We are excited that Fleetwood Mac is getting back together. But that’s not why vocalist Christine McVie is our hire of the week.

McVie retired in 1998, and she’s been holding on to her retirement. But she decided to let go of her ego and get back with Fleetwood Mac without worrying if it will make her look like she’s going backwards.

She was passionate, and we should all take a cue. If you have too much pride to take up a certain job—say one you resigned from a while ago—drop the ego and focus on the passion.


happy man looking at computer (Small)


The job you have right now is your real dream job.

Whew. That was a bold statement.

Usually, this flies over most employee’s head. You’re investing into a career path you’ve spent years cultivating and dreaming about, and that mentality of fear, of not being what you said you would be in college, is actually costing you an amazing life. An amazing life you could be having right this moment.

By escaping your job for your “dream career,” you’re actually making a big mistake. Your current job can give you all the satisfaction and fulfillment that you require as a human being.

But here’s the thing: you continually deny the possibility that your current position can give you everything you need.

The skills that you have been honing to peruse your dream career can be put to use at your current job. Your current work situation, if you look deeper, can satisfy the very same urges. Work at an office and want to be a film maker? Create a web series for your company. Flipping burgers but want to be in business? You are in business. Work your way up to corporate.

You need to make a powerful choice when switching careers. And part of that choice is knowing that what’s right in front of you could be just as amazing, if not more. So many people think the answers lie on the other side.

There’s an old Buddhist axiom: wherever you go, there you are.

The success is yours to have, no matter where you go. Even if you’re in McDonalds in a polyester suit asking if you’d like fries with that—success is there.

While you’re busy worrying about the thing you always wanted to do as a kid, you could be moving up in your own career. Everything you talk about having with a new career path, you actually have at the moment. Sit down with your boss and ask them what else you can work on, something to do with your college major or a skill you learned from a hobby you’re passionate about.

Don’t try to escape your life situation. Accept it, embrace it and make your current job into your dream career.




It’s not too late to send out thank you notes to boss and co-workers. If somebody gave you a gift at work, or they hosted a party, an email is not enough. Send out a thank you letter—even if it’s two or three weeks late. People who really want to stand out at work lick envelopes, not keyboards.

If you’ve already sent the email, follow it up with a card. Here’s the script:

Thank you so much for the gift/party. Here’s to a great new year!

That’s all you have to write. If you’d like, mention the gift that you received. It’s not that hard. You don’t even need any valedictions—no bests or loves or anything. Just your name.



Last week, Beyoncé got the world in an uproar by releasing her new album. She did it without any marketing, any fanfare or any promotions on iTunes. The ballsy move has redefined the music world and launched a thousand round table discussions about girl power. Everybody is dissecting girl power.

Somebody on the Melissa Harris-Perry’s show said that it launched a thousand women’s studies papers. We saw the show. All the women were high-fiving each other while the male pundits just sat there.

All these guys are thinking is, “I have to check myself now, make sure I don’t say something so offensive it gets me in trouble.”

We’re all about woman at Job Talk.  Girl power is awesome, but that’s last week’s expression. Women have been victims of prejudice for hundreds of years. We get it. We’re not denying that.

What’s happening in offices is that men are scared to talk freely in front of women. We’re not doing the, “Oh, poor men” bit here. The bottom line is, men feel scared and emasculated. Of course, women should not change the way they operate to keep men from being held back and anxious. Here’s an example of our point:

A month ago, Auntie Evan was sitting in a meeting in a school where his organization helps get underprivileged kids into college. It was Auntie Evan and eight women around the table. Normally, Auntie Evan is highly integrated in this sort of settings. They’re all brainstorming how to make a better college-bound program, and Auntie Evan is jumping in with all these ideas. And then someone says: “Evan, calm down, let other people speak, you’re overdoing it.” Auntie Evan wasn’t not calm, he was just passionate. So he watched all the women brainstorm as he sat shut out.

And when Auntie Evan saw the Melissa Harris-Perry show, he felt the same way. He felt that if he or any of the guys on the show would open his mouth, they’d get in trouble or get shut down.

We acknowledge the power of women and their ability to be heard. But the way this conversation is going now, the victim is victimizing. This is hard to deny and it is what it is. Girls should not minimize themselves so the “poor, little boys” can have their egos built up. That’s ridiculous, and this is not what we’re saying.

We’re saying we need to start a new conversation, and get powerful in a wholly different way. Men and women see the world differently. Women believe in growing the pie: they can get more power and men can keep having power. But men see the world in zero sum: when something gets added, something else must get taken away. Thus men feel diminished.

But there is a way to lift this layer of binarism and have people power. We’re going to tell you how to be heard as a man, how to get promoted without offending, and how to live in a woman’s world.

Usually, there are two ways men go when they’re in a female-dominated office with a female boss: they wither get angry and bitter and tell themselves that she got to that position just because she’s a woman, or they have the male wimp syndrome and are afraid to say anything. Neither of these will get you promoted. You don’t have to be the angry guy or the wimpy guy.

There are a few things guys can do to keep their part of the power and be a man in a woman’s world. It’s not an us or them situation anymore. It is not a zero sum game were if they win you lose, where the winner takes all. This goes for both sides. Here are a few steps to reach a people power threshold:

  • Stop the winner-takes-all mentality and start thinking in the team-takes-all mindset. The rising tide causes all boats to rise. Consider the team and how to make it better. When you do this, you’ll be noticed as the go-to person. A female boss will be looking at a male job candidate to see if he’s team oriented and not just looking out for himself. (Any boss is looking for this quality.)
  • Be solution oriented. Don’t just talk about the problems. There’s paint chipping on the wall, what do most people do? They complain that the paint’s chipping. Solution-oriented employees figure out who’s going to get the paint, who’s going to get the brush, who’s going to fix the chip. They create a team atmosphere. Don’t complain, do. This is what makes you into a leader.
  • Like a scholar athlete, you must have both brains and brawn. The straight-A jock. Guys should reveal their scholar side, not just jump into a conversation and take it over. It’s not high school anymore—the high school star quarterback is not king anymore.

You win when everybody wins. This has been proven countless times. This is the reality in a girl-power world. You must be team oriented, not self-oriented.

We all have power; power in life and power on the job. Let’s focus on people power.




Your company’s holiday party is a fantastic opportunity to reveal yourself as a company leader. So what’s up with skipping out on it? Are you on crack?

It’s not just an opportunity to dine on the company’s dime. Your boss is looking at you. They’re checking the list twice—who’s coming and who’s not.

As bosses, Auntie Evan and Uncle David want to know that you’re there for them. That means not sending an email 30 minutes before the party to cancel.

Utilize the holiday party to show your boss that you’re a leader who deserves a promotion.

If you’re new at a company, the holiday party is a great place to grow your presence and get yourself out there. By not showing up, you blow the opportunity.

And don’t send an email that you’re not going—that’s the coward’s way out. At least call. Don’t rationalize it by figuring everyone’s too busy setting up the party to receive the call. If something truly does come up last minute, call in, don’t email, and say you f-ed up.

A holiday party is a marketing opportunity, not just a chance to get drunk. You meet potential clients and show your boss your commitment to the company.

And guess what: If you miss the party, or cancel last minute, you’re showing your boss that this is a recurring problem in your job and in your life. Not good.

It doesn’t matter if you’re 1099 or W2—the company is still going out of its way to make sure you’re making a living. When you don’t show up, you’re making a choice. You’re putting the company second.

And if you’re working at a small business, realize that the owners are struggling to make everything work. Think about how to make your company more money so you can get more money.

When you get a chance to attend the holiday party, don’t blow it off, use it to your advantage and show your boss that you’re there for the company.





Thanksgiving (or, more appropriately, Thanksgivukkah) is the real kickoff of the holiday season, and it’s a time full of obligations.

You’ve got obligations with family and at work; you’ve got Uncle Joe’s party you don’t want to go to, and your boss has this dinner or lunch thing that everybody has to go to. The big question is, should you honor these obligations?

We want to help you figure out where that thin line is—when you should buck up and say “no more,” or when you need to take one for the team and just tell yourself “I got to do this, there’s no way around it.”

Black Friday has turned into Black Thursday, which is making us think about this issue. Suddenly, beyond just the partying obligations and the gift-giving, there’s a new obligation that’s creeping up—Black Thursday.

Black Thursday is this new trend where stores like Wal-Mart, Sears, Macy’s, JC Penny all have decided to open up on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving and July 4th are really the only big, secular holidays we have where we don’t have to worry about religion of politics. Now that these stores are opening up on Thanksgiving, the employees that work there can’t really say “no.”

Here’s one side of the issue: times like these are the best opportunities for employees to buck up and get into a leadership role. It’s an opportunity for you to get out there and rally your teammates and co-workers to do a great job, even on a holiday, because it’s going to look amazing to your supervisor and boss. They’re going to remember that you chose to be onboard.

But where’s the line? When should you come in for no extra hours and no extra pay, and when should you finally say “no”? We’re not just talking about Black Thursday. We’re talking about any time of the year where your boss is making you work when you’re not comfortable working.

Here are several points you should consider before deciding that crucial decision whether to come in or stay home:

  • You have to figure out how much leverage you have and how replaceable you are. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to put my job on the line and basically tell management that it will be harder to replace me than to give me what I want?” Don’t undersell yourself; you may have a lot more leverage than you think.
  • Ask yourself: “Am I getting anything from this job? Why am I here?”  When you have a hard time finding a solid answer, it goes beyond simply drawing a line in the sand, it might be a signpost: when you put your all into a job and there is nothing left to be returned, it’s time for you to start looking for a better one.
  • If you still have something to learn, if you need this job to pay the rent, if you don’t have any leverage, the bottom line is that you have to do what management wants. Remember: don’t operate out of fear, just figure out your leverage with the company.

To put it in more coarse terms: you know where the line lies by the grip management has around your throat. If you’re somebody who feels like you’ve learned everything you can at the job and there’s no more promotions for you to get, and they’re still giving you a hard time, it’s time to find another job.

But if you need the job, you go in. Don’t whine and complain—make it an opportunity to thrive and succeed and be a leader. If you can’t pay the rent, and Wal-Mart or whoever is giving you the opportunity to work, clock in and stop complaining.




We’re not afraid of laying down the truth here at Job Talk, even if it stings. And today’s honest observation is one of the simplest and most painful truths in the job world: you can’t pick and choose your co-workers.

Or, as Auntie Evan had infamously put it, “you can’t choose them and you can’t shoot them.”

You have to make it work, whether you like it or not. We get it, you’re at your wits end. They keep doing everything wrong and you’re always picking up the slack. But if you’re starting to get emotional about it, vowing to shun them and watch as they slowly crumble to their ruin (yep, we all get like that), not only are you being a poor team player, you start looking like the problem yourself.

When you’re unwilling to cooperate, it makes it harder for your other co-workers—you  know, the ones you actually care for—to their jobs.

How do you control your emotions when you despise your co-worker? How do you make it work? You’ve got questions, we have answers:

Sit down with them: Don’t go gossiping and complaining to your boss (yet)—try and have a conversation with your co-worker. Stop avoiding them and sit down and talk with them. Yeah, you’ve got that running tape in your head going, “he’s going to tell me ‘I’m sorry,’ and he’s going to do it again.” But you’re just standing in your own way: you’re creating this conversation in your mind when you don’t even know what they’re going to say. You’re also taking away your co-worker’s opportunity to rise to the occasion. Give them a chance.

Stop focusing on being right: Yeah, you’re right. What does that get you? You still can’t choose your co-workers, it doesn’t buy you lunch and it certainly doesn’t get you promoted. If you really want to find a way to work everything out, you’re going to have to drop the notion that being right will change the situation.

Document your talks: Make sure to record when you sat down and talked with your co-worker. When you email them, mention how great it was talking to them about the problem, and that you’re excited that they’re going to now be more proactive about it. You’re codifying on paper that you’re trying to create a solution. But be forewarned: if you’re not coming into this with the intention of actually helping your co-worker, and you’re just out to be right, it’s not going to work.

They get three strikes: You’ve talked to them three times—or more—and nothing’s getting through. It’s high time to take it to the boss. Ask your boss for help; explain that you’ve tried on three separate occasions to talk to them. Remember when we said document your conversations? You now have a written record of when and what you told them. You’re not tattling on them—you’ve already taken the measures to correct the situation.

You can’t wrap everything up in a neat little bow: things can go wrong and you have to be prepared. But what you can do is put your heart into the matter and really try to help your co-worker. You come out a better teammate and better leader in the end.




It’s human nature to screw up on the job every once in a while, but it’s how you react when you get busted that will determine if you get fired or promoted.

Kessler International, a research firm, has found that 80% of people mislead their interviewers during a job interview, 25% outright lie on their resume and 49% try to cover up their mistakes while on the job.

Everybody lies at some point in their career; whether those lies are big or small is a relatively minor issue when compared to how you decide to handle them when you’re found out. Will you let the lie accrete until it gets out of control or will you fess up?

To help you decide, allow us to tell you the tale of the two screw ups.

We hired Screw-up #1 to work for us at Forster-Thomas, our college and graduate school admissions consulting company. One of the reasons we brought her on board was that she made it very clear on her resume and interview that she had done college admission essay work for the past ten years.

Five days in with her first client, we found out what Screw-up #1 really meant was that while tutoring kids, they’d sometimes come up and ask her for help with a college essay, meaning she didn’t have formal training with college admission essays. The worst part was, when she was confronted, she tried to make excuses about her experience. Needless to say, her credibility and trust went down the drain.

But it’s one thing to say that you know about college essays and that you’ve worked with them. It’s another matter entirely to be handed a client of your own with a strict deadline and not tell the truth about your experience until only after things start turning sour. Part of her responsibility was having the courage to fess up that she may have overstated her abilities before everything went off the rails.

When you fail to be honest with your employer, you endanger your job and you lose your boss’s good grace. While your boss may yell at you a bit when you tell them you’ve screwed up, ultimately your honesty and willingness to communicate builds trust. Lying does the opposite.

Our office manager—today’s Screw-up #2—was confronted about an important email he didn’t send out. Rather than cover it up, he said he was sorry and asked what he could do to fix it. Auntie Evan yelled at him at first, but after some time, his trust for Screw-up #2 only grew.

It’s this trust and communication that strengthens your relationship with your boss and puts you on the frontlines of a promotion. There is much more value in an employee who is willing to fix his mistakes than one who constantly lies about them and lives in fear of being caught.

Here are a few pointers about being honest on the job:

Stop compounding the lie: Say you forget to send that important client email, and when your boss asks you about it, you lie through your teeth and say you did, in fact, send it because you don’t want to look incompetent. Then you forget to do it again. You’re just compounding that lie and setting yourself up for even bigger problems in the near future. The fact it, you will get found out, and the more the lie builds, the bigger the repercussion.

Put yourself in their shoes: Put yourself in your employer’s shoes. Imagine you’re the president of a major catering company and you’re catering for a wedding. As the bride walks down the aisle and Bartholdy’s “Wedding Marth” plays on the organ, your assistant, your right-hand man, approaches you diffidently and tells you that he forgot to order the liquor. Now he knew this since morning and has only now confessed because he was frightened at what you might say. While several hours earlier the situation could have been remedied by running over to the nearest store and buying the liquor for twice the price, the snafu has now reached the point of no return. The couple is going to request a chunk of their money back, and it’ll be your employees and your company’s reputation that will suffer in the aftermath. Would you give your assistant a slap on the wrist and move on? Or would you take more drastic measures?

Understand that it’s nothing personal—it’s just business: The only way to look at your screw up is from a business perspective. There’s no other way to play the game if you want a successful company. Your employer doesn’t have it out for you, he’s just looking out for the company.

Don’t hope against hope: “To thine own self be true,” writes Shakespeare. Not only do you take away your opportunity to fix the problem when you lie, you subconsciously tell yourself that you can’t handle being wrong. It’s a matter of ego and it’s a matter of closing your eyes and hoping against hope. Instead of being true to yourself, you dig yourself deeper.

Avoid shutting yourself off from help: Don’t shut yourself off from communication because you’re afraid that people won’t like you or think you’re inept. Recall what Screw-up #2 said: he’s sorry he messed up, and how can he fix the situation. Here’s the thing: your employer wants to help you. He wants the best possible results for the company, and that means providing help when you ask for it.

The bottom line is, do your best to tell the truth and keep the agreements you make. Your boss may yell at you a little now, but a little now is better than a lot later. Besides, honesty builds trust, and trust paves the road to a promotion. On the other hand, if the lies continue, it’s going to get to the point where you get fired, and that’s just not worth it when all you have to do is tell the truth.




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. 


Happy two-year anniversary Occupy Wall Street! Huh, what’s that you say? You’re still occupying? How’s that going for you? Honestly, we had no idea…

Well, to be fair, nobody did. And the reason is simple: nobody’s in charge. There’s no leader or central organizer or anything.

We’re firing OWS because they’re all talk, no action, no solution. They’re not living in the real world. They actually had a good message two years ago. But it’s hard to get on board with the messenger when he’s not reporting back to anyone.

Without a head, OWS is going for the lowest common denominator. The absence of a leader means that nobody is willing to step up. And when you can’t step up for your cause, you’re living in fear.

Even when you have a great idea and you make a solid point, without a leader who embodies that point and carries the message, all you going to receive is a resounding “meh.”

More importantly, the absence of a leader means you don’t have a successor. And without a successor, the organization can’t go on. This is where OWS really shot itself in the foot.

Any successful employee knows he must create a legacy. If you’re on a team, or you’re a supervisor or boss, and you’re getting promoted or moving on, you better leave your work space and job ready and powerful for the next guy.

If you leave everything in a state for mediocrity, you’re not a leader, you’re a loser. And that’s precisely what OWS is.





We’ve been obsessed with a recording of a customer service call that’s gone viral.

A guy called his security company’s customer service line after the service technician failed to show up for his appointment. When he tried calling to reschedule the appointment, he was scuttled around the system from person to person for three hours, growing more and more impatient, until finally his anger culminated into the following—admittedly hilarious—diatribe:

Our first reaction was to tip our hats to the rep. He remained calm and composed, despite the man’s banshee-screeches and threats of gun violence. Then we noticed the systematic pattern of the rep’s speech. Yeah, he was following a robotic script, but that’s his job, right?

Exactly. That’s the rep’s job, that’s what he’s supposed to do—the requirements, the minimum. You can see where we’re going with this and how this can be a big problem in the long run. We’re all about playing big at Job Talk, and this rep—no matter how placid—still only aimed for the lowest common denominator—he stuck to the script through and through. What this ultimately translates to is that he was afraid to try something different.

Okay, now imagine if the rep had said, “Wow, I totally get where you’re coming from,” or, “Sir, I’m sorry, that sounds horrible.” Not once did he say something genuine or empathetic, he never stopped to actually listen to the customer. The rep should have tossed the script and responded from the heart. Instead, he regurgitated lines like a robot, infuriating the customer even more.

If you stick to the minimum, you’re not getting anywhere—you’re not getting more money and you’re not getting a promotion. Two things will happen if you keep sticking to the script: you’re either going keep your job and wear that headset for your entire career, or you’re going to get fired because eventually management is going find someone who can do better. And that’s not very hard when all you’re doing is going through the motions.

You follow scripts in all aspects of your life, not just on your job. There are major scripts that you process in your head to make life easier: “I’ll be the nice guy so people won’t yell at me,” or, “I’m going to be the tough guy so people don’t see how I really feel.” These are the scripts you follow to stay under the radar, to stay safe and hidden. You can always fall back on your “minimum” requirements: “I was just being who I was,” or, “I was just doing my job.”

But in this economy, doing no more and no less than your job description just won’t cut it. Eventually, you will have to get off the script, whether it’s your boss’s or your own, and think bigger.

Here are three simple guidelines to help you start thinking outside your daily scripts:

Understand your responsibilities: This applies directly to millennials. It’s what Auntie Evan calls the “Millennial Deserve,” that stuff that seeps out of most college grad’s pores as soon as they enter the work force, that putrid stink of “I should be getting more important work,” and, “I don’t need to do these minor tasks because I’m way too educated.” You deserve nothing—you don’t have the broad skillset and you don’t have the experience to back up the entitlement. Your boss smells that stink from a mile away. Prove that you have the fundamentals covered. Do the menial, “uneducated” tasks well and beat him to the punch by asking him if he needs anything first. Only then can you begin to think of tearing up that script. 

Stop flying under the radar: For most employees, their modus operandi in work and in life is to act a certain way to get by life unnoticed. Most employees don’t like attention and would rather play it safe by following their assigned scripts verbatim. And, granted, you must perform your script well before you do anything to change it. The script is there to help with your job responsibilities, whatever they may be. It’s a launching pad, it gives structure and foundation. But it’s not a permanent fixture. If you limit yourself to the bare minimum just so you won’t have to confront any challenges, you’re limiting yourself in life and in your career; you’re condemning yourself to a life you don’t love.

Inject creativity into your script: The problem with the customer service rep was that he was so disconnected from the customer that his responses appeared robotic. While you can’t always take things personally, there must always remain a human element. When you inject creativity into your script by listening to what’s happening around you and react accordingly, you start to get noticed. Take some stuff from your personal life and utilize it: when talking to a customer, try using some of the phrases you use with your best friend. Going the extra mile gets you notices, and gets you in line for more money and promotions.