s a quick way to get in trouble and have your head on the chopping block.

But that’s not the way it works. If you really embrace the idea that you are 100% responsible for everything that happens—whether in your control or not—then you will become powerful.  You will stop creating excuses and start creating solutions.  And when you do that, the workplace improves, your team does better, you are recognized as the driving force behind positive change, and you get promoted into the position you deserve.

So here’s how the practice of being 100% responsible plays out in action. Here are three scenarios, each with a description of how the responsible worker responds:

Scenario 1: You’re late to work because of bad traffic.

Someone who is irresponsible says, “It’s not my fault it’s late.  The traffic was terrible.  I can’t do anything about that.” But if you’re 100% responsible, you recognize that you can do something about it:  Even if traffic is only bad once in a while, you decide to leave 10 minutes early every day just in case.  Sure, you’ll usually get to work 10 minutes early.  But that means you’ll be the first person in the office every day. And you’ll never be “the late guy.”  The boss will notice these facts, and you’ll be rewarded.

Scenario 2: Your teammate often misses deadlines, so the team is always in trouble

Think you can’t be responsible for your teammate’s work? Think again. You can start sending her friendly reminders. You can check in on her. If you’re worried about being one of those guys—the kind that is always too involved in other’s business—you can adjust your approach. For example, BCC people in emails so you’re not publicly humiliating the slacker teammate. Or you can start seeing her as a slacker and start seeing her as someone who is struggling, which will lead you to offer help. Showing that you care about the worker—not just the product—could lead her to open up and express what the real problem is. That will lead you to developing solutions instead of making excuses, and that’s what gets you promoted.

Scenario 3: A tornado wiped out every possible route to work.

OK, so there are some “acts of God” that you truly can’t control. But you can still respond to them as someone who is responsible. Instead of taking a “well I can’t help it when a tornado comes through” approach, show that you feel responsible and be proactive. Imagine getting a call from someone who apologized profusely for not being able to get to work because of a natural disaster. You wouldn’t blame them—you know it’s not their fault—but you would hold them in high regard for feeling bad about it instead of feeling like an entitled victim.

Finally, the other great thing about being 10% responsible is that it makes you irreplaceable.  Once people see that you re responsible fro everything—from always being on time to being the one who ensures the printer never runs out of toner—they will realize they can’t live without you. That’s the kind of job security everyone wants to have…and the kind of person who climbs the corporate ladder faster than everyone else.

COME OUT OF YOUR CLOSET— WITHOUT RISKING YOUR JOB

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OK, so you have an agenda: You’re a bleeding heart liberal who wants to save the spotted owl.  Or a hardline conservative who wants to save the U.S. Constitution.  Or maybe you’re gay.  Or a Zionist.  Or a vegan.  Or a gay Zionist vegan…who wants to save Jewish pink flamingos.

Whatever your agenda is, it’s OK to “come out of the closet” at your job.  No, really—it is.  If you’re fully self-expressed among your peers and not wasting energy trying to stifle your true feelings, you’re going to be a better—and happier—worker.

There’s just one thing: You just have to earn the right to come out.

Look at NBA player Jason Collins, who just this month became the first pro American male athlete to come out as gay while an active player.  Jason came out the right way. He didn’t strut into work on his first day as an NBA player and demand that every player accept his sexuality. Instead, he worked tirelessly to become good at his job. He showed up every day to practice. He played his hardest. And over time, he earned people’s respect as a player. In other words, he put his job ahead of his agenda, because his job was what he was hired to do.

With that in mind, here’s how to come out of your closet the right way:

1. Focus on your job. If you show up on the first day of your job as the flag-bearer for your cause, that’s all you’re going to be. You’ll never be the “great nurse” or the “brilliant teacher”.  Instead, you’ll be that guy with an axe to grind.  You’ll become to office joke and someone to avoid. Your agenda will define you. (“Oh no, here comes the vegan again! Hide the turkey sandwiches!”)  Remember: at the beginning of your career, no one cares about your cause.  They just want to make sure you’re good at your job. Show that you’re good at your job, and everyone will come to respect your agenda later on.

2. Only talk about your passion when your agenda comes up naturally. Don’t walk in on Monday shoving photos of you at the abortion rally under people’s noses. Wait until the topic comes up organically, and then share your opinions or experiences calmly (note: “you’re all going to Hell!!” doesn’t qualify).

3. Pick your battles wisely. You don’t have to weigh in every time the topic comes up. Ultimately, biting your tongue and listening to others will earn you more respect than being the resident blowhard.

4. Educate, don’t pontificate. Don’t preach. It ain’t pretty, and it makes you seem like you think you’re better than your coworkers. And no one likes that.

If you follow these tips, not only will you have an easier time coming out of your closet, but you’ll increase your chances of being promoted.  Your supervisors will see that you can tolerate differences of opinion, and deftly navigate diversity of thought.  That’s what leaders do, and leaders get promoted.

Creatives and Visionaries… Are you ready to have the talk?

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Creatives and Visionaries… Are you ready to have the talk? The one with your
partner / the “Dependable” that will get him or her on board with the life and career of
your dreams?

You’re the visionary in your relationship? You’re the artist? You’re the one that wants
to open the restaurant? Then you’re the one with the problem; you’re the one that needs
to sit down and have the talk with your partner. You know, “the talk” where you decide
which one of you is the creative and which one of you is the dependable. Sound like
a business arrangement? That’s because it is. Marriage is a legally binding agreement.
Key word being “agreement” here. If you want your marriage to work, you better know
what issues you agree on and what you don’t before you sign on the dotted line, because
divorce is expensive.

Work is life and life is work. I know it that’s not romantic, but your relationship will
have better sex, more love, and more security if the business of your relationship is in
order. That’s why you have “the talk.” George W and Laura had it. So did Matt Damon
and Luciana Barrosso? Who is Luciana Barrosso? Exactly. She’s the dependable and
Matt’s the creative. Steve jobs and Steve Wazniak had it. They didn’t have sex but they
had a pretty hot life and a great apple baby.

It’s all about recognizing a truth most people do not want to see: that your relationship
is like a business deal. You have to discuss the parameters of the relationship. There
are two types of people: risk-takers and stability-makers. Risk-takers are artists,
entrepreneurs. Stability-makers are the professionals—with the secure job. These two
types need each other. Look at Auntie Evan and Uncle David. I’m the visionary and
Uncle David is the dependable.

I have three basic rules:
1) Risk-takers can’t marry risk takers (poverty & ego)
2) Stability-makers can’t marry stability makers—banker with banker (zzzz… So
boring!) Well you could but not if you want exciting life and dynamic sex.
3) Be honest about which one you are. Is it your dream to start a business or to run a
business?

If you’re the risky, visionary artist/entrepreneur—the one with romantic notions all of
which require taking risks—and that’s who you are, but you also like pretty things; you
want a big house on a lake, or you want three children, you need to be with someone who
will ensure those things happen. You need to figure out a business plan, a job plan
with your mate that’s going to allow for that.

A plan has to be made as to who takes on which job inside the relationship.
Even artists who are with other artists: one of you has to be the professional. And even
if you both work in a bank, one of you gets to pay the bills, and one of you gets to draw
up plans for private wealth-management company you’ve always wanted to start. So it
makes perfect sense to take on your relationship the way you would take on your role in a
relationship at work.

Now for the conversation. In life, think like a boss, think like you’re hiring somebody and
the business is yours. You’ve worked your ass off for this business called Your Life. This
is basically an interview. Albeit, a mutual interview. The great thing about this test, is
that just like you’re hiring somebody, the potential employee –your spouse –will tell you
exactly who he/she is, based on these questions. They tend not to change. And you have
to ask yourself the question, “What am I willing to live with?” But you better be honest.

Here are a Few Sample Questions to Get the Conversation Started:

  • Do you have debt and is your partner willing to clear it up for you? Could you get
  • approved for a loan or are you renting forever?
  • Does he show up on time? Does he keep his agreements?
  • Who’s doing the cooking?
  • Who is paying the bills?
  • How many kids do you want?
  • Are your kids going to public or private schools?

Warning: Don’t enter into a relationship because it’s convenient. That’s like taking the
first job you’re offered even though it’s not the job or career you want. Similarly,

  • Saving on rent is not a good enough reason to move in with your partner
  • Is your partner likely to buy a 90” TV set and tell you he did because it’s on sale?

Remember, 3,000 years ago Marriage was based on a financial agreement between two
families. It was really about two families coming together like a merger. I get that this
might sound cynical, but you are more likely to have that birds-are-chirping, best-sex-
of-my-life kind of love, if you have “the talk” with your partner. Think about it—it just
makes sense: You will be able to be all the more supportive, and loving towards your
partner when you understand what he or she wants.

Support your co-workers

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SHOW DATE: June 20, 2012

Get involved in what they’re involved in. Help them paint a classroom, or go to a
play they’re in—even if they’re Peruvian and naked on stage like our office manager,
@Roberto526.

People don’t remember YOUR schedule

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SHOW DATE: September 26, 2012

So put your unavailability in writing. People don’t remember everything you say.
They don’t know when you’re going on vacation or when you’re having surgery.
Sorry. The world does not revolve around you. Put it in an email. My employee just
said she wouldn’t be at a meeting because she would be on jury duty. “I mentioned it
might happen a couple of weeks ago.” Are you kidding me?