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 Mark In The Media


Photo of Mark SwartzI have been fortunate to have the media pick up on my work over the years.  Turns out I'm somewhat of a natural ham, plus I actually do care about my subject matter. So I rarely turn down an opportunity to advocate for employees. Ive appeared live on many shows, including my bit on Canada A.M. to talk about what to do if you think you're going to get fired, CBC's The National, repeatedly on CityPulse Live, The Evan Solomon Show and Roger's The New Economy.  Articles featuring my work have appeared in The Toronto Star, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, Readers Digest, Canadian Living, MoneySense and on, among others.


Seen by millions monthly as the Career Advisor


 Former Toronto Star

Career Columnist



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Mark interviewed by Bruce Sellery - Report On Business TV's Workopolis Television: Online Resume Tips


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Interviewed in the Toronto Star

Toronto Star feature article, october 2006


Click here to read the actual text, targeted at Students and Recent Grads



How to Foresee and Forestall

Your Own Firing.


Linda Sims

Show and Station

Canada AM, CTV

Person Interviewed

Mark Swartz

Publication Type

Broadcast Transcript

SIMS: Do you get the feeling things may not be going so well at your present job? Meetings you aren't invited to, projects you thought you'd be a part of? Well, there are plenty of warning signs that you may be about to be fired. Career consultant and author Mark Swartz joins us this morning to help us recognize them and to figure out what to do about them. Good morning, Mark.

SWARTZ: Good morning, Linda.

SIMS: I mentioned a couple examples of things that might be going on that should maybe send up a red flag for people: meetings that you think you should be invited to and you're not; projects that you think you should be a part of and you're not. What are some of the
other signs that people should not ignore, that they should recognize are telling them something?

SWARTZ: Well, there are a couple of common signs. For example, let's say you suddenly start getting memos which outline poor performance or they're starting to chronicle some of the things that you've said in meetings when that didn't happen before. Sometimes
that means a company is laying a paper trail that they can depend on later if they have to.

SIMS: In that instance should you create a paper trail of yourself and respond to those as they show up.

SWARTZ: That's actually not a bad idea at all because that way you have your defense as well just in case you have to use it at some point in the future.

SIMS: Okay, what else might tell people that they're on the way out?

SWARTZ: Well, for example, let's say that you've had a company that's just been merged or you have a brand new president who's come in. That often means there's going to be change in the air. And no matter how secure you feel you are it's always good to take some basic precautions.

SIMS: Right, okay. And what about money? Do you take a cue from the kinds of raises you're getting or not getting? 

SWARTZ: Depending on the economy, sure. Let's say, for example, you've had your salary frozen for the last three or four years and you start talking to colleagues in the lunch room and you find out that they've been getting eight-percent raises each year. That could be an indication that you've been set out to -- well, not to pasture per se but you might want to think about your future.

SIMS: Right. And bosses who used to be pals with you or they'd go for lunch with you once in a while or something, should you notice a change in behaviour towards you in the office?

SWARTZ: Sure. If you're suddenly getting the silent treatment, if you're not being invited to important meetings anymore or if you're not getting the ear of the senior executives that you used to have that can be a sign that you're being frozen out.

SIMS: I want to go over all of them because of course people can get paranoid about this sort of thing.

SWARTZ: Oh, absolutely.  But a little paranoia may not be a bad thing.

SIMS: I'm assuming you should wait and see if you're noticing a few different ones of these pop up. But if you are, I think you've said elsewhere that the inclination is to stay in the office and kind of hide and hunker down and hope it's not true.

SWARTZ: Yeah, the hibernation syndrome. It's very easy if you start to see some of these signs to just kind of go into your cubicle and hopefully they won't notice you so they can't find you. But that's not always the best way to respond.

SIMS: How should you respond?

SWARTZ: A couple of ways. And it really depends on, for example, the relationship you have with your boss. Some people find that it's easier just to go and chat with them and say, "Look, I'm noticing certain signs. Can you tell me what's really happening here?"

If that's not an easy thing to do then something else you can do to protect yourself is really to start updating your resume.  The reason I say that is for both internal and external purposes. Once you start writing down all the wonderful things you've done for the
company it's easier to market yourself to your boss, to other people in the company, let them know what you're doing. And if things don't work out ultimately then at least you've done the pre- work so that you're prepared to meet the next stages.

SIMS: I see. So you're not necessarily preparing your resume in order to head out the door, it can actually help you in your present position.

SWARTZ: Definitely.

SIMS: Just by, what, focusing your mind on what your arguments are?

SWARTZ: If focuses your mind and it allows you to talk intelligently to your boss and other people in the company in terms of the contribution that you're already making, the value added. And that internal marketing can sometimes mean the difference between your being invisible and your being remembered when it comes time to "Hey, we should keep these folks."

SIMS: Now, you mentioned that some people can go into their boss and talk about these things. Other people don't find that so easy. And there may be a case where their immediate boss is part of the problem -- there may be a personality clash or whatever. At what point can you go above your boss to try to make your case and it not be viewed as another point against you?

SWARTZ: Sure, that's a very sensitive issue in terms of the kind of relationship you have with your boss or with more senior people in the organization. Sometimes it's easier to network laterally. Thatis, start meeting with people who are able to be in a position to talk with you, keep you in the loop, so to speak, without being perceived as going behind your boss's back because that can always be used against you in the end as well.

SIMS: Right. You can go and talk about these things but should you be doing things as well to try to become a more valuable player? In other words, should you start volunteering for more things and trying to on your own get yourself more involved in what's going on corporately?

SWARTZ: Very much so.

SIMS: Does that work?

SWARTZ: Yes, it can work. And, again, if this is sort of the thing where if you're on the cusp and people haven't quite noticed you before this is a good time to get out there and let people know just how valuable you are to the organization -- doing volunteer work
within the organization, doing cross-divisional kinds of projects so that other people in different parts of the organization get to see who you are. That can help.

SIMS: Right. Remember to market yourself.

SWARTZ: Marketing is key, as is knowing yourself well.

SIMS: Okay, thanks for all this, Mark.

SWARTZ: You're very welcome.

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Job seekers of all stripes are increasingly combining the Internet with traditional methods of job hunting.  

   "There has been a big increase in the number of both employers and potential workers who are using the Internet to communicate their needs, but it still hasn't come together in terms of a 'point and click get hired' type of scenario that people seem to be looking for," says Mark Swartz, author of Get Wired, You're Hired, a guide to searching for work online. "Most of the jobs are still for technical people, although more traditional jobs are found on the Web all the time."

   Mr. Swartz recommends online searches augment a more traditional job search. Those seeking work should probably spend about five to 10 hours of a 40-hour search week online.

   Spending that time won't guarantee work, but being familiar with the Internet can give workers an edge over the competition as they conduct their search, agrees Julie Dove of Toronto-based career consultants Career Partners International/Hazell & Associates, which offers an Internet workshop to help clients make the most of the technology.

"It's not absolutely necessary to get online for your job search, but there is so much information that can help you that it really makes sense to do it," says Ms. Dove, who spends much of her time coaching older workers and those with scant computer skills on how to do a Web-based search.

   Mr. Swartz and Ms. Dove describe four ways job seekers can use the Net to their advantage:

- Researching employers. Many companies, large and small, now have their own Web sites describing their business, financial information, locations, and employment opportunities. 

"The nice thing about the Internet is that it is a great equalizer for corporations -- a small company can have a presence on the Web at very little expense, while larger companies also have Web sites but can spend millions to keep them up to date and interactive," Mr. Swartz points out. 
 Laura Fowlie, Financial Post.    The Internet, long considered a bonus to job searches of technical workers, has become more valuable for people seeking work in mainstream professions over the past year or so, but it is still no magic bullet for finding work.


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