Your in-laws need financial help to keep their business afloat, but they’re historically terrible with finances. Should you bail out your in-laws or even co-sign for a loan knowing it could backfire on you? We’ll tackle this and more here on Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- Your in-laws need financial help to keep their business afloat, but they’re historically terrible with finances. Should you bail out your in-laws or even co-sign for a loan knowing it could backfire on you?
- What are the secrets to writing a reference letter for someone in a way that showcases their attributes from a place of understanding how valuable these attributes really are?
- Should you suffer in an industry you’ve grown to hate for another 10-15 years until you can retire, or should you quit the dip now to find a new career in a city where you want to be, with a life that brings happiness over money and status?
- Should your multinational, publicly traded company pay you for something you’ve been informally doing for free? You want to be generous and supportive, but not taken advantage of. How do you negotiate this with your higher-ups?
- As a blind person, you’ve never been really good at understanding small talk and getting people to talk to you. How can you get better at being social when you can’t see facial expressions or body language?
- 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 if you want to keep in touch with former co-host and JHS family Jason, find him on Twitter at @jpdef and Instagram at @JPD, and check out his other show: Grumpy Old Geeks.
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Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Miss the episode we did with Vince Beiser — author of The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization? Make sure to check out episode 97: Vince Beiser | Why Sand Is More Important Than You Think It Is!
Resources from This Episode:
- Amanda Knox | The Truth About True Crime | TJHS 386
- Tom Wainwright | How to Run a Drug Cartel | TJHS 387
- How to Save Yourself and Loved Ones from Scams | Jordan Harbinger
- Co-Signing a Loan: Risks and Benefits | NerdWallet
- Writing a Reference Letter (with Examples) | Daily Writing Tips
- Are You Suffering from High Achievers Syndrome? | Thrive Global
- Billionaire Who Sold Minecraft to Microsoft Is Sad and Lonely | CNET
- How to Keep Going When Your Purpose Makes You Miserable | Jordan Harbinger
- What to Do When Your Purpose Starts to Suck | Deep Dive | TJHS 205
- Creative Production, Engineering, & Editing | Jason Sanderson
- Isaac Lidsky | Eyes Wide Open | TJHS 333
- Sean Stephenson | Website
- About Osteogenesis Imperfecta | National Human Genome Research Institute
Transcript for Should I Bail Out My In-Laws? | Feedback Friday (Episode 388)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Gabriel Mizrahi. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most brilliant people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. And our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. So you can get a deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening, sometimes, even in our own brain as it would turn out here Feedback Friday.
[00:00:33] If you're new to the show Fridays, we give advice to you and answer listener questions. The rest of the week, long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes to authors, thinkers, and performers. And for a selection of featured episodes to get you started with some of our favorite guests and popular topics, go to jordanharbinger.com and we'll hook you up.
[00:00:55] This week we had Amanda Knox. She was amazing. She was — Gabriel, you've heard of Amanda Knox, I assume.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:01:00] Yeah, of course. How was that?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:02] She is great. First of all, she's so smart, self-aware. I mean, what a harrowing story. For those of you who don't know, she was essentially framed or falsely accused, I guess you could say, of a murder in Italy and fought it for eight years. I think four of them are in prison, just a horrifying saga. And she now does — what I guess ironic — a true-crime show but she wasn't interested in true crime, she told me. She's just interested now because she lived one, sort of, well, an untrue crime, I guess.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:01:35] Yeah. What a life that woman has lived.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:37] Amazing. And we had Tom Wainwright. This is a one from the vault. He's an economist. He wrote a book essentially on the economics of drugs, drug cartels, drug warfare. He got a lot of interesting stories as you might imagine from somebody who's investigating drug cartels and drug finance. That is what we did for you this week.
[00:01:56] Also, we write every so often on the blog. The latest post is the types of people who become scam victims. So, Gabriel, you and I were talking about this. There's a certain personality type or maybe a blend of personality archetypes that make a good scam victim. And maybe all of us know someone like this and we outlined the types of qualities or negative qualities —
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:02:19] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:19] — that a scam victim has and what scammers do to take advantage of these. And it'll help you dissect scams. It'll help you dissect people who fall first and it'll help you decide if you are the type of person who is due to fall for a scam. Do you fall into these categories and what to do about it? Make sure you've had a look and listen to everything we created for you this week. The articles, by the way, at jordanharbinger.com/articles.
[00:02:42] You can always reach us here at email@example.com. Please keep your questions as concise as you can. Try to include a descriptive subject line. That makes our job a whole lot easier because we can sift through these letters a lot easier. Gabriel, I'm excited for Feedback Friday of this week. I think we have fascinating questions. I got a little giddy writing these answers. I'm stoked.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:03:02] We got some conundra this week.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:04] Conundra, yes. Yes, we did.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:03:07] I've since done a mini deep dive into that word and I think I've come around it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:11] You're convinced it now exists actually.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:03:13] A hundred percent, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:14] Okay, fair enough, Gabriel, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:03:17] Hey Team, my husband has recently joined the military and our family has achieved financial stability. Woohoo. He is a legal, permanent resident and we are working on his citizenship. His father has a freelance business and a few rental properties here in the States and wants to put his business in my husband's name to apply for a $30,000 coronavirus relief fund with the help of my husband's military status. The in-laws hind on their mortgage, which I'm sympathetic to, but they also have a history of poor money management. My husband and I both love his family and want to help them, but I'm thinking of the potentially catastrophic consequences of having my husband's name on a business that could tank and possibly might not even pay taxes. How can I help my husband understand the consequences of this decision? He is hesitant to go against his family's wishes and wants more concrete examples of why this is a bad idea than my non-legal catastrophizing. Signed, a Business by Any Other Name.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:10] I'm itching on this one because every — this is a question that has so many applications that every time I read it, I find another problem with this idea that they should sign the business over. So, first of all, that $30,000 coronavirus relief, this just occurred to me upon reading number three here. If that is dependent on veteran status, I don't know businesses get a different type of it. Then this is definitely — at least approaching fraud if not outright fraud to transfer something into a veteran's name, take advantage of those funds if that veteran doesn't actually work in that business, but it's just pretending to be the owner. I mean, I'm not saying that you'd get in legal trouble because of that directly because again, I'm a lawyer, but not your lawyer. Always hire an attorney if you want competent legal advice.
[00:04:58] That said, this is a terrible, terrible, terrible idea. And that is my personal opinion. I would not mingle your finances or bail your in-laws out, unless you are very confident that they are handling their money and their business responsibly and legally. And it sounds like you already know that they're not doing that with their money. So the business — look, people who don't handle money well, generally don't handle business well. So if they're running a business, but their personal finances are a mess. I'm not saying that's unheard of. I'm not saying people don't get into debt because they overspend or something like that. But if they seem clueless with money, they're also going to have problems running a business, which I mean, look, I'm decent at what I do here, but I let Jen handle the bookkeeping and the accounting for a reason. You know this is a delicate art. If no one is good at it in the business, you have a problem.
[00:05:46] I don't want to point out other more personal red flags because I don't want to insult your husband's family. And also, I assume, I assume you've got that part covered with that. I think you're probably already in a personal spat with them or with your husband because you got to say this delicately and that's basically impossible, but legally this is sketchy. Because not only is your husband on the hook for any debt from the coronavirus relief, most likely, he's also the only potential recipient of a lawsuit here in the United States. So even if, even if his dad's business is run properly and even if they back the coronavirus, relief funds, if they need to be repaid or whatever it is, those funds could be misused, they could be used improperly. There could be a tax audit that then looks for improper use of that, or there could be other debt. There could be other liabilities on the business and your husband would be responsible for those debts and liabilities. That means you are responsible for those debts and liabilities if you're married. I mean, that's going to affect you, of course, a hundred percent chance of that. Also, depending on the business and how aggressive the plaintiffs are in a lawsuit and, of course, on the type of lawsuit, they could come after you personally. A lot of people go, "I have a business. I'm sheltered." Look, people can come after you personally, even if they're wrong and they lose, it's going to cost you tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars to get away from that.
[00:07:01] This means your house, your car, the car you get for your kid on her birthday, your savings accounts, so those can all be at risk. And for what? So your in-laws who don't manage money that well can get some cash to potentially misuse at your expense. I mean, this is very risky. This is very, very risky. Even if you're in-laws — let me try and become less emotional about this and less blame game on the in-laws here. Even if your in-laws do nothing wrong, someone in their country or here, if they're overseas because it's sounded like they were overseas, somebody could sue the business because you are attached to it. And they think you have deeper pockets than your in-laws because you do. So let's say that they owe somebody in their country and someone's like, "Hey, I heard they have rich relatives that run a business in the United States." They can just figure out a way to sue that business. It's not unheard of. And look while the chances of that might be lower, are you willing to take that risk?
[00:07:56] If you own the business, you have to control the business? That's what ownership means. You should never be liable for something if you cannot control something. That is the worst possible situation that you can be in. And it's one of the reasons I left my last business. You cannot be liable for something if you don't have control over the situation and here you do not, you will not have it control. You are painting a big target on your back if you allow this to happen. Do not do this. Again, if you think I'm full of it or even if you think I'm not, and your husband sort of does and thinks I'm exaggerating or being emotional, I recommend you do this. And you know what? Even if you both agree with me, your best bet here, get a second opinion from legal counsel in your area. I know you think it's going to be pricey, but this is likely something a lawyer can tell you over the phone for free. I can't tell you how many times I've called other attorneys and I don't even say, "I'm an attorney and I have a question." I might call the lawyer and just say, what do you think's going to happen in this particular situation?" And they'll give me five, 10 minutes of time, much of the time.
[00:09:00] I think for you, this could be either free and even if it's not, even if they charge you for an hour of their time, a couple of hundred bucks is far less than you're going to be on the hook for if you end up with a problem in your business. That's going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars at a minimum. And the hassle is just not worth it. Do not do this. It's going to take a lawyer all of five seconds to hear the even basic details of this and to say that this is a bad idea. I'm confident of that. Gabe, what do you think?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:09:28] I agree. Bad idea. Stay away. Draw the line and do not cross it but in terms of helping your husband understand that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:34] Oh yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:09:35] I would focus on the financial and emotional consequences that are lying in wait for you guys as a family. Explain how you see this affecting your relationship if things go south. And it sounds to me like they have a high probability of going south even if you weren't messing around with coronavirus relief funds. If you understand the nuances of his parents' business and the nuances of coronavirus relief funds, then you can pick apart the risks there and have a very technical discussion. But that's probably going to be much harder to wrap your head around and your husband could argue maybe, or have a different stance on the technical details as opposed to the basic risk to you guys as a family if you make this move. If you don't end up co-mingling your finances, which I really have to agree with Jordan is probably not the right way to go, I would find ways to help your in-laws without bailing them out entirely. Offer to talk to them, advise them, review options, maybe help them find experts who can help them. See if you can get them on their feet without putting yourselves at risk. Maybe you'll decide to help them pay their mortgage or act as their informal advisors. I don't know that's up to you. But if you take on their burden as your own, you're going to be going down a very dangerous path. So I think it's important to draw that boundary. It's important to protect your safety, but also to protect your relationship with your in-laws.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:49] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:00] And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:13:04] What's next?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:13:05] Hey Jordan, I'm trying to learn the best way to write a reference letter for someone I work with. I've owned an escape room for about five years and I'm an active-duty Navy SEAL. Not trying to humble-brag about my role but I do understand that it might help this person out a great deal. How do I write a letter for this person in a way that shows the incredible attributes they have? How do I show that it comes from someone who understands how important those attributes can be? Signed, Upping My Reference Game.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:31] I actually did a terrible job with recommendation letters in the past. So I am not somebody who should probably be giving advice on this one. I didn't even understand earlier in college what these meant. And they were largely sort of meaningless at the University of Michigan in undergrad. They were actually almost totally annoying. And I remember professors that I would ask, they would say either, "No," because they don't do that for anyone because they get too many requests or they would do it begrudgingly, or they would say something like, "These are so stupid. They're a huge waste of time. I wish that nobody needed these because they're meaningless." Like they would be extremely blunt about it. I always managed to get them from those professors because they were like, "Fine." And it wasn't due to a lack of relationship with the professors. The ones that really liked me were the ones that were most vocal about saying how much of a waste of time these things were.
[00:14:20] So, Gabe, I hope you have better advice than the whole thing is a shame.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:14:25] So it's true that a lot of recommendation letters are useless, but I think that's partly because a lot of recommendation letters are not good and so people don't take them seriously. But in a stack of recommendation letters that are vague, or just not that engaging, or don't say that much about a candidate, a really good one can stand out and it can make a huge difference. I love that this person cares so much about writing a great recommendation letter. It tells me that he cares a lot about the people he employs and helping them beyond their role in his company. Most people don't put that much thought into it, but people like you who do can make a huge difference in somebody's life. So you also have a chance here to deepen your relationship with this person for the long term. So it's really a win-win all around.
[00:15:03] I don't think there's any right way to do it but here's some general tips that I've gathered over the years. First — and this will make your life a whole lot easier — I would ask the candidate what job they're applying for and understand the role that they're going for inside and out. You can ask if there are any qualities or experiences or details that they think the hiring manager would want to hear about that will help you have some stuff to work with before you just sit down and have to write. Talk about your background briefly. What makes you a good judge of this person's performance and character? What your standards are? I'm assuming they're pretty high given that you're a Navy SEAL. How does your background as a SEAL and an entrepreneur make you a demanding boss and a good judge of people? I mean, that is going to go a long way in framing a letter.
[00:15:43] Along the way — and a lot of people don't do this — take time to explain your relationship with this person, not just what they did for you, but how you met them, what your working relationship was like, what they were like in the office. Like, how did you relate to this person above and beyond a normal employee? And get specific about what the person did, their responsibilities, their impact on your business, why you personally valued them in the company. Layer in those details. The details make the impact. And that's where the letter I think will really come to life.
[00:16:13] And I would end it by saying why you recommend this person in a broader sense. Like, why do you feel that these people should hire this person? What do they add to the company? Why would you hire them if you were in their shoes? you can get big and aspirational here. And if you've done all the other stuff before that and you totally earned it, and if you keep it to one or two pages — two pages max, most people don't want to go that far — then I think you're good. But make it personal, make it detailed, be passionate, be confident, and be specific. It's hard to lay it on too thick and a recommendation letter if you really mean what you're saying. And that's about it, I think that's how you come up with a great letter.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:48] I definitely want to play Navy SEALs escape rooms immediately. I don't know about you. That sounds awesome.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:16:52] I was thinking about that. Like what kind of puzzles does this guy construct?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:56] Yeah. Yeah, I cannot wait. In fact, I can't wait to leave my house in general.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:17:00] I can't wait to leave my house and enter another room.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:04] Enter a room where I'm locked in until I solve puzzles and I can't leave before that. Yeah, no, I would love to do anything like that. Anyway, great advice. So much better than what I was able to give there. So I appreciate that, Gabriel. What's next?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:17:17] Dear Jordan, I have an established career as a music producer for the last eight years. I've had numerous gold and platinum records and I've had a medium-to-high level of success in this field, which I am very grateful for. Despite all of what I've worked for, however, I still think every single day about how I'm going to get out of this industry and move into something less demanding. I hate living in L.A., Los Angeles, where I have to make music. And the passion and recognition, I once yearned for in my early 20s has now faded. I turned 30 this year and I'm beginning to think about doing things in life — like having more friends, having a family, and spending more time outside of a music studio. I've accomplished a lot but I've sacrificed almost all of my social life due to the high demands of the industry and my desire to outwork everyone. It's very depressing to think back on. I've dedicated my life to my dream of being a music producer only to achieve it and realize that it hasn't brought me the happiness I naively thought it would. I can either keep suffering, grind it out, and in 10 to 15 years be able to retire or I can take my earnings from music and quit the dip now to find a new career in a city I actually want to be in with a life that brings happiness over money and status. My question for you is how do I know when to quit the dip? Am I crazy for giving up on everything I've worked for and all of the opportunities it has brought me? Signed, Dipping In or Dipping Out.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:36] First of all congrats on the accolades. I'm super stoked for you to achieve that by age 30 must feel incredible. But here's the problem, right, Gabe? It doesn't. And I think that's where the cognitive dissonance comes in. The whole, like, "Wait, I should feel this way but instead, I feel this other way," and that seems like something's wrong with me because all reason says I should feel happy and accomplished. This feeling by the way is very common with high achievers. You hear about Olympians being the least happy shortly after they win a gold medal. People getting super wealthy after selling a business or something and then becoming depressed. I mean, I remember the guy who sold Minecraft for like hundreds of millions of dollars. He started having all these crazy lavish parties where they'd like, build a house out of candy, or whatever. And then he like fell into a deep depression because he had nothing in part because he had nothing to do. He had reached the pinnacle and he talks about this in an article about how he had just reached everything he ever could have wanted more. And he's like, "But Oh no, wherever I go there I am." And he had like all this other work to do. A really brave piece, this guy, talking about this.
[00:19:42] This often happens when our expectations of how we would feel at a certain point, just don't match reality. The reality of how we thought we would feel doesn't match the reality where we're feeling right now. There's no shame in this. I think a lot of people beat themselves up because they think they have no right to be happy. Or that there's some sort of failure in them having gotten somewhere only to realize they're not happy. That is not a failure on your part. That is where your expectations are mismatched. Yeah, but so we're literally everyone. Like everyone is subject to that sort of bias that you'll be happier when you have done this thing that you're trying hard for.
[00:20:17] That's a lot of the reason why people achieve things in the first place, they feel like there's this feeling or this reward at the end, it doesn't matter if it's there or not. What we learned from Randolph Nesse this week is that our emotions often just exist to get our genes propagated. They do not have our interest in mind at all.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:20:30] Survival and genetics, which are sometimes at odds with some of the higher faculties or feelings that we're chasing when we do things, especially when you do something artistic because you're hoping for some bigger experience that might not always come.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:41] As for quitting the dip, my opinion — here's how I look at this. If you're in a career and you have passion for it, but you're still struggling and you're wondering if you're going to make it, you know, you might be in a dip, especially if you're like 29. You can be in a dip right then. But if you're in a career and you don't like it anymore, and you're unhappy doing it and you want to move out of the town you're doing it in, I don't think you're at a dip. I think you're unhappy. And you can be unhappy and in a dip, but this to me doesn't sound like he still wants to pursue this if like, "Oh, if I had been able to do this, but I were able to do it in Nashville, I'd be so much happier." It's like he hates the rat race. He's over it from what it sounds like to me. A dip is when you're not sure if things are going to work out but you've already had things work out for you and you still aren't happy. To me, this means you're over it. It's time to move on. It would be different if you were still chasing a dream, you achieve the dream. It didn't make you happy. There's a big difference there.
[00:21:33] It also doesn't mean you can't work in music but for me, this means you need to make some serious lifestyle changes to recover your sanity. Like if podcasting ever started to drive me crazy and I hated doing it, I would certainly change the way that I do it or do less of it or quit. I have no plan to quit. I love it, but I also love it because I don't do things that I hate. I don't do meaningless shows to make extra money. I don't overly monetize certain things. I don't sell live events to squeeze every drop out of everyone. I don't want to do that because it will make me hate this business but I love this business. And I think that's a gift in this day and age to do work that you love. So you loved the work you had and you don't anymore and it's been a while. It sounds to me like you've made a decision and you need permission from me and I'm giving you permission to do what you think you need to do to maintain the lifestyle that you have earned, man. You're not giving up anything if you leave music. You've earned the right to give up music. You have conquered.
[00:22:34] I'm not saying what action you have to take. If it were me, I'd move out to L.A. I definitely know what it's like to be in Hollywood and in L.A. that's for sure. I'd get away from that scene ASAP. Also, not all of L.A. is Hollywood. That's important and tough to remember sometimes. Because when you live in Hollywood, you feel like all of L.A. is like that. But when you live where you live, there are normal people there, you know, believe it or not. A lot of them do yoga every day. I eat a lot of granola or whatever. Or is granola out? Whatever, it doesn't matter. But there's still normal people on the Westside. I will say this some, but I will — you do see the occasional naked jogger, so it's like that. But I will say that pushing through to retirement is almost never the answer, especially when you're not even halfway through your career. Like, let's say you started doing music when you were like 18 or 20. You've worked for 10 years almost. Do you want to do 10 or 15 more and just tough through it? Ugh, no, I'm miserable for you already. It's a miserable way to live, brother. Gabriel, I know you've got some input on this.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:23:27] I find this guy situation very interesting because he's operating, you had a very, very high level and he's doing really well. And I don't think he could be operating at the level he's operating if he were not really good at it. And it's hard for me to believe that you were really good at it if he hated the process of making music entirely. He might, I could be totally wrong. I've been writing for a while now. And there are days when I hate it, but at the end of the day, and when I take a step back like I still love the process. And that's what allows me to deal with all of the horrible parts of doing something that you love. So my question for this guy is, are you truly over music and you want to do something different because you absolutely cannot stand the product and you don't enjoy the process? Or are you still into music, but not into the trappings, the lifestyle, the hustle culture, the politics, or whatever else surrounds the music? If you're totally over that and that is an inextricable part of making music and there was no way around it and you just don't want anything to do with it, then you have a pretty good reason for exploring something else.
[00:24:31] But if you still have a connection to the basic process — and I'm talking about showing up in the studio, pitching ideas, collaborating with people. If you get excited when a track is done or when you're in the middle of a track and you're trying to figure out a problem or find a bridge or whatever it is. If you still care about that, then I think there's still a little bit of like, there's a flicker of passion that is worth saving. And it means that the stuff that's surrounding it is what needs to change. You need to get out of the studio. You need to rent a house once a year for a couple of months and be outside of L.A. or make friends outside of the industry or just be disciplined and carve out time to meet people and go on dates and have fun in normal life or whatever it is you feel you're missing.
[00:25:12] And if you do that, you might be able to rediscover your passion for music when it's not tied up and all this stuff that you're hating. So in other words, is this something that can be resolved with a mental shift, or do you really have to escape in order to be happy? Sometimes we think we need to completely leave something or to make some huge dramatic change in order to be fulfilled. And I don't think that's entirely true. It might be true for you, but it doesn't mean that that's the only way to go about it. And by the way, we've written an article about this topic on the website about what to do when your purpose is starting to make you miserable. So I think that might be a nice piece to read right now and see if it helps you out. We're going to link to that article in the show notes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:47] Yeah, there's a lot here and I feel sympathy for you, but I'm also excited for you because you can now — the world is your oyster. You just have to give yourself permission to make different choices than before and not be dragged down by what you think you should want.
[00:26:00] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:26:06] This episode is sponsored in part by Blue Moon. I'll tell you what happens once in a blue moon now — me leaving the house and doing anything social. I mean, not even in a blue moon these days, but Blue Moon is on a mission to celebrate and inspire a little bit more, maybe just a few more of those moments. Blue Moon is crafted with a one of a kind appearance and taste. This is one of my favorite beers actually. It's unfiltered. So it has a creamy texture that's a little sweet. It's brewed with Valencia orange for bright, refreshing citrus. Pretty good with barbecue. I will throw that down if you're a barbecuer. Tangerine peel, crisp, refreshing finish — which makes me sound pretentious, but hey, that's what's in the copy and that's what it tastes like. It's great for summertime occasions. It pairs great with seasonal favorites, like street tacos, chicken skewers, summer salads, and the aforementioned barbecue. So even if you're just sitting outside social distancing, treat yourself to a Blue Moon.
Jen Harbinger: [00:26:55] The next time you're out with friends or just enjoying a night in reach for a Blue Moon. It's the beer you can enjoy every day. You can have Blue Moon delivered by going to get.bluemoonbeer.com and finding delivery options near you. Blue moon, reach for the moon. Celebrate responsibly. Blue Moon Brewing Company, Golden Colorado Ale.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:15] This episode is supported in part by Better Help online counseling. We're all in extraordinary times and if you're struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, and who isn't, you are not alone. Better Help offers online licensed professional counselors who are trained to listen and help. They specialize in many areas, including relationship, conflict, anxiety, depression, loss, trauma, and more. Securely connect with your counselor in a safe and private online environment. Everything you share, of course, confidential. Fill out a questionnaire just to help says your needs. Get matched with a counselor in under 48 hours. Schedule, secure video, or phone sessions with your therapist. There's unlimited messaging. You don't have to worry about that. And if you don't like your counselor, no problem. Request a new one at any time. No additional charge. Get professional help when you want wherever you are, no driving, no parking, nothing. Better Help is affordable and our listeners get 10 percent off your first month with discount code JORDAN. So join over a million people taking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional.
Jen Harbinger: [00:28:13] In fact, so many people have been using Better Help that they're recruiting additional counselors in all 50 states. Get started today at betterhelp.com/jordan. That's better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan. Talk to a therapist online and get help.
[00:28:29] After the close of the show, we've got a preview trailer of our interview with Vince Beiser. It's all about sand. You heard me sand. It's actually quite fascinating. There are even sand mafia killing people over sand. So stay tuned for that after the close of the show.
[00:28:43] Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us going, who doesn't love some good products and/or services. You can always visit jordanharbinger.com/deals for all the details on everybody that helps support the show.
[00:28:56] And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:29:00] All right. What's next?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:29:04] My job is very unique and there are very few people at my site who know much about my area of expertise, which includes leadership. When the person who trained and supported us in that area recently stepped down, I reached out to my company to explore ways that I could assist others who are new to their roles or need resources and guidance. The initial conversation went well and I was asked to do some additional work that would help increase employee engagement. However, there was no mention of remuneration and I am unsure as to whether this will be a volunteer or paid work. At the same time, I've been informally helping other people, both within and outside of my company. I'm happy to just provide value, but if I'm providing value for a multinational publicly-traded company, I feel like I should be compensated, particularly if there are going to be expectations placed on my time and my work will become the company's intellectual property. Does it make sense to want to be paid for something that I've been informally doing for free? How do I approach this topic with a company in a way that does not appear selfish? If the company does not expect to pay me, should I still participate in the development of this new training platform? Should I provide free support for one year, say, then negotiate next year? I want to be generous and supportive, but I don't want to be taken advantage of. Thank you for any advice that you can offer. I Love Helping but I Got to Eat.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:15] So if you don't talk about what you're getting paid to do at work, you're doing that shit for free. Hundred percent of the time, there's no way that they're going to be like, "By the way, we found this extra money that we're going to give you, even though you didn't ask." I would love to know a company that does that. I'm sure some small business owners, going to be like, "I do this. I give little bonuses," not the same. This is a great question that I feel like it comes up a lot, especially from people who get how powerful it is to share their value freely, which is great. I mean, obviously, I'm with you on that. We know we have to be of service but at what point — at what point does being of service become exploitative or irresponsible. Does it make sense for you to want to be paid to do something that you were informally doing for free? Yeah, it makes sense. But you might not get paid for it right away. There's going to be a period of investment. You got to prove the concept, whatever it is. And that's okay. You ask if you should provide free support for it a year and then negotiate or renegotiate, it's hard to say without knowing you and your company. But a year? Gabriel, that sounds like a long to me, man
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:31:14] it sounds a little bit long, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:16] I'd say more or less four to six months in most cases, possibly less depends on the company, but again, this really depends. If you're doing something for six months, the company wants to reward you, but can't give you a raise yet, you might do it for another three months. But anything longer than six to nine months, or especially going on a year — if it's a slow-moving project, fine a year — I would be very wary of that, because that, to me, sounds like they're just going to do it until you demand payment. And then they're going to stop. Because for me — and this is a small business, obviously — but let's say that you started doing something for me for free, and I found it really integral to the company. I would eventually hire you to do that thing. In fact, I can't believe I didn't think about this. Jason Sanderson who edits this show started off years ago. I mean like seven-plus years ago, maybe even longer editing the show for free. And I turned him down because I said, "I like editing the show. I like it." And he would very gently go, "You made a little — this could have been a little bit better and I could have fixed that other thing. Why don't you let me edit it?" Finally, I caved and I let them edit the show and eventually, he was doing a ton of work. And I said, "I now insist on paying you," because I want to formalize the relationship. And you know, how guilty do you feel giving somebody two hours a week, a week or whatever it is of audio to do for free and he's doing a kick-ass job. Like you, you want to retain that person by offering them something that they find value in because you don't want them to leave. And you want to formalize the relationship. I won't say control the relationship, but you want to formalize it. So they’re like, "I'm done doing this. I can't do it anymore." Zero notice, right? Not that Sanderson would ever do that. The dude's been working with me for like a decade.
[00:32:59] but you have to decide what an appropriate period of time would be to invest freely, say three months of support and then you got to approach them about being compensated. I would write up a very brief overview of what you were doing. I don't know, Gabe, I feel like you're better at this than me. What, what would you do? You've got to write something up, right? To show what you've been doing.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:33:16] I like where you're going with that. I think sometimes companies don't even realize what people are doing fully and they definitely don't always realize the impact of what they're doing. So in this case, this person seems to be very conscientious about what they can offer and why it's worth investing the time, but the company needs to understand that. So I agree with you definitely write up a little overview of what you've been doing above and beyond your role. And this is the important part, the impact that it's having on management on the company, ideally in dollars and cents, if you can do it, but if you can't do that, just talk about the impact generally. This also could be a memo. It could be a deck. It could just be an email to your bosses that they can reflect on and share and discuss later. But I think you have to show that you invested generously to be of service to prove that there was a need for what you're doing. Then you can say, "Look, I'd love to keep doing this work, but I want to be compensated. Can we discuss carving out a new role? Can we talk about a raise? What do you think it's worth? Here's what I think it's worth." Make it a conversation. You don't have to waltz in there and demand anything outright. But if you spend three, six months, doing this work and you figure out that it's actually necessary and useful for the company, and then you show what you've done and why the company should invest in it, that conversation is going to be way easier. And it can also be a lot more fun. If they say yes, great. That's how you create opportunities for yourself. If they say no, then you'll only have invested a few months of your time into it and you can either stop or you can go somewhere else.
[00:34:39] And by the way, that's actually great news. Like you can usually still win even if your company doesn't end up paying you because you can add the work you've done to your resume and apply it somewhere else, where they do want it, where they do value it. So that's literally how you can invent experience for yourself that you wouldn't have otherwise had. And then hopefully the reward comes with the next position. But absolutely there's always an element, I think when you do something like this to sort of capture it and publicize it in a classy way, in an appropriate way so that people can wrap their heads around what you've been doing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:07] A rule of thumb I might use here is make sure you're taken care of, and that all of your basic needs are met before you offer your help to other people in a major way. You should always be helping other people but if you're taking on, what's essentially an unpaid pro-bono part-time job, you need to make sure that you're not risking or putting other things on the back burner that are crucial to you. You know, I'm not saying don't do pro-bono work. I'm just saying you need to have your bases covered. Once that threshold is met, you can and should give freely to people in organizations that also value your help in the long run. The thing is, Gabriel, if I worked for a charity and they treated me kind of poorly and didn't give me any thanks — which is kind of what you get when you work for a charity if you're lucky and you match with a good one — I would eventually leave. So why work for a for-profit company that isn't giving you your remuneration as it were, whether that's thanks or money or even — you know, if they're like, "Look, you're awesome. You're an all-star. We can't give you a raise, but we're going to create a division where you do this and create a job for you." That's also a form of compensation. Get that ish in writing though. Be careful. In other words, don't give 20 extra hours per week with no pay to a company that isn't even paying you enough to live the life that you are supposed to be at that position in the company and doesn't indicate that it values what you're offering. This is how you can be generous freely without being taken advantage of at the same time.
[00:36:30] All right, next up.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:36:31] Hey, Jordan and team. As a blind person, I've never been really good at understanding small talk and getting people to talk to me. I find that people don't want to come up to me because of the cane and misconceptions around blindness and blind people. So I tend to just talk to friends through iMessage and scroll through Facebook and Twitter. I want to be able to be a social butterfly, but I'm introverted, to say the least. How do I get over this when I can't see facial expressions or body language to judge a person's mood or what have you? Signed, Caught in a Double-Blind.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:01] First of all, this is such an interesting dang in question.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:37:04] Super interesting. I love that this person wrote in.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:07] Yeah. Second of all, let's just acknowledge that you navigate the world in a different way from other people. And that must be really hard sometimes. Even if you are a master conversationalist, there will always be certain challenges for you like not having access to the same visual data as everyone else, not knowing where to look in a conversation, dealing with other people's uncertainty about how to interact with you — which by the way is like, the majority. I don't think anybody cares where you're looking at a conversation. I think it's more like other people being weird around you. And that's what it sounds like from the letter too. It's also other people being weird. I just want to recognize these are real challenges for blind people and that we shouldn't waive these away because that would be absurd disingenuous. So I don't want to be flippant when I say that my advice on this is to ignore their nonverbal communication because you can't see them anyways. So why strain yourself trying to figure out what their body is doing.
[00:38:01] You have different channels of input that we don't have that you've developed over time. You're missing a nonverbal communication element but I guarantee you, you're going to get really good at every other element of conversation. I think you being able to hear that tension in someone's voice, you being able to be witty in a conversation if that's what you want to do, or to really focus on other people's feelings if that's what you want to do. There's all kinds of different skill sets that you can build that you are advantaged to build here. It's an advantage not to have to worry about it.
[00:38:29] No, one's going to think, "Oh my gosh, he's looking in the wrong way in the conversation. It's so rude. What's their problem." I mean, it's so clear and apparent that you couldn't react to their nonverbal communication that I really don't think it's going to matter. So you should just ignore it, especially since there's nothing you can do about it. This is the simplest way to leverage this, honestly, as a strength here, in my opinion, potentially. Gabe, what do you think?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:38:52] I think you're absolutely right. There are always ways to work with and around your circumstances. And in this case, the things that he perceives as limitations, which are in many social situations, limitations could actually also be huge advantages that you and I don't even have. Increased sensitivity to vocal tonality, curiosity about the world that you can access visually, but you want to access auditorily or that you perceive and navigate in a different way. I mean, Jordan, touched on this. It's actually kind of liberating to not be so driven by visual information all of the time. I bet you're able to draw different conclusions from situations. You'll notice things that people don't notice. You might be able to approach people without fear of what they think of your judgment, about what they're doing. It's amazing. Like that's a gift in a certain way.
[00:39:38] On a more practical level, you might have to make an extra effort to talk to and connect with people sometimes. You might have to go way out of your way to meet them sometimes. That will take you out of your comfort zone and I know it is hard, but it is essential. It will force you to become a better conversationalist, a better friend, a better guest at a party. You know, while I was reading this letter, I was thinking about Sean Stephenson, whom we both knew.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:59] Yeah, absolutely. A friend of mine
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:40:00] Who passed away about a year ago, a little less than a year ago. And I didn't know, Sean super well. We had a couple of cool conversations. What I remember about him is that he was a guy who was very obviously disabled and had probably more reasons than anybody to not go to a conference, to not go to a party, to not go up and chat with people. I mean, obviously, he had done some extraordinary work over the course of his life long before I met him to reframe that and to deal with it. I think he had a whole physical and mental routine that he went through to make his life —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:30] He was three-feet tall in a wheelchair, and his bones were as fragile as chalk.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:40:33] That's right.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:34] So he could fall anywhere any way or, you know, get too strong of a handshake and he could break bones. His disease was called osteogenesis imperfecta. And it's rare and he wasn't supposed to live past childhood and he was well into his 30s and got married and everything. He had a PhD. I mean, he was an awesome dude and he worked out every morning. There are videos of that. That's what you're talking about, right? Where he would like, he has like a medicine ball workout where he would like rollover and throw the ball. I mean, the dude worked out every day. Well, it's like, what's your excuse? You know, he works out every day. It's crazy.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:41:05] Totally. That's what I remember thinking when I met him. But, but more specifically, what I remember about him is how funny he was. And he went so far out of his way to call attention to his disability and had come up with almost like — I don't want to call it a routine or stick because it was so much more genuine than that. He had grown comfortable with acknowledging the obvious difference between him and the rest of the world. And it made him so funny and it made him so accessible. It made him incredibly human. And there wasn't one person at this party who wouldn't hang out with him, where people didn't want to be around him.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:38] Always.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:41:38] And he was the last person if you just took them at face value, you would expect to be that way. So look, this is a very personal thing. How do you present yourself to the world? To what extent do you have a sense of humor about it? Do you mock yourself openly when you walk up to people and say, "Hi, I'm blind"? These are all a matter of personal style, but there is a way of relating to people that's available to you, that isn't available to everyone else. And the more you acknowledge it openly, the more people will feel comfortable moving past it. And then being able to get to know you as a human being, which I think is what you're really getting at.
[00:42:08] At the same time. I just want to say it's okay to be an introvert dude. This has nothing to do with your disability. Some people recover energy when they're alone and that's totally fine. And you're wired that way. It might not ever go away. That doesn't mean you're doing something wrong. If the internet helps you meet people, great. Maybe build relationships there first, then take them into the real world. That might be your way of primarily connecting with people. Just like it is for most people, frankly, these days. But what I think Jordan and I are both getting at is you don't need to feel like you are boxed into being a certain kind of person, because you think people will relate to you that way, just in virtue of this one limitation that you have. There's so much more to you and the more you get comfortable sharing that, the more a lot of this other stuff will open up.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:48] Yeah. Well said, Gabriel. You know, I got a little choked up about my friend because he was supposed to come and visit the month before he passed away and he couldn't make it. So we were like, "Oh, well, we'll just do it later." It's a really strong reminder that later sometimes never comes, man, really. And I think a lot of people are feeling that right now. Now that they postponed, I don't know, a family vacation and said they would do it later in 2020. And it's like, "No, you're not leaving the house for anything." Nothing like that.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:43:14] Yup.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:15] Yeah. Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone that wrote in this week. Go back and check out the guests Amanda Knox and Tom Wainwright if you haven't yet.
[00:43:22] If you want to know how I managed to book all these great guests, it's always about the network. I'm using systems, tiny habits. It's six minutes a day, Six-Minute Networking course, which is free on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. Don't kick the can down the road. Dig the well before you get there. You hear me say that all the time. I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago, the course is free. You don't have to put your credit card in. It's just a gift if that still exists in this day and age. Find it all for free at jordanharbinger.com/course. A link to the show notes for this episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes. There's a video of this interview, this Feedback Fridays on our YouTube channel, jordanharbinger.com/youtube. We don't always upload it at the same time as we do this show. So whatever, no one cares. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also hit me on LinkedIn.
[00:44:12] This show has created an association with PodcastOne and my amazing team, including Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Sal Cotching, and you, Gabriel Mizrahi. Keep sending in those questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our advice and opinions, and those of our guests are their own. I'm a lawyer, not your lawyer, so do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. And remember, we rise by lifting others, share the show with those you love. If you found this out useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:44:49] As promised, here we go with a preview trailer of our interview with Vince Beiser.
Vince Beiser: [00:44:53] If anybody had told me three, four years ago that I was going to be spending my every waking hour thinking and talking about sand, I would have just laughed. It's actually the most important, solid substance on earth. We use about 50 billion tons of sand every year. That's enough to cover the entire State of California every single year. Every year, we use them enough concrete to build a wall 90-feet high and 90-feet across right the way around the planet at the equator. A bunch of sand might get broken off of a mountain, top, washed down into a plain somewhere, and then that sand gets buried under subsequent geological layers and pushed down under the earth and compressed and turned into sandstone. And then that sandstone may get pushed up again by geologic forces over hundreds of thousands of years and worn away again and again broken down back into grains. So an individual grain of sand can be millions of years old.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:56] We're fully eclipsing the rate of creation here.
Vince Beiser: [00:45:59] You're probably sitting in a building made of just a huge pile of sand. All the roads connecting all those buildings, also made out of sand. The glass, the windows in all those buildings, also made out of sand. The microchips, the power, our computers, our cell phones, all of our other digital goodies, also made from sand. So without sand, there's no modern civilization. And the craziest thing about it as we are starting to run out.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:26] For more on why sand is the next petroleum-like resource and some crazy stories about sand pirates and the black market for sand, check out episode 97 with Vince Beiser right here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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