A stalker who suffers from schizophrenia has your neighbor in fear for her life, and law enforcement can’t do much about it. Welcome to 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 email@example.com. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- A stalker who suffers from schizophrenia has your neighbor in constant fear for her life, and law enforcement can’t (or won’t) do much about it. How can you help her stay safe?
- After enduring multiple incidents of wildly inappropriate commentary and behavior from faculty members and students over the past few years, you made the heart-wrenching decision to resign from your teaching position. In retrospect, you’re wondering: were you forced out, or did you overreact? Do you have legal recourse? [Thanks to school district in-house counsel Neil Rombardo for helping us with this one!]
- Your manipulative ex-wife made the weird choice to move in with the next-door neighbor after an acrimonious split, and it’s really cramped the style of your new, otherwise healthy relationship. What gives, and what can you do to alleviate this awkwardly hostile situation?
- As a high-achieving people-pleaser, you’re looking for a boss who won’t squeeze you for maximum work at minimum pay. Your search has attracted the attention of “coaches” who promise to help you secure better employment, but how can you separate the straight shooters from the shysters?
- With so many podcasts, books, and other sources of information easily available these days, how do we sort through it all without getting overwhelmed?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi and Instagram @gabrielmizrahi.
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!
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Miss our conversation with Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a Hamas co-founder who worked undercover to thwart terrorist plots? Catch up with episode 407: Mosab Hassan Yousef | The Green Prince of Hamas here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Mitch Prinstein | The Perks and Perils of Popularity | Jordan Harbinger
- Mosab Hassan Yousef | Son of Hamas Founder Denounces Terror Group | Jordan Harbinger
- Gabe’s Front-Row Seat to Florid Psychosis | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Halloween | Prime Video
- The Talented Mr. Ripley | Prime Video
- Schizophrenia | NIMH
- Psychopathy | Psychology Today
- Home Security Systems | SimpliSafe
- The Ineluctable Logic of Gun Ownership | The Atlantic
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid | Prime Video
- Frank Miller’s Sin City | Prime Video
- Neil Rombardo | LinkedIn
- The Psychology of Victim Blaming | The Atlantic
- A Student Touched Me Inappropriately | r/Teachers
- Constructive Discharge | US Dept. of Labor
- How Does Someone Deal with an Ex Who Has Moved Next Door? | Quora
- Does Every Teacher Need a Coach? | The Hechinger Report
- How Do You Decide Which Content to Consume with Time Being Limited and Valuable? | Quora
923: She’s Losing Sleep Over a Dangerous Creep | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the Ziploc bag, keeping this cache of killer counsel, nice and fresh, Gabriel Mizrahi, got that yellow and blue make green seal.
[00:00:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow. Those '90s Ziploc bags, is that what you're referring to?
[00:00:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:00:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: That is a deep cut right there.
[00:00:23] Jordan Harbinger: You know, it is a deep cut, but it's not as deep as the holes of some of our listeners have dug themselves into this week and every week on this show. On 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. Our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. During the week, we have long-form conversations with a variety of amazing folks from organized crime figures, cold case homicide investigators, astronauts, rocket scientists, and more.
[00:00:54] This week we had Mitch Prinstein. This is two nerds, me and him, talking about popularity, popularity and what it does to our brain, how it molds us as young people into the adults that we later become, of course, and how we just kinda never really outgrow it, unfortunately. We go into reality TV, status games, all kinds of interesting stuff.
[00:01:11] And wow, we had my friend Mosab Hassan Yousef aka the Green Prince, back on the show. I did an episode with him years ago, it was very popular, and of course now it is more relevant than ever. Mosab is the son of one of the founders of Hamas. And he later ended up working with Israel and he's very outspoken against Hamas. And it's a very controversial, very interesting episode. If you haven't heard that, you're definitely going to want to go back and listen to that. I'm also going to be re airing my episode with Mosab, my original one, next week as well.
[00:01:47] On Fridays, though, we take listener letters, we offer advice, and we give you, or most of you, anyway, even more reasons to be grateful that your life is only mildly dysfunctional. Because if we learn anything from doing the show, it's that this world be cray.
[00:02:01] And before we dive in, Gabe, did I ever tell you about the time I forged? Well, should I admit this? I guess I will forge some government documents.
[00:02:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm sorry, forged them?
[00:02:10] Jordan Harbinger: It's not really what I did.
[00:02:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Or foraged for them?
[00:02:13] Jordan Harbinger: Forged isn't quite the right word. Maybe didn't quite file them in the spirit that they were intended to be used.
[00:02:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow. What is this? What did you do?
[00:02:24] Jordan Harbinger: I basically crafted these documents to help somebody escape from Venezuela.
[00:02:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, that's forgery.
[00:02:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, is it? It's my signature. It's more fraud than, really, just basically, I think.
[00:02:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: You're like, is it forgery when I'm the one doing it?
[00:02:38] Jordan Harbinger: I wrote these documents to help somebody escape from Venezuela. This is a show fan, and he was like, "I got to get out of here."
[00:02:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, wow.
[00:02:43] Jordan Harbinger: "I have skills, but I just can't leave." And I was like, I can't really get you into the United States or anything like that. So hopefully, I didn't break any laws here But he just he's like, "That's fine. I'll just vanish into Mexico," which is what he did.
[00:02:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:02:59] Jordan Harbinger: And I think his plan was, "I'll come to the United States and get a job," and as far as I know that's what he has done. I don't know, no ragrets. I might get disbarred for this, but it'll be worth it. That's what I was thinking at the time. And I basically decided that the moral and right thing to do was break a code of ethics that I felt was subordinate to saving this person's life. Because it wasn't just like, "Oh, I want a job." It was like, "I am going to die here because of gang violence, and also I am skilled and I have no opportunity here," and I was like, "All right."
[00:03:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: I see. So he was being targeted or something.
[00:03:30] Jordan Harbinger: He was being targeted, yeah, and it's been a minute, but he was working for an oil company, and I think that criminals were like, we're going to kidnap you and your family, and he was like, damn.
[00:03:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: But he couldn't wait for asylum, so you gave him his own little asylum.
[00:03:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, and it was like, "I can escape, but I'm not going to get very far, because I don't have these certain letters." And I was like, okay.
[00:03:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: I see.
[00:03:51] Jordan Harbinger: And so basically I like invited him to a thing that didn't exist and he was able to leave the country.
[00:03:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:03:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Although now I think you can just sneak across the border, but I think back then, maybe it wasn't as easy to do that.
[00:04:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:04:03] Jordan Harbinger: So he basically had to have a reason to leave the country for some odd reason, and I gave him that. Yeah, maybe it's a lot easier now, I mean, you hear about all these Venezuelans coming up, just walking right in. But, I don't know, I never had to immigrate illegally. Although I did go to jail in Serbia for a visa issue, that was definitely not my fault, but whatever.
[00:04:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, another weird Balkan state story?
[00:04:23] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah, so, in Serbia, I was like, "Hey, don't I need a visa to work here?" And they were like, "Eh, cool, yeah, we should probably take care of that, the organization that was supposed to take care of that." And they didn't. And I'm like, "We got to do this, we got to do this, we got to do this, we got to do this." And finally they were like, Yeah, we should do this," because actually it was like six months overdue. And they're like, "We'll just show up to the police station, file the documents, and we're good to go." And they were like, "Oh, hi, thanks for turning yourself in. You've been AWOL in the country, and you're here illegally."
[00:04:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:04:56] Jordan Harbinger: "So, step right into this jail cell.
[00:04:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, god.
[00:04:59] Jordan Harbinger: And the judge will see you tomorrow.
[00:05:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's amazing.
[00:05:01] Jordan Harbinger: And I'm like, tomorrow? I got work tomorrow. And also there are two Roma prostitutes or sex workers in this jail cell, chain smoking with who I assume is their pimp, another guy, awake all night, chain smoking and talking in not Serbian, probably, I don't know if Roma. I guess Roma have a different language, or maybe they were from another country and they were speaking Albanian, I really don't know, so I just dealt with that all night, saw the judge in the morning. And he was like, "I hate doing this to students, but you got to pay this fine, but I'm going to like, waive the criminal element of this." And I was just like, this is—
[00:05:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Solid story.
[00:05:37] Jordan Harbinger: —not the place that, you don't want to go to prison in Serbia. Let me tell you.
[00:05:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: No, but all things considered, that's a pretty good story that ended well.
[00:05:45] Jordan Harbinger: It ended real well. I had some minor lung damage from chain smoking, unfiltered cigarettes
[00:05:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure
[00:05:50] Jordan Harbinger: —secondhand all night, but that's about it.
[00:05:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's the worst thing that happened to you in a Serbian prison. I think things went pretty well.
[00:05:57] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, it was a holding cell, so it's not like there were Balkan murderers in there who were like, "Oh, where are you from?"
[00:06:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:06:04] Jordan Harbinger: If this is my company, I'm probably quite lucky that these are the people that are in here with me.
[00:06:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: I love it.
[00:06:09] Jordan Harbinger: You could tell those women had had a hard life. I felt grateful when I got out of there. Let me tell you.
[00:06:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, speaking of hard lives, You want to dive in?
[00:06:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Let's do that. What's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:06:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. My neighbor is being stalked and harassed by an old friend who is schizophrenic.
[00:06:25] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yikes. Yeah, we, okay, so we got another Josh on our hands.
[00:06:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh. I think we do. It's been a while since we've had a good psychosis story. I think we're overdue. Okay, here we go.
[00:06:36] Jordan Harbinger: If you don't know, by the way, what we're talking about, Gabe was low-key tortured, I mean, psychologically, by his next door neighbor with schizophrenia for, was it six months? I felt like it was a long time.
[00:06:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: It was.
[00:06:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:06:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, dude, by the way, I forgot to tell you this. I have a Josh update.
[00:06:51] Jordan Harbinger: Really? All right, you've been holding out on me the whole time. Let me talk about my stupid visa jail experience.
[00:06:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: No, I forgot. So, okay, Josh came back to the apartment.
[00:07:00] Jordan Harbinger: Really? Your apartment?
[00:07:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: No, that would be next level.
[00:07:04] Jordan Harbinger: That would be extra scary.
[00:07:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: I would not forget to tell you that. Yeah, no, this was at the old place. I actually meant to share this on Feedback Friday, but it slipped my mind.
[00:07:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, okay, because you've moved since then.
[00:07:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't live there anymore, as most of you know, but I'm still friends with my neighbors, so they told me this. So apparently after he left, a young woman moved into his unit, and then one night recently he came back to his old unit and he punched the windows out.
[00:07:26] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh, just with his hand?
[00:07:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, like luckily the new tenant was out, she was at dinner when it happened and Josh ran away before the police could get there, but—
[00:07:34] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god.
[00:07:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Then she came home and she was like, " Ugh, what just happened?" And the landlord had to tell her, "Yeah, so there was a guy who lived here before and he was schizophrenic, blah, blah, blah." It's a whole thing.
[00:07:45] Jordan Harbinger: So they didn't tell her that.
[00:07:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Apparently not.
[00:07:49] Jordan Harbinger: Although I guess like they just thought, oh, this is over. Why tell her that?
[00:07:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:07:53] Jordan Harbinger: It does feel a little shady. I don't know if there's laws about disclosing that kind of thing, but I feel like you got to let a tenant know. If a potentially dangerous person is coming around.
[00:08:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't think it's required by law, but it might have been nice—
[00:08:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:08:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: —if they did. But then again, they thought he was gone for good. So I kind of get it. Anyway—
[00:08:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:08:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: —she was totally freaked out and she demanded to break her lease because she couldn't live there anymore — obviously.
[00:08:14] Jordan Harbinger: I would feel the same, especially as a single female. I wouldn't want to be like, "Oh yeah, I'll just wait for this guy to come back and then actually come in at night."
[00:08:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. So the landlord was like, "Yeah, of course, I understand, no problem." And now a new person lives there. And the landlord told the new tenant the whole story in advance this time.
[00:08:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I'd probably try to negotiate a break on the rent.
[00:08:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: For sure. If somebody says schizophrenic, you're like, "Uh-huh. And what was that price you mentioned?" Give them the Josh discount. That's what you need.
[00:08:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. The psychosis factor.
[00:08:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:08:40] Jordan Harbinger: And there's got to be some number where a rational person will live in Santa Monica, California for an amazing price, but there's a non-zero chance that a person who's mentally disturbed will climb through your window just every few months. Maybe they'll break the windows out and leave.
[00:08:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:08:56] Jordan Harbinger: TBD. I don't want to be cruel, cause Josh was actually more of a sad story and the guy was, can we say harmless? Because he sounds like he wasn't harmless, but he really was.
[00:09:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Until the punching out the windows thing—
[00:09:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: —he was pretty much harmless, but—
[00:09:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: —there is some deal you would take if maybe somebody climbs in and cuddles with you every two months.
[00:09:14] Jordan Harbinger: You're like, man, I wish I could afford to live in Santa Monica. Actually, you can.
[00:09:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm sure there are people who would take that deal.
[00:09:21] Jordan Harbinger: Just got to roll the dice. If you're new to the show and you haven't heard Gabe's Josh story, by the way, that was episode 705, little bit of Nightmare Fuel for you there. Again, Josh was mostly harmless, but he was creepy. And the plot twist at the end.
[00:09:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think we might want to keep the music going for the rest of this letter.
[00:09:34] Jordan Harbinger: I think so. Anyway, these stories are really sad. Carry on.
[00:09:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: He lives—
[00:09:41] Jordan Harbinger: Good timing on that. It wasn't me.
[00:09:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: He leaves cryptic, creepy messages on her phone, often along the lines of, Paying the Piper, paying for their sins," stuff like that.
[00:09:53] Jordan Harbinger: So, didn't Josh do something similar to you as well? Leave you notes? Or did he put a sign up or something on your door?
[00:09:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes. He would leave me weird handwritten notes and he drew creepy signs and left them in his window for me. Yes.
[00:10:05] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, in his window. Right, that makes more sense. Otherwise, you could just take him down. So, what was the one he put up right before he was hospitalized? It was something about you being a pervert and watching him I remember it was so creepy because of the words you used.
[00:10:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: I believe you're thinking of dead meat molester.
[00:10:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yes, dead meat molester That is a classic and I should work that into my roasts at the top of the show But that would be really scary to come home and see that and there was an arrow pointed at your door, correct?
[00:10:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, with a diagram of the layout of the apartment building. Yes.
[00:10:35] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah.
[00:10:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: That was special, man. I really wanted to keep that sign and frame it, but the landlord threw it out when they cleaned out his apartment.
[00:10:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I don't think you want that hanging in your living room. It's not a conversation piece.
[00:10:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, it is a conversation piece. It's just, you know, the wrong conversation.
[00:10:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it was basically outsider art, I suppose.
[00:10:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, that's my argument. It could have been worth something one day, you never know.
[00:10:57] Jordan Harbinger: I just feel like this is how a lot of horror movies start. Someone brings some creepy object home, dot, dot, dot, your cat goes missing, dot, dot, dot, you're being haunted by the spirit of Josh, and he's punching out your window.
[00:11:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: At least I would have a story to tell on the show. You know, I would do it for you guys, but anyway. The letter goes on.
[00:11:12] He's now moved not only her security cameras, but also the cameras of other neighbors that face her house.
[00:11:18] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh.
[00:11:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: There's a clear attempt to cut wires, and he always calls and leaves messages after he tampers with the cameras. Everyone's dogs are going crazy each night.
[00:11:28] Jordan Harbinger: Wow, okay, so this guy is very aggressive.
[00:11:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:31] Jordan Harbinger: That's creepy, man, moving the cameras around, and then, "Oh, I'm going to move the neighbor's cameras. So that you can't catch me approaching your house". Also, how do you attempt, but fail to cut a wire? That is one of the easier tasks. I'm not a very handy guy, but cutting a wire relatively simple.
[00:11:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Is he just like chewing through it with his mouth? I don't know.
[00:11:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Even if you have the wrong tool, you can still cut a wire, unless you have no — so, anyway, it sounds worse than Josh. Josh was at least mostly nice, like I said, from what I can remember, right? He was just paranoid and out of his mind.
[00:12:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, Josh was sweet. This guy sounds scary.
[00:12:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:12:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: The last time she believed she was in danger, she called the police. And they took four hours to respond. Yeah.
[00:12:13] Jordan Harbinger: Phew.
[00:12:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: That is very common. And when the police do come, there's not a lot they can do, especially if the person is long gone.
[00:12:20] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:12:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Luckily, she was able to obtain an emergency protective order, but will this even really work with someone out of their mind? He shows up in different cars and changes his look drastically and often.
[00:12:33] Wow. So this guy's resourceful.
[00:12:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:12:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Like very much the talented Mr. Ripley of psychotics, I have to say. Also, where does he get different cars?
[00:12:40] Jordan Harbinger: I was wondering that. Is he renting the cars or is he like, "Hey, buddy, I need to swap cars with you because I'm going to go stalk someone." And someone's like, "Ah, what a coincidence. I'm going to go stalk someone. I'll use your car and you use my car. And I've got another buddy who's a stalker and we can just have a carpool.
[00:12:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: A little carpool stalking kibbutz or something.
[00:12:58] Jordan Harbinger: Right, exactly. A little commune of cars you can use to stalk your victims.
[00:13:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:13:03] Jordan Harbinger: Just switching up his whole vibe week to week. Well, the order of protection That is a good piece of news, that's one of the first things I would recommend, otherwise known as a restraining order. It won't stop someone like this from coming around if he can't even understand that he's not allowed to or he's just so compelled that he doesn't care. But what it does mean is that A, the police should theoretically respond to your call faster because you're not just like, "There's somebody outside," and they're like, "Oh, it's the dogs again, this person's crazy. They have a restraining order against somebody and that person is there. And B, if he ever is there, when the cops do eventually show up, they can arrest him right then. It's violating the order of protection for him to be near you.
[00:13:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:41] Jordan Harbinger: He'll go straight to jail and be charged. It won't just be like, "What are you doing creeping around here at night?" "Oh, just going for a walk." It's like, "No, you're know, you're not allowed to be here. You're obviously up to no good. You're going to jail. This is a separate charge. So definitely get the TRO, the order of protection.
[00:13:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: So she goes on.
[00:13:56] I'm a stay-at-home parent. And I'm having trouble feeling safe. To top it all off, our backyards butt up against dense woods.
[00:14:03] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:14:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm worried that if anything happens, the cops will only be there to bag the bodies. That was actually said by a cop from a neighboring jurisdiction about our police force.
[00:14:13] Jordan Harbinger: Oof.
[00:14:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, that is terrifying. So even another cop is like, "Yeah, nothing these guys can do. It's going to be too late." what do you do?
[00:14:21] Jordan Harbinger: It almost sounds like the other cops in neighboring jurisdictions think her local cops are useless. And that they only show up after the worst has already happened. And I've heard stuff like that from other cops. You know, they'd go, "Oh, where'd you grow up?" And I'd be like, "Oh, Troy, Michigan." And they're like, "Oh, the traffic cops." Because the Detroit cops are like, "Yeah, we see homicides every week."
[00:14:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:39] Jordan Harbinger: Meanwhile, the biggest thing that happened in Troy is like, "Oh, didn't somebody crash into another car the other week? Wow, that was pretty intense." You know, it's just very basic stuff. It sounds like there's a little bit of that going on and maybe they're not wrong. Maybe they're like, you're with the Keystone cops over there. They're never going to help you. So it sounds like. a suburban slash almost rural location. So that might also explain why it takes the police so long. Maybe everything's really spread out and there's three officers in the whole town. I don't know. I think the phrase is when seconds count, the police are only minutes away or in this case, hours away.
[00:15:11] So I'm a little bit worried about these people. This is why people get firearms. I'm not advising that necessarily, certainly not without actual training, but when you have an unstable person coming around, the cops are saying they'll only be there to bag your lifeless body if they can even find it in the dense woods. I really do get why people keep weapons around. It's terrifying. So, yes, protection order, which by the way, you don't need a lawyer to get. You can do that yourself. There's websites that will help you do that, so don't worry about thinking it's going to be expensive. And, yeah, definitely consider going and taking some self defense classes with appropriate weapons that you keep secured well.
[00:15:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Also he lives out of state—
[00:15:53] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I forgot about that.
[00:15:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: —which muddles everything up with the court. I also have a feeling this dude is a psychopath. This seems calculated and meant to terrify. Can someone be both schizophrenic and a psychopath? How do we handle this guy and protect ourselves? Signed, Trying to Nix This Nutter's Creepy Tricks When We Live in the Sticks.
[00:16:16] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. What a situation. Well, Gabe is our resident schizophrenia expert. You want to kick us off?
[00:16:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure. Why not? So, okay, first of all, I am so sorry that you and your neighbors are going through this. It is truly terrifying. It is very upsetting. And yes, it is super sad. And it's infuriating because this guy just does not operate by the same logic that you guys do. He cannot be reasoned with. So you can't appeal to him rationally, which I remember was just so maddening.
[00:16:48] I remember with Josh. It was weird. I would ping pong between rage and empathy. You know, I was so angry at him for not getting the help he needed, even though he really didn't even understand himself or the world enough to get that help. But then I would also be compassionate because he was so troubled. And that was confusing sometimes. Like, can you even be angry with somebody whose whole life is just a nonstop torture fest? It's, it's hard. It sounds like you're more in touch with your anger right now, which makes perfect sense. But in general, dealing with a psychotic person puts you in touch with a lot of weird stuff.
[00:17:19] It was interesting. I also found that it can put you in touch with a kind of psychosis yourself. Sometimes you start to wonder if you're the one who's crazy, which is another weird layer to all of this. So I'm just very sorry for all of you, you especially as a stay-at-home mom. And I kind of know how you feel. I didn't have a child at home, which would make everything more intense, but I get it. It's horrible.
[00:17:39] So I think, Jordan, we should probably talk practical stuff first, which we've already started to do. Given that it sounds like you're more or less on your own for a lot of the day. And he's messing with the cameras and all of that. You guys, I think you need a basic security system, right?
[00:17:53] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Protection on the doors, on the windows, and some kind of alarm system. And I already know what Jordan's about to plug, so Jordan, you want to jump in here?
[00:18:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yes, thank you for that. You need SimpliSafe. Great protection, fair prices, easy to use. SimpliSafe is the right way to protect your home at half the size and double the range.
[00:18:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow, you are ready to go on that. Are you going to do a tagline for us or, uh?
[00:18:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. SimpliSafe, when the cops only show up to bag the bodies. Learn more at simplisafe.com/jordan.
[00:18:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: There it is. Done.
[00:18:22] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, and I know they won't love this part, but don't put the SimpliSafe sign outside your place. In fact, never put the alarm sign outside for the alarm that you actually own. All you're doing is advertising which alarm you have. So that burglars can figure out ways around it. Because a lot of these alarm systems are really easy to bypass. You don't want that, but if they don't know you have it or which one you have, they won't be able to know that until they look inside your house or trigger it in some other way. So either get the sign for a different alarm company or just skip the sign altogether. Also, I think SimpliSafe offers a 30-day free trial on certain packages. I can't remember for sure if they're still doing that, so you can try this out, see if you like it. Sorry for shilling so hard, but for somebody in your shoes, I would say this is clutch.
[00:19:06] Also, a 9 mm might be a nice addition, depending on where your stance on guns is. My stance on guns is, politics aside, Obviously this isn't like some second amendment thing, but if you're going to keep one in the house, especially with children around at all, teenagers included, you have to lock it up. You have to keep it away from the kids. And I don't care if your kids are like well trained and super smart and very mature and 18 years old, they're dumb ass friends are not in the dumb ass friend that shows up drunk and is like, "Can I crash on your couch?" That guy's a moron.
[00:19:38] You have to protect yourselves and that person from themselves. So you have to secure your gun and your weapons from those people. And you have to put in the time to train so you don't just end up hurting yourself. Like a lot of people end up doing it. People who buy a gun and they never trained with it. They're the ones who end up shooting themselves literally by accident and/or shooting somebody in their house because they don't know how to handle the gun.
[00:20:01] Again, not advocating for weapon ownership necessarily, you have to decide if you want to be a responsible gun owner or gun owner at all. But in a situation like this, where the cops are literally admitting that they are useless in this situation until the worst happens, I can absolutely understand wanting to keep a gun if only to scare someone off. One last thing, if you have any history of depression or you've had suicidal ideation, strongly considered not actually keeping a firearm in the house because of that, because far more people end up killing themselves with weapons. Because they shouldn't have them easily accessible if they have those depressive periods. So, this is only if it's like really right for you, should you do this.
[00:20:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, good caveat. But about scaring somebody off with a gun, my concern here is that I don't know if someone like this can be scared off.
[00:20:49] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, he might not understand that a gun being pointed at him means stay away. We don't know what state this guy's in. He might think these are reptilian alien overlords. You know, who knows what this guy's thinking?
[00:21:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: It might actually feed his delusion.
[00:21:03] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:21:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Like, these people are out to get me. I need to keep holding them accountable. I need to keep tabs on them.
[00:21:07] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:21:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: It was like that with Josh. I would see him in the courtyard and I would be like, "Josh, you can't bang on the breaker panel at three in the morning, bud. I have to sleep." And he'd be like, "Stop molesting me."
[00:21:17] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:21:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know? "I know you're controlling the lights and compromising my reputation with the neighbors, blah, blah, blah." And I'd be like, "Cool, good talk."
[00:21:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, you can't have a reasonable exchange with some of these folks. These aren't like, trashy neighbors—
[00:21:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:21:31] Jordan Harbinger: —that don't respect your right to get a good night's sleep. This is a person who's living in an alternate universe.
[00:21:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Reality.
[00:21:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, so, fortunately, this is going to sound super callous, but you know, hollow points don't need to explain themselves to somebody breaking into your home at 3 A.M.
[00:21:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, wow.
[00:21:46] Jordan Harbinger: Again, not to be too callous about it, but—
[00:21:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay, Butch Cassidy, who is this? What do you, are you, uh, you sound like a character from Sin City, like, "Hallow points don't need to explain themselves."
[00:22:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, the Batman voice. I guess where I'm going with this is. It doesn't matter if the guy, like, doesn't understand that the gun is pointed at him as a warning. When you pull a weapon on somebody, you are pulling it to use that in that situation. You're not doing it to, like, look tough or look threatening. Now, if you don't have to shoot somebody and they run away, great, but you don't have to be like, oh, I pulled this out, and I had no intention of using it, and now this guy's approaching me, or attacking me, you need to be ready to use that thing, so—
[00:22:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Huge asterisk, check your state laws, because I don't know.
[00:22:31] Jordan Harbinger: But look, when you live up next to dense woods, and somebody's creeping around your house and trying to cut the wires in your video cameras, and leaving you threatening notes, you probably should be ready to deploy force in your defense, if needed. I know that's not going to be a popular opinion, but come on, people.
[00:22:48] Now, the gun thing worries me a little bit because this could escalate and that would be bad. By the way, I would also get motion activated lights around your property or your unit. If you can get a fence around your property, if possible, that would be great. Not one of those little ones. I know it's going to be kind of ugly. You can even rent cyclone fences. Those are really ugly, like the construction ones. But I think if you have a landlord, they might understand. Like, "Hey, someone is creeping around my property. And if I have this in motion lights, they're not going to be able to just run up to me. They're going to be by the fence." So it might be better to just stay indoors with your incredibly effective and really very affordable, SimpliSafe solution with Live Guard Protection, exclusive to SimpliSafe, awarded Best Home Security System of 2023 by US News and World Reports, and just wait it out. You know, just stay indoors and wait it out.
[00:23:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, man, you're killing the capitalism today. Yeah, I mean, wait it out. But then for how long?
[00:23:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:23:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, this goes on for years. Do they just resign themselves to being targeted?
[00:23:42] Jordan Harbinger: No, honestly, at some point I would just consider moving. I know that's awful because the other person wins. I don't even know if that's an option for you. Maybe it isn't, but you got to put that option on the table. Also, if you do own this home, then you have to take care of yourselves. If you're renting, okay, you let the landlord know. The landlord should also be very concerned about this.
[00:24:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, good point. My old landlord was on the phone with the police and the sheriff's office and the Department of Mental Health constantly trying to get them to intervene with Josh. Sometimes those agencies respond more quickly when a landlord is like, "All 38 of my tenants are being terrorized and I pay taxes in the city and I need help." So that is something else to consider.
[00:24:20] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:24:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: As for your other question, can someone be both schizophrenic and a psychopath? We did some quick homework on that and it seems that yes, a person can be both, although it's apparently pretty rare. I don't know, I'm not sure it really matters what this guy's diagnosis is, right?
[00:24:34] Jordan Harbinger: I agree.
[00:24:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, he's harassing you, it's a problem, something has to change. That said, it is important to remember that most schizophrenic people, the vast majority, are not violent. And all of this might seem calculated to you, but to him, it could just be his delusion, talking. He's just living out this very weird paranoid story, he's not even thinking about you specifically. Moving the cameras, cutting the wires. I saw this with Josh. It is all part of a narrative that feels incredibly real and is very intense, but it doesn't necessarily mean that he is targeting you or that he has designs on you or he's going to become violent.
[00:25:09] I know that doesn't make any of this okay, but it might help you breathe a little easier to just remember that he is caught up in a delusion that involves your neighbor and he might not actually be dangerous to either of you. In fact, a lot of the stuff I read during the Josh chapter, I remember it basically saying that most schizophrenic people only become a danger to themselves.
[00:25:28] Jordan Harbinger: It's a fair point, Gabe, and you're probably right, but if I were a stay-at-home parent, And this guy, we're coming around and leaving creepy messages. I'd be freaking out too, man.
[00:25:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: You would be losing your sh*t, of course.
[00:25:39] Jordan Harbinger: And I'd rather she err on the side of caution.
[00:25:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally.
[00:25:43] Jordan Harbinger: So, in summary, I would keep your distance, don't confront the guy directly unless, of course, you absolutely have to, lock the doors and the windows, turn your amazing and affordable security system on, whose name I won't mention again, but we all know it's the best on the market according to US News and World Report, keep calling the police even if they're always late. I would also call other agencies in your area, the sheriff's office, maybe the state police, the department of mental health, adult social services, those can be more helpful than others. And tell them what's happening, document your conversations with these people, try to get them to intervene.
[00:26:16] And be on the lookout for this guy. Who knows, maybe he's harassing other people all over town? And they're like, "Oh, we got another address where so-and-so's active." You never know. Adult social services can be very helpful in getting people the services they need. Although, if you don't know where this guy lives, or he lives out of state, I do wonder if they can do anything, but call the other state department of social services. I mean, come on.
[00:26:39] If you ever do run into this guy out and about, just stay calm, stay friendly. If that makes any sense, stay neutral, assure him that he is safe. You're not going to harm him if it comes down to that. And then just get your ass inside as soon as possible. I would also maybe get a dog, a big one that's bonded to you and your kids and can protect you. And yeah, it might be fun for your child to grow up with that.
[00:27:01] So those are your options. It's incredibly frustrating. I really hope this guy gets handled soon. I have some empathy slash sympathy for this guy as well. Of course. I mean, he's in a mental crisis. I hope he gives up and goes somewhere else or gets handled by the appropriate authorities, whatever. If he doesn't, again, I would consider moving away. Seriously consider that. You shouldn't have to do that, but if things get more dangerous, it might be the only solution. You got to think about your kids. Stay safe. We're sending you a big hug and wishing you the best.
[00:27:28] You know who else wants to get into your home, Gabriel? The amazing products and services who support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:27:36] This episode is sponsored in part by NutriSense. Our glucose levels play a big role in how we feel and function daily. Jen and I have been using NutriSense, which is a blood glucose monitor that shows us real time, essentially real time changes in response to things like food, exercise, stress, even medication. So literally, I eat, log my food, and I can use my phone to scan the device on my arm, and it shows my glucose level on the chart. And the insights are pretty cool. You'd think ice cream would spike my glucose, right? No, it was a frickin oat milk latte that got me. And I was taking some medication, and I was like, "Oh, I'll see if this affects my blood sugar." Well, it spikes it like crazy. And I talked to the doctor about it, and it turns out I'm supposed to be taking it fast. It did not know that. Also, I've always tracked my meals, but Jen, she doesn't really do that. So that changed when she tried NutriSense. She saw immediate changes in glucose levels after eating, and it's sort of, it's sort of motivating. I know diabetics are laughing at me because it's like, welcome to my world, but the app makes it really a breeze. You snap a pic, you type in the food or whatever, and it finds it for you in the database. And when you start with NutriSense, they pair you with a board certified nutritionist for a month. So you can message your dedicated nutritionist in the app, like a chat app. It's a real human being, not AI. And you can do that at any time. They know what your goals are. They tailor your feedback. They can see what you're eating. They can see your blood sugar. So, during one particular sushi dinner, my nutritionist suggested having more sashimi and protein rather than just sushi rolls with a bunch of rice in order to level out that blood sugar. Did not know that. Obviously, that totally works. And now that's my new habit. So, NutriSense has really been a game changer for our food choices. Knowing that milk tea boba might spike my glucose, makes me reconsider it for sparkling water instead. I mean, it doesn't always work, because I love that ish. But Jen and I have this friendly competition comparing our glucose levels, which is nerdy as hell now that I say it out loud. NutriSense can be a useful tool for goals such as weight loss, steady energy, sharp thinking, better sleep, and controlling cravings. So try it out. Visit nutrisense.com/jordan to get 30 off your first month, plus a free month of nutritionist support, nutrisense.com/jordan.
[00:29:36] This episode is also sponsored by ZipRecruiter. When you tune into the show, it's easy to assume that I'm flying solo, but in the shadows, there's a crew that makes each episode the auditory gem that you're listening to right now. Guiding the content ship, that's producer Gabe Mizrahi. Ensuring crystal clear sound, hats off to our audio wizard, Jason Sanderson. And those succinct show notes, giving you the lowdown, that's Bob Fogarty, he's the mastermind there. So even though it's my voice that's resonating in your ears, there's a powerhouse team that crafts each episode, and it takes a team of people to make this show successful, just like it takes any solid team to make any business successful. So if you're hiring, how do you find the best people for your team? ZipRecruiter. And right now, you can try it for free at ziprecruiter.com/jordan. They've got smart tech that combs through resumes, spotlighting the creme de la creme with their great match notifications. It's like they're setting you up on your dream date, but for hiring. Give those top tier candidates a nudge to jump on board.
[00:30:27] Jen Harbinger: See why so many business owners and hiring managers are thankful for ZipRecruiter. Four out of five employers who post on ZipRecruiter get a quality candidate within the first day. We would be super grateful if you could go to this exclusive web address right now to try ZipRecruiter for free, ziprecruiter.com/jordan. Again, that's ziprecruiter.com/J-O-R-D-A-N. ZipRecruiter, the smartest way to hire.
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[00:31:05] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:31:09] Okay, next up.
[00:31:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I've been working as a school psychologist at the same charter school for over two years. Alongside my main job, I coach three sports, supervise many clubs, and help out in any way I can. At first, I felt appreciated and valued, but that changed quickly.
[00:31:27] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:31:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: I was told that a 20-something can't tell seasoned professionals what to do. A teacher told me I was triggering her because I share the same nationality as her abusive ex-husband.
[00:31:39] Jordan Harbinger: Oof.
[00:31:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: And we are, quote-unquote, "all the same."
[00:31:42] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay.
[00:31:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm engaged to another employee at the school and a teacher asked me if I preferred to go down on him or for him to go down on me.
[00:31:52] Jordan Harbinger: What? Wow.
[00:31:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: These are just a few examples of the comments that I received.
[00:31:57] Soundbite: Boy, that escalated quickly. [Anchorman]
[00:31:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm. It sure did.
[00:32:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's an interesting work environment to say the least.
[00:32:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:32:04] Jordan Harbinger: The whole "you're all the same" comment, that is messed up.
[00:32:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's not cool.
[00:32:08] Jordan Harbinger: And saying that you're triggering her for being a certain ethnicity, that's concerning on so many different levels. Somebody asking about your sex life. Okay, so as gross as that question is, it's awkward, it almost strikes me as a colleague being a little too like, chatty and buddy-buddy and just misfiring.
[00:32:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right, it could go either way.
[00:32:26] Jordan Harbinger: It all sounds very weird, like either it was somebody who's really just wildly inappropriate and did that to make you grossed out, or it's somebody who's like, "So, I want to be friends," and the way you be friends is you get to rapport, so here's a question that's going to skip all the basics, and it's like, Okay. No.
[00:32:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Last school year, I was set to be a chaperone on an international trip, which the school's vice principal led. Then, a student on one of the teams I coach inappropriately touched me. I reported it to the vice principal and the conversation ended with her saying that the culture I implemented on the team made the student think that touching was okay. Essentially, she blamed me.
[00:33:04] Jordan Harbinger: Huh, that's weird. I mean, I guess we don't know if you did create that kind of culture. Maybe if there's a lot of butt slapping during games—
[00:33:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:33:10] Jordan Harbinger: —and then, somebody slaps your butt not in the game, it's like, is that wildly inappropriate or just a little bit uncalibrated? But I can't imagine a coach creating a culture where a student, presumably this is a guy, but who knows, where a student thinks it's okay to like, Yeah, to slap a teacher's butt, or whatever, at any time. That would have to be a pretty extreme culture, I think. And it's hard for me to imagine a female coach encouraging players to do that sort of thing in a high school. Although, what do I know? I mean, I'm an indoor kid.
[00:33:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: I was furious, so I filed an official complaint.
[00:33:40] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:33:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not even a week later, I was kicked off of the trip by the vice principal and told it was because my report was inaccurate and I could not be trusted.
[00:33:49] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:33:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: This was also right around the time I was admitted into the teacher's union after almost a year long fight with attorneys to get me in.
[00:33:57] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:33:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Curious timing.
[00:33:59] Jordan Harbinger: First of all, I didn't know you had to fight to get into the union. I thought it was, you're a teacher now, here's your union.
[00:34:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm guessing she means because she was the school psychologist and not a teacher.
[00:34:06] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh.
[00:34:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: So it was a little bit, but she plays all these different roles, so yeah, but is there a relationship between those two things? Hard to say.
[00:34:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:34:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: But could be, could not be.
[00:34:15] Jordan Harbinger: Hard to know. Could be a coincidence.
[00:34:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: We don't know.
[00:34:18] The principal and vice principal then wrote me up for being two minutes late, for calling out five minutes before the call out time, and for the, quote-unquote, "tone" of an email I sent in response to the nitpicking backhanded tactics that they were using.
[00:34:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:34:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Then, they tried to fire me as a coach. This didn't work, but I got the message. They wanted me out. My mental health started to deteriorate. My hair started falling out—
[00:34:42] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:34:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: —and I couldn't sleep. So I decided to resign. It broke my heart to leave the students. I want to confront them one last time when I return my laptop on my last day, but I'm unsure if it's worth it.
[00:34:54] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:34:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: I already contacted a therapist to discuss my reaction to the situation.
[00:34:58] That's great. I'm glad you're doing that. I'm really happy to hear that you're going to talk about this.
[00:35:02] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:35:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Just to get this one out of the way. I don't know if I would confront them in one big explosive Jerry Maguire moment—
[00:35:07] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:35:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: —when you return your laptop. You're probably going to regret that. And if you do decide to take some kind of action, which I'm guessing is where this whole story is going, I don't know if you want that as part of the record.
[00:35:17] So, the letter ends—
[00:35:19] Am I crazy? Was this retaliation? Since I genuinely believe I was forced out, is there anything legally I can do? Signed, Burned, Spurned, and Concerned That I Might Have Earned Something in Return.
[00:35:32] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, I'm sorry things went down this way. At a minimum, this sounds like a very challenging work environment. At a maximum, it sounds like there was something nefarious.
[00:35:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Did you just say [nuh-fah-ree-uhs]?
[00:35:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I don't know what, I don't know what—
[00:35:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: It sounds like a Disney villain.
[00:35:46] Jordan Harbinger: It does.
[00:35:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: [Nuh-fah-ree-uhs]
[00:35:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:35:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think it's [nuh-feh-ree-uhs].
[00:35:49] Jordan Harbinger: I think you're probably right. I'm not even sure why that came out of my mouth like that, but either way—
[00:35:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm so glad you said that. I'm going to tease you about that one for years. Thank you so much.
[00:35:58] Jordan Harbinger: [Nuh-feh-ree-uhs]. I've never said [nuh-fah-ree-uhs]. I don't understand why that happened.
[00:36:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Is it [nuh-fah-ree-uhs] or is it [neh-ner-uhs]? It's like a whole thing.
[00:36:05] Jordan Harbinger: Either way, she's been going through a lot at this school, and I'm sorry that this has been so hard. We wanted to run your story by an expert, so we reached out to Neil Rombardo, in-house counsel for a large school district with approximately 8,000 employees. A subject matter expert that I never really thought was going to come in handy, but hey, perfect for the job.
[00:36:23] Presumably, Neil is also on the other side of the table in situations like yours, but that does make him very familiar with the laws and the procedures. Neil started off with a general disclaimer, as us lawyers love to do, which is that he's only hearing one side of the story, which always concerns him for obvious reasons. Again, very lawyerly, I know, but it is a fair point. None of what you are describing sounds normal or okay in any way. But in the interest of fairness, we do have to keep in mind that these administrators, they might have been having their own experience of you, and Neil only has your facts to go on, as do we.
[00:36:54] Now, about the incident with that student who touched you inappropriately, Neil said he was also extremely concerned about that part of the story, because we don't know exactly what occurred. For example, did the student voluntarily go to administration to minimize their role? How did this go down exactly? Hard to know. But honestly, I can't imagine a scenario where a student touching a teacher is okay and just goes completely unaddressed. So Neil did say you have some options there.
[00:37:21] First off, school district employees, and this should apply to you at a charter school as well, they're usually protected by a collective bargaining agreement. And that can help employees who believe they've been mistreated by their employers. Unions and associations might even be able to help you in receiving a new assignment at a different location or they can file a legal action on your behalf. Second, government employees have due process rights in their public employment. So according to Neal, a government employer must give notice of an issue related to an employee, they must give the employee the right to respond, and there must be substantial evidence before they take an adverse action against an employee.
[00:38:01] Also, you might have a lawsuit here. I mean, that was my first instinct. In my view, just based on what you've shared, this is where my head went first, you might have a lawsuit here. Neal didn't opine on that, but he did tell us, and I remember this from law school, there's a cause of action called constructive termination. And constructive termination means that the employer's behavior makes it so the employee cannot fulfill the functions of the job. And as a result, the employee is effectively terminated.
[00:38:29] I also wonder if the fact that your fiance is also an employee of the school, if that gives any complaint or lawsuits, maybe a little bit more weight because when that teacher asked about your sex life, they were talking about two school employees. Maybe his testimony is going to bolster your case. Maybe you both have cases. About the comments about your race and sexual activity, Neal said that such a claim would require the employer to know of this behavior and for an employer to be aware. Of that behavior, an administrator would need to have heard about it. So, it depends who said it to you and if it got reported.
[00:39:02] Now, about whether all this amounts to retaliation, Neil explained to us that for behavior to become retaliation, the employer has to take an adverse action based on the employee's protected activity. Now, protected activity, that includes complaining about discriminatory or harassing behavior, reporting violations of the law, rules, or procedures, reporting things like fraud or abuse, and participating in discrimination proceedings, such as an investigation or a lawsuit.
[00:39:29] So, if you were like, "Hey, this student touched me," and they were like, "Ah, you filed a complaint, you suck, we're going to make sure that you can't teach and you can't coach and you can't go on the international trip," it's like, all right, well, that's starting to look like they don't want you to do your job, and it's starting to look like the reason they don't want you to do your job is because you filed that complaint, which if they wrote in writing that they don't want you to go on the trip because you filed a complaint, that's pretty good. You should absolutely save that email or document that conversation because that is really an amazing admission. "Yeah, you filed a complaint, so we're going to take these other things away from you." Wow, I mean, shooting yourself right in the foot.
[00:40:09] Also, retaliatory actions, they're not limited to things like termination, demotion, non-promotion, non-selection. They're broadly defined to include harassing behavior, significant changes to job duties or working conditions, and even threats to take personnel actions, which, honestly, it sounds to me like it does describe some of what you shared in your letter. They're trying to get you fired from coaching because you filed a complaint? Okay, well, that's the definition of retaliation.
[00:40:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm hearing the same thing. So, those are the broad strokes from the legal side of things. The other angle to consider here is how you responded to all of this dysfunction and harassment. And to be clear, it sounds again like some objectively messed up things went down during your time at the school. So what I'm about to say is not about blaming you whatsoever, but in dysfunctional workplaces, I do think it's always useful to consider how we show up, how we make things better or how we sometimes make them worse.
[00:41:02] For example, my ears pricked up just a little bit when you mentioned the tone of that email you sent. Now, I don't know what the content of that email was. I don't know what the tone of the email was. Maybe you were just being very direct and honest and the administration resented that you were appropriately calling them out, so there was no way to win. But it's also possible that it was a little aggro, maybe it wasn't the most diplomatic email, the most professional, so something to consider.
[00:41:29] Quick story, I have a good friend who worked for a truly awful company where she experienced a ton of harassment and manipulation. I mean, it was crazy and there was no ambiguity. It was an objectively terrible place and what they were doing was definitely illegal. And when she wrote management an email saying, "Look, here are all the things that have happened recently. Here's how you responded." They retaliated against her in a very real way. They cut her hours, they took away responsibilities, they restructured her pay, all of that. So eventually, she left and she talked to an attorney who heard her story and said, "This is the most clear cut example of a hostile work environment I have ever seen. You 100 percent have a case."
[00:42:08] And now she and like 12 other employees are suing and their case is very strong. But when she told me about all this, she also told me, "You know, yeah, like looking back, I didn't handle certain conversations as well as I could have. I got emotional in that meeting. I got kind of snarky one day. I got bitter. I said some things I regret. Maybe we could have avoided some of this if I framed things a little bit better." And that doesn't mean that she wasn't the victim or that her time there would have been a walk in the park if she just articulated herself better. But, she wanted to figure out her role in what happened and see how she might have made things that much harder. And I thought that was really admirable. And that is something you might want to do as well. Just so you can at least take something away from what sounds like an awful experience.
[00:42:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a fair point, Gabe, because this might not be the last difficult school she works at.
[00:42:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:42:57] Jordan Harbinger: And if she can find something to take away from all this, all the better. Otherwise, the only lesson is, wow, that school was a nightmare and the people were terrible.
[00:43:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: A few of the problems she ran into sound, to me, political—
[00:43:07] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:43:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: —and they also sound institutional. And those problems might exist to some degree at any school. So it would be really great if she knew how to navigate them better next time if they pop up.
[00:43:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, like how to write a difficult letter that comes across in the best way.
[00:43:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, exactly. Or how to diffuse a tense situation with a difficult administrator.
[00:43:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, or how to manage her stress a little better on her own so she doesn't suffer quite as much if her workplace gets toxic. I mean, having your hair fall out, I've been there. That's a lot of stress that causes that. Not good.
[00:43:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Which is another great thing to talk about in therapy. Exactly. I hope she never goes through any of this again, but if she does, it would be really awesome if she could protect her mental health.
[00:43:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, her mental health and her hair.
[00:43:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:43:47] Jordan Harbinger: But all that to say, it sounds like they lost a great employee. A good school psychologist is a real gift. So go take your passion to a school where, you know, they don't ask you about whether your fiance likes over the pants HJs or whatever. These people sound ridiculous. Your best bet is to probably learn from this and just move on. But if you feel like you deserve damages and/or your career has been thrown into reverse or you want the school to change, call an attorney and or your union rep. Tell them your story. See if they think you have a case. Otherwise, keep moving forward, get a job in a healthier environment and good luck.
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[00:44:49] Okay, next up.
[00:44:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. I'm 34 years old, and about three years ago, I ended my brief two year marriage, which was one of the best choices I have made. Believe it or not, getting married did not solve any of the problems in our relationship.
[00:45:07] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:45:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: My ex was unjustifiably jealous and suspicious of infidelity despite the fact that I only work with men and spent 95 percent of my free time with her. She would fly off the handle screaming, throwing, and breaking things, including a coffee table, and at one point, locked herself in a room, threatening to overdose.
[00:45:28] Jordan Harbinger: Jeez, okay.
[00:45:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: The good times were good, but her behavior left me walking on eggshells in anticipation of the next whirlwind.
[00:45:36] Jordan Harbinger: Well, yeah, that must have been quite a two years. I'm sorry you went through that, both of you. I'm getting strong BPD girlfriend from last week's episode vibes from this letter, and it's sad. It really is.
[00:45:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm now living in the house we lived in, which I later bought her out of, and she has moved into my next door neighbor's house.
[00:45:58] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay. So you get divorced and she's like, "Well, we might be divorced, but you're still going to see me get in the mail every evening." I mean, that cannot be innocent.
[00:46:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't think so.
[00:46:09] Jordan Harbinger: No, first of all, even if there was one house left in the whole city—
[00:46:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:46:13] Jordan Harbinger: —and it was next door to your ex, you'd be like, "Ooh, guess I'm moving to a different city."
[00:46:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Correct.
[00:46:18] Jordan Harbinger: Right? I mean, it's not like she just happened to fall for the guy next door, and when they broke up, it just made sense to shack up together, right? I mean, that does not make sense.
[00:46:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, okay, I think he's about to answer that, because the next line of his letter is—
[00:46:30] The man is 85.
[00:46:34] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:46:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: And in her words, definitely a pervert.
[00:46:37] Jordan Harbinger: Well, great. So, she's either shacking up with him because it's convenient and cheap, and she desperately needs a place to stay, or she wants to stay close to you, and this is how she can do that, which sounds much likelier in terms of the explanation for why somebody would do this. Oh my god, this is so creepy, either way you slice it.
[00:46:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's a very sitcom family—
[00:46:57] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:46:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: —except it's not funny at all—
[00:46:59] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:47:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: —whatsoever.
[00:47:01] Jordan Harbinger: Except the neighbor boyfriend is definitely a pervert and the woman is low-key stalking her ex-husband. What a riot! That's a terrible sitcom. Very cringey.
[00:47:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Although, now that I think about it, who knows if this old guy is even a pervert. She's not probably a reliable narrator.
[00:47:15] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:47:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Also, he was definitely a pervert when she was married to our friend here, but now that they're broken up and she wants to stay close to him, he's a boyfriend material, slash roommate material. Like, what?
[00:47:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:47:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Anyway—
[00:47:27] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:47:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: —the letter goes on.
[00:47:28] I'm in a healthy relationship now with a wonderful girl who moved in close to a year ago, and we both have constant stress with my ex being next door. Given my ex's unpredictable history, my girlfriend will occasionally get upset to the point of tears. My ex hasn't made any contact, but we have started looking into a security system.
[00:47:47] Jordan Harbinger: Good. I have a recommendation.
[00:47:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: And now lock our cars at night in fear of her childish antics.
[00:47:54] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:47:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Is there anything else I can do? Signed, Avoiding A War and Trying to Ignore, My Crazy Past That is Now Living Next Door.
[00:48:03] Jordan Harbinger: Wow, okay, that is not the word I thought you were going to rhyme with ignore. There was a much better rhyme right there.
[00:48:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: I know, it occurred to me, but that felt like it would be in poor taste, so—
[00:48:14] Jordan Harbinger: You're too refined, Gabe. That's your problem. That's what's holding you back in the sign-off department.
[00:48:19] Such a weird situation. And it definitely tracks with a person who is possessive, unstable, manipulative. It just confirms that you are 100 percent right to end this relationship. But, well, you haven't really completely left it, have you?
[00:48:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:48:33] Jordan Harbinger: Because here she is living next door. This woman is ruthless, isn't she?
[00:48:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Truly without Ruth, this lady.
[00:48:41] Jordan Harbinger: No Ruth whatsoever. So practical things first, Ruth must be an old word I've never heard.
[00:48:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is, actually. That's where the word ruthless comes from.
[00:48:50] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, it had to come from somewhere.
[00:48:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Without Ruth.
[00:48:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yes, sans Ruth. So, practical things first, yes to the security system, and might I recommend SimpliSafe, the incredibly effective and really very affordable home security solution with Live Guard Protection, awarded Best Home Security System of 2023 by US News and World Report.
[00:49:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, dude, SimpliSafe is getting their money's worth on that sponsorship today.
[00:49:13] Jordan Harbinger: We should send them this episode and be like, you're welcome, SimpliSafe, above and beyond. Please renew for 2024. Also, yes to locking your cars at night. Yes to all that basic personal protection stuff. Lock your house doors. Maybe get deadbolts if you don't have any already. Make sure your windows are secure, all that. I'm surprised you don't already lock your car at night. Just shows you the difference between the place where you live in the place where I live. Also, when you leave home or come back home, keep your head on a dang swivel. I mean, keep your situational awareness high. All that George Grant stuff we talk about here on the show.
[00:49:45] I would also be extra careful about your personal information. For example, leaving sensitive information in your trash, bills, receipts, bank statements, anything with a password on it. Because what's stopping her from digging through your trash and finding out where you go to dinner or how much money you have crack in your bank account password or something. I don't know.
[00:50:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know if that's her style, but I guess given her history, I would not put it past her. That's true.
[00:50:09] Jordan Harbinger: Me neither. So maybe shred sensitive documents? A shredder's real cheap on Amazon. Or throw sensitive stuff out in a dumpster a few blocks away, which is probably illegal, but whatever. You called her approach childish antics, and I get it, but I'm afraid this is more than childish antics. This is legit, crazy, low-key, stalker stuff.
[00:50:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:50:28] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, she moved in next door with an 85-year-old man to be close to you, and you guys have to keep your guard up. The other thing you can do, I'm on the fence about this one, talk to her directly, tell her this behavior is inappropriate and creepy, and that she needs to move on, although, typically the advices don't engage, and I don't really know if it's going to do anything. Again, it just doesn't sound like a person who can be reasoned with.
[00:50:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Apparently a theme on today's episode. People you can't talk to.
[00:50:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, for sure. But who knows, maybe if she calms down a bit, realizes she's not going to get you back, she'll be able to take that in and see that this is not healthy for either of you.
[00:51:01] Gabe, do we have any other ideas here?
[00:51:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm wondering if they can talk to the neighbor, the possible pervert guy. I'm dying to know what the deal is there.
[00:51:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:51:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: If he's somewhat normal and he's not totally senile and out of it or something, maybe you can warn him about your ex and tell him what she's like. Maybe he doesn't know the history. I mean, maybe he overheard stuff in the driveway sometimes—
[00:51:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:51:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: —but he might hear the story and go, "Wait, she just moved in here because she wants to keep tabs on you? And she's unstable?" And I mean, part of me is like, is that really going to be news to this guy? Because if he's living with her, he must know that she's a little out of her mind. But also, maybe not. And if he hears that, maybe he'll break up with her.
[00:51:39] Jordan Harbinger: If she can even be broken up with, watch, he'll break up with her and she'll move in with a hoarder across the street.
[00:51:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: It just becomes one big game of musical breakups in the neighborhood.
[00:51:48] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. I don't know, man. This is a really tough one.
[00:51:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is.
[00:51:52] Jordan Harbinger: It's kind of like the new Josh story from Question one.
[00:51:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:51:55] Jordan Harbinger: I just don't know if there's an easy solution here.
[00:51:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: You, unfortunately, might have to make peace with your ex living next door.
[00:52:03] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:52:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: As long as she isn't breaking the law or hurting you in some way, unfortunately, she is technically allowed to live there.
[00:52:09] Jordan Harbinger: That is true. But if you ever catch her doing anything dangerous or illegal or even vaguely threatening, call the police immediately and report it because that might spook her and put her on notice or it might be enough to check her a little bit. And I would also, I would talk to the neighbor. Because he might go, "Yeah, it's been weird. I didn't want to say anything to you, but she takes your garbage and spreads it all over the living room floor and looks for important documents. And I just didn't know how to bring this up to you." I mean, you just never know.
[00:52:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:52:36] Jordan Harbinger: Or he'll be like, "She's my girlfriend, you bastard. I heard what you did to her." And then, you know that that's not going to go anywhere. I would consider talking with the guy.
[00:52:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Also, calling the police if she does anything might give you a little more ammunition to apply for a restraining order. And to get one, you have to prove that you have a reasonable fear of harm or that there is an imminent danger of violence. And if the court grants you one, then I'm pretty sure she can't live next door to you anymore.
[00:52:59] Jordan Harbinger: Or you sell the house and move, which might be the right answer, if her being next door is intolerable to you and your new gal. If you guys want to build a life together in this house, I could see this being a major issue, and I really, I feel for her.
[00:53:12] Again, I hate that would mean that your ex won. But you might have to cut your losses here, just for your own safety and sanity. Other than that, I wouldn't engage with her in any way. Just ignore her. She probably wants to provoke you. She wants to be part of your life in some way, even if that means making you scared or miserable. So just don't give her the satisfaction. I know that's easier said than done, but my hope is she just gets bored or frustrated, and she eventually moves on. And I am very sorry that you guys are going through this, especially your new girlfriend, who's completely innocent in this whole situation, as are you, from the sound of it. This woman sounds like a real piece of work. Hang in there, stay safe. And I hope this resolves itself soon.
[00:53:49] You know, who else wants to awkwardly stare at you through your kitchen window as you eat breakfast every morning, Gabriel? The amazing sponsors that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:54:01] This episode is sponsored in part by BetterHelp. You know, the holidays can sometimes feel like you're on a sleigh ride through emotional peaks and valleys. It's like one minute you're up in the festive stratosphere and in the next, you're in a tinsel tangled funk. The holiday blues are real. That's where BetterHelp comes in. Think of it as your personal support hotline, the kind you can dial into from the comfort of your couch or even while you're hiding out at the in-law's bathroom for a quick escape. Not that I've ever done that. It's therapy, without the parking and the stiff couches. And sticky couches, don't ask. That was a weird experience, never went back there. BetterHelp is an online platform that connects you with a licensed therapist tailored to what you're going through, whether it's stress, anxiety, you're just feeling like a little Scrooge, they gotcha. And the best part, no waiting weeks for an appointment. You can start chatting with a therapist in under 48 hours by text, video, or phone. I love that. I feel sometimes I'm in a text mood, sometimes I'm in a phone mood. I'm never in a video mood though. Plus, you can switch therapists anytime. No hard feelings. No extra charge. So if you're looking to lift those holiday spirits, BetterHelp's there for you. Give it a go. It could be the best gift you give yourself this season. A little sanity, why not?
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[00:57:30] All right, now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:57:34] Okay, what's next?
[00:57:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, I'm a 28-year-old high school teacher and I was so passionate about teaching as an undergrad and a young teacher. I even earned a master's degree in education and am on my way to earning my national board certification. My desire to be a great teacher earned me accolades, awards, and a lot of responsibility.
[00:57:54] Jordan Harbinger: Very impressive. So, so far you sound like an amazing teacher.
[00:57:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: But, I'm now seeing that the better I teach, the heavier my workload becomes.
[00:58:03] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:58:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: I get asked to do more than other teachers with no additional compensation. I'm a people pleaser and a high achiever, a classic recipe for teacher burnout.
[00:58:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, kind of the plight of the high performer in almost every environment, corporate or public, especially in your field, I imagine, because all the other teachers are, many of them anyway, are going to be jaded, tired, burned out, or older with kids and have other stuff going on, or they're just better at saying no. And the administration's like, "Well, Miss Summer's amazing, and she's got a ton of energy and she's always happy to go above and beyond. Just give her that whole giant ass project and she'll handle it. She'll knock it out of the park. In a traditional company, you'd theoretically be rewarded for your effort, but in a school setting, and I'm guessing this was a public school. It can just lead to getting taken advantage of and I remember growing up my mom had the same problem. She was a special ed teacher in a public school and it was like, you're doing this. And she's like, "Ah, crap, I'm too scared to say no." I'm very sorry that this is happening. That is tough.
[00:59:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: After another stressful start to the school year, I've decided that I need to try something else. I'd love to stay in education, but more behind the scenes than in the classroom. Since I've searched online about job alternatives, I've been targeted for a lot of quote-unquote teacher support ads. These ads could be anything from helpful resources for struggling teachers to a course to help teachers transition out of the classroom and into a new career.
[00:59:27] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:59:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: I see so many courses promising to get teachers interviews or resume reviewers offering one-on-one sessions. I'm tempted to purchase a course or talk with a coach to get my foot in the door of a new career. But as a skeptical person, I'm hesitant to trust these promotions. How do I decipher a good resource versus a scammy opportunist poaching burned out teachers? Is any of this legitimate? Signed, Looking For a Guide to Help Me Decide Where I Should Apply Without Being Taken For a Ride.
[00:59:59] Jordan Harbinger: Great question. So, first of all, I love that you're being proactive. I love that you're open to finding the resources that you need. And if this is really the transition you want to make, then I'm confident that you'll make it. Because you're clearly bright and driven and you're hardworking. So yes, you are right to have some healthy skepticism about these resources. Like any field, there are great coaches, and there are mediocre coaches, and there are a ton of bad coaches. Also, the fact that you're finding a lot of them through advertising, you're smart to clock that as a worrisome sign. Not that marketing is bad automatically or whatever, but these coaching services, they're products, right?
[01:00:35] And they're finding potential clients like you. At a moment of interest and possible desperation, when you're panic googling, how do I get out of the classroom, or how do I deal with burnout at 11:30 p.m. on a Tuesday night. That's a great moment for a marketer to go, "Hey, sad teacher, we have the answer, just pay us 3,000 and we're going to fix your life for you.
[01:00:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[01:00:55] Jordan Harbinger: And that's where advertised coaching can get kind of sus in my opinion, because those coaches are often better at marketing than they are at actual coaching.
[01:01:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: In fact, in my experience, some of the best coaches are so focused on coaching that they're actually terrible marketers.
[01:01:09] Jordan Harbinger: I agree with that. Or they don't even need marketing because their word of mouth referral base is shoveling new clients to them almost nonstop. When I ran a training company, my old podcast was the marketing base. We didn't run Google or Facebook ads because we just didn't need to. We were sold out months in advance and we really didn't need it. So our marketing, when we finally started, it was terrible because we're like, "What do we do? Just tell people we have this product or service." And people were like, "Oh, you sweet summer child. No, you need ad copy."
[01:01:39] So, here are a few things to look for. First of all, good coaches need to have solid credentials and meaningful experience. Ideally, they have not spent their entire career just being coaches. They've had some experience before they started coaching. Like they were an executive, or they were running a company, or they were consulting. They're not some 29-year-old communications major who never had a real job and didn't want one. So they're like, "Eh, I'll just tell other people what to do."
[01:02:06] And I know I'm being flippant about this, but I've hired a lot of coaches, and some of the bad ones, I was like, "How did Dave get his background in coaching?" And it's like, "Well, he used to be a real estate agent and then he'd started taking classes on how to coach." And I'm like, "That's why he sucks. He's never done anything that I'm doing. And this is all just rehashed self-help material that he got from the website that teaches people how to coach. This is terrible. I want my money back."
[01:02:29] Look, it's not a hard and fast rule. There are truly excellent coaches who pretty much have always been coaches, but those folks tend to have gone through rigorous training. They have great results. They got their hands dirty with their clients in a way that almost makes them partners to them. Good coaches, by the way, of course, also have a track record of success with those clients. So they can point to concrete wins, either in terms of salary, or milestones, or skill sets. They're not just, you know, "Bringing out your full potential, or making you the best you, you can be."
[01:03:00] Another green flag, if you ask to talk to a couple of their clients, they're usually pretty eager to connect you with people that they've helped succeed. And if the only clients they can point to are the testimonials on their website, that's not an automatic run, but it is a little something to keep an eye on because that's just marketing. Again, when I ran my training company, if somebody was like, can I talk to a former client? Or if they were on the fence, I might be like, "Hey, do you want to talk to a former client? I knew the sale was in the bag because I had helped them talk to a former client and the client would be like, "This is amazing. You've got to do it." And it would be a real dialogue that I was not a part of. I was not on those calls. I just trusted the clients to do a good job and they did it for free, right?
[01:03:39] A lot of scammy coaches, straight-up fake testimonials on websites as well. They write them themselves or now they're going to have ChatGPT do it. And they had a stock photo headshot and nobody ever knows. It's so shady. I've actually found my headshot. As a testimonial on their website and I was like, yeah, I've never used this software. They just grabbed it and it looks like a candid shot of me and no, I'd never heard of this company. So you do have to be a little careful of website testimonials.
[01:04:04] Another thing to look for in a coach, whether they have a meaningful philosophy or approach, some kind of curriculum or a method, they don't need to have, you know, 17 frameworks for success or whatever. In fact, that kind of thing can be its own sort of pseudoscience BS. But they should have some kind of approach, whether it's the tools they use to measure success or the way they assess your skills and help you figure out where you want to go.
[01:04:30] If a coach is like, "Well, we're going to have 30 sessions together and we're just going to feel our way through this and create a vision board for you." Just run at that point. If they're like, "Okay, our first session, we're going to figure out what your strengths are and what's holding you back. In our second session, we're going to use this framework I developed for figuring out your pain points and what your next career move should look like. In the third session, we're going to come up with a detailed roadmap for the next 12 months of your job search. That kind of thing, that's encouraging. Another thing to look for, they've worked with other clients who had similar issues, or similar goals, or similar struggles. Although that's not essential, it does help.
[01:05:04] So hopefully, in your case, they've worked with teachers, good teachers who landed at the interesting teaching jobs that they wanted. And then there are a bunch of red flags to look out for. For example, they seem distracted or distant when you talk, or they're flaky and unresponsive, or my favorite, pet peeve, they only take calls when they're driving.
[01:05:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wait, have you actually worked with a coach who did that?
[01:05:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, and it was just kind of—
[01:05:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wait, somebody actually was coaching you while they were on the 405?
[01:05:31] Jordan Harbinger: Right, so here's the thing. If you're doing a call because you're driving, and it's like, "Sorry, traffic is bad, we're going to have to do half the call while I'm driving." That's fine.
[01:05:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[01:05:40] Jordan Harbinger: But if you're planning these calls while you're driving because you might as well make some money while you're doing your commute. That's nonsense because you're going to be partially distracted. You're certainly not going to be taking notes. That's my next point. They're not taking detailed notes during your sessions is another red flag. So they repeat themselves.
[01:05:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, that drives me crazy.
[01:06:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, look, if people repeat themselves to hammer things home or make things memorable—
[01:06:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Different.
[01:06:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, repetition.
[01:06:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[01:06:07] Jordan Harbinger: But if somebody repeatedly forgets where they've left off last time so they go through the same thing again because they were driving and they're like, "Oh, that was you I was talking to. Oh man, I don't take any notes and I was on my way to Waffle House. Sorry we just wasted 40 minutes of your 60-minute session rehashing the same stuff as last week." That is not a good sign. Many poor coaches also make up for a lack of relevant curriculum by giving unrelated or irrelevant assignments with no ability to explain why something is important or needs to be done or how it'll help you get where you want to go or outline how it fits into the bigger picture. And I know some of these red flags because when I started as a coach in 2007 or whatever year it was, not only did I meet tons of coaches who did all of this, and worse by the way, but I ended up borrowing many of their bad habits until I had a bunch of other training and years of experience to round things out.
[01:07:05] So unfortunately, I made a lot of mistakes on other people's dime. Thankfully, I was damn cheap at the time, and rightfully so. In fact, one of my first clients when I was doing phone coaching in like, probably 2006, 2007, his name was Alex Schechter, great guy, he paid us a retainer, and he's like, "First thing I'm going to do is pay you a retainer," and I was like, "Wow, that's great, money up front," and he's like, "And you need to raise your price, because you're so cheap that I'm skeptical that this is going to be any good, but it's so far really good, you need to charge more so people take you more seriously."
[01:07:36] I thought that was kind of an interesting point, but I did a lot of stuff like I don't know how to solve this guy's actual issues. So I'm going to go download a bunch of workbook exercises and then just run him through these workbook exercises. And they were not that relevant to what the guy was asking me. And I could tell the client was like not stoked on the training and I felt really bad about that, but then I took other coaching classes years later and I was like, this guy's literally going through some crappy workbook that he got from his coach's coach. And we're going through this StrengthsFinders 2.0 book, which is good, but I'm like, "I'm not asking you about career stuff. Why am I taking a personality test to see what job I should be in? This is not relevant to anything I've been asking you.
[01:08:16] Also, don't let coaches make you commit right off the bat to large programs. It does take time to get results. But some coaches, they want ridiculous one year commitments from the jump to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. Screw that noise. Overall, you'll know when you're talking to someone legit. You can just kind of feel it. I'm not one for being like, follow your intuition. But good coaches and con men, of course, as well, unfortunately, they have a calm air of confidence. They've seen this movie before. They're not all high on their own farts and their excitement is on your behalf. It's not hype excitement to get you to follow their excitement and then commit to them financially or otherwise. If you sense that you're in good hands, if you feel like they take you seriously, if you feel understood, if you feel like they're smart and present and genuinely invested in your results, those are good signs.
[01:09:06] So look for the green flags, listen to your intuition. Look out for the red flags and you'll either find a good coach or you'll realize that you don't even need any of these people in the first place.
[01:09:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I was going to say, I think given her credentials and her knowledge and her work ethic and all these wonderful qualities she told us about, I really do wonder if she needs a career coach to make a transition. I mean, If I interviewed this teacher and she told me these stories, like I outworked everybody and they always gave me all the work. I mean, I'm hiring this person, even if she doesn't want to be in the classroom anymore, it just sounds awesome. So all of this is great advice for finding a coach in general, of course, not just in the teaching world.
[01:09:42] But I just want to throw one more thing into the mix here before we close out, which is, if leaving the classroom is the right move for you, great, more power to you, I get it. But you did mention that you're a people pleaser and you're a high achiever and that has led to real burnout. So I just want to ask you whether the answer is truly to leave the classroom or to learn how to draw better boundaries with your colleagues so that people are not dumping all of their work on you or you're not being taken advantage of and not compensated for that work. Or maybe the right answer is finding a school that appreciates and respects you more and, again, compensates you for all of this amazing work that you volunteered to do because you love teaching and you're really passionate about it and it makes me kind of sad that these people might be ruining what sounds like an amazing calling.
[01:10:25] If you are truly not interested in being in the classroom anymore, that is fine. But the point still stands, wherever you end up going because you're so good at what you do and you work hard, I have a feeling more work is always going to fall to you. So, developing these boundaries and learning to say no sometimes, and also maybe encouraging your peers to work as hard as you do to spread the work around a little bit, those will be great skills wherever you end up.
[01:10:48] Jordan Harbinger: True. One more thing she could work on with a coach, although she might not even need a coach for that, just some practice. So I hope that this helps. You sound like a fantastic teacher. Your students are lucky to have you. I hate that the system, or whatever, maybe just this school, is driving a talented person like you out of the classroom, but education do be like that sometimes. My mom had this very similar issues, and this is in the '70s and the '80s, and probably even earlier. We hear it all the time. Hang in there, find the coach you need, avoid the ones you definitely don't need, and good luck.
[01:11:18] Okay, next up.
[01:11:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, The Jordan Harbinger Show is one of the podcasts that I never miss. I have other podcasts I listen to as well and over 450 books on my to read list.
[01:11:31] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[01:11:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: I feel quite overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge and information to gather out there. I don't know how to manage all of it. I'm a father of three with a full time job and even when I retire and my kids are out of the home, I imagine that this issue will remain the same. How do you guys sort out what you read and listen to? Signed, The Drowning Disciple.
[01:11:52] Jordan Harbinger: It's a good question and I can totally relate. So first of all, you have to make peace with the fact that you are just never going to consume as much information or acquire all of the knowledge that you want. No one can. It's literally infinite. Your time is finite. It's just not possible. It doesn't mean you failed, or that you're prioritizing the wrong things, or that you won't be successful. Sure, it's fun to learn a lot and get into a ton of different content, but it's just not realistic.
[01:12:20] So my first recommendation is, let go of that reading list of 450 books. That's an obscene number of books, most people aren't going to do that in a decade. Let go of the idea, at least, that you're going to get to all of them. I don't mean you have to delete it. It's just one thing to have a list of books to choose from when you need a new read. But if you're beating yourself up for not reading all 450 of those books, that needs to stop because it's never going to happen. More to the point, it shouldn't happen. As you can tell, I love learning as much as you do. It's one of my main hobbies. I'm that dude on vacation, reading the Atlantic and catching up on that stuff or frigging reading Reddit over breakfast on some obscure topic that I'm in a rabbit hole on. I get it. But reading everything constantly until you die, it's just not the point of life.
[01:13:06] The things you want to learn, in my view, they're there to enrich your life, to equip you better, to give you tools or ideas or stories that'll help you live better. But if you're spending all your time trying to consume this stuff, then you're not giving yourself much room to put them into practice and, you know, actually enjoy your life. And you're right. When you theoretically have more time in the future, you still won't be able to get to all of your reading. And I hope that's the case because it means you'll have a lot of life to live.
[01:13:34] So, my take on this is, make peace with the limits of your time and attention. Be more deliberate about what you consume. If there's a specific niche or theme or a question you want to learn more about and it's actually going to make your life richer in some way, either by making you a better person or a better parent or helping you in your career, then I'd focus on those books or podcasts. But if they're just interesting, if they're just a way to satisfy your brain's urge for more content, if they're ultimately just going to take you away from your family and your friends and your hobbies, and you're not going to capitalize on what you learn in some meaningful way, then I would prioritize something more important.
[01:14:13] Now, if you really enjoy this stuff, that's one thing. I hope that this podcast falls into that category, but if it's just another obligation, I think you can safely cut it. So a big part of this is getting very clear on what matters to you and what impact you actually want to have on your life. So for me, obviously, I need to read the books and ideas that inform this show. So that's pretty clear, because it's related to my career. I also prioritize learning Mandarin, because I like it, it's useful in a concrete way, I use it with my family, it brings us closer together, it allows me to travel and have more interesting conversations with people, I teach my kids, so that's great.
[01:14:49] So I make time for that, but reading every single New Yorker article about particle physics and congressional malfeasance or whatever, not worth it for me. Some of the stuff is fascinating and well written, fun, sure, but it's not worth it. So that's what it's about for me, priorities, values, goals, discipline. And frankly, a healthy dose of self forgiveness. But look, if any of this leads you to stop listening to this show, then you've obviously made a huge mistake and you need to restructure your entire life to listen to all three or four episodes we put out every single week. Never give up on this show, even if it means neglecting your partner and ignoring your kids. Because I got to feed my kids, you know what I'm saying?
[01:15:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, those SimpliSafe solutions will not buy themselves.
[01:15:29] Jordan Harbinger: That's right. And thanks for hitting the SimpliSafe plug for the 19th time today. SimpliSafe.com/Jordan. Gabe, you're a real one. Thanks for the reminder.
[01:15:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I don't know. I just feel like they got short shrift today.
[01:15:39] Jordan Harbinger: Indeed.
[01:15:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: I just want to get that name in there one more time.
[01:15:42] Hope y'all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week and everybody who listened. Thank you so much. Go back and check out the episodes with Mitch Prinstein on popularity and Mosab Hassan Yousef, the green prince on the Hamas Israel conflict. Both great episodes here for you this week.
[01:15:56] The best things that have happened in my life and business have come through my network. The circle of people that I know, like, and trust. And I'm teaching you how to do the same thing for yourself in our six minute networking course. It's a hundred percent free. It's not gross. It's not schmoozy. You can find it on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. The drills are designed to take just a few minutes per day. I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago. Dig the well before you get thirsty, folks. Build relationships before you need them. You can find that at jordanharbinger.com/course. We got a lot of email. We mentioned teachers in an ad before about this, about how teachers think they don't need networking. Because I've heard that a lot from teachers and public servants. And people who are high up in those areas, they were like, "Networking is everything. Why are these people burying their heads in the sand?" So don't be that. Jordan Harbinger.com/course.
[01:16:42] And if you haven't signed up yet, come check out our relaunched newsletter for the show. It's called Wee Bit Wiser. It's a bite-sized gem from a past episode from me to you delivered to your inbox once a week. If you want to keep up with the wisdom from our 900-plus episodes and apply it to your life. I invite you to come check it out. You can sign up at jordanharbinger.com/news.
[01:17:00] Show notes and transcripts at jordanharbinger.com. Advertisers, deals, discounts, and ways to support the show all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. Gabe's over there on Instagram, @GabrielMizrahi, or on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
[01:17:16] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Ditto Neil Rombardo. Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love, and if you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who could use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, I hope you apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you learn, and we'll see you next time.
[01:17:49] Mosab Hassan Yousef: Hamas is an Islamic movement. My father is one of the founding members of Hamas. Hamas for us was everything to the point where it became an army. It's a monster. I agreed to work with Israel with a hidden agenda to be a double agent. The level of pressure that I had to go through, my heart stopped for approximately 30 seconds. Most human beings cannot make it back. I was tortured mentally and physically. Everybody in the city knew that I'm a dead man.
[01:18:24] Jordan Harbinger: For more, including what it was like growing up in one of the first families of which many consider a terrorist group, and why Mosab considers it the greatest school of his life, check out episode 407 on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:18:38] This episode is sponsored in part by the Conspirituality podcast. We're living in a world absolutely saturated with information, some real, a lot total nonsense. But there are folks out there doing the hard work to cut through the noise, like the folks on the Conspirituality podcast. This is not a casual chat. You've got a journalist who knows the ins and outs of fact-checking, a cult researcher who's going down rabbit holes you didn't even know existed. a philosophical skeptic to keep everybody in check. They're taking on everything from RFK Jr.'s anti-vax talking points, which I mentioned on the show and many of you had strong feelings about that, to the downright murky ideology followed by Yevgeny Prigozhin and members of the Wagner Group, the guy who just died in a very mysterious plane crash over in Russia, and they're not just throwing opinions at you, they're providing insights that make you go, "Huh, okay, I've never thought about it that way." And the best part is they're guided by one principle, we should all get behind, which is good proven science, you know? Like Skeptical Sunday, for example, tons of interesting episodes, like the one about the wellness industry or the episode on EMF and 5G and chemtrails. It is similar to Skeptical Sunday in a different format from exploring cults to analyzing our cultural and political landscape. The Conspirituality podcast will help you stay informed against misinformation and resist fear tactics. Find Conspirituality on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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