Market Me First - The Positive Career and Work Action Plan Market Yourself | Make Money | Be Happy

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Since 2005. Market yourself. Find better work. Make a name. Survive Layoffs. Be successful.


Marketing Me! Personal branding + pay it forward

Networking - Pay it forward before it pays off... read more...

The phone rings. It is a recruiter. Did he get your name from Monster or Career Builder? Maybe Dice?

The phone rings. It is a medium-sized, but growing company who is interested in your product. Did they get your number from the company website?

An email arrives. Someone wants information on a technology related to your product. How did they get your email address?

How did these opportunities come your way? Through your personal network.

Why did members of your network send your revenue and job opportunities? Because you did something for them.

That is the secret to personal and brand marketing - you must pay it forward before it pays off. Your network and the people in it have specific needs and goals. Help them meet them.

Sure, it's tough when you have so many other activities to complete in a day to spend time writing referrals, making introductions and digging up contact information. But it pays for itself over and over again.

When I looked for my last job, I spent a month making calls and sending emails to my network. Most responded quickly where others took their time. Invariably, those who responded fastest were repaying an introduction or opportunity I forwarded them another time.

Today you may be fat and pretty (I know it!) sitting where you are now. But what about tomorrow? Our bags are packed, but who is going to pick you up in the career van? Better start helping your network today - send them referrals, leads, prospects, a new employee, a better customer or a reference. Drive traffic to their product and web site. Blog about them. Link to them. Click them.

Pay everything forward and the returns will be ten fold.

Happy hunting,


Marketing Me! The Exit Interview

If you have been following the subject here at Marketing Me! we have been covering resignation letters and goodbye emails. Naturally, what follows the resignation is the possibility of an exit interview.

For more background, check out this informative article at Job Search Tech. For the personal branding and self marketing spin, stay tuned here on Marketing Me!

First, I have never, ever done an exit interview. When I leave, I submit my resignation letter, send my goodbye emails to colleagues and customers, and depart taking with me unused vacation and a final check.

I am never in the building long enough for HR to tackle me and put me through the interrogation process of an exit interview.

First, the idea that an exit interview will improve conditions at any workplace is a farce. Most companies know that most jobs are commodities as are the people who fill them. Thus, the value of a soon-to-be-former-employee's thoughts on the rest room and vacation policy is wishful thinking at best. Today's employers simply don't care.

Next, I worry about the liability of an exit interview. Will the employer come after me with competitive clauses? Will they force me to sign documents which limit my ability to make a living or contacting my customers? Will the employer try and trap me into signing away something I have earned such as unused personal time or a commission check?

Finally, if one is truly a valuable employee, the HR department will not be interviewing him or her. Rather, a senior manager, director or even the CEO will be speaking with the soon to be departed. And their goal will be to retain them and that is the real goal for any one self marketing. Desire.

Take the exit interview with a grain of salt. If corralled into the interview, smile, answer politely and avoid incriminating yourself at every turn. If necessary, insist that a supervisor be present at the interview to corroborate any information put forth. Some might even go as far as to reschedule the exit interview at such time that legal council could be present. It's your call.

Until then, happy hunting.


Marketing Me! The sudden resignation

A business bug out bag, resignation is better than termination, and leaving on your terms, not theirs.. Read more.

It can happen to any one at any time..

The human resource director walks in your office with another member of the staff and asks for a quick meeting. Thinking you are doing a great job and increasing the company revenue, you have no reason to be suspicious.

You follow the HR director to a nearby conference room where, upon seating, are informed your services are no longer needed at the company. Kicked in the gut, you struggle for breath and barely hear the terms of your serverance package explained to you.

Fifteen minutes later, you find yourself shoving personal possessions into an empty copy machine paper box and then being escorted to the front door.

Could this have been avoided? Sure. But get ready...

First, in today's business world, EVERY DAY COULD BE YOUR LAST DAY. Nobody is "safe" any longer. Layoffs, downsizing, cutbacks, all could happen at any time regardless of the health of the company or the market.

Stop thinking you are OK and the other guy is going to get it. Everyone is vulnerable.

Therefore, it is imperitive that you plan for this possibility constantly. In the "end of the world" survival community. members are encouraged to maintain a Bug Out Bag (BOB) at all times. In the business world, you should do the same.

Here are the contents of your BBOB - Business Bug Out Bag.

- Have backups of all correspondence, contracts and emails on a portable device. USB thumb drives are cheap and easy to use.
- Have a complete and current list of all customer and business contacts available. I recommend using a PDA type device such as a Blackberry or Palm Pilot. Update DAILY from your CRM license and you are assured of having the latest and greatest asset available at all times. Purchase the phone and PDA; do not use the company hardware.
- Your own laptop, if possible. Some companies allow employees to use their own computing hardware for work. Do this and save yourself a step or two.
- Copies of company literature of products or services you represented.
- Any intellectual property you created for the company or to drive revenue growth such as mailing lists, web sites, or press releases.

The final piece you should always have on hand is a resignation letter with the date left blank.


If the company is in trouble or you know the chopping block is looming, leave on your terms, not theirs. A resignation is far better than a termination any day.

The most successful people I know have never been laid off. They left before or during a stressful situation generally to another position they had already lined up and had in place. When the situation at work went south, they prepared their resignation letter and made their exit.

Typically, your resignation letter should be terse and to the point.

An example..

This letter is to inform [Company X] that Tuesday, October 30, 2007 will be my final day. Please make arrangements for my final paycheck and unused accrued holiday time to be paid on that day or an arranged date.

Upon my departure, all correspondence may be sent to my home address at xxxx...

Thank you,

Never put any personal or professional reasons for leaving a company. Your resignation letter will be placed on file and may be used at a future date. Leave no paper trail too large to cover!

Finally, be prepared to explain clearly why you resigned. Make this a 30 second speech (elevator speech) and practice reciting it. An example..

"Yes, I was with [Company X] for several years. However, there were some internal and external changes occuring with the company at the time which helped me in my decision to move on to other opportunities."

Never go into longer explanations about a former company. There is no reason to and to do so could possibly brand you as a complainer and malcontent.

Rather focus on the value you bring to your next company. And if you planned your BBOB correcttly, you will have the evidence and references to back it up.


Marketing Me! Goodbye farewell work email and letters

Since this post a few weeks ago, the traffic on this subject has been higher than ever before.

This leads me to a few observations..

1) More people are changing jobs which precludes the need for an exit email to coworkers. And people changing jobs is right in line with what the experts have been saying for a couple of decades now - "People are changing jobs and careers more frequently".

2) More people are putting some thought into what they say and how they say it.

3) I think more people are trying to "make a statement" about everything in their life and that includes exits.

The sales administrator at my company (How did we let her get away!???) penned an email to a handful of close co-workers on her final day. It was personable, funny and non-offensive. It went something like this...


On my last day, I wanted to let all of you know how much I enjoyed working with you and getting to know each of you. I wish nothing but the best for all of you and the company. Once I get settled in, I will send you my new contact information. And don't worry, I will not be a stranger! Plan on seeing me from time to time for lunch or drinks or whatever! I feel like Dorothy saying goodbye to the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion. Although I am going somewhere good, please know that each of you touched me and helped me grow professionally in your own way. I will miss you.

All the best,

You get the idea.

Now here is the worse thing you can say in a goodbye email at work:

I am outta here! Before the door hits me on the way out, (and don't think it was my idea!), let me pass on a few things to some of you. Those of you who are good, and you know who you are, I love you and hope things go your way someday. This company does not deserve you. (Big shout out to the second shift, btw!). As for Mr. You Know Who, karma is a pain. (Couldn't happen to a nicer guy!). And for you, Miss Busy Body, who you gonna talk about now? Huh? Guess what? We all know about the copy room!

Any how, if any of you make it uptown, stop by [Company] and look me up. We can grab a drink or something and I will let you cry on my shoulder.

On to bigger and better things, my brothers and sisters! Peace out!

Night and day.

You make the call. Like I said earlier, goodbye and farewell emails at work are overrated in my book. Let your work and reputation stand in its place instead.

But if you have to make a farewell address to the troops, do it with some dignity and with your heart in the right place; not on your sleeve.

Happy hunting,


Marketing Me! Personal Brand Network Value

This past week the phone rang with a number of opportunities; a job available and a large product offering. Both were the result of my self marketing and the personal brand awareness campaign now entering its third year.

You know the drill. At Marketing Me! I have been promoting this for nearly three years where YOU market yourself under YOUR brand. There is no sale, no e-book, (not yet at least), no software to buy, no long term contracts and no small print.

You market yourself the best way you know how. Again, here are some pointers and the possible results.

First and foremost, give.
- I work in the wireless hardware industry. Consequently, I have numerous contacts with carriers and service companies. I regularly pass along leads and opportunities to my network without reciprocal requirements. This benefits the industry and spreads my product name.

Promote and evangelize.
- Do not worry about the competition, rather embrace what they are doing and take possession for yourself. For instance, if one of my competitors has a new product which addresses a particular need, I promote the idea behind the product when speaking or writing about the industry or market. I make my competitor's product mine as a further example of my own expertise.

Be open to interviews, even when not looking.
- Not press interviews but job interviews. Be open to discussing opportunities with other companies, it is great practice. It also spreads your name. Remember, companies recruit talent.

Pay back often.
- Repay all who have paid you seven fold. It will be returned.

Marketing Me! Takes time. It cannot be built over a weekend or with a simple blog post. It is a journey of patience and perseverance and most of all, clear focus with particular goals in mind.

Get busy and make the phone ring.

Happy hunting!


Marketing Me! AOL Job Cuts

You probably have heard the news already about American Online cutting jobs - 20% of total headcount last report.

Over in LinkedIn Answers (my new favorite time waster), I posted the following regarding the layoffs:

Having been through layoffs before at other companies I only have one remark - it happens. No business is immune to them anymore.

Because of the service AOL offered (sending HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of expensive unsolicited media disks to unsuspecting mail addresses?), offering dial up Internet access, the writing was on the wall. Eventually other services would eclipse AOL and surpass any product they could ever offer.

I witnessed this in 1994 when early Internet service providers were debuting in the U.S.

AOL was labeled a substandard alternative to "real" Internet access.

Thus businesses and the burgeoning IT culture they created, would never consider AOL anything more than beginner's online access and a service for lonely hearts and seniors.

Internet access would evolve into a commodity and then, a utility.

With utilities, brand no longer matters. There is only the Internet and the need for an IP interface to access it.

Finally, with ubiquitous broadband and endless WiFi networks, AOL seemed to be as relevant as phone cords and packaged software.

I don't think there is a magic bullet which could have saved AOL. It had its time and place and now will reside in the pantheon of companies which once existed in the US landscape.

Enjoy the memories, but refocus on finding the future AOL in your life.

In an unrelated forum, I read that many AOL employees were being given four month severance packages. This is very generous and comes at a good time for obtaining a job. Had these cuts been in December, hiring and interviews would have been few and far between.

I also hope that many AOL'ers took advantage of the potentially huge network of contacts available after having worked at AOL. This alone is the best asset any of them have when determining their career future.

Layoffs stink. I have been through my share of them. However, layoffs are also an opportunity. Leaving a company which is in the midst of a major late-life identity crisis could be the best thing to happen to any person. It opens the doors to a thousand different possibilities all which are better than the last.

One last time "You have mail". Done.

Happy hunting,


Marketing Me! Tuesday marklets

Generally, short pithy posts are saved on blogs for Fridays. But with as busy as I have been lately, we are doing a Tuesday roll out.

LinkedIn Answers - Do you participate? Have you tried? I think Answers is a fine way to build your personal brand name. The more you answer, the higher your profile is ranked and exposed to your fellow LinkedIn'ers.

Another thing I have noticed on your LinkedIn home page the "Who has viewed my profile?" feature? I mentioned this last year as a "want" for my LinkedIn list. This feature, albeit much richer, is available on MyBlogLog and seems like an afterthought for LinkedIn.

But the profile view is a fun tool. Couple of things: I wish we could add photos to LinkedIn (can we? Paging LinkedIn expert Jason Alba at Jibber Jobber). It would also be nice if we could add more than three links to our profile or Answers.

Finally, LinkedIn overkill, do you tag your LI profile with You should. And StumbleUpon as well.

Speaking of StumbleUpon, do you use it? If so, wouldn't it be nice if SU showed the popularity of channels. I bet Wiccan is not as popular as Business, but we wouldn't know would we? The reason I ask is when I submit my personal brand sites, I would like to know the best channels and keywords to optimize.

I set up a profile on FastPitch but have yet to update it. Besides the emails, what are your thoughts on this service? Is it as good as they say?

Article marketing (submitting self authored articles to directories and web sites for personal brand recognition) is one of my favorite guerrilla methods to Market Me.

Digg is always listed as one of the top submission sites, but take a look at the home page for Digg. Nearly everything is OS, Linux, Mac, IT or politics related. Even the submission channels are limited.

Want to get on the first page of Digg? Submit an article lambasting George Bush for cheating AdSense with a hacked Windows server. Betcha that will put you up front.

My but I had some interesting feedback about the 3 Hour Parent yesterday. If only people would comment instead of emailing. How about some comments on this stuff?

Let's get out and kick it today. Let's bring in that big sale, arrange that meeting or finish that project today. I don't know why it seems urgent today, but the clock is ticking and I want to take it up a notch.

Happy hunting!


Marketing Me! The 3 Hour Parent

I have three children and consider them my greatest accomplishment. They are more important than the big deal I closed last week, my job title or the promotion I want next year. The investment I make in my children pays off with greater dividends than any "job" ever will. With that in mind and with a great number of anecdotal incidents for reference, I came to know the the 3 Hour Parent.

Of all the social demographics, the greatest increase in population comes from the 3 Hour Parent. Now, you may have never heard this term before, but this person lives in your community, attends your church, has children in your school and may live in your own home today.

The 3 Hour Parent works part-time at the hardest full-time job created; the role of parent. I call them the 3 Hour Parent because this is the average amount of daily time they are exposed to the children.

The 3 Hour Parent can be the mother or the father or both. Besides full time employment outside the home, the 3 Hour Parent fill their waking time with activities such as socializing, sports, leisure activities, travel or shopping.

To the 3 Hour Parent, self-fulfillment is more important than the actual care and raising of their children.

Consider the following activities of a normal 3 Hour Parent. You may recognize someone you know..

- The 3 Hour Parent awakes early. Sometimes as early as 5 or 6 o'clock. They may exersize, then bathe, dress, grab something quick to eat or drink, head for the bus or car and never pause for the children they brought into this world. Other 3 Hour Parents may sleep late and rise only after their child has left for school.

- The 3 Hour Parent works with fervor and commitment at their place of employment or at personal activities. They hold the best positions, always make the wining team and receive high fives and slaps on the back for a job well done. They may be the chairperson of a charity or social event planning committee. Or perhaps they have the best tennis or golf score at the club. Yet the 3 Hour Parent rarely makes an appearance at their child's school whether that be for volunteer work, teacher-parent conferences, fund-raisers or sometimes, even just to drop off or pick up their children.

- The 3 Hour Parent returns home in the evening, complains about how tough their day was, expresses their need to "decompress" and demands "down time" for cocktails, television or quiet reflection all without the noise or interuption of children.

- The 3 Hour Parent takes dinner, if they eat dinner, either alone or with their spouse, only. They desire adult interaction and become annoyed if they have to eat with children and deal with the their spills and rambunctiousness at the table.

- The 3 Hour Parent becomes cranky early in the evening and alerts all in the home that they need their rest because of "a tough week ahead" in the office, or because the demands of house and shopping have become too much for them. Children are sent to bed or to placed in front of the television and ordered to be still and quiet.

- The 3 Hour Parent's weekends are devoted to personal activities such as golfing and shopping on weekends. Saturday night is spent at social functions or with friends. Sunday mornings are for "sleeping in" while the rest of the day is scheduled for watching television or sports. Somewhere along the way, the children and their activities have a lower priority or no priority at all. The children's bicycles, balls, and games collect dust in the garage or closet because their simply isn't time.

- The 3 Hour Parent advocates television and video games for children's unscheduled time because it is more convenient for the parent's schedule.

- The 3 Hour Parent, (who ironically follows fad diets and restrictive eating zealously for themselves), are oblivious to the poor diet and junk food consumption of their own children. "How did the children put on so much weight?" they wonder out loud.

- The 3 Hour Parent often forgets the date of their children's birthday or even their exact age. They rarely witness important childhood occasions such as the loss of a first tooth or first steps. They miss soccer and Little League games, ballet and piano recitals and graduations.

- The 3 Hour Parent heavily depends upon the services of baby sitters, housekeepers and nannies. They also think nothing of leaving the supervision and responsibility of their children to friends, neighbors or relatives.

- When confronted with the actual chore of direct child care, the 3 Hour Parent frantically makes phone calls to grandparents, friends and neighbors for assistance. They stare dumb faced at the little people in front of them, become quickly annoyed and demand immediate relief from any and all available. After all, the 3 Hour Parent's personal life is too consuming or demanding for the trivial care of children.

- And when a crisis occurs with the children, the 3 Hour Parent waves their finger at their spouse, sitter or nanny and places the blame firmly and squarely on them for failing to do their duty.

I know dozens of 3 Hour Parents. In many ways, I think I know more of them than not.

I understand the demands placed upon us in our professional lives. I know the rigors of unreasonable bosses, customers and financial obligations.

I understand the need for relaxation for improved mental concentration and physical health.

But I don't understand parents who have children they don't want.

How can anyone look at the excited, open face of their own child, the child who desperately wants and needs their parent's approval and love and disregard them so easily?

How can any parent feel good about missing nearly every landmark event in their child's life and be able to justify it with tee times, department store sales and meetings?

How can any parent, after investing so little time in their child's life, be so surprised when delinquency, poor grades, disciplinary problems and abuse occur with the same child?

So what can we do?

Whenever I feel the short term anxiousness of the 3 Hour Parent calling, I take a deep breath, close my eyes and imagine the first time I held each of my children after they were born.

I remember the first time they came to me, tottering along, holding a book or toy, wanting my immediate undivided attention.

I remember the first time my child pointed at every person, place or thing and called it a "Ball" "Dog" or "Cat".

I remember the first time they fell asleep in my arms and carrying them to their bed at the end of a long day.

I remember the first time they stood in a soccer field or on a baseball diamond or on a stage searching for me in the crowd just to make sure I was there.

I remember them running to my arms in an airport, after school or when I first walk in the house after work.

I remember the sloppy kisses, the peanut butter on my best suit, the art projects of glue and pop sickle sticks and the finger painted distorted caricatures labeled "DADDY" hanging on the refrigerator door.

I remember the fear on their faces melting into joy when I let go of the bicycle and watched them pedal furiously to stay upright.

I remember the birthdays' Christmases, Halloweens, car trips, Father's Days, kindergarten graduations, pageants and recitals and all the normal days in between.

Then I realize how everyday I received the greatest gift not from my own accomplishments, but from the little lives I created and raised. How can I have been so fortunate and blessed by their presence and how can I repay them?

If you are the 24 Hour Parent - congratulations and welcome to the fight. We now know we are going to win.

If you are a 3 Hour Parent, read this again. It will be our secret I won't tell anyone at the club or office.

But let's make a change today. Let's take off early, get out of that mall and go spend some time with your child today. You won't be disappointed. And you will make a huge difference in the life of the best people you have ever met in your life. Your children.

Happy hunting!


Marketing Me! Gitomer and personal branding

I am re-reading Gitomer "Little Red Book of Sales".

First lesson is you should review and read over old material often. I know it sounds crazy, but when ever I get down or feel at loose ends, I dig out a classic like Little Red Book or Never Eat Alone and get back on track.

One of the points Gitomer makes again and again is big sales (and jobs) got to those who market themselves and their personal brand. We have been saying that for years at Marketing Me!

One suggestion he makes is to register your name as a domain name. Jeffrey has at I checked for my name, but someone else grabbed it about a million years ago in internet time, so I registered a few others instead.

I always use GoDaddy for my registrations and so far have registered about a dozen or so domains for different projects I am working on. The name is important because that is how your customers, prospects, employers and contracts will find you.

Make sure no one takes your name! - Home of the $1.99 domain name

There are still many domain names available and getting the right name is not hard. I like using GoDaddy because of their excellent customer service - I mean it's good. They call me after every transaction on their website and constantly offer discounts on renewals and new products.

Once you have your name established, be ready to build a site which reflects you and your product well. I cannot stress how important it is to have the right look and feel to your web site or blog which will attract visitors and regular readers.

I use Linked In, Plaxo and other online networking tools to direct prospects to me rather than my company. Customers buy and companies hire individuals, not corporations!

Network and market yourself constantly for best affect. Pick up Jeffrey's book for a great list of ways to do this effectively!

Happy hunting!


Marketing Me! Goodbye letters and emails

Saw this on Jobacle today. All about goodbye emails at the office.

There are some great points included in this entry and if you are about to leave the present position and are the type to share your thoughts with the department or company at large - please visit this site first!

I have seen my fair share of goodbye emails - fortunately, I never sent one myself. Goodbye emails are sappy emotional outbursts which do more harm than good.

First, you are leaving the company/job. Once gone, you will be remembered, in most cases, for about five minutes after your exit.

Second, a wise man once counselled, "let your reputation grow hair before you brag about it". In other words, let your name become legend amongst former co-workers - if you were worth it.

Next, why are you marketing yourself to former co-workers? After all, sending that goodbye email is exactly what you are trying to do; making sure nobody forgets you or the valuable contributions you made. If you were so valuable, your work speaks for itself.

Finally, don't leave former co-workers with anything which might be misconstrued or could be used against you in the future. A goodbye email fraught with emotion and tears might be remembered as a sign of a demented unstable person. Not the type of referral you had planned on.

Here is the secret. Put in your notice, be pleasant and go away. You will be much more happy if you follow this advice.

Happy hunting!


Marketing Me! How agile are you?

Think you are agile? Think you have what it takes to make those lateral-upward moves in down markets?

Check out my friend Don.

I met Don when he was a technical recruiter in the height of the "dot com" days. Don placed dozens of people with my IT startup during a two year time frame. I had a good idea what he was making per placement so I know he was doing well with the technical placement company he worked for.

So what did he do?

He went solo and for a year and a half made even more money filling key job positions. Rather than do the shotgun approach, he specialized in placing minority candidates with technical companies. He made even more money.

During this time period, Don bought his first house. He saw how the real estate market worked and how home values were rising. He also was considering real estate as an investment strategy for all the money he was making in recruiting.

So, not one to go halfway, Don went to real estate school nights and got his license a few months later.

Don starting selling one or two homes a month on weekends.

Then the "dot bomb" bust happened, so Don went from part time real estate agent to full time.

Don focused on up and coming neighborhoods in older sections of town. Sure enough he hit another home run and until last year was making more sales and more money then ever before.

With the real estate market going the way it is, Don is moving back into recruiting. This time, he is reaching out to all those entry level techs he placed a decade ago and finding many of them are higher ups responsible for hiring.

Don is well placed to start picking up where real estate dropped out.

How about some personality traits of Don?

- Incredibly optimistic. Never a bad word or negative statement from him.
- Energetic and hardworking.
- Higher faith. Don has strong convictions which are reflected in his work.
- Honesty.
- Goal oriented.

Are you cut of the same cloth? Consider your options and see what you are doing to be as "nimble" as Don. Most of us follow the same old, "the company let me go - I wasn't planning on this!" lament.

Don has never waited for this to happen. He keeps his eyes and ears open for opportunity at all times.

If you don't have a similar plan for your life, why not make one today? Why not get busy on figuring your four or five plays and what fits for you?

Happy hunting!

Marketing Me! Jobs, Layoffs, Finding Work, Get excited about your work

And more..

Yes, I have been away for awhile. There are about 30 blogs I subscribe to and about half of those I read religiously.

None of them miss a few days of posting. None miss a week and none miss two weeks like I have done.

Sometimes, blogs of note, use a backup writer to compose and post fresh stories for them. More likely, however, good bloggers write several posts on slow days and save them for busy times like my recent schedule.

So what happened?

First, the third quarter ended and in the real world, quarters ending is the busiest time for me. I have to close deals, upsell an existing client or two and sometimes, have to count on the generosity of a current customer to order something extra for the quarter.

All so the company can make their numbers. That's business.

Next, my wife and I are expecting. Thank you. We are happy about it too. But we have had some complications - nothing serious, thanks for asking, but time consuming complications which have prevented me from getting more outside work done.

Never fear, in a few weeks the blessed event will be upon us and I can get back to full time employees, part time writer/speaker/presenter and full time dad. Wait, those numbers don't add up!

Next, I have been busy undertaking some financial projects which have been a real bear. They always are.

The following posts are entries I have been "head writing" for the past two weeks. Thank you for your patience.

Marketing Me!
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