Grieving the loss of a sibling while still finding your footing at a new job is making it impossible to perform optimally, and you’re worried your employer — while overwhelmingly supportive of your plight — may be forced to let you go. Is there anything you can do to manage your grief and find a way forward before it comes to this? We’ll try to help with this and more here 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:
- What can you do to manage the grief of losing your sibling and find a way forward before you’re fired from your new job for subpar performance?
- Your nephew made an escalating series of bad choices, and now he’s serving hard time for the next few years. A recent letter indicates he’s adjusted his attitude and wants to turn his life around. How can you be supportive while he waits to be released?
- You work with a fellow salesperson who takes the spirit of friendly competition into the realm of petty high school rumormongering and character assassination. What can you do to keep your sanity while the boss gaslights the notion that this is even happening?
- You overcame poverty and work in finance, so your boyfriend’s nonchalance over $20,000 in credit card debt and fuzzy details about future income give you pause about your future together. But can his good qualities cast aside the red flags you’re seeing?
- Someone who once referred to you as one of his best friends has taken to completely blowing you off now that his girlfriend’s moved to town. You’ve tried to connect a few times in the past few months only to be completely ghosted. This guy might not be the friend you thought he was, but it still puts a dent in your psyche. What can you do?
- 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.
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Resources from This Episode:
- Yeonmi Park | A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom Part One | Jordan Harbinger
- Yeonmi Park | A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom Part Two | Jordan Harbinger
- Looking Back on the Worst Chapter of My Life, Four Years On | Jordan Harbinger
- China’s Nightmarish New Bio Weapon Targets Race and Ethnicity | laowhy86
- Returning to Work When You’re Grieving | HBR
- When Bereavement Leave Runs Out: Going Back to Work after a Death | What’s Your Grief?
- The Bereaved Employee: Returning to Work | American Hospice Foundation
- Working While Mourning: How to Grieve When You’re on the Job | Today
- ‘You Never Stop Grieving’: Why Bereaved Parents Need More than Two Weeks off Work | The Guardian
- Justin Paperny | Lessons From Prison | Jordan Harbinger
- Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Prison Term by Michael G. Santos | Amazon
- How To Succeed | Michael Santos
- White Collar Advice
- Prison Professors
580: Seeking Relief from Your Unending Grief | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to our sponsor Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Lately, you've heard me talk about Glenfiddich and challenging traditional notions, commonly portrayed in culture, of what it means to be wealthy and live a life of riches. Glenfiddich believes that beyond the material, a life of wealth and riches is about family, community, values, and fulfilling work. These are the values that led Glenfiddich to become the world's leading single malt scotch whisky. On Feedback Friday, we're always trying to help you solve problems that get in the way of you living your richest life. More from our partners at Glenfiddich coming up later in the show.
[00:00:32] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the Future to my Drake, Gabriel Mizrahi. If you don't get that, you just don't listen to enough, what is it? Trap and rap. I don't even know now. I just outed myself as the old man that I am, which we'll get — we'll talk a little bit about what old people like me are doing these days because it's full of fun this week for me.
[00:00:55] The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. So we 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. So if you are new to this show on Fridays, we give advice to you, answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers.
[00:01:32] This week, we had a two-part interview with my friend Yeonmi Park. She escaped North Korea via China. I've done a couple of interviews with defectors. This was the two parter, like I mentioned, because it's pretty intense. Her story is just wild. If you're familiar with her, there's a lot of new stuff she's never discussed anywhere else, because I know a lot about North Korea compared to most journalists and interviewers. If you've never heard of her, this is a pretty harrowing tale. And if you liked our other episodes about North Korea with defectors, or just about our trips there, Gabe and I, you'll dig this one as well.
[00:02:03] I also write every so often on the blog, my latest post, Looking Back on the Worst Chapter of My Life, Four Years On. I enjoyed writing this one. It's about what I learned when I sort of hit the reset button and rebuilt my show. The one you're listening to right now from scratch, my business from scratch. Definitely, the most stressful period of my entire life, as you all know, but it was also an opportunity to learn how to process adversity, value my skills, value my relationship. How to hang onto my — I hate using this word like this, but whatever — my mission, when things get hard, which has sort of become my crisis toolkit. And it's a great read if you're feeling lost or you're struggling, or you're going through a major change, personal or professional. The articles are at jordanharbinger.com/articles. So have a look and have a listen to everything that we created for you here this week.
[00:02:51] And I got to tell you, Gabe, I am not myself today. I am, speaking of old people, prepping for a colonoscopy, TMI. Everyone just cringed. Kids are going, "Mommy, daddy, what's a colonoscopy?" Sorry for that if that's you. Again, I have very little control over what's going on right now, including over — let's just say the parts that are inspected when you get a colonoscopy, because they make you drink. I won't go into the whole thing, but they make you drink a literal gallon of the worst tasting, they call it margarita mix. It's just like really crappy, fake lemon flavored salt water. And yeah, it's supposed to clean out the pipes so that they can take a good look. And it's miserable. I'm telling you it is not fun. The prep is the worst. And the reason I'm getting this done so early in my life is because Katie Couric had mentioned that her husband passed away at age 41, which is how old I am. 41 or 42. I think it was 41. No family history at all, just got colon cancer and was dead like a year later. So I freaked out, told my doctor, he said, "Yeah, let's do it," so here we are. But yeah, so if I sound weird or off or tired today, that is what.
[00:04:03] And just because I hate myself, I also went to the DMV today to renew my driver's license because I was just like, you know, let's do all of the horrible things at once.
[00:04:14] Get it all in.
[00:04:15] Yeah. I called my dentist, but she couldn't fit me in for a last-minute root canal, unfortunately. So I just thought, you know, stack it in. I don't even need one. I was just like, "Can you just drill a hole in my teeth? Because it'll be better than what I'm doing right now at the DMV.
[00:04:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, you're doing the right thing. It's the responsible thing to do.
[00:04:31] Jordan Harbinger: It is adulting. It's not easy. By the way. I want to shout out my friend before we get into this here. I want to shout out, my good friend, @laowhy86 . He's a YouTuber. He did a really interesting video on Chinese bioweapon research. I know it sounds like conspiracy theory, nonsense. These guys are very knowledgeable about China. I love this guy. I watch all his stuff on YouTube. I'm not a YouTube guy, so that's kind of a bigger endorsement. Yeah, I sit in front of my computer all day watching him. He's one of them. I really only kind of watch a few folks and @laowhy86, which we'll link in the show notes, is one of them, L-A-O-W-H-Y-86. Really good takes on life in China, lived there for like eight years. Now, his thing is just calling out the Chinese Communist Party. So not Chinese people, the government itself or authoritarianism. And he's a proud member of the white guys, married to Asian women club that apparently is like, so like every other podcaster/YouTuber, I've become a cliche. Check out @laowhy86 on YouTube. We'll link it in the show notes as well, like I mentioned.
[00:05:29] All right, let's dive in. Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:05:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, over the past five years, I lost a lot of trust in my younger brother and struggled with codependency around his drug addiction. And then through therapy, I learned the wonders of boundaries and how to focus on myself. I started a new role at a company that inspires me. I found a supportive relationship and I've been building strong friendships apart from him. One evening recently, my brother called me late in the evening, seemingly on drugs. I confronted him about it, but he said he wasn't high and I chose to believe him. Then he passed away due to an overdose. Processing all of this has been incredibly painful and distracting. The day that I learned of his passing was actually my 30-day mark at my new. The company has been incredibly supportive. I am blown away by their compassion, which I struggled to have for myself. I took a month off of work after his passing, and I'm now struggling to get back into the swing of things. My anxiety has reached a point I've never experienced before. I've missed so much work and I'm not meeting performance indicators. I've been working on all of this in therapy, but I cannot stop at the intrusive thought that I will be fired. I feel that the loss of a sibling in your 20s fundamentally changes. And that I am a very different person from the one they hired. I'm doing my best to perform and to ask for help when it's needed, but I can't help, but feel like in my upcoming 90-day review, I will be let go. And honestly, I wouldn't blame them. I know in the grand scheme of things, if I'm fired, I will survive, but I wanted to get your opinion on how likely it is that I will lose my job. I know there are no magic words when it comes to dealing with grief, but in your experience, is there anything I can do to help protect my job and find a way forward? Signed, Try Not to Get tossed After Suffering a Loss.
[00:07:08] Jordan Harbinger: Man, I am so sorry that you lost your brother. Losing A loved one, that's always super hard, but losing them to an addiction, it seems somehow especially painful. And there are no good words for this kind of loss. It's terrible. It just is. I'm very sorry that you're going through it now, just as you are really hitting your stride in your career.
[00:07:26] So first of all, I just want to say that the way you're responding to your brother's death, it all sounds extremely normal to me. I don't know how anyone is supposed to lose a sibling and just go right back to working as if nothing happened. It's true. You're not the same person you were before and that's okay. It's okay to be changed by this experience. It's okay to be apathetic or forgetful or irritable or unable to concentrate sometimes. That's grief. And I hear you, that your anxiety is peaking and yes, definitely find healthy ways to manage it, which you're already. But I just want to highlight that the stage you're in right now, as messy as it is, it makes sense. It won't always be this all consuming, but grief works on its own timeline.
[00:08:06] All in all, I got to say, it sounds like you're handling this with a ton of acceptance and patience, which is really admirable. So what do you do about work? First of all, I would be pretty open with your managers about what you're going through, what you're doing to work through it, what you need from them to catch up. So literally I would write them an email or book, a brief meeting and say something to the effect of, "Listen, I just want to say how much I appreciate your support after my brother. I can't tell you how much it means to me. I got to be honest. I'm feeling pretty awful about falling behind. I know I'm not hitting all my KPIs right now, and that's not the kind of employee I want to be. But I'm determined to get back to where I was. So can we talk about the best way to do that? What you need from me right now? How we can work together to make it happen?"
[00:08:50] Saying something like that does a few things. First, it signals to your bosses that you're not just riding on their generosity. Second, it opens you up to the feedback you need to keep your job. And third, it'll deepen your relationship with your bosses, not in a , "whoa, it's me take pity on the girl whose brother died" kind of way, but in a, "I'm going through a really intense time, but I'm committed to working with you to do right by you and the team" kind of way, very different conversation.
[00:09:17] The second thing I would do is get super clear on the baseline performance you need to meet right now. What are the responsibilities you absolutely need to fulfill to do right by the company? Get clear on that, write it down, break them into concrete tasks, milestones, deadlines, whatever you need. And then, and this is the really important part. Create systems to make sure you get those things done no matter how you're feeling. That could mean automated templates, standing check-ins, regular meetings, blocked out time on your calendar for certain projects, daily targets to make sure you're chipping away at any backlog. Whatever it is that will turn your job into a system rather than this huge, overwhelming blob of responsibility that's impossible to face. In other words, take some time to build the architecture of your job and then service the architecture as best you can.
[00:10:06] And the third thing, I would do is build great relationships with your colleagues. Be kind, be helpful, be collaborative, but also maybe open up to them a little bit appropriately, of course, about what you're going through. You'll probably be amazed by how willing they will be to help if you let them in, not like, "Hey, I'm really sad. Can you do my job for me?" But if you can invite them into your workflow a little bit, ask for an extra pair of eyes on your deliverables, have people catch you up on decisions you missed. That could really carry you through this period. Collaboration, systems, and relationships, that is the name of the game. It's not all that different from what anyone should be doing at work. It's just extra helpful to invest in this stuff now, while you're going through this tough period.
[00:10:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: You nailed it, Jordan. I think that's great advice. And beyond the practical stuff at work, I would also give yourself permission to move through this mourning period, even if it makes things a little bit rocky in your career. I'm not saying that you should let yourself off the hook completely, but you've been through something very traumatic here. It will take time to heal. So you might not be a total rock star at work this year. And I think that's okay. Maybe you get a three on your rating this year and next year you build back up to where you were and you get a four, you get a five, you get back to where you were. It's not the end of the world.
[00:11:18] A few years from now, I don't think you're going to look back on this period and go, "Man, I really wish I had crushed it at work and made an extra 10 grand when I was in the middle of the deepest part of my depression about my brother." I don't think that's where your mind is going to be. I think you're going to look back and go, "Wow. I was in a really dark place, but I found a way to hold things together. I worked with my colleagues and my bosses to keep things moving and to keep my job. That was my year for processing, for healing. Look how far I've come." I think that's more like it.
[00:11:43] So do what Jordan said to figure out what you need to do to hang on to this job. But also, forgive yourself a little bit. You don't have to be employee of the year right now. What you do have to do is be a human being. Ugh, so cheesy. I know, but I think that's kind of what everyone realizes when they go through a crisis like this. Some days it might feel like work is a welcome distraction, a healthy outlet for you. Other days, it might feel like work is just torture, just totally hopeless. And if you can accept those ups and downs, while still showing up every day, still doing your best, whatever that looks like, I think you'll find that you will make it through this period okay. Because ultimately, you cannot control what your company decides to do. You can only control how you show up to work every day.
[00:12:23] The last thing I'll say is this, going through a loss like this, obviously like Jordan said, it's incredibly painful. But I'm sure it's also very eye opening. I mean, losing somebody close to you that really has a way of putting things in perspective, clarifying your priorities, making you kinder, making you more empathetic, more available to other people. Those are super powerful qualities and it sucks. It totally sucks that we have to suffer to unlock them sometimes, but that's usually how life works, right? So when you say that you're not the person that they hired, I hear you. I get it. But my question is: is that such a bad thing?
[00:12:58] I mean, once you get back on the horse at work, is this new person really such a liability? Or do you have a new lens on life? You know, maybe a new way of relating to people that actually makes you a better colleague, my guess is yes. And maybe you're not there yet. And that's okay. But one day, hopefully soon, I think you'll find that this grief that you're carrying around. It isn't just a burden. It's also an experience that makes you a lot more connected and a lot more equipped to deal with the significant challenges of life, you know, that better than anybody. And who knows maybe with time, it makes you a happier and a more productive person too.
[00:13:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, well said, Gabe, it'll probably take her several months or even a year or more to get to that point, but it will come that's the upside to going through something this terrible. The perspective that you gain, which is almost like it's like a perverse reward for going through this sh*t. And she'll be building on all of the amazing progress that she's made recently. None of that growth goes away because her brother died. If anything, his passing only makes these accomplishments more meaningful.
[00:13:55] We're also going to link to some articles in the show notes about going back to work when you're grieving. I think those will be really helpful too. So keep showing up, keep going to therapy, keep processing. You're doing a remarkable job. You really are. I promise that with time, your grief will evolve. It will start to take on new forms and you'll be able to channel that into your career, your relationships, your whole life. And not to be super cheesy here again, but that's one huge way that your brother will live on. So we're thinking about you, we're sending you and your family good thoughts during this time. And yeah, keep your chin up.
[00:14:27] You can reach us Friday at jordanharbinger.com. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line. It makes our job a lot easier and include the state and country that you live in. It'll help us give you more detailed advice. If there's something you're going through, any big decision you're wrestling with, or if you need a new perspective on stuff, life, love, work. What to do if you're mooching, sister keeps falling for scams? Whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help. We keep every email anonymous.
[00:14:58] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:15:02] This episode is sponsored in part by Glenfiddich. Glenfiddich breaks from the single malt scotch whisky norm, and helps redefine what it means to be rich. It's easy to get bogged down in material success when the currency of the new rich, that should be you and I, is getting more time and enjoyment out of what we've already got. For me, I enjoy simple pleasures. I want to spend quality time with my family. I got another kid on the way. That is a life well lived. Glenfiddich is something I've enjoyed for years. And unlike me, they do not outsource any part of the production process. Like a majority of whisky companies do. It would save them a lot of cost if they did. But Glenfiddich believes that controlling the process from distillation to maturation to bottling is essential to maintaining the highest quality and integrity of the whisky. It's no wonder Glenfiddich is the number one selling single malt scotch in the world.
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[00:16:07] And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:16:12] All right next up.
[00:16:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, my nephew in his 20s is in prison for shooting two deputies one drunken night that began with a physical fight with his wife. She called to report him for domestic abuse and the night escalated from there. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but because of the seriousness of the charges and a record that included other drunken out of control behavior, he was sentenced. At his sentencing, I did not speak on his behalf because frankly I couldn't figure out what to say. His past behavior spoke for itself. And the latest trouble was a freight train that I could see coming down the tracks for some time. In addition, I was afraid that if I was persuasive and keeping him out of prison, the next behavior would be worse and would result in someone's death. Fast-forward to today, I sent him a Christmas card to wish him well. And he sent back a letter that has a promising tone, perhaps sobering up and finding himself in this situation, has him thinking seriously about reform. What would be the most helpful thing I could do as my nephew waits for his release? He has several years to go and I would love to encourage him to take back his life in a way that's not too preachy or unwelcome. Signed, Helping Someone Climb When They're Doing a Hard Time.
[00:17:18] Jordan Harbinger: Such a great question. I'm sorry that your nephew ended up here, but you're right. It sounds like he had to confront some tough truths in his life. And this prison sentence, it might actually be the experience that finally forces him to grow. We wanted to get an expert's opinion on your questions. So we reached out to my friend, Justin Paperny, author of Lessons From Prison.
[00:17:36] Justin was a successful stockbroker who wound up serving 18 months in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud. Now, he helps other people prepare for time behind bars and after bars, through his companies, white collar advice and prison professors. He was also a guest on the show a while back, a fascinating guy. That was episode 226, by the way. And if you want to go directly to an episode on the web, just go to jordanharbinger.com and then the episode number. So jordanharbinger.com/226.
[00:18:03] The first thing Justin said was that you, supporting your nephew while he's in prison, that's wonderful. Justin pointed out that so many people in prison are just forgotten. Their name isn't called at mail call. They don't get emails. They call home, people don't pick up. So you being there to guide your nephew as best you can, that's huge.
[00:18:20] So Justin's first recommendation is to get a good understanding of how your nephew is spending his time in prison these days. What time does your nephew go to the chow hall? What does he do during his downtime? How much reading is he doing? How much writing is he doing? Who's he associating with? What is he thinking about? Building toward? Justin pointed out that successful prisoners, they compare their days to people they admire out in the free world. Justin told us about his business partner, a guy named Michael Santos. He served 26 consecutive years in prison. And when he was inside, he focused on three things, educating himself, growing his network, and developing his critical thinking skills. He got his master's degree in prison. And when he was released, he got a job as a professor at San Francisco state. So not bad, but only because he used his time in prison so wisely.
[00:19:07] So get a handle on your nephew's schedule and then really break it down with them. Like, what are you working on today? Will that translate to success upon your release? Or say your nephew is reading books, "Okay. But what are you reading? Are you only reading John Grisham novels or are you reading leadership books, business books, books that will help you develop critical thinking skills and help you succeed on the other side of this experience?"
[00:19:29] As you can probably tell, Justin is huge on reading. He's also big on writing book reports that might sound kind of silly a little bit sixth grade, but Justin and Michael, both wrote book reports while they were in prison. And Justin swears it changed the way they engaged with what they were doing. So maybe encourage your nephew to write about what he's reading. Ask him: why are you reading this book? How did you find it? How will reading this book help you for life on the other side of prison boundaries? Get him writing, thinking, applying what he's learning.
[00:19:57] Justin also advises all inmates to document their experience. Because as we know, there's a real stigma that accompanies time in prison. People assume that if you're locked up, you're born bad. You're going to continue to commit crimes, but people who can change that narrative, those are the ones who tend to succeed on the other side. But in Justin's view, you can't change that narrative by relying on other people. In Justin's words, you have to get active. You have to be very proactive. So reading is great, writing a book report is even better, and documenting the journey on a daily basis by writing and journaling. That is key. Then your nephew can share that work with other people, which is how he can start to build meaningful relationships with people on the outside.
[00:20:37] So one thing that Justin and Michael encouraged prisoners to do is write unsolicited letters to people they want to meet. People they want to learn from people they want to get closer to. Odds are 99 percent of them aren't going to respond and that's okay. But if just one of them does, then you've grown your network and then you can grow it again and again, and again. I love this. The other thing Justin recommends is encouraging your nephew to be extremely thoughtful about who he spends his time with in prison. I think this is a really important one, Gabe. If your nephew isn't associating with people, who've got the same values or the value system that he should be cultivating, that's a red flag. It takes a lot of discipline to walk away from people who are, I don't know, smuggling iPhones or committing crimes, or just wasting their time. But that ability to say no, Justin says, this is critical. Because as he puts it to us, the last thing a prisoner should care about is their prison reputation. In Justin's view, there should be a total obsession with coming home, ready to contribute as a law abiding citizen. And as you can probably tell Justin's philosophy of doing time is all in service of that goal, which means staying away from people who don't share it and gravitating to people who do.
[00:21:52] Justin's last thought, which is actually more of an invitation/interesting challenge for your nephew. Send him a copy of the book that Michael Santos wrote. It's called Earning Freedom. We'll link it in the show notes. It's all about his story of getting arrested at 23 for dealing cocaine, surviving a really intense 26 years in prison, and using his sentence to become a pretty remarkable person who's rebuilt his entire life. The book is free. You can grab a copy of it from prisonprofessors.com or whitecollaradvice.com or get in touch with Justin through us. And he said, he'll send your nephew the book directly. So we'll hook you up.
[00:22:26] And Justin's idea is to send your nephew the book and say, "I want you to write a little report about this book. What did you learn from it? How will it help you when you come home?" And basically just get him thinking about what he wants the rest of his life to be about. That could be the start of a really transformative journey for him. Now, if you and your nephew can do all that, then he has a real shot of coming out a much different person.
[00:22:48] So get a handle on where his head at these days. Encourage him to start thinking about his time in prison as an investment in himself, and definitely send him Michael's book, maybe even the transcript of this episode, because he probably can't get podcasts in prison, unless he's hanging out with the iPhone smugglers which he shouldn't be. So he can see for himself, how many people in resources there are at his disposal, right? Once he sees the book and the transcript, and then he knows people are thinking and talking about them.
[00:23:11] And beyond that, just be a good friend to him, support him, challenge him, help him see that there's a very different life on the other side of his sentence. He's lucky to have you championing him. So we're wishing him and you the best.
[00:23:23] By the way, if you're joining us for the first time, or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about this show, and I appreciate it when you do that, we have episode starter packs. These are collections of your favorite episodes, organized by topic. That'll help new listeners get a taste of everything that we do here on the show. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start to get started.
[00:23:42] All right next up.
[00:23:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe. I work in the car industry as an internet sales manager. I love my job and my coworkers are like my family, as we hang out and take good care of one another, the problem is I work next to another sales person and we do not see eye to eye. She's solely focused on whatever I'm doing, how many sales I'm at, how many leads I'm at, how come I didn't sell that customer, and so. Well, friendly competition is one thing. She acts like a high schooler and lies and makes up rumors about me dating another coworker who is a great friend to me and my wife. I've called her out a few times, but it backfired and just made me look like the bad guy. I've also complained and asked for help from one of my managers. And he just thinks that she feels threatened by me and tells me to ignore it. What can I do to keep my sanity in this situation? Signed, Driving Myself Off the Lot.
[00:24:29] Jordan Harbinger: This woman sounds like the coworker from hell, super annoying, insecure.
[00:24:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yup.
[00:24:34] Jordan Harbinger: Gabe, I have to think this kind of behavior is rampant in sales slash the car dealership world. Many salespeople crammed together, fighting for leads, being ranked against each other. It just has to encourage some of the worst inhuman behavior if you have some of these people on your team. Although he did say the coworkers are like family and they all take care of one another, so maybe it's a great place to work, except for freaking Tammy over here, who's six Kia short of her monthly target and dragging our boy to make herself look better.
[00:25:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's totally what's happening.
[00:25:05] Jordan Harbinger: You've already tried calling her out. Your manager refuses to put her in place, which sucks. So what do you do? Well, I would try talking to her one more time, but with a slightly different attack. Rather than trying to call her out, I would try to understand her. I know that's counterintuitive, probably feels a little unknowingly gross, but hear me out. I would take her aside and ask her a few questions. Like, "You seem really interested in how many sales I'm at. Curious, why does this matter to you so much? Or when I lost that customer the other month, I already knew that was a bummer. Why did you bombard me with questions like that?" You could also say, "And when you told everyone I'm hooking up with Chelsea, which I'm obviously not, why did you do that? Help me understand, because it doesn't make sense to me. What were you hoping to gain?" If you ask her those questions in a non-confrontational way, you might be surprised by what you get back.
[00:25:52] Either, she'll double down in her crazy and you can say, "Well, I think it's really sad and super unprofessional. And if I were you, I'd think about the reputation that you're creating here." Or she'll be so taken aback and realize she's been totally acting like an a-hole. And you can say, "Look, I'm glad you see how messed up this is. I forgive you, but this sh*t needs to stop right now."
[00:26:10] Also, depending on what state you're in, check your wiretapping laws, that's what these are called wiretapping statutes. You could record the conversation just in case she admits that it's all nonsense or she threatens you somehow or she just really goes out of line. Then you can go to the manager and be like, "Boom. This is what I'm dealing with." And he might be like, "Ooh, that's beyond the pale. This isn't a rumor. She's threatening to say you assaulted her or something at the dealership after close." You don't want anything like that. You want proof, you got to make sure you're allowed to record the conversation in your state. It always kind of helps when you're doing a conversation that might get ugly to have your iPhone in your pocket, recording at the time, or your phone or your watch, whatever you got that you can do it with.
[00:26:50] But if she doesn't stop, then I do think you're just going to have to suck it up and ignore it. And I don't mean rolling your eyes and muttering comebacks under your breath when Tammy gets going. I mean, absolutely frigging stonewalling this woman, ignoring her completely, you know, just miss me with that bullsh*t. Answer any legitimate question she has briefly and professionally, and then just click back into your work.
[00:27:11] With people like this, you have to deprive them of oxygen a lot of the time. And then they stopped getting a rush from being validated, even by your anger, kind of similar to our advice with psychopaths, you just have to cut contact as much as you can. Don't give them anything back. But honestly, my hunch is this woman's not going to last very long. Unless she's weirdly amazing at moving cars, I just can't imagine people putting up with her crap forever. Your manager's probably right. She feels threatened by you. And that adds up. But people who act this way, they create bad reputations. They don't build strong relationships. They struggled to connect with customers, coworkers. So I think her days are numbered.
[00:27:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think they're numbered too. And if that's the case, then this hopefully will resolve itself soon. She'll just basically, what's the word? Dig her own grave.
[00:27:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's the first. And if you try all of this in six months from now, she's still making work hell for you. Here's a little idea. What if you went into beast mode for a while, you know, six months, nine months, you just like totally heads down, tried to move as many cars as possible. Crush your sales target. And then went to your manager, like, "Look, dude, I love working here. I love what I do. I'm killing it for you, obviously. But I got to tell you, I'm at my wits' end with Tammy. Like, I can't deal with her anymore. I've asked you for help. I've done my best to distance myself from her, but this is becoming a real problem now. So if you don't step in, I'm going to have to start looking elsewhere. And by the way, it's not just me, everybody else on the lot finds her unbearable." And then the ball is in his court.
[00:28:33] Obviously, I would only do this if A, Tammy really is that bad and B, you're actually prepared to walk. But regardless, I do like the idea of taking all this rage you feel and just channeling it into making more sales. That's usually your best bet when you can't change the whole situation yourself. And who knows, you know, Jordan, I wonder like maybe once he starts crushing the leaderboard and he's just top salesman in the dealership, she just backs off because she can't even touch this guy. You know what I mean? Like he just, at that point, she just has to recognize that he's like the greatest salesman on the dealership. And there's no point in trying to ruin his reputation to make herself feel better. To me, that sounds like a win-win.
[00:29:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's good advice. I mean, you hold all the cards. If you're a good salesman, that's the bottom line. And if you're a better performer than her and she's driving you crazy and it's unprofessional and some other guys or gals at the lot, or on your side, I feel like she is just on the chopping block. Good advice, Gabe.
[00:29:23] All right. What's next?
[00:29:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe, my ex-boyfriend from college and I picked things back up earlier this year. We recently discussed our finances and came to learn that he has $20,000 in credit card debt. It shocked me, but it's not unmanageable. I work in finance, so I guided him through how to negotiate with his bank and create a payment. The issue is throughout this process, he has lied in regards to his exact amount of debt, his budget, and whether he'd been tracking his expenses. These lies have hurt my trust in him and have led me to do wasted research and calculations, which is frustrating. This situation is especially touchy for me. My single mother and I were in poverty and we spent decades building our wealth. I feel that he doesn't view the debt as a serious situation. He doesn't consider setting aside money for saving and investing. When I bring up childcare costs, education and retirement, he says that the US government will take care of it because of his military benefits. I work harder and earn more than my peers and I've built a portfolio of investments that generated me five figure returns in the past year. His reliance on military benefits makes me think that he would rely on my finances if we were married, even if he agreed to sign a prenup. At this point, my trust is fragile, but I want him to succeed and I love him. He's a really good guy. And he loves me for who I truly am. And I still believe he will be a great father and husband with or without the debt. I've bailed on good relationships in the past due to my commitment issues. So I'm also a bit concerned that I'm also just looking for a reason to end things since my feelings are getting deeper. I want a future with this guy, but is love blinding me from the red flags? Signed, Avoiding An Imbroglio with My Portfolio.
[00:30:54] Jordan Harbinger: This is such a great question. First of all, congrats on your accomplishments, having a great job, creating all this wealth, especially after growing up in poverty, it's insanely impressive, by all accounts. You sound like a very ambitious and thoughtful person, disciplined. You have a great head on your shoulders, which puts you in a good place to help your boyfriend with his finances, but also makes you frustrated, which I completely understand.
[00:31:16] So look, this situation with your boyfriend in a way it's complicated and in a way it's also very simple. The complicated part is that money is sensitive for most people. I'm sure it's tapping into very old feelings for both of you. It's also hard to know whether your boyfriend's struggles with managing debt, whether that's just a weak point of his, or whether it reflects some deeper issue in his life. The simpler part of this situation is that you and your boyfriend, you clearly have very different views when it comes to your finances, you have different relationships to money. You have different views about how to plan for the future. You're relying on different sources of income. You have different beliefs about debt. And in my view, that is an issue. I'm not saying that's necessarily a deal breaker, but this difference in values, it will almost certainly become a liability in your relationship. I mean, it already is, right? And not just in the logistical management of your money, but in all the other qualities and feelings and choices that it brings up.
[00:32:13] Now, look, if your boyfriend had been like, "Listen, I'm terrible with this stuff, but I'm determined to get better. I want to pay off this debt and start building some wealth of my own. Thank you so much for teaching me." That would be a different story then I'd be saying, "Yeah, the guy's in a bit of a mess, but he's obviously eager to get better and you can help them get there." But then that would mean that you guys were on the same page about the fundamental values, that's not really what's happening here. So should you break up with him?
[00:32:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:32:39] Jordan Harbinger: You know, I think that really comes down to how important the money pieces to you and the fact that he's a really good dude who loves you for who you are, who would also be a great father and husband. I think she mentioned it, right? That's got to factor into. Maybe in your relationship, your, the one who pays the bills and manages that E-Trade. And he's the guy who fixes stuff around the house and does homework with the kids or whatever. That's the kind of marriage that can totally work. If you guys are both clear and comfortable with your roles.
[00:33:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. And if the money issue isn't causing other problems in the relationship, and they're both really good at communicating about it. I agree. So my advice, talk to your boyfriend. I would be very upfront with him about your concerns. I would tell him that you were angry about the lies, even if they were sort of lies of omission. You know, tell him that you're frustrated that he made you do this wasted work, that that's damaged your trust in him a little bit. I would also tell him that all of this money stuff is especially sensitive for you given the way that you grew up. So just so he understands where you're coming from. And then I would invite him to talk, answer your questions, help you understand where he's coming from.
[00:33:39] I have a hunch that him lying about the debt. Probably not outright malicious. I bet he was probably more ashamed and maybe intimidated a little bit by how good you are with your money. And he wanted to make things just look better than they were, which to be clear, not a legitimate reason to lie, but it would explain a lot. But the most important thing to figure out in this conversation Is whether you and your boyfriend can be on the same page about money in the future. Is he willing to get better at managing his finances? Is he committed to being totally honest with you? Does he plan to rely on you for the rest of his life or will things be fair? In whatever way you guys decide fair looks like. If the answers to those questions are no, then I would seriously consider whether this is the guy you want to merge your life with. But if the answers are yes or they're trending towards yes, and you have a concrete plan and you have clear expectations that you can rely on to honor that, then, yeah, I think you'll have a lot more confidence that this really is your guy.
[00:34:30] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly, but that'll require him to be willing to work on this and it will require you to be clear with yourself about how important it actually is to have a financially sound partner. That's a personal decision and it's totally up to you.
[00:34:45] By the way, I think it's really a smart question that you're asking, whether you're looking for a reason to bail on a good relationship like you have in the past. That would be a great question to bring into therapy. Maybe even explore with your boyfriend. It's possible you're doing that. It's hard to know just from this. Honestly, I don't get that vibe from you. You're not inventing an issue here. This is a real issue. The question is how do you and your boyfriend respond to that issue? Do you use it to become better planners, to become closer as a couple? That's what's going to determine whether you're bailing for a good reason or just because you're scared and your commitment phobe or whatever.
[00:35:19] So have the conversation, be honest with him and be honest with yourself and use what you learn to decide whether this is really a red flag or just a difference for you guys to work through. And I know you'll make the right choice, so good luck with it.
[00:35:35] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show, and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:35:39] This episode is sponsored in part by Glenfiddich. Glenfiddich is Gaelic for valley of the deer. So Glen means valley. Hence, a lot of scotch brands begin with Glen, which you may or may not have known. Glenfiddich is sixth generation. So 130-plus years, independent family run business. One of the few single malt distilleries to remain entirely family-owned. Still produced in the same distillery, which William Grant and his children hand-built. They also have an onsite coppersmith to ensure the highest quality of stills. So there's somebody banging away like a blacksmith on copper in their onsite, kind of cool. They bottle onsite and use a single source of water. They use water from the Robbie Dhu Spring, which sounds quite whimsical if you say it loudly, after a few glasses of Glenfiddich. So every stage of production is manicured and they basically invented Glenfiddich, the brand, the international brand of scotch whisky. In 1963, they exported it outside of Scotland, basically creating a global category. I didn't know that, I guess, everything before 1963 was just regular ass whisky. It's no wonder Glenfiddich is the number one single malt scotch in the world.
[00:36:41] Jen Harbinger: Skillfully crafted, enjoy responsibly. Glenfiddich 2021 imported by William Grant and Sons Inc. New York, New York.
[00:36:49] Jordan Harbinger: And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:36:53] All right, what's next?
[00:36:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: And Hi Jordan and Gabe, I recently connected with a guy who works in tech like me. He was an old coworker of mine and we ended up having a great friendship, doing everything from working out together to grabbing drinks. In fact, on multiple occasions, he even referred to me as one of his best friends. Then earlier this year, he informed me that his girlfriend would be arriving for a few months. At the time, I was super busy taking classes and new technologies in addition to my full-time job. I didn't think much of it, but as soon as she landed, I started to notice the communications becoming less frequent and less thoughtful. Since we last met several months ago, I haven't seen him once. I could understand if he truly doesn't have time to meet up, but his communications have been incredibly sparse, unthoughtful, and infrequent. I even threw out the old, "Hey, long time, no hear. We'd love to catch up, but you know, no rush," message. And I received no response. I've been incredibly patient and polite and it almost seems like he's blowing me off deliberately. I'm truly surprised and hurt by this. While I'm understanding of time constraints, what I cannot it's just completely ghosting me. This has happened to me several times in my life. When I was nine, I had a best friend whom I had known since I was three who completely dropped me. It really hurt me and I've never forgotten it. That's exactly how I feel now. It may also be at the root of why I've been so reluctant to form new relations. I've tried to remind myself that this guy might not be the friend I thought he was, but it's putting a dent in my happiness and in my psyche. I've considered having a dialogue with my friend, but when he's completely unresponsive, it's difficult. What should I do? Signed, Bewildering Bromance.
[00:38:18] Jordan Harbinger: You know, before we get into this, Gabe, I dropped a friend around that. We were a little older, probably like 12, 13. I dropped a friend around that age. My mom was so relieved though, because they were like these weird culty religious people. That were just extra, extra, extra, super religious. But then my mom, one day she was looking for me and nobody was coming to the door and she looked in the window to see if we were home. And she saw like the father sort of abusing the kid, like, you know, shoving him really hard against the couch and stuff. And my mom was like, "Oh my God." And she didn't know what to do. She didn't want to say anything to me. And then I was like, "I don't want to hang out with Andy anymore." She was like, "Okay, good," but we were super tight for a while, but it just like, after a while it started it. I don't know what this has to do with the question, literally nothing, but it just brought back that memory.
[00:39:06] I can understand how it would be really hurtful to be ditched by a friend ghosted, you know, age nine, your best friends, since you were three, how much rhyme or reason is there to that? Anyway, I'm sorry. I can hear how painful this has been for you. And I totally get it. Guys, don't talk about this stuff very often. We usually think we're above having our feelings hurt by another guy, or we pretend that our relationships and friendships don't matter all that much. In fact, a lot of research shows that guys generally kind of suck at making friends as adults, and it takes a real toll on our psychology. But what you're describing is very real and I admire you for being so open about it.
[00:39:41] So here's my take. You're right. This guy, not the friend you thought he was, it sucks. It's confusing, but there it is. He's either deliberately choosing this girl over you, or he's just one of those guys who pull away from their friends when their girlfriend is around. I know tons of these guys. I knew a bunch in college. They were selfish, crappy friends. They just don't care about you at all if their girlfriend is around. And the second they fought or broke up or whatever, and the girl went out of town, whatever it is, they wanted you to cancel your plans with your girl and your friends. And they're like, "Let's do a guys night." It's a thing. There are so many men and women like this it's immature. I've seen it a hundred times. Either way, he's signaling that you're not a priority in his life, which let's just acknowledge. That's hurtful, no matter where you're at. No way around it. And part of what you're going through is it's kind of a mourning period for the friend that you had, which basically leaves you with two options.
[00:40:34] Either you redefine the terms of this friendship in your mind, by shifting him into the acquaintance, but not best friend bucket, or you just move on, leave this friendship behind. Those are both fair choices. It's up to you what kind of relationship you want to have with this person. And the best case scenario is you talk to them and you ask them, "Yo man, are you okay? Talk to me. If there's an issue, man, I'd love to resolve it." That might sound needy or weird, but bear in mind, this is the Hail Mary. This is the last resort before you put this friendship in your past. So it doesn't really matter if he's like, "Whoa, what's up with you acting all girly?" It doesn't matter if it's awkward because this is the final straw anyway. Y'all can either address it or you can move on.
[00:41:14] And honestly, if he just keeps ghosting you, that's telling you a lot about this guy. I know this feels personal and in a way it is personal because it's happening to you personally. But the way this guy's treating your friendship, it speaks to a fundamental mismatch in your values. Just like the woman dealing with money from the previous question, the relevant values here being treat your friends thoughtfully, don't avoid difficult conversations, reciprocate people's investment in you, or cut off the relationship. And as soon as you send some mismatch and values, it's time to check in and ask yourself if this is really the friendship that you want.
[00:41:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Absolutely right, Jordan, well said. As for the pain that this is causing you, it sounds like being ghosted by this guy is all the more painful because it's tapping into this very old wound. And if I were you, I would try to figure out the roots of that injury. Why does it continue to hurt so much? And also why this pattern might, and I say might, because it's really impossible for us to know from one email, of course, but why this pattern might be following you now into adulthood.
[00:42:12] I'm not saying that there's something wrong with you. I'm not saying you're driving people away or anything like that. Although if there is a quality like that, I would definitely want to figure it out. But honestly, you know, sometimes the pattern is just that we pick people who are kind of flaky or people who will leave us and that's the pattern that you need to rewrite. And I only bring this up because you brought up this pivotal memory in your email and a similar dynamic seems to be playing out now with this guy. So definitely worth exploring that. And also the difficulty you described about forming new relationships. And again, I know it kind of sounds a lot like the last two questions, but I would definitely do that with a therapist if you can.
[00:42:44] Jordan Harbinger: I agree. This is relational stuff. It's super complex. It's only something you can really dig into with a professional over time who knows it could change his whole trajectory in relationships. So bottom line, if you can't talk to this guy, I think it's just time to move on. And the next time you pick up on any inconsistency or avoidance or asymmetry in a relationship, just check in with yourself, make sure you're spending your time and energy on the right people. If you make that a practice, I think you'll start keeping the right people in your life, even if there are fewer of them, which is one key to having truly meaningful relationships.
[00:43:16] I know as I've gotten older, Gabriel, I don't know about you, I have pared down my friend list significantly and I'm happier for it. And if somebody is like, "Oh, I'm going to flake and not call you back." I'm like, "Okay, you're dead to me. Not really. But I'm like, all right, fine. We're just not friends anymore." It's not even personal anymore. It's just like, "Okay, you're that person or you're too busy or you're not into it." And a lot of people will come back like once or twice a year. And they're like, "Hey, we never hang out." And I'll be like, yeah, you just never really returned phone calls. And then they're like, "Oh, darn. Called out," right? It's awkward. But it's worth it. It's worth it. It's almost like a boundary, not a guilt trip, just telling them like it is, almost sounds emotion at that point.
[00:43:53] Hope y'all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week and everyone who listened. Thank you all so very much. Check out the two-parter with Yeonmi Park if you haven't yet.
[00:44:01] If you want to know how I managed to book all these amazing guests on the show, it's about software, systems, and tiny habits. I'm teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty and build those relationships on our Six-Minute Networking course, the course is free over there on the Thinkific, jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig the well before you get thirsty. I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago. It's been crucial for my business and in my personal life and all the friends that I make and then stop talking to. It's been irreplaceable. jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:44:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Great endorsement.
[00:44:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes. Videos of Feedback Fridays, we're not putting them on YouTube, but we're videotaping them, so you never know, but you should check out our YouTube anyway. jordanharbinger.com/youtube is where it's at. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or you can hit me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:44:58] This show is created in association with podcast one. My amazing team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions, they're our own, I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. And I was never a good lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on this show. Remember, we rise by lifting others, share the show with those you love. If you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice that 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.
[00:45:34] If you're looking for another episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show to sink your teeth into, we've got a preview trailer of our interview with angel investor, Jason Calacanis. If you're a founder or interested in business or ideas, you're going to want to hear this. So stay tuned for that after the close of the show.
[00:45:50] Jason Calacanis: I built Weblogs Inc., and 18 months after we were growing it, we were at about 150K in total revenue and AOL came and offered us 30 million bucks for it. I was negative 10,000 in my bank account and I was walking my old dog, Toro — rest in peace — and smoking a cigar on my life. And we were sitting there in Santa Monica. We had a $2,000 a month apartment and I said, "They offered us $30 million. I can't keep up with our credit card bills. I'm going to take it." And she was like, "This is going to be crazy. Like we're going to have over $10 million in our bank account." I was like, "Yep." I sat there and I just had to have this like really long look like deep moment because I had a very complicated relationship with money and being poor because—
[00:46:35] Jordan Harbinger: You grew up wanting to be rich.
[00:46:37] Jason Calacanis: Exactly. And I wanted to be powerful and rich when I was a kid. And looking back on it, the reason I want it to be powerful and rich is because I was poor and I had no power. My wife remembers the story and I remember the story like it was yesterday. I was sitting there refreshing my Bank of America account, the corporate account, and nothing, nothing, nothing, and then boom, 27 million bucks. And I started crying. My wife was like, "What are you crying?" I spent the majority of my life broke. I don't have to worry about money ever again.
[00:47:05] Jordan Harbinger: Ever.
[00:47:06] For more with Jason Calacanis, including what venture capitalists are looking for in startup founders and how to make yourself more marketable, whether you're a founder or an angel investor yourself, check out episode 100 right here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:47:20] Are you ready for a podcast that doesn't hold back? Check out The Adam Carolla Show, the number one daily downloaded podcast in the world five days a week, and completely uncensored. Join Adam as he shares his thoughts on current events, relationships, politics, and so much more. Adam welcomes a wide range of special guests to join him in studio for in-depth interviews and a front-row seat to his freewheeling point of view. Download, subscribe, and tune in to The Adam Carolla Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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