Your ex hacked all of your electronics when you were together, and now they spy on you from inside your own house! What can you do to fight back? This and more on Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- Your ex hacked all of your electronics when you were together, and now they spy on you from inside your own house! What can you do to defend yourself? [Thanks to Corbin Payne, Esq. for helping with this one!]
- How do you stop caring about what other people think about you?
- While you’ve never filed for bankruptcy and you’re currently on top of your payments, you have a lot of debt. Should you be concerned if a new employer wants to check your credit — and do they have the right to as a condition for hiring you?
- The good news: you made a great online connection with someone you’d like to date. The bad news: they think COVID is a hoax and refuse to wear a mask for your peace of mind. Should you pursue a relationship with this person, or is this enough of a red flag to just move on?
- You were let go from a small company during your probationary period due to “culture clash.” How can you stay in touch with the coworkers you did get along with, and what do you say to recruiters and hiring managers who ask why things didn’t work out?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at email@example.com!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
Want a suit that’s tailor-made, high in quality, but not bank account draining? Get $30 off any purchase of $399 or more online at Indochino using code JORDAN at checkout!
Better Help offers affordable, online counseling at your convenience. If you’re coping with depression, stress, anxiety, addiction, or any number of issues, you’re not alone. Talk with a licensed professional therapist for 10 percent off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan!
HostGator has been around almost as long as the Internet. Does your business have an Internet presence? Save up to a whopping 62% on new webhosting packages with HostGator at hostgator.com/jordan!
The Unagi is an incredible stand-up electric scooter that’s only 26 pounds, folds in one click, and goes 20 mph. Go to UnagiScooters.com and use promo code JORDAN at checkout for $150 off your own Unagi E500 while supplies last!
Miss the show we did with Dr. Drew Pinsky — the celebrity doctor who’s been hosting radio, television, and podcast shows for more than 30 years? Catch up with episode 72: Dr. Drew Pinsky | Give the World the Best You Have Anyway!
Resources from This Episode:
- Ray Dalio | Principles of an Investing Pioneer Part One | TJHS 389
- Ray Dalio | Principles of an Investing Pioneer Part Two | TJHS 390
- Neal Brennan | Comedy’s Triple Threat | TJHS 381
- FortiGate Mid-Range Next-Generation Firewalls
- Keyloggers: What is a Keystroke Logger? | Malwarebytes
- Nest Cam Indoor Home Security Camera
- The 5 Best Nanny Cams for Child Safety in 2020 | SafeWise.com
- Corbin Payne | Twitter
- Domestic Violence: Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders | FindLaw
- The Spotlight Effect: How to Stop Feeling Self-Conscious | Effectiviology
- Deep Dive | How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People | TJHS 22
- Why You Compare Yourself to Other People (And How to Stop) | Jordan Harbinger
- Can They Check My Credit Report When I Apply for a Job? | Illinois Legal Aid Online
- Fair Credit Reporting Act | Federal Trade Commission
- A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Employee Credit Privacy Act | Illinois General Assembly
- Still Confused About Masks? Here’s the Science Behind How Face Masks Prevent Coronavirus | UC San Francisco
- Wearing a Mask: Myths and Facts | University of Maryland Medical System
- When and How to Use Masks | WHO
- Why Do Some People Refuse to Wear a Face Mask in Public? | Health.com
- Arthur Brooks | How Loving Your Enemies Can Save America | TJHS 211
- Connection Fox
Transcript for Help! My Ex Hacked My Entire Home! | Feedback Friday (Episode 391)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. Today, I'm here with Gabriel Mizrahi. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most brilliant people. And we turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. I want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. And our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. So you can get a deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening, even inside your own mind.
[00:00:32] If you're new to the show on Fridays, we give advice to you and answer listener questions. And the rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes to authors, thinkers, and performers. For a selection of featured episodes to get you started with some of our favorite guests and popular topics, go to jordanharbinger.com and we will hook you up.
[00:00:55] This week on the show, we had Ray Dalio. He is the Steve Jobs of investing. This was a truly fascinating interview with one of the most amazing minds in the business world today. The episode is in two parts. We had a lot to talk about. I think it almost runs for two hours. So make sure you have a listen to that if you're interested in the markets, China, where investing is going, what he thinks is going to happen with the economy in the next few years. I mean, the guy is brilliant. The scoreboard says so. So find that in the podcast feed.
[00:01:23] As far as questions on the show, you can reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep your emails as concise as you can include a descriptive subject line that makes our job, Gabriel's job, a whole lot easier.
[00:01:35] A lot of people ask why the Neal Brennan ep had bleeps in it. It was a radio edit. We should've had a podcast edit. Sorry to everyone who wrote to me and loves hearing F-bombs, which is apparently a lot of you. The feedback on this episode was otherwise pretty good. So if you want to take a peek into the mind of a brilliant comedy writer and creator, check out our episode with Neal Brennan from a few weeks back.
[00:01:55] All right, Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:01:58] Hey Jordan, I have this black hat problem with my ex-boyfriend. In addition to all of my electronics being compromised, he is entering my home when I'm not here. I've changed the locks several times but he has cameras inside the house. In fact, he sent me a video of me leaving for work from inside my house with the entire ride to work. I used to use a major your home security company but apparently, their system is a joke. I just purchased a Google Nest outside camera system, but I'm wondering if there is a security firm or place that you can recommend to get the bugs and cameras out of my house. My local police department has been useless. By the way, I'm getting the FortiGate firewall. Can you recommend a good VPN service that doesn't require me to consistently put in a code on all of my devices? Signed, Fed Up.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:42] So this is a legit wild one. I rarely hear anything like this. I really enjoyed this question. In that, of course, this is truly someone who needs help and there are psychological and technical aspects to this question. So strap in, I've actually got a lot to say on this one. The problem with cases like this. It's that it sounds paranoid. It sounds crazy. People don't want to believe you. And knowing what I know about security, knowing what I know about hacking, which is sort of — I would say minimal from a first-person perspective, but I've given plenty of talks at conferences and things like that with these types of info security folks, many of whom I reached out to, for help with this question.
[00:03:24] So this to me was actually scary in how real this seems and how common this is. And police often have the exact same reaction, which is, "Whatever, there's nothing we can do and also you're probably just imagining a lot of this stuff." A lot of people who get hacked, they'll turn the temperature up in the house to like 88 degrees. They'll kind of gaslight you thinking, like, "Why is it so hot? What's going on?" They'll try and turn your alarm on and off. They'll trigger the alarm. Prove what he's doing and you've got enough to get a restraining order. But you need the cops to do this, not necessarily a lawyer, unless you want to sue him. You do need to prove he was in your house without your permission.
[00:04:05] So the question then becomes, does he own the house? Does he pay for rent or not? Is he on the lease? Does he help with bills? If he does, this can hurt your case? Sadly, the law is often not that helpful with these things. The police don't want to intervene if you used to live together and now he's entering it, doesn't have permission. Because they're going to think it's a lover's spat and not a legit legal issue. Unfortunately, in order for you to get a protection order, a lot of the time, he's got to do something bad. And by then, of course, it's too late.
[00:04:34] A system, security system, or otherwise it's never more secure than its weakest link. And a good guess is that some desktop computer or laptop within your house has been compromised. So maybe he installed a keylogger on one of your devices. Once you've gained access to a desktop or laptop on the local network, especially a desktop that's on 24/7, you could monitor that to collect passwords, security certificates, access to other devices on the local network, regardless of how secure they are. My guess is that the weakest link is probably you and I don't mean that in an insulting way. Somebody else with access to the local network, it's usually people. If you're on a Mac, take your computers to the Apple store. They love securing computers there. Make that Genius Bar appointment. They want to perpetuate the idea, the false idea that Apple computers are unhackable or very secure. So whenever you take your computer, even if you're like six years after warranty, the people at the Genius Bar, they will wipe spyware off the computer.
[00:05:33] And after you get your computer wiped, don't use your own Wi-Fi for this. Go to a friend's house, change all your passwords from there. Use a password manager like Dashlane or 1Password. Make sure that your computer has your passwords or your phone has your passwords saved in an encrypted database. Don't reuse passwords. Don't use passwords that are easily guessable. That's obvious security advice but turn off Wi-Fi entirely in your house if you can, even defer just a few weeks. See if you can borrow your neighbors. Alternately, any phone plans, specifically these unlimited plans, you can tether to the phone. Google this. You can use your phone as your Internet connection. And if you're not streaming a bunch of stuff, if you're just checking your email, you're not going to use a lot of your data. And when using your computer, you can use 4G to surf the web, not Wi-Fi. It is far more secure than Wi-Fi if he's got any sort of basic attacks going on. Or use ethernet and hardwire your home office. This doesn't solve the problem, but once you wipe the computers and if you're not using them, you've made yourself a harder target. You can use a VPN, but it's not really going to help you in this situation. Only after making sure your devices are wiped and secured and your network is secured is a VPN going to help. Otherwise, you're just the weakest link again.
[00:06:49] I would also ask your neighbors if you can buy a nest cam or some sort of other security camera and put it in their window, facing your house because he might be expecting devices in your house. He might even see them pop-up on the network if he owns your network. But if it pops-up at your neighbor's house, he probably won't notice. And you can aim them at your doors and your windows that way when he breaks in again, he might think he's all clever deleting the footage that he has stored in the cloud if there is any footage or setting off the alarm and setting it and resetting it, whatever he's doing. But if your neighbors got him on their cameras, that you can see the footage of entering your house, you've got him. That can help you get a protection order that much faster. Tell your neighbors, "If he's breaking into my house, he may also break into yours. Help me catch him." If they resist, otherwise, just leave it alone. If they're super nice and friendly, no need to scare them. But if they're like, "Well, we don't want to get involved." Then you can let them know what's in it for them, which is, "Hey, you know, if he's coming into my house, I don't see why he can't come into your house to get to me possibly at night. We don't know when he's coming. Anyway, I want to put this camera on your windows. So how much of a problem is this going to be?"
[00:07:56] He may try to break in again, once his spyware stops working. So if you wipe everything on your computer, make sure you've got the other camera system running, running on the neighbor's Wi-Fi, CCTV, whatever it is because he might go, "Oh crap. My keylogger's gone off her computer and her passwords have been changed. I need to go install another one." That might trigger another break-in so you can catch him at that time. I might also crash with a friend for a few days if you think it's going to trigger a break-in and it could get nasty. You'll then have what you need to take to the cops for a protection order.
[00:08:29] We're talking of someone who had full access to everything. If this has any actual hacking skills and isn't just what we'd call a script kiddie, or is running some basic software to run your computer or network. If he has any sorts of skills, he might have installed backdoors on any device on the network. He might've coded something that antivirus isn't going to pick up. A firewall or VPN will not fix anything. I know I sort of mentioned that before, but you have to replace your devices or you have to have a specialist with good computer knowledge look into this because he could have put something on your router depending on what kind of router you have. I mean, it's just not worth worrying about. He has several ways to get access. And if you were to replace the devices one by one, he might be able to regain access to each new unit. So don't just get a new router and then leave all your cameras and all your cloud servers and all your CCTV stuff, whatever you've got, and all your computers unsecured. He's just going to go back in — again if he's got technical know-how — and use one device to gain access to everything else. So you have to bear that in mind, this could get expensive. That's why I just recommend tethering that will solve a lot of the problems, but you still have to secure your devices from spyware. I would also add absolutely re-install or replace everything on the computers that are on your network, not just your main laptop.
[00:09:46] I'm being overly cautious here, but if for some reason he's got the intention of hacking your home. If I were doing it, I would have hacked into as many devices, as many computers as possible and installed backdoors everywhere. By hacked in, I mean, if he's going into your house, he could literally just put a USB flash drive and run a program and be done. He doesn't need to be any kind of IT genius. This is something that I could teach any member of my family, how to do in 20 minutes. It doesn't matter if you buy the most expensive security door for the front entrance if you leave the kitchen door open, and I'm saying this because of the devices, because of the network.
[00:10:20] FortiGate it sounds like you asked the IT guy at work. It's an enterprise-level firewall, but it's not going to do the job if he's in your house already. And speaking of in the house, Gabriel, the thing that freaked me out about this the most was that he went into her car most likely and got the video off the SD card because she said, "Oh, he showed me my ride to work." Most dashcams, they're not connected to the cloud. They're not streaming the video most of the time. Look, if your dashcam is doing that then, okay, he's got something going on your dashcam or most likely has access to your cloud storage because you use a password there that he now has but most cameras aren't doing that in the car. That means he went into her car, opened up the camera, took the memory card out, copied the footage, and then sent it to her to scare her.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:11:08] Yup.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:08] That's really psycho.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:11:10] Terrifying. Terrifying.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:11] Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:11:11] That's next level, that means that not only does he have access to all these different spaces, he has a hell of a lot of time to spend doing this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:18] Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:11:18] And that is driving some kind of strange pleasure from scaring her with the footage.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:23] Right.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:11:24] We're talking a lot about the technical aspect of this, and I'm glad we are because she needs some help in that department. But I just need to acknowledge, like, this is exceptionally scary. Like this is next level terrorizing stuff that we're talking about.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:36] Before I overload everyone with tech, if I haven't already a couple more things, you can also grab a nanny cam and put it in the house. One of those offline only, you know, light switch with camera in it. Don't order it from your Amazon account. If he's got access to your Amazon account, he's just going to see what you ordered and look for that in the house.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:11:53] Oh, dude, I didn't even think about that. That's really good advice because I would have 100 percent jumped on my Amazon account and just bought all this stuff.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:02] Me too but I remember when I was doing some security and social engineering exercises, one of the main things I looked for was stuff people ordered on Amazon.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:12:09] Wow.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:10] Because you can use it as a conversation piece. Like, "Oh man, you know, I just got these awesome Rayban sunglasses," and people would be like, "I just bought those too. What a coincidence?" And now I've got — I'm using that to generate rapport, or I'm saying, "You know, this other thing wasn't working for me." "Oh, I just got one. What was wrong with it?" That's more social engineering, but this is kind of like, "Okay, you're going to go on Amazon and order something. Great. I'm looking in your email. I see the receipt. Come in. I'm looking at your purchase history. Oh, a mantle top teddy bear with a camera in it. Great. Let me look and see what this thing is. I'll just look for that in the house and steal it when I'm there. Next time breaking-in." Also, if he's breaking-in and the alarm is not working, that means there's an unsecured entrance on her property, Gabriel, which is really scary because he either removed a window sensor from the alarm system, which would allow him to go in and out.] Or he's like, "Oh, the basement windows never locked," which is really scary because, of course, now he can get in and out, but so can anyone who finds that. So you could be sitting in your house and some random person could I find that he's left a basement window, propped open and not properly secured. He doesn't obviously care about your safety. So he doesn't really care if somebody else breaks in. He figures no one else will see it.
[00:13:22] I also reached out to a real lawyer as one does. Again, I can't give you legal advice. I'm not your lawyer. It depends on which state you often will not need cops for a restraining order or an order of protection. Again, it depends on the state. I spoke too soon earlier. That always helps. Of course, if you do have a lawyer, it is not necessary. The cops are supposed to intervene in these situations, but they will often duck involvement where there aren't explicit threats of violence. And especially where the harasser used to live in the home with the victim, like I said before, because then they think, "Aah, this is just a spat. It's no big deal." Here's what I'd recommend and this is via Corbin Payne aka our unofficial legal, very unofficial legal counsel, here on the show. Gather all the evidence that we mentioned before. The really important evidence here is any communications that you've had with this guy, your ex, where you've told him, "Hey, leave me alone." However, it was worded. If you've got something that says stay out of my house, include that because it makes your claims even stronger. Then Google order of protection or restraining orders followed by the County and state. So for example, an order of protection in Davidson County, Tennessee. Figure out which court handles that I would advise — unofficially and not as your lawyer, of course — but go into seeing the clerk of that court with your evidence. And ask the clerk what you should fill out. Keep the details short, keep it simple, emphasize the times you've asked him to leave you alone and they should walk you through the form.
[00:14:49] Now, clerks aren't allowed to give legal advice, but these stalker harassment situations — the rules tend to get relaxed a little bit. I know we are right now, as you can see. If you listen to the show regularly, this is a long answer and I'm pretty impassioned here. People will kick into high gear to help a victim of abuse like this. Now, the information you put on this form needs to be truthful. It has to be accurate. But it is vitally important that you talk about threats that he's made against you, if any, and that you should certainly speak about the terror and the fear that this instills in you. And it shouldn't be too hard when you say, "He sent me a video of my commute, sends me videos of video cameras installed in my house like something out of a freaking horror movie." Courts aren't going to act to stop someone from being annoyed and bothered. They will act when somebody is being terrorized and abused. And make no mistake, you are being terrorized and abused. And Gabe, I think we can touch on that. I mean, this is the way you need to frame it to the court. After you're done with this, there may be an appearance or something like that.
[00:15:46] You don't necessarily need a lawyer for this. Again, it can help. You appear before the judge, you explained the issues, the terrorists caused the evidence you have. This is one of the few times that non-lawyers are actually in a decent position to represent themselves in a court proceeding. If you can afford a lawyer, hire one. Outsource the worrying and the stress. You know, they'll take care of it for you. You may also want to hire a private investigator who specializes in countersurveillance depending on how serious this gets. They might just help you with the devices. There's not going to be somebody sitting out in front of your house, but these devices and these private investigators, often these guys know how to work that stuff or know someone who does. A lot of types of investigators work more for companies and people who are being surveilled for economic espionage, but they might be willing to help you in a domestic abuse situation. Like you might have somebody who just cares enough to say, "Oh, you have one of these, get rid of this and buy this and replace it with this." It's really hard to see.
[00:16:41] I know from my perspective, this kept me awake. Thinking about all the scenarios. I could hear. This guy's a psycho man. So I'll cap it with this. Really sorry this is happening to you. This is a person you could have ended up married to. So just don't underestimate those. This is a scary person. They are showing you how scary they can be. Hopefully, this is not just the beginning of how scary they can be. I would stay with friends for a while, while you handle this. This guy is unstable. He's a bad person. And even if you succeed in getting a protection order, all you have as a protection order, you then have to catch him violating it and put him in jail. This is kind of the beginning of this process. And again, I'm so sorry you're going through this. I really do feel for you. And I think you should follow these instructions pretty explicitly and take care of this because it is so much better, safe than sorry when you're dealing with abusers like this.
[00:17:36] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:17:41] This episode is sponsored in part by Indochino. Not just for suits anymore. These guys have everything now and you can hyper customize everything. So if you're one of those, not quite small, not quite medium or smedium, if you will, you can get anything. You want a pocket, no pocket. You want a short sleeve, long sleeve, a little bit longer, a little bit shorter, no big deal. You can book a virtual style consultation or you can shop online, visit a showroom. You can personalize the crap out of absolutely everything. Again, Indochino, not just suits anymore. Made to measure clothing at fair prices, suits, blazers, shirts, coats, and the suits start at just 299, including all the customization. Indochino has showrooms across North America, or you can book a virtual appointment and shop online at indochino.com. And right now you can get an extra 30 bucks off any purchase of 399 or more at indochino.com when you enter JORDAN at checkout that's indochino.com promo code JORDAN.
[00:18:39] This episode is also sponsored by Better Help. Struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, you're not alone. Better Help has licensed professional counselors who are trained to listen and help — depression, grief, anxiety, relationship stuff, family stuff. You fill out a questionnaire to help assess your specific needs. You get matched with a counselor in a couple of days. Talk to your counselor. It's all safe. It's all private. It's all confident — video, phone chat, text, whatever you want. And if you're unhappy with your counselor, which happens, you can get a new one at any time with no additional charge. Over a million. people are doing this. They're taking charge of their mental health, especially right now, during the pandemic using Better Help. With so many people using it, you'd think, "Oh my gosh, it's going to be so hard to get a counselor." Don't worry. They're recruiting additional counselors in all 50 states. It's affordable as well. And we're giving you an extra 10 percent off your first month with discount code JORDAN. So get started today at betterhelp.com/jordan. That's better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[00:19:41] And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:19:47] All right, what's next?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:19:49] Hi, Team. Thanks for all you do and for all your efforts to connect with people. I'll keep this simple. How do you stop caring about what other people think about you? Signed, Always Glancing Around.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:00] I feel for this guy. I spent so much time caring —
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:20:04] Same.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:04] — about what other people think. Of course I still —
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:20:06] Totally, everybody does.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:07] I still care, right? Like I still care a little but only in the way that I want to be a productive member of society, polite enough society and not offend people by my smell or the very presence or something like that. But I used to think about this so much that I couldn't even function. I couldn't even focus on school, middle school, some high school. I was just like my predominant, my predominant program running in my brain was, "Are people thinking about or talking about me or looking at me?" Now, I realized that that's not real but —
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:20:35] I didn't know that's such a big —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:36] Oh, it's the worst.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:20:37] Interesting. I think everyone, everyone when they're kids and in school, I mean, I think you're so self-conscious the last thing you want to do is stand out or be different. But yeah, I didn't realize that was such a big thing because I don't see you that way now. It's so funny.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:47] Yeah. I'm not that way now at all. Not even a little bit, but you know, it also didn't help that there was like this trend in middle school — and I remember this clearly because it really affected me — where there would be people who would bully you by ambushing you to get up in your personal space and ask you a lot of questions if they knew you were shy. They thought it was hilarious, but I would be like recoiling, you know? And then if you were quiet and shy, people would do things where the whole class would — they didn't do this to me as much. They did this to a lot of other people and it was always freaking me out. They would turn around and point at that person all at the same time, like, you know, it'd be like, "One, two, three," and everyone would point it to Kevin and be like, "Ooh," and this quiet kid in the back would just like freak out because you know, he's like, "Oh good. I'm invisible. I'm doing my math homework." And like, one of the bullies would just like, make everyone spotlight him. And it was so awful, but I was like, "Oh my God, that's going to happen to me." You know, it's just like a form of social anxiety. I think that I eventually got over thank God.
[00:21:46] So first you got to get clear on a couple of things. As an adult, you probably don't have these classroom issues that, uh, that I mentioned, hopefully. Do you care what other people think about you because you want to understand or evaluate yourself? or do you care what other people think about you because you're self-conscious and you feel insecure? You know, my middle school was punctuated or defined rather by feeling self-conscious and insecure. Now, though, of course, I care what other people think about me, but it's because — okay. How's the show being perceived? Am I improving as a host? Are the interviews of interest to the audience? Or am I being self-serving? Am I answering questions in a useful way on Feedback Friday? You know, I'm thinking about those. That requires feedback and other people's opinion, but we have to make sure we know which one of these we are going for because I think it's easy to get them confused.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:22:31] Those are two very different motivations for caring what other people think about you. And sometimes they get crossed. Like it can kind of be a little bit ambiguous, whether you're doing it because you're so worried about how you're perceived or you're actually, in a healthy way, trying to understand how you measure up against meaningful and relevant standards, whether it's at work or in your personal life or what, you know, whatever it is. So I think that's an important thing to separate.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:55] Also I want to reframe a little bit. I'm not convinced that caring what other people think is a bad thing at all. I think it works really well if you're using it to evaluate yourself like we said, but I'm also — there's this whole cult of like, "I don't give a crap about anything. I don't care what people think and that was trendy or maybe a few years ago, but it's still going right now and I see it a lot on Instagram. And these influencers are like, "Yeah, man, don't care what other people say?" It doesn't make any sense if you don't give a crap what people think about you, you're not enlightened. You're probably a narcissist. You've probably got some sociopathic tendencies. Like you should have some measure of wanting to conform to a reasonable standard of behavior. Conform might not be a great word to use for this, but, you know, we've all seen people who truly, truly, truly don't care and they're terrible to be around or they're in prison because they can't control themselves a normal degree of concern about what other people think about you is healthy. This is how we get along in society. This is why we have norms and rules.
[00:23:52] So in trying to stop caring what other people think of you? I think what you're really trying to do is not care what other people think about you too much and not letting what other people think about you hold you back in your life and your career. This is a very personal thing. It's up to you to decide what that balance is. Gabe?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:24:08] Yeah. I mean, look, this is a very universal question. Every single human being wrestles with this. We could probably spend hours dissecting exactly how it's playing out in this person's life but look, let's just cut to the chase. There are a few practical strategies for reducing self-consciousness. One of them — and this is the one that I have to remind myself of all the time — is that even though it's very tempting to think that people are thinking about you constantly. They're not, they're doing it — you're thinking about you way less than you are thinking about you. And in many cases, maybe most cases, they're not thinking about you at all. That actually has a name. It's called the spotlight effect. And it's very real because we are in our lives and in our bodies, we think that everybody else has as much access to our inner life as we do, but that's absurd, right? Like they're so worried about themselves. They're not even focused on you. So that's really important to keep in mind. I know that's sort of an academic concept, but every time I catch myself worrying, I'm like, "Oh yeah, spotlight effect. I got to keep that in mind."
[00:25:07] To Jordan's point, Also, I think it's important to use other people's perception of you as data that can be useful, but not as the be-all and end-all of how you see yourself. Sometimes when you worry about what other people think about you, what you're really trying to do is define your experience of yourself. Like you're standing at a party, you got a drink in your hand, you're not talking to anybody at the moment, and suddenly you think that everybody's looking at you as like this loser, who can't talk to people, who's alone, who like, you know, whatever ideas come into your head. But that isn't who you are as a human being, that's just maybe circumstance of you at this party. It's not the end of the story. So I do think it's important to integrate other people's points of view into your beliefs about yourself but to make your own judgments ultimately about who you are. And it sounds to me like from your letter, even though it was very brief, sometimes accounting for other people's beliefs can take over your own beliefs of who you are.
[00:25:58] And it's also worth looking at some of the roots of your self-consciousness. Everybody has it. Some people have it more than others, just the thing. Spoiler alert. I will tell you that this all probably has to do with your childhood to some degree. I think all this stuff goes way, way back, right? So how you're wired, how you were brought up, who your parents were, what formative experiences you had as a kid — these all affect how you move through the world and especially self-consciousness. So I do think it's important to understand why you care what other people think about you. Everybody has different reasons, right? Like I think some people care about what other people think of them because they want to be seen as good or attractive or useful or worthy. Or, you know, some people care about other people's perceptions because they're constantly checking in, looking around. Am I too difficult? Am I too much? Or some people just like the attention, honestly. I think that is sort of a form of feeling like you're very important. You know, if I'm at this party and everyone is looking at me and they have an opinion that at least maybe I'm not talking to anybody, but at least I'm interested.
[00:26:56] So I don't know if this instinct ever goes away completely, Jordan. I think everybody cares to some degree what other people think of them. Most people care about it a lot, which is why most people behave so strangely out in the world, but that said, you know, you can learn to calibrate it and to use it in a healthier way. Talking to a therapist would be helpful here if it's getting to the point where it's like paralyzing you or it's taking over your life. I think it can be really, really helpful to talk to a professional.
[00:27:23] You didn't ask about self-comparison specifically. You were talking about how other people see you, but we did write a really good article and did a deep dive on the topic of why we compare ourselves to other people and how to stop. Those might be really helpful for you. So we'll link to those in the show notes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:36] Right on. All right, what's next?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:27:38] J Team, after working unhappily at a dysfunctional energy company for six years, I've decided that I want to leave. However, there is one little snafu. In considering what a pre-employment background check is, I'm concerned about the possibility of a credit check. I live in the State of Illinois and the law on whether employers can pull credit for employment screening goes beyond my level of legal expertise. Well, I have not filed for bankruptcy and I'm currently on top of all of my payments. I have high levels of debt due to costs rising much faster than my income. That's partly because I took a significant pay cut to come to this company in the first place. This has lowered my credit scores, and I'm concerned that a future employer might rescind an offer upon discovering this, especially because I might be managing projects and budgets in my new role. Can employers in Illinois legally pull credit? If so, what defines the threshold at which they may reverse a hiring decision? Can I subtly ask a prospective employer if they do look at credit? What should I do? Signed, Captive to My Credit.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:37] This is an excellent question. And it's especially interesting in your case because your situation might be unique, but anyone who is looking for a job anywhere, not just Illinois should know the answer to this question. So let's dig into it. First some good news. There are federal and state laws that govern the use of credit reports in hiring decisions. The federal law is called the Fair Credit Reporting Act, FCRA. The FCRA states that employers can obtain credit reports for employment purposes, but the applicant's consent is required. So if you don't consent, they can't use your credit scores. So you'll know if they're going to do that. Also in Illinois, specifically, there's a state law passed in 2011 called the Employee Credit Privacy Act, ECPA. The ECPA says that employers can't use credit reports or histories to hire, fire, or set pay and conditions for many types of jobs in the States, but that doesn't apply to all jobs. The types of employers that the ECPA does not cover are banks, insurance companies, law enforcement, state and local government, or debt collectors. So if you're sticking with the energy sector, which it sounds like you are, you might be good. Of course, you want to check with a real lawyer in your jurisdiction to get the real straight dope on that.
[00:29:51] But here's the possibly bad news. In Illinois, even employers who can't use credit reports — and in many other states for that matter, so don't just switch a forward because you're not in Illinois — even employers who can't use credit reports are still allowed to use them for certain positions if credit history is a bona fide occupational requirement. In other words, if there's a damn good reason for them to know your credit sitch. Some of the bona fide occupational requirements are if you have unsupervised access to over $2,500 in cash or assets that can be sold, power over business assets of a hundred dollars or more per transaction, which if you're doing money stuff at all, and it's not just a $20 burrito, you probably going to fall into this. Access to personal or confidential information or financial information that could get sticky depending on your job or a managerial position that involves setting the direction or control of the business. That is probably a little bit higher than your current pay grade. But again, check just to be sure.
[00:30:50] Since you might be managing projects and budgets in your new role, as you said, it is very possible that your role creates a bona fide occupational requirement for them to check your credit history. It doesn't mean they will. It just means they could. And it really does depend on how much power you have over money and information in this role. And whether it's the company's policy to pull credit reports for that role. Obviously, this is in part. Because they want to make sure you're not tempted to steal from the company if you've got access to cash and you're up to your eyeballs in debt. So it's kind of, it's not getting in all up in your business for a reason. It may not matter.
[00:31:25] So to answer your questions, can employers in Illinois legally pull credit? Yeah. But only in some industries and functions, if they have a good business reason to do so. Also to keep in mind employers who run credit checks, they can just see your credit score in most cases. The modified report that they pull, it includes information that contributes to your score like payment history, but the three-digit number is not included. They will see open lines of credit, like mortgages, outstanding balances, auto-student loans, for closures, late payments, miss payments, bankruptcies, collection amounts, that kind of stuff. So if you are really drowning, they can see some of that. Paying your bills on time. That seems to be one of the most important factors, which it sounds like you're doing. So you may be worrying a little more than you need to. Again, I haven't seen your credit score, so I don't know.
[00:32:10] What defines the threshold at which they may reverse a hiring decision. Gabe, you and I researched this. I didn't find a threshold at which the company is going to disqualify you or reverse a hiring decision. This just means there's no information. Not that they don't do it.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:32:23] Yeah. It doesn't sound like there's some magic number at which they decide you're undesirable. I think that's probably a company policy probably somewhat subjective. I'm guessing that's made on a case by case basis considering.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:34] Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:32:34] Like your overall picture as a candidate. I wouldn't be surprised if they weighed a whole bunch of other factors more heavily than this one. And just kind of threw this one in there just to kind of have a complete picture.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:45] Yeah. I can kind of do too. Just like, "Oh, we're on the fence about this person. Oh my gosh. They have a great credit score. Well, that means they're responsible."
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:32:51] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:51] Or, "We're deeply on the fence about this person. Oh my gosh. They have never paid a bill in their life. How are they even getting to work? Do they even have a car?"
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:32:58] Yeah, exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:58] "No, thanks. The heck with this guy. Next." If they're not on the fence and they love you, they might be like, "Well, yeah, I mean, times be tough. Got a couple of back payments. NBD. Bills are still paid on time. Welcome to the company."
[00:33:10] To your last question. Can you subtly ask your employer or your prospective employer if they look at your credit? Yeah, you can. And before they do pull your credit, they are required to notify you by law. And you have to give consent. Well, you don't have to give consent. They need your consent is what I meant to say. So you can always say, "Why do you need that? It's none of your business," which probably means you're not going to get that job, but at least they won't pull your credit. You might want to weigh the risks of asking this question by asking, you're kind of throwing out a little red flag that you might be a risky candidate. Like, "Whoa, what's in there. Maybe we should. We weren't going to pull it. But now that you mentioned it, maybe we will." If they end up not pulling a credit score, you'd be raising a red flag for nothing, or maybe your report is fine for their purposes. Gabe, you got anything to add?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:33:55] Nope, I think that pretty much covers it. I would say that this person should probably do his best to get his finances in order as best as he can. I know that he's probably working pretty hard, but you know, consolidating debt, meeting monthly payments, cutting expenses, as much as possible, whatever he can do to make that picture a little rosier would probably be in his interest while he job hunts. But he can also check his credit reports ahead of time, so there are no surprises. You know, every year you're entitled to one free credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus. So you can access those reports for free through a number of services. I think you can get it for free from annualcreditreport.com, which is, I believe, guaranteed by federal law. You probably don't want to access all three of your credit reports at the same time. Just space them out every few months, just so it doesn't affect your credit score in any way.
[00:34:37] But most importantly, do not disqualify yourself from a better job, just because your credit history is not perfect.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:43] Yeah, it's a good point.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:34:43] Again, the company might not even pull your credit report. They might pull it, but find it acceptable. So anyone who's listening who's facing a similar question — I'm guessing there are a lot of people in the job market right now — check your state laws. Every state is different. Only some states like Illinois, California, New York, a few others have state laws that protect applicants in this situation. So I do recommend doing your research so you know what you're getting into, but it sounds like it's time for a career change for you. So good luck man.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:09] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:35:14] This episode is also sponsored in part by HostGator. You need a website. I know you think you're cool on social media. It's not going to work. You're subject to the platform. They can delete you. They can ban you like TikTok. Then what are you going to do? If you have your own website, you're in the clear no problem. And I know you think you need to know coding, you don't. HostGator's website builder is all drag and drop. It's exactly what it sounds like you choose from over a hundred mobile-friendly templates. Your site's going to look good on mobile. It's going to look good on the iPad. It's going to look good on the desktop. If you want WordPress, one-click later, you get it. PayPal so you can get money. Little SEO to increase your search engine visibility without being an expert. 99.9 percent guaranteed uptime and support 24/7, 365.
Jen Harbinger: [00:35:55] Don't worry about all this breaking the bank either. HostGator is giving our wonderful listeners up to 62 percent off all packages for new users with a 45-day complete money-back guarantee. And you can even get unlimited email addresses based from your domain. Go to hostgator.com/jordan right now to sign up. That's hostgator.com/jordan.
[00:36:16] This episode is sponsored in part by Unagi. So these are scooters. These things are amazing. This is like the Tesla of electric scooters. It's a kick scooter looking thing, but it's stand up, electric light, powerful torque, fast. This thing accelerates crazy. It weighs 26 pounds. It's got a one-click fold. It's got a 15-mile range. It goes up 20 miles per hour. That doesn't sound fast but let me tell you when you're standing. What's basically a skateboard with a handle on it. That is freaking fast. I run errands on this thing. I'll go on calls and I'm just getting — it's hot AF outside right now. So I am getting the wind blowing through my hair, getting takeout food, going on a Target run. I thought this thing was so fun. It really is the future of commuting in the age of COVID. You can get yours today at unagiscooters.com. That's U-N-A-G-I-scooters.com. Use promo code JORDAN. You'll get 150 bucks off your own Unagi E500 while supplies last. Again, these things are the bomb. Try it out. Let me know what you think. Oh, and wear a helmet
[00:37:17] After the show, we've got a preview trailer of our interview with the one and only Dr. Drew Pinsky of Loveline fame. Always love that guy. Stay tuned for that after the close of the show.
[00:37:29] Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us going. Who doesn't love some good products and/or services? You can always visit jordanharbinger.com/deals for all the details on everybody that helps support the show.
[00:37:43] And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:37:48] Great. Gabe, what's next?
[00:37:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:37:50] Hey, Jordan. I met this guy online a few weeks ago and we really hit it off. We both had a lot of shared interests and a similar sense of humor. So we ended up texting each other constantly, literally every moment from day to night.
[00:38:01] Hmm, remember those dates?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:03] Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:38:04] Those don't come along very often.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:05] Yeah. Those are — I mean, good for you, when you get married, that's it. I'm just kidding.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:38:09] I'm just starting.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:10] No, but those are fun. That's fun. It's exciting.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:38:13] We might've spoken too soon given the rest of the letter, but I was happy that you — I don't even know why I'm so excited because I think this letter might be turning very soon.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:21] Yeah, I'm happy for you — oh wait, I already know what happens. It all goes downhill.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:38:24] It's a disaster. All right, let's see what else. The letter goes on —
[00:38:30] We also call each other constantly for hours every day and went on a couple of virtual Zoom dates. Eventually, we both decided that we really wanted to meet in person. So we set a date to go out for some hiking and dinner. This is when things started to go downhill.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:42] Did he break into her house and set up video cameras? If no, it's not going to be worse than question one.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:38:46] Same person writing two parts of the story. Two different letters. No, this is not the prequel to the other letter. This is a different situation. She writes —
[00:38:55] Before a date. I texted him my address and just as a side thought, I asked him to make sure he would be wearing a mask. He responded immediately that he would not. And that COVID was "just a flu." I was definitely shocked considering that we live in New York, where cases are still rising and that it's been my impression that COVID is still pretty dangerous. I also live with my grandparents who are high risk, so maybe I'm more paranoid too, but I could never forgive myself if I gave them something. After sitting on this for about a day, I called him and asked him if he would please wear a mask just for my peace of mind. This is when he started to get angry. He said that it was his choice to wear a mask or not. And that if I was so concerned, I should just cancel our date. I was starting to get angry too. So I did just that. I canceled our date right there on the spot and hang up. Now, it's been a week and we haven't contacted each other at all. I think he's blocked me on social media as well. I just feel incredibly lost and sad. I feel like we had a great connection and I can't believe we lost it over such a silly debate. I'm not sure how to move forward. On one hand, I really thought I was in love. But on the other hand, being safe about COVID and wearing masks is super important to me, especially again, because of my grandparents. So I'm wondering what I should do. Should I reach out and apologize and ask for another date? Should I try to convince him that COVID is a serious issue? Or, should I just keep the silence and let things fade out? Signed, Crying Behind My Mask.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:14] This is really sad actually because this has all been politicized and I'm going to try not to do that here. Because there's a right, there's a quote-unquote right answer for this, regardless of whether or not you're pro-mask or anti-mask. And I can't believe I'm even saying that.
[00:40:28] Clearly, recently, wearing a mask has become a shorthand for values and beliefs about the virus and the world. And depending on your beliefs wearing a mask, either makes you a conscientious person who cares about other people or just another one of the sheeple buying into propaganda about the virus. Similarly, not wearing a mask either makes you a free-thinking defender of liberty or a self-centered mask hole — I said mask hole — who doesn't take science seriously or care about humanity. So basically, you're running into a conflict of values here. And the values, values in general, are at the very center of every important relationship in your life, even if COVID ends up being a complete hoax by the Democrats or whatever, you know, you believe, or if it's just overblown or if it's not overblown enough, he should have cared enough about your concern. Gabe, if she was like, "Hey, this might not be a thing, but can you wear a colander and some tinfoil on your head to protect against the Wi-Fi mind control waves?" I'd still be like, "Okay, all right. For our first date, I'll show up wearing that, but it's going to be my mission to show you why this is BS. And now I'm judging you a little bit, but we have a good connection. So let's move forward." I'm not going to go, "Weeh, I'm going to have an uncontrolled emotional outburst now and insult you for trying to protect your elderly grandparents." I think that's an unreasonable reaction.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:41:45] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:46] Any way you slice it. He clearly thinks, "Oh, you're just some kind of idiot that believes in this," but she's doing it because she's worried about killing her relatives and she doesn't necessarily know what to believe. That's reasonable in my opinion.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:41:59] Well, I mean, this guy is probably clinging to evidence in his mind that that's not even a reality and that's how he's using it to back it up. But I think —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:06] But I'm saying it shouldn't matter.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:42:07] It shouldn't matter at all, but what's really happening here and you're talking about the values, which is exactly what this question is about is that he's also expressing another value that has nothing to do with the pandemic or COVID, which is that if you have a belief and I have a belief we can't even talk about it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:21] Oh yeah, interesting.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:42:22] If this guy, we're open to discussing the issue reasonably, even if he was convinced he was right and was determined to convince her of his point of view. No, I would say maybe give it a shot. Like maybe you'd find a little flexibility. Maybe he would find some empathy for you or your grandparents, but he's not doing that. Right? Like he has his rigid beliefs. You have yours. He's not even open to considering any middle ground or exceptions. You sound like you kind of are like, you sound like you understand why you want to wear a mask and what you believe COVID, but you were at least willing to have a conversation. But the possibility of understanding each other and this situation is like slim. I would say it's non-existent. So given all of that, I say, move on and that's hard to do because you really like this guy, but you got to move on.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:03] I just think, look how quickly he dispensed of her and disposed of her and their connection.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:43:08] Right.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:09] Because she wanted him to be conscientious of her wishes for her elderly grandparents, physical safety.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:43:15] That's kind of the most important thing that's happening here. In a way, it has nothing to do with the virus actually.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:20] It has nothing to do with the virus.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:43:20] Because if it weren't the virus, it would be something else.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:23] Right, right. It would be something else. It's like, I talked to a friend recently and I said, "Oh, how's such-and-such a mutual friend that we've all known for like 20 years," and, "Oh, we don't talk anymore." And I was like, "What? What? Why?" "No, I'm not talking about why." "Wait a minute. Did you guys get in a political argument about something?" And they're like, "Yeah." People are ridiculous, like figure out how to talk to each other and co-exist with different beliefs, especially — I mean, we lived together in this, whatever, it's the whole thing. I'm not even going in there. It's not even worth it. I'm just going to get angry myself about people getting angry about stupid crap.
[00:43:58] Find someone who shares your values, is willing to consider another point of view. Those values aren't just legitimate because they're yours. They're legitimate because they're reasonable. I think Bumble and apps need a filter, need a little checkbox for people who wear masks and who don't. What do you think, Gabe?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:44:12] Oh, man, when is that feature coming? I feel like that would save so much grief and heartache and time for people.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:17] I think you're right.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:44:18] I will just say one more thing. I think this is obviously very painful for you to go through, but I think this is actually a really great thing ultimately. Because what would have taken you weeks or months or possibly years to discover about this person you have discovered before you even went on a real date.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:33] That's a good point.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:44:34] In a way you just saved yourself a ton of time and heartache by finding out now. So it'll hurt for a few weeks, but you'll be okay. And it will be nothing compared to what you would have had to live with living with somebody who wouldn't even consider whether wearing a mask is something important in the extraordinary times that we're all dating in right now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:51] You know, this could be extremely efficient, but also extremely awkward. Like I can see people sitting down for the pre-date drink whatever, like pre-dinner drink. And it's like, okay, vaccines or no vaccines, masks or no masks.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:45:04] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:05] Republicans, Democrats, or independent. Like Yang Gang or Bernie bro. What is it? And then like one wrong answer and the other person's like —
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:45:14] I'm out.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:15] You know what? I'm out.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:45:16] Goodbye.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:17] Yes. Throw his five dollars on the table and just step out the door.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:45:20] I mean, that would actually be a really smart thing. If you run like a speed dating night, just like a shorthand for some of those fundamental issues in a relationship. But to your point though — here's the thing is that if you're not going to be able to even talk to somebody about it or still love somebody who has different beliefs from you, then is there even any room? Do you know what I mean? Like what's the point even?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:40] Do they get the right answer? I guess the trick is, do they have such strong opinions on any of those things where they kind of like, "You know, this person has good points. Actually, I did this, but you know, I just felt better safe than sorry." And you're like, "Yes."
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:45:51] Right.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:51] "This is the person."
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:45:52] Totally.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:53] They're flexible. They're not an extremist in either way with their beliefs. They seem conscious of the fact that other people have different beliefs and that doesn't make them horrible people, et cetera.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:46:01] Yep.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:02] All right. What's next?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:46:04] I was recently terminated from a small company, although I was glad to go mostly because a couple of the managers had strong personalities. The employer stated that they were ending my employment during the probationary period, citing a quote-unquote culture clash. The thing is I'd like to maintain relationships with my former coworkers. And I'd like to know what a good script is. Do I say, "Hey, it didn't work out with your company, but I'd like to stay in touch"? What do I say if they ask why I was terminated? I don't want to get into all the details, especially since they still work with those managers and may feel some loyalty towards them. On a related note, what do I tell recruiters and hiring managers? So far I've said, "It didn't work out and I'm used to larger companies," but when pressed, I added, "There were some strong personalities there." But one recruiter recently said that using the term culture clash is basically saying that I'm too difficult to work with. So what's the right lingo to use? Thanks so much. Reframing My Firing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:56] I'm going to sit down because I've had exactly one real job after college. And let's just say there were some stronger personalities than a bit of a culture clash.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:47:09] Yeah. Did you write into this letter asking for advice 20 years ago?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:12] I mean shout out to my Thacher Proffitt & Wood crew from back at the law firm. I love those guys. Oh, I talked to them all the time. I actually really liked working there but I hated that job. I also worked for a firm called Linklaters. That did not go well, culture clash. I think it's a great idea to keep relationships from company to company, no matter how short the stint or whatever happened there. Somebody wrote in a couple of weeks ago, this might've just been like a fan letter or whatever. They said they were expats and they move around all the time. I was like, "Oh great. You must have a really cool global network of people in tons of different countries." And they were like, "Actually, we have no friends. Because we move so much, we just don't even try to make them. We don't try to make or maintain connections." It's not that they aren't friendly. It's just that they'll meet somebody. And they're like, "Yeah, we're going to move in two years." So they're just casual acquaintances. And then once they move, it's like never again, they just don't talk, which is a wasted opportunity. I think you should try to maintain — I mean, sometimes the only thing you get out of a job is a relationship with somebody like a boss, mentor, colleague, friend. That's sometimes that's all, that's there to salvage.
[00:48:17] I met a developer who's a really good friend of mine, Dominic. He made Connection Fox with me. I met her on a food tour in San Francisco with my parents and we stayed and he's given me investment advice. It's been really awesome. He's making that product, connectionfox.com, for the Six-Minute Networking folks. He's making that with me. He was like an early employee in Google, such an interesting guy. And I went on a food tour and I don't remember liking any of the food. I thought it was kind of a whack tour, but I met a close friend there. I went to an event. That's where you and I met. We met at an event. I don't remember anything about that event other than that's where we met and became friends.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:48:53] Totally. So what do you think about maintaining relationships with her former coworkers if it didn't really work out for her at this company?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:59] I love that she wants to stay close to them. I think that's smart. I think it's classy. I would say, be honest when appropriate, but you might not want to totally smack talk your former employer. Be honest, but don't use the exchange as an excuse to bash them. You can always say, "Hey, it wasn't much of a fit. I struggled to really work well, there." That's fine. Or you might find out other people are dealing with the same issues and nobody wants to talk about it. And they're like, "Oh, you're so lucky you got out. Brian, what a jerk? He's ruining the office for everyone." And you're like, "I got fired because Brian didn't like me," you know, who knows? You might just find out it wasn't the place for you and that's okay. As always, build meaningful relationships with the people who want to build meaningful relationships with you. I don't know. Does that sound simplistic, Gabe? What do you think?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:49:43] No, not simplistic at all. If this office was full of dreadful people, then there might not be anybody for her to build a relationship with. But if there's to your point, there's one person — if there are two people who are cool and they're worth staying in touch with. Absolutely. And I don't think she has much to lose by being honest. But as for talking to recruiters and hiring managers, that one is a little bit trickier but definitely doable. Basically, you want to tell a story that explains why it didn't work out without coming across as vindictive or failing to take accountability for your experience there.
[00:50:14] So I would take a little bit of time to really figure out what went wrong, even if it ultimately was a culture clash and a bad fit, which is totally fine. You know, we always play a role in every interaction. So I would ask yourself some questions. What could you have done to communicate better? What could you have done to navigate those strong personalities a little bit better? What could you have done to recognize that that place wasn't the place for you a little bit sooner? I mean, even if it's, you know, 90 percent their fault and 10 percent your fault, the 10 percent that is your fault is going to help make this story meaningful to a hiring manager. And hiring managers are going to appreciate your honesty if you can tell your story in the right way. "I worked with a bunch of assholes who wanted to micromanage me and we just didn't like each other. We're fighting all the time. So they fired me." You know, that's not a very good story, but the story that goes something like, "There were some strong personalities that made it hard for me to do my best work. And, you know, looking back, I do think I could have been a little bit better at understanding them and communicating with them in the way that they wanted me to communicate. But honestly, I realized that what I really want to do is work with people who empower me and inspire me and make me want to do my best work. And I think that they sense that, and that's why they let me go and why I'm interviewing here." Like that's a much stronger story.
[00:51:22] So basically tell the truth, be open, be vulnerable, be authentic but take ownership of your piece of that story. Frame your firing as a difficult event that ultimately helped you become a better candidate. And if you do that, I don't think you can go wrong. Explain how it helped you understand the kind of office you do want to work in, the kind of job you do want to have. And if you've learned some things at that job, talk about them. Hiring managers — the impression is that they want the perfect candidate. I think the perfect candidate is somebody who is undeniably great but is super open about the things that they could have done better or the things that they still have to learn. Hiring managers, love people who are interested in growth and are not trying to always hide the ball. You know, when you ask somebody straight up why they were fired from a company and they don't just come out and tell you the story and give you an interesting narrative. They're going to sense that you're hiding something almost immediately. That'll work against you every single time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:12] Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone that wrote in this week. Go back and check out Ray Dalio, parts one and two, if you haven't yet. If you want to know how I managed to book folks like Ray Dalio, it's because I've got a network. I've always been working on my relationships, speaking of maintaining relationships. I've got systems, I've got tiny habits. I'm teaching you how to do that for free over on the Thinkific platform. This is our Six-Minute Networking course. Again, totally free, jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig the well before you get thirsty. Maintain those relationships. The systems make it easy to do in just a few minutes a day. I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago. This has been crucial for me. Jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:52:50] Show notes for the episode at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. There's a video of this interview on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or you just hit me on LinkedIn.
[00:53:05] This show is created in association with PodcastOne and my amazing team, including, of course, Gabriel Mizrahi — who's here with me today — Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, and Millie Ocampo. Keep sending in those questions to email@example.com. Our advice and opinions and those of our guests are their own. I'm a lawyer, but not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on this show. And remember, we rise by lifting others, share the show with those you love. If you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody who could use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:53:47] As promised, here's your interview trailer with Dr. Drew Pinsky.
[00:53:50] It's like a movie script. This person was saying a bunch of crap didn't make any sense. And then you said something along the lines of—
Male: [00:53:57] Is there someone else in there I can talk to?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:00] And then they were like, "Sure."
Dr. Drew Pinsky: [00:58:01] Yeah, I could tell it was multiple. Yeah. That's a pretty easy thing for me to tell. You listen with your whole body. You don't listen with your ears. And that really started happening with dealing with drug addicts in the clinic because they pull you into a vortex. If I hear the sound, a little cartoon where you start going yogada, yogada, yogada.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:18] Yeah, sure.
Dr. Drew Pinsky: [00:54:19] I know I'm with a drug addict. When I hear that yogada, yogada sound in my head. I'm like somebody's doing drugs. I just know it. I'm just going to be sitting here, listening to somebody going, "Ha-ha-ha." And all of a sudden he goes, "Yogada, yogada." And I go, "Oh, okay, I got it." I can stop listening now and just start asking what they're taking, how much they're on, that kind of stuff. I'm thinking right now, this guy that called us and wanted to know.
Male: [00:54:38] Women always freak out when they find out what I was in jail for it.
Dr. Drew Pinsky: [00:54:41] And all of a sudden, Adam goes, "Wait a minute, find out that you were in jail or find out what you were jail for. He goes—
Male: [00:54:46] What I was in jail for?
Dr. Drew Pinsky: [00:54:46] And we go, "Oh, well, what were you in jail for?"
Male: [00:54:49] I broke into a mausoleum and I twisted off the head of an old lady and boiled up to a skull because I needed it for my little brother's snake aquarium.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:03] Wow.
Dr. Drew Pinsky: [00:55:03] I just don't understand that might be a little disturbing to people. Why?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:07] Okay, so he was—
Dr. Drew Pinsky: [00:55:09] Psychopath.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:09] Psychopath, yeah. Self-esteem obviously doesn't care if you're successful.
Dr. Drew Pinsky: [00:55:13] Right. Self-esteem is something established. I think by five. I mean, you can enhance it and you can move it a little bit, but most of it is to set early and mine was bad. Yeah. That's okay. That's all right. You know, it just, it gives you trouble. That makes you feel bad. It gives you symptoms, it pairs your functioning. That's therapy time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:32] Okay. Did you ever try therapy for that?
Dr. Drew Pinsky: [0:55:34] 11 years.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:34] Oh my God.
Dr. Drew Pinsky: [00:55:35] Not for that per se. I was having overwhelming anxiety. That was my main reason. At least that's my wife's reason for sending me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:42] For more with Dr. Drew, including what experiencing imposter syndrome usually reveals about you and how we can spot the behaviors of addiction in others as well as in ourselves, check out episode 72, right here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.