You’re a mother of three, happily married to a wonderful man. But lately, you’ve been acting on your urges to get intimate with other women. Racked with guilt, what can you do to come to terms with this secret lesbian love life before it wrecks your marriage? 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:
- What does it mean to live with a bias toward action?
- You’re a mother of three, happily married to a wonderful man. But lately, you’ve been acting on your urges to get intimate with other women. Racked with guilt, what can you do to come to terms with this secret lesbian love life before it wrecks your marriage?
- How do you break out of the dead-end job rut? You’re not looking for your dream job, and you’re not looking to get rich. You just want to be content with your career and find financial stability, but it seems easier said than done.
- Your father is a retired child psychologist who should know that treating you like a nuisance when you need good advice about raising your own child isn’t doing your relationship any favors. Is there anything you can do to make him understand something that seems so obvious?
- You’ve been doing the work of someone two levels above you in the company hierarchy, but you keep getting the brush off when you try to negotiate a raise and elevation in title. How do you more assertively pursue your due?
- You try to maintain your adult friendships by reaching out and catching up whenever the opportunity arises, but you can’t shake the feeling that you’re always the one putting in effort that’s not reciprocated. Are you crossing some invisible boundaries you’re not aware of, or should you just keep on keeping on?
- 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.
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
Vuori is built to move and sweat and yet designed with a West Coast aesthetic that transitions effortlessly into everyday life. Go to vuoriclothing.com/jordan and use code JORDAN-APR20 at checkout for 20% off your first purchase, free shipping on US orders over $75, and free returns!
Better Help offers affordable, online counseling at your convenience. If you’re coping with depression, stress, anxiety, addiction, or any number of issues, you’re not alone. Talk with a licensed professional therapist for 10 percent off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan!
chilisleep is the sleep system that increases your sleep quality and quantity, resets your circadian rhythm, increases melatonin, activates thinning brown fats, and gets rid of night sweats. Head on over to chilitechnology.com/jordan to get 25 percent off chiliPAD & 15 percent off OOLER!
NetSuite by Oracle allows you to manage sales, finances, accounting, orders, and HR for your business instantly on the cloud from anywhere! Download your free guide — Seven Key Strategies to Grow Your Profits — at netsuite.com/jordan!
The Georgetown McDonough MBA has a curriculum designed to prepare you for the global stage. When you earn your MBA here, you’ll no longer wonder how much you could accomplish. Instead, you’ll know. Find out more at choosegeorgetown.com/mba!
Miss our interview with entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and Kernel founder and CEO Bryan Johnson? Catch up with episode 223: Bryan Johnson | A Plan for the Future of the Human Race here!
Resources from This Episode:
- David Shimer | 100 Years of Covert Election Interference | TJHS 419
- Renee DiResta | Dismantling the Disinformation Machine | TJHS 420
- Gabriel Weinberg | How Mental Models Boost Super Thinking | TJHS 214
- Sappho | Poetry Foundation
- Am I Queer? Here’s How to Tell, according to Sexuality Experts | Elite Daily
- The ABCs of L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ | The New York Times
- How to Come Out to Your Husband | LiveAbout
- Straight Spouse Network
- Old School | Prime Video
- Struggling to Find Your Purpose? Do This Instead. | Jordan Harbinger
- Philip McKernan | Why Your Truth Matters and How to Speak It | TJHS 145
- On Flakiness: Why You Should Do What You Say You Will | Jordan Harbinger
- Wisdom Tooth Removal: The Aftermath | YouTube
- Alex Kouts | The Secrets About Negotiation Part One | TJHS 70
- Six-Minute Networking
- Connection Fox
Transcript for Sorting Out My Secret Lesbian Love Life | Feedback Friday (Episode 421)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. Today, I'm here with my FBF BFF, 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 much deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening even inside of your own mind.
[00:00:35] If you're new to the show on Fridays — episodes like this— we give advice to you and answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes to authors, thinkers, and performers. And if you want a selection of featured episodes, you want something to get you started — what your whistle — go to jordanharbinger.com, we'll hook you right up.
[00:00:55] This week on the show we had David Shimer talking about election interference in other countries, how the United States has done it in the past, and how Russia has mastered this art. And we also had Renee DiResta discussing, well, how Russia and other countries use social media to sway public opinion. So lots of non-political — don't worry — election stuff this week. So we're spitting some non-partisan facts for everyone here this week. It's also informative, even if you're not from the USA, you should get something out of this. Make sure you've had a look and a listen to all that.
[00:01:24] You can reach us for these advice shows at email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise. If you can include a subject line, it's not like advice or Feedback Friday, that helps. It makes our job a lot easier.
[00:01:36] I was thinking about my growth process, not like my metaphorical, like growing as a human. But I mean, literally my business growth. And I was reminded of the Gabriel Weinberg episode 214 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:01:49] He said something along these lines, I'm paraphrasing — "But live with a bias toward action." And when you live with a bias toward action, it ironically teaches you patience because when you take action each day, you learn the value of accumulating small wins, small improvements every day, over time. And you start to see and understand how your daily habits compound. So be impatient with your actions, but then be patient with your results. So get started right away, do stuff right away every day. Make sure you're adding on. You're building brick by brick, but be patient with letting everything take its time to come into fruition. And nowhere is that more appropriate than in a freaking podcast that takes forever to build and is slow as hell.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:02:31] Yeah. Or a piece of writing or a piece of artwork or building a business. I could see that being super relevant. It's interesting. When I find myself getting impatient with results when things are taking longer than they should, it's usually because I'm not doing stuff like it's a lot harder to be impatient when you're actually doing a little bit every single day. So I like that. There's a very close relationship between those two ideas. I'm glad you said that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:55] So that's Gabriel Weinberg episode 214 of The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll link to that in the show notes. Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:03:02] Dear, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a 46-year-old mother of three young children and married to a fantastic husband. He satisfies me in every way, including sexually. I had a great childhood with no trauma and nothing bad happened to me. In the last six months though, I've had strong urges to have sex with other women. I actually went online and hooked up a few times. Last week, I went to a wild lesbian bar and had the time of my life while my husband stayed home with the kids. After these experiences are finished, I feel a lot of guilt. I confided in my best friend who told me to write to you guys because she is confused as well. She does not understand why I cheated on such a great guy. I don't know what to do to control these urges. I wish I never had them. Do you have any advice for me? Signed, Secret Sappho.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:44] What's a Sappho?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:03:45] Sappho was the Greek poet who lived on the Island of Lesbos, which is where the term lesbian comes from.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:51] I wondered if there was a connection to that Island name and the name lesbian — because it seems so similar and there's nothing else, I've ever heard that is like —
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:04:01] Yeah, like that's way too much of a coincidence.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:03] Yeah. Interesting. So that makes sense that it comes from Greek and that there's a whole island named after it. What makes less sense is why it's full of Syrian refugees right now, but that's a different show topic, I think, entirely.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:04:14] It's two different brands.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:15] Yeah. Two very different brands. Yeah. All right. Okay. Well, anyway, that's one way to kick off the show, and let me say, I'm really glad you wrote in, because if there's anything a closet lesbian needs it's the advice of two straight guys.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:04:31] Yeah. I was thinking the exact same thing. Let's get into it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:34] I mean, we are so qualified for this. Yes. This is actually pretty simple in my opinion. You are queer, whatever that sort of means, right? There's a lot of definitions — it's a pretty flexible definition word, but you are almost certainly bisexual from your description. You're married to a man. You love him. You enjoy sleeping with him, but you also enjoy sleeping with women. You're like a lot of people on earth as I'm sure you know. And purely from the standpoint of getting in touch with who you really are, I think it's a good thing that you're exploring these aspects of yourself. Based on your letter, it sounds pretty fun, liberating. What isn't simple though, of course, is how you feel about this discovery and how you're integrating or not integrating this aspect of your sexuality into your life. On one level, you're obviously really enjoying this new part of your identity. On another level, you're feeling guilty about hiding it from your husband. And it sounds like you're also feeling a lot of shame around the whole experience, which I completely understand saying things like you need to control these urges and you wish you never had them.
[00:05:31] It's kind of sad to me, Gabe, to hear that. I mean, I understand fully why, but I can hear the conflict in the letter and I can appreciate how difficult this is to wrap your head around.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:05:41] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:41] Never having been in this type of position, I can't imagine for one second, that there's anything easy about cheating on somebody and cheating on them in a way that's even more complicated than just like normal cheating, right? Like it's not even just another person.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:05:56] Yeah, and also having all of that happen to you at 46 years old for the first time when you have three young children. Yeah. So where somebody else might have sorted this out 20 years ago, she's just wrestling with it now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:06] Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:06:06] So that does make it more complicated.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:08] And listen, before we continue, I just want to save that conflict, that's something I think every queer person has dealt with on some level or at some point in their lives, acknowledging who they are to themselves, acknowledging who they are with other people, dealing with complicated feelings around their sexuality, all of that. There's nothing inherently wrong with where you're at with this right now. I know it's confusing, especially since you're discovering this later in life — like you said, Gabe. But I just want you to know that it's okay. And like I said, I'm straight, last I checked, so I'm highly qualified to opine on all of this. Look, this is a process. It might take some time for you to come to terms with all of it. However, that happens, that's highly personal, but I can share a few thoughts.
[00:06:50] First, this all really begins with you accepting your orientation, whatever that might be. This means working through the feelings you described, the guilt, the shame, the desire to be with somebody else of the same sex. That's a whole process in and of itself. And it might take some time, but this is the crucial stage. And I think it would be extremely helpful for you — helpful for you to do that with a therapist or somebody else who's qualified. Somebody who you can trust that will help you understand these parts of yourself, help you integrate them into your identity, help you navigate the conversations that are coming up right now, all that stuff. You don't have to do that alone. You shouldn't do it alone. There are also tons of resources and for LGBTQ+. Hopefully, that covers most of it, people, right? Everything from group therapy to social networks, to support groups, to books. The Internet will be your best friend here. And I'm not just talking about Pornhub, but whatever you're dealing with.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:07:46] Although there are some interesting websites that I'm sure will come in handy, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:49] That's what I've learned most of — no, that's where the kids are learning these days. But I promise you thousands and thousands of people have dealt with this exact same thing. Look for the people that you need. Look for the information you need. Let those resources guide you along the way. And by the way, I thought this was interesting that you said, "I had a great childhood with no trauma and nothing bad happened to me." I'm guessing you wanted us to know that you weren't like acting out, working through some unresolved trauma by hooking up with random ladies. I hear you. I get it. You're saying that this is who you really are, but the truth is we all have stuff childhoods that informs who we become and how we feel about ourselves and how we relate to other people. It doesn't have to be traumatic, so to speak in order to play a role.
[00:08:33] The fact that you're feeling all this shame, the fact that you're hiding these affairs from your husband, the fact that you wish you were different. I guarantee you that all of that connects in some way to how you grew up. Not that your parents made a mistake or that something bad happened. This is just one more reason that it would be really helpful for you to have somebody qualified, actually qualified to talk to you about this. I'm glad to hear that you have a close friend in your life, by the way. Someone you can confide in. That's great but it doesn't sound like they necessarily understand what's going on either, especially if their conclusion was, "Why would you cheat on such a great guy?" It's like, "That's what you took away from this."
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:09:08] Yeah, I was thinking about that. I was like, wait, but isn't that — I mean, yes, I understand you're confused. And I'm sure that you've probably known this person for 10 years and you're surprised, but there's like a very big and deep issue happening here that probably warrants a different response than just like —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:23] Right.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:09:23] "I don't get it. He's nice."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:25] "Yeah. I know but he seems so great. And you never fight." Hello? She's having sex with women. Like you don't do that because you had a tiff with somebody in your house.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:09:33] Yeah, right, right.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:34] Like this is a big thing, but yeah, it is kind of typical of like middle-aged folks everywhere to be like — to put like a very sort of one-dimensional spin on this kind of thing, I think, right? An initial shock reaction and then like, "Huh? But you guys never fight." It's like, "Okay, that's not the point." The point is —
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:09:53] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:53] "I am secretly gay," right? Bottom line, you can't resolve any of these problems until you do the work internally of accepting yourself — as corny as that's going to sound. That's your main job right now. It'll be intense. It'll be scary sometimes. But any process that brings us closer to who we really are, is ultimately positive in my opinion. And you're on the right path, so know that. Gabe, though, how does she eventually tell her husband about this? That's got to get resolved. You can't just lead two lives. That's going to be so stressful and bad for you.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:10:22] I agree. Well, first of all, I think you are dead on that. She needs to do some work on herself before she gets to that phase of it, but that phase is absolutely coming and she has painted herself into a corner by choosing to have these affairs behind her husband's back, which creates another huge secret on top of the one that she's already dealing with. So whatever, I'm not judging her, but that's where she is. So at some point, she is probably going to have this conversation with her husband.
[00:10:45] You know it's hard to be truly intimate with somebody who doesn't know everything about you, everything important anyway. And I think this qualifies as something important. You know, right now you are hiding a very significant part of who you are with him. And yeah, that's doable for now, maybe. I'm sure it's stressful but doable. But maybe you think it's even necessary, but in the long-term, it'll probably begin to put some emotional distance between you and your husband. And by the way, your kids are going to pick up on that tension, even if they can't fully articulate exactly what it is, they would be picking up on — that will creep into your whole family dynamic if you don't nip this in the bud.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:20] You know, Gabe, I think and I know you're probably going to get to this, but she's probably going, how do I balance telling my kids it's going to be traumatic for them versus just sort of keeping it under wraps. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it's better to be sort of upfront with your family and be present about it and deal with it than it is to be checked out because you have a giant secret. I think your kids, even though they might be like, "What mom's bi? WTF, dad's upset." That's going to be sort of a temporary WTF and then kind of even out over time, whereas keeping it secret is going to screw up everything kind of consistently until they're old enough to go, "Why the hell didn't you tell us?" And then they're going to be pissed. They're going to be mad about that.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:12:00] Yeah, I do agree with that. But on the other hand, she does have three young children, so it's not like she needs to turn to three-year-old Madeline and be like, "Hey, mommy's bi. Here's some pancakes."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:12] Right.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:12:12] I think there's probably a time and place to have that conversation when they're a little bit older. They don't need to know everything right away. I was just suggesting that if she and her husband don't come to terms with this openly, then the children will start to pick up on that. And that's another problem.
[00:12:24] But as for the affairs, I can understand why you're keeping them a secret right now but in the long-term, that's going to become an issue. Orientation aside, I'm not even talking about gay or straight or whatever, we're talking about infidelity here. And infidelity, that's cancer in any relationship, right? The sooner —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:39] Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:12:39] — you can tell your husband that you're bi, that you have these feelings, the sooner you can both decide what kind of relationship you actually want to have. And the longer you hide it, the more you'll have to lie and keep up the secret life. That's going to be way worse when you finally do tell him. I mean —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:53] Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:12:53] — that sounds stressful to me.
[00:12:54] So I know that you're doing this out of fear and out of you trying to understand this yourself. You're not doing it out of malice. You're not trying to hurt your husband. But it's not a sustainable way to deal with your orientation and it's definitely not fair to him. So it sounds like you and your husband have a very special connection. It sounds like you still love this guy. I'm guessing he still loves you. My hope is that he's understanding when you do decide to share this with him, but you should know that he's going to have his own experience of this whole thing. And fair enough, I mean, it's a lot to process. You're married to somebody for a long time. You think you know everything about them and then they pop up and they're like, "You know last weekend when I said I was playing tennis. I was actually down at the White Unicorn, meeting some strangers." I don't know where you went. I don't know what it's called, but —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:34] White Unicorn certainly sounds like a gay bar though, yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:13:38] I'm just guessing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:39] Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:13:40] I live near Venice so I know what's up. It is a lot to process for both of you. Finding out that your spouse is changing in such a profound way that deserves some conversations. And my guess is that the infidelity piece of that is probably going to be the hardest for him to accept. So again, I think Jordan is dead on. I think therapy will be key for you guys here. You might even want to look into couples counseling with your husband. You clearly have a lot of complicated feelings about him, about yourself. He's definitely going to have some stuff to talk about in these sessions. And if you want to find a way to stay together, which it sounds like you do, but that's a whole other conversation. If you do want to stay together, then you're going to want to have a place to work all of that out with a professional.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:16] This is totally inappropriate, but it reminds me of what's that movie with Luke Wilson, where he comes back from work and his wife is there and she's doing some weird sort of kinky thing alone. And he's like, "No, no, I don't know. Let's explore this." And there's all these people in the closets and stuff. And he finds them and he's like, "What the hell?" And finds out that she's like doing all this stuff behind his back. And then the doorbell rings and this guy with all these chains shows up and goes, "Yeah, I'm here for the gang bang." I mean, like he slams the door.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:14:43] Is this Old School?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:45] You don't know this movie? It might be Old School. Yeah. Something like that.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:14:46] That's the only movie I can think of because I think Luke Wilson was in that movie.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:50] Hang on, I'm just going to Google, "I'm here for the gang bang."
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:14:53] That's a better Google search than what I searched.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:55] And it's going to show up. Old School. It is.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:14:57] It is Old School.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:58] Yeah. Yeah. So good guess, you absolutely nailed.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:15:00] The only thing I remember about that movie is Jeremy, young Jeremy Piven playing the villain.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:05] God. I barely remember it.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:15:06] Ari Gold from Entourage is the —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:08] Yeah, I know who he is. Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:15:10] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:11] Yeah. Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:15:11] Anyway, go on.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:12] Anyway, I'm glad you're finding out who you really are. It's important. Just try to do it as honestly, consciously, as you can so you don't hurt your family or damage your marriage in the process of coming out. And again, I hope it wasn't too annoying to hear all that from a couple of guys, one who's happily married to one lady and zero men, but hey, you wrote in to us so this one's on you. All right. Good luck.
[00:15:37] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:15:42] This episode is sponsored in part by Vuori Clothing. Invest in your happiness. A lot of us are working from home these days. Yeah, it's important to look good for those Zoom calls, but you still want to feel good. And when I say feel good, I mean, comfy, obviously. Vuori is breaking down the boundaries of traditional activewear. They offer a new perspective on performance apparel. Everything they make, everything super comfortable. I promise you. This is all you're going to want to wear. They've got button-downs. They've got joggers. This Bishop short sleeve is my personal favorite. It's perfect for those waist-up Zoom calls — little bit of golfing that I don't do. I do mostly chill in them. Their shorts are great too. Do yourself a favor and join the Vuori family.
Jen Harbinger: [00:16:21] Head over to vuoriclothing.com/jordan for 20 percent off your entire order. You don't need to mess with any coupon codes. Our exclusive discount will automatically be applied at checkout. Invest in happiness is Vuori's product guarantee. Love the product or send it back. Always free returns. Give it a go and head over to vuoriclothing.com/jordan. That's V-U-O-R-I-clothing.com/jordan for 20 percent off your entire order.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:46] This episode is also sponsored by Better Help. If you think you may be depressed or you're feeling overwhelmed or anxious, Better Help offers licensed online counselors who are trained to listen and help. I know I've talked about him before I'm a huge fan of therapy. Sometimes you just need to bounce something off somebody. Just to let you know that you're not the crazy one. Anxiety, grief, depression, work stuff, family stuff — this is all fair game over here for Better Help. You fill out a questionnaire. A couple of days later, they match you up with a counselor. You can switch if you don't like them. Everything's confidential. It's all phone, video, chat, text. You don't have to drive across town and park. You don't have to talk to your aunt who's the only therapist in town. A million-plus people are doing this. They're hiring all across the United States. It's a really good option if you need somebody to talk to trust me,
Jen Harbinger: [00:17:30] Better Help is an affordable option. And our listeners get 10 percent off your first month with the discount code JORDAN. Get started today at betterhelp.com/jordan. Talk to a therapist online and get help.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:42] And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:17:47] All right, what's next?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:17:48] Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a 28-year-old male who's in a weird spot when it comes to my career. I actually wouldn't say I have a career. I worked production in a warehouse for a basic hourly wage. It's enough to live off of, but I'm hardly saving any money. It's basically a dead end and I'm not a big fan of the company that I work for. The problem is I have no idea what kind of career I actually want. What I like to do and what I'm good at is creating stories. I say creating stories because I'm not great at the technical side of writing. I enjoy creative writing and my stories are good. My friends genuinely liked them, but they're full of grammatical errors and stuff. And this stuff matters as a professional. And I know I couldn't beat out the competition unless I'm extremely talented or lucky, I will struggle to make writing a stable career. This means that what I like to do and what I'm good at is off the table. I have no idea what direction to take outside of dead-end retail and warehouse jobs. I went to college for wildlife biology, but the math and science kicked my butt. So I dropped out. I'm still paying off my loans and going back to school is not something I can afford. I'm left looking for a job that doesn't require a degree and that lowers my options. All the career advice I find is about people who are either about to go to college or people who know what they want to do and just haven't taken the step. How do you find a job when you don't even know a keyword to type in the search bar of a job website? "Take the first step, work towards your goal," that's the advice I always hear. But how can I take that first step when I don't even know where the stairs are? I'm not looking for my dream job and I'm not looking to get rich. I just want to be content with my career and be financially stable. But sadly, that seems easier said than done. Any help would be appreciated. Signed, Looking for the Stairs.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:21] Well, first of all, I want to commend you for being extremely honest about all of this. And I know that being lost in your career is really stressful. I can feel that in your letter. I understand what that's like. But a lot of people end up making even worse choices because they never confront what they can actually do and how that lines up with the world. You are doing that. And even though it probably makes you feel even more stuck. In another way, it actually gets you closer to a solution since you're not spinning your wheels, trying to write a novel that will never get published, or trying to be a freaking zoologist when you hate science. I know that's called comfort, but it is true. I personally spent a huge part of my life through most of my 20s, thinking that I'd be stuck as a lawyer because I didn't know what else I wanted to do. And I thought it was a given that having a job I wasn't interested in or passionate about that was just going to be an uncomfortable fact of life that I'd have to get used to. Thankfully, I ended up stumbling into podcasting. The rest is history.
[00:20:16] So look, I wish I could snap my fingers and give you the answer but as you know, it does not work like that. This is a process you’re going to have to go through. And it's the process that's going to teach you what to do with your life. That said, I'm going to share a few ideas that might help. The first thing I think you should do is take a good, hard look at some of the patterns in your life. You say that you enjoy writing, but you're not technically a good writer, so there's no way you can make that work. End of story. Then you mentioned that math and science kicked your butt in college, so you dropped out. Again, kind of end of story. I can't help but wonder if you're avoiding a lot of the hard work that comes with chasing something that you want. I'm not trying to read into the tea leaves here, but you clearly have some interesting talents and a lot of curiosity. But it sounds to me just like, based on your letter, that it's been a struggle for you to follow through on your goals. So my question is what happens to you when something gets hard? What beliefs pop into your head when something starts kicking your ass a little? What part of yourself are you trying to protect by writing off an entire career or dropping out of the programs you need to get there? Is it the pressure of knowing you're going to have to work a lot harder than you thought? Is it feeling like you're not smart enough or not good enough to really see things through? Because I smell a little bit of that, honestly.
[00:21:33] I wish we could spend months talking about all that. And I'm only going on what you shared with me, but I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't point out that there's clearly some pattern at work here. And the effect of that pattern on your life is being stuck. And look, let me be super, super clear, I'm not telling you, I am not telling you that you should be a writer and that you should go back to school or whatever. You're correct. Writing's really hard. I certainly don't think college is the solution to every problem. I learned that lesson the hard way, going to undergrad for four, and then a law school for three years, seven years, total. It's a long time. It's a long time to learn about the skull shapes of Australopithecines.
[00:22:10] What I am saying is that a similar pattern seems to be at work with both of those options. If you did decide to try to be a writer, or if you did go back to school, would it even lead anywhere? Would you be able to pull off a graphic novel if you weren't willing to work hard on your craft? Would college even help you if you couldn't tolerate the feeling of pushing through? The common element here is you. Or to be more accurate, the part of you that wants to avoid being exposed when shit gets hard. All humans deal with that to some degree, by the way. But some of us are extra vulnerable in that department. And the more we avoid working on it, the more vulnerable we become. So until you address that inner stuff, I think the outer stuff is going to be a challenge for you because the truth is — and this is going to be a little heavy, but here it goes — really what you're experiencing as a struggle to find work, well to find work that you actually enjoy anyway, that's actually a struggle to find a relationship to that work inside yourself.
[00:23:08] I know that sounds a little woo, but whatever bear with me. You want a job that's going to fulfill you but you haven't addressed the parts of your personality that would make that job even possible in the first place. I'm talking about things like commitment, a willingness to fail, a willingness to struggle, confidence in yourself. And this might be the most important one right now, a better understanding of what you have to offer. All right. So what skills and talents do you have right now? I'm not talking about the big romantic ones, like writing stories or working with animals. I'm talking basic and mundane stuff. The more basic and mundane, the better. Are you a good driver? Are you good at talking to people? Are you reliable? Do you stay late at work to get the job done? Are you organized? Do people trust you? Do you take an interest in other people? I know these qualities sound kind of boring, but that's actually my point. They're such an important part of our everyday lives, that they seem boring when really, they were incredibly valuable to employers.
[00:24:04] I get emails all the time and people who are like, "I finally realized the one thing I like doing is talking to people. And now I work in sales for an office supply company and I love it." Or there'll be like, "The only thing I can really do is fix stuff around the house and now I'm a carpenter and make six figures a year. I used to be a barista." These are actual emails. That we have gotten recently, these aren't people who are finding their purpose in some woo-woo life coach-y sense. They're not meditating on a beach somewhere to find out what they want and need to do. They're just looking at the very basic stuff that they can offer other people. Stuff by the way that they didn't even realize was useful because they didn't take it seriously because it wasn't special or impressive or exciting. They're looking at that stuff and they're going, "Huh? Maybe my neighbor will pay me to fix her sink. Maybe if I shoot the shit with somebody, I can get them to buy a homemade desk from me or a machine-made desk for me." And they start and it snowballs and then that's what they're doing with their lives. And that is the true purpose. That's figuring out what you actually naturally enjoy doing on a day-to-day level. And then sharing it generously with the world until it rewards you, which spoiler alert it almost always does and faster than you think.
[00:25:15] So, I'd think about which qualities you've noticed in yourself at the warehouse and see how you can invest more deliberately in those. All right. Gabe, what about shoring up some of the weaknesses or areas that need attention or improvement?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:25:29] Yeah, I think there's a huge piece of this, which is him getting in touch with what he already has to offer, figuring out what those skills are, what those talents are, what people really need from him, and then building a career, hopefully, around those things. But that doesn't mean that the answer to his problem is, "Just accept yourself as you are," and just tell people, "Take it or leave it." And then your purpose will fall into your lap. There's still work to be done here for himself. My question is, what kind of employee do you really want to be? How do you want people to see you? As you've just pointed out Jordan, the whole conversation about finding your purpose is usually frankly, pretty annoying. And it's something that we usually associate with like inspo blogs on Tumblr or hiring a life coach for $8,000 who's sitting with you and putting you through some parachute exercise until you finally confess that the only thing you actually love is baking. And that's why you have like 10,000 people on Instagram trying to sell you cookies with your name on them or whatever. But the real work of finding your purpose is much subtler. It's not as sexy or exciting as that. And when you look for a purpose in that very basic way, I think you end up with something a lot more meaningful and frankly, something that you can actually make money from, which is this guy's goal.
[00:26:36] In addition to everything you just said, Jordan, I would urge this guy to start thinking about some of the qualities that he could cultivate that do not require him to do any of these big things like college or sticking with a novel-writing program for eight years if that's really not what he wants to do. Figuring out what those qualities are and really making a conscious choice to develop them. And I'll be very specific here. Let's take an example. Doing something when you say you will, right? Like that quality in somebody is huge. Do you know how few people actually do what they say they will when they say that they're going to do it? It's insane.
[00:27:08] Here's another one showing up early and staying late at the warehouse at an office wherever you are. Bro, do you know how amazing somebody who shows up early and stays the latest? That is one of the most valuable qualities that an employer looks for. It means a lot to a boss. That's huge. Here's another one being kind. Being kind is one of the most underrated qualities in the world. Kind, people, they get noticed, they build relationships, they earn loyalty. They tend to get ahead.
[00:27:30] So my favorite thing about these qualities, if these are things that you really want to develop is that they're easy to cultivate and they are free. You don't need a BA to show up early and stay late. You don't need to have some larger than life purpose that you developed with a life coach on Snapchat, to do what you say you will do when you say that you will do it. You just have to choose to be the kind of person who does those things. And the second you do them, you are that person.
[00:27:53] So I would recommend thinking along those lines, and if you take stock of what you have to offer on a very basic and mundane level, the way Jordan described, and consciously develop these other qualities that you might not have yet. If you do all of that, then this situation is going to become a lot easier for you. And frankly, it also will be a lot more exciting. It'll be more fun. It won't be this source of anxiety and stress that it's probably been for you. I think you're so fixated on figuring out which stairs you should actually take when really you need to start becoming the kind of person who can see the stairs in the first place. The kind of person who would know how to walk up to them if you finally stumbled across them. So I took that metaphor extremely far, but I kind of liked that metaphor.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:29] Eat that shit today.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:28:31] But I do know that you have it in you, so I wish you the best, man.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:34] All right, what's next?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:28:36] Hi, Jordan. My relationship with my parents during my teenage years was tumultuous. However, I became a parent five years ago and we reconnected over their grandchild and have had a much healthier relationship since then.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:46] That's nice to hear
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:28:47] Early this year, it became apparent that my son needs help. At four years old, he had been removed from two daycares for aggressive and volatile behavior.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:54] What?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:28:55] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:56] I didn't even know that was a thing that could happen
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:28:58] That your kid could be that difficult.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:00] Yeah. At four. I mean, kids hit each other and they're like, "Hey Tommy, no hitting." But if he's removed from daycare, that seems pretty bad.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:29:09] She writes, I was at a loss, how to move forward and help my child.
[00:29:13] Yeah. Makes sense.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:14] Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:29:14] My father is a retired child psychologist, so I called him one day after a very frustrating psychiatrist appointment. My father implied that if I had kept an earlier appointment with his regular doctor, I could have had more progress. I was a bit emotional. And I said that I was doing the best I could, and I just needed to talk to him. My father's reaction was to state that I needed to, "Grow up and take care of my kids."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:35] That's mean sounding,
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:29:37] I am 35 years old. I own my own home. I have a well-paying mid-level management job. I honestly was so dumbfounded by his response that I just hung up.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:45] I don't blame you. That's like a dick thing to say when someone is calling you for help, like, "Well, if you weren't such a screw-up." And you're like, "Wait, I have a really good job. I'm young. I have a family; I have a lot of things going for me. Oh, you're just being a dick. Got it." Click.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:30:00] Yeah. Also, PS, aren't you a child psychologist? Like —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:03] Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:30:03] That's a little odd.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:04] The irony is not lost on me here of this guy having like no clue how to deal with other humans, especially his own kids.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:30:10] What if he was like, "Well, if you were a child, I would have treated you nicer, but I'm not an adult psychologist. So I don't have to be your friend."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:16] Yeah, right. "Oh, and when you were a child, I was just really stressed out all the time. So I was a dick then too. Thanks."
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:30:21] A few days later, my mom called me and basically said, "My father is in a lot of pain due to a spinal surgery last year. And that at this point he could only be a grandparent." Those are her words. She implied anything else was just too much for him. We visited them once pre-COVID and he was awful to me and my husband making snide comments that we need parenting classes and stuff like that. I was furious when we left. I know that my father is using heavy painkillers to combat his pain. And I'm concerned some of his behavior stems from that, but I have not called my father since that day. He will send me texts once in a while, which I respond to with simple bland answers. I guess at the end of the day, I feel like my father asked to be let out of being my father when I really needed him the most. He's in his 70s and I'm afraid if something happens to him, I would feel guilt over not repairing our relationship, but I also feel like it is not my job to do so. Do you have any insight on how to navigate this moving forward? Sincerely, Fatherless and Fumbling.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:16] This is a tough one. Parent-child relationships are already complicated, as we all know. And then you add in a child with — we'll call it special needs even if your child just has some anger issues. Let's just call it special needs. And you got an insensitive dad who's at a bunch of freaking OxyContin. That's a recipe for some serious drama. So there's so much I want to know about your family. I'm going to do my best to share some brief thoughts here. I just have to mention the irony again, of a retired child psychologist, who seems like a shitty parent.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:31:45] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:45] That hit me in the face right away. I mean, not only is he rude to you and your husband, but also just not helpful to his grandchild. And then it's like, "Oh, he's on pain meds. He can only be a grandparent." "Okay. Then maybe don't be a dick grandparent." You know, like aren't grandparents supposed to be nice and helpful?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:32:04] I don't know.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:05] This is like the opposite.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:32:06] It's the opposite. But he would not be the first psychologist who has some challenges in his personal life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:11] For sure, dude. And also, the other thing is here. I got a little whiff of grandma making excuses for grandpa for his entire life possibly.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:32:21] Oh, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:22] I'm reading into that. Granted I have like one data point.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:32:25] That stood out to me too. And we should definitely circle back to that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:28] Okay. Let's do that. So look, I'm sorry, your dad isn't there for you in the way that you need him to be. I'm sure you want your dad to be supportive in general. But since he's also a child psychologist, he's actually in a unique position to really help you guys and he just doesn't seem to want to, in fact, he's doing the opposite. He's putting you down. He's criticizing you. He's mocking you. That sucks. There's no excuse for that. I don't care. Look, he sounds like a difficult guy. I know there are some extenuating circumstances here with spinal surgery and the painkillers. So it's tricky. I'll come back to that in a moment. That said I took painkillers for my wisdom teeth. It wasn't spine surgery, but I took it from my wisdom teeth and my tonsils when I had those out in two separate occasions, back in the day, I was extra nice to everyone. So I'm not totally convinced — a little bit too nice. It was a little bit too nice. People had to be like, "He's on pills," because I was like trying to hug the lady at the grocery store.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:33:14] Oh, yeah, you're one of those people in the YouTube videos.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:16] Yeah, yeah, yeah, kind of — but look, I'm not sure being on pills as an excuse to be a dickhead. Just saying. Have you seen the one where the daughter is on anesthesia from medicine and she's like, "I can't talk, it sounds like I got big black dicks in my mouth," and her mom and grandma are like driving her back? I've got to find this. It's really fun and she just keeps saying, "Big black cocks," like over and over and over. And she's like, I don't 16, 17 years old.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:33:46] Oh my God. That was so uncomfortable.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:47] It's so awkward.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:33:48] Dude, imagine being the grandmother in the car, like —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:50] Oh God, well, I mean, luckily, they were laughing, but they were like, "Charlotte, shush."
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:33:57] When I watch those YouTube videos, I'm like, I'm never getting anesthesia again. Like when I had shoulder surgery, I was like, I really wonder if there's some way that I can go through this surgery without having anesthesia because I'm afraid that I'm going to say some weird shit.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:09] There's one way, but it's probably not worth it. Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:34:12] No. Yeah, it's bad. Anyway, I agree with you that it's an extenuating circumstance, but this guy's character. There's something going on.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:18] Something else is going on.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:34:19] It's not the Oxy talking. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:21] My hope is that you and your dad can talk through this stuff. I wonder what would happen if you explained to him how his behavior is affecting you and your husband, how much you would value his support, and how you want him to work on his cruelty, lack of empathy. I wonder if he would actually realize how much you want your dad. Sadly, to me, it sounds like the chances of that happening are pretty slim. Your mom basically told you he's not interested in being available to you in that way, which is freaking brutal to hear. It's his loss, honestly. I think when you hear that, you hear your dad saying, "I don't want to be a good dad to you." When really what he's saying is, "I have no idea how to be a good dad to you." I think he really has no clue. And I know that —
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:35:03] Yeah, that's a good point.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:04] It probably doesn't make it any easier to swallow though. It might make you realize this is a guy who's dealing with some demons, some serious stuff of his own stuff that goes back decades to when you were a kid. And it's probably not consciously directed at you. I wonder if he's not nice to a lot of people in his life and maybe it isn't no how to be a good dad. So he just sort of says, "Well, my dad was really angry and criticized me. So that's what parents do." And somehow through his years of getting a PhD in psychology, he never worked around that because his patterns are too deep.
[00:35:34] Anyway, here's the part where I give you a tough pill to swallow. I think you have to accept that you're not going to have the father you want at this stage of your life. And I'm not saying you don't deserve it. I'm not saying you're wrong for wanting it. I'm just saying that this guy for a bunch of complicated reasons isn't going to be that father for you. You're 35 now. You're about my age. You're younger. You're in your prime. Trust me. It's all downhill from here. In some ways, you need him more now than ever, but in other ways, you're at a place where you're going to have to learn how to be a great mom and a great partner, and a solid person without his help. And you've got this. You're going to have to bear the pain of accepting what this guy cannot offer you and develop stronger internal resources, boundaries, a sense of self-compassion, all that, to not let his negativity affect you so deeply. Basically, you're going to have to find the father you're looking for inside of yourself, which by the way, is what every single person needs to do eventually whether they have good parents or not.
[00:36:32] Gabe, is there any way she can stay connected with her father without ripping open these old and not so old wounds again and again? Because it sounds like — you know, there's a danger when you're with people like this, when you're around people like this. That you just constantly put your face up against the belt sander. And you're like, "Why am I doing this to myself every damn time?"
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:36:51] Yeah. That's the choice for her. I think that's what makes it so hard. I do think that there's a way to stay connected to your dad in a way that doesn't keep opening up the wound for you. You can be kind to him. You can be respectful. You can call them. You can keep him in the loop. And you can do your basic duty as a daughter by keeping in touch. But that doesn't mean that you need to put up with his cruelty. It doesn't mean that you have to accept it or apologize for it the way his wife is, frankly. Maybe ask yourself how you would want to feel about him when he's gone and work backward from there to figure out what the relationship should look like.
[00:37:20] Just to remember that feeling guilty about your relationship with your dad and feeling hurt that he's treating you so poorly. Those two things are not mutually exclusive. You can be hurt by his behavior and still decide to repair the relationship. Do you see what I mean? There's a way to do right by this guy and honor your feelings at the same time. I would try to make room for both of those things as you figure out how you want to relate to him.
[00:37:43] But if you do decide to repair your relationship, I would let go of any expectations about what you are going to get back. I think Jordan is dead on there. If you want to apologize so that you can feel good about how you handle this, then great. Just know that you're probably doing it more for yourself than for him. And that he might continue lashing out of you, in which case you'll have to draw that line and pull back when necessary. And I have a feeling that might come up a few more times. And yeah, that'll be pretty hard for you. It sounds to me like your mom spends a lot of time apologizing for your father, which sucks.
[00:38:12] It might explain why you feel so much guilt about all of this. I'm imagining how she treated your feelings since you were a kid. This is what we were both kind of reacting to in the letter earlier at the top. I'm guessing —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:21] Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:38:21] She did not handle your feelings particularly well. That's just an assumption I'm going to make. If you didn't do anything wrong here, which you clearly did not and you still feel guilty about your relationship with your dad, then that is a problem. That tells me that there wasn't much room for your experience growing up, probably. But that is why you're going to have to create that room for yourself now, as an adult. I wish you the best with your dad. I really do. But more importantly, I wish you the best with your son. You know, I would keep focusing on him because he really needs you right now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:49] Man at age four to have that kind of anger, that's again, highly unusual. And hopefully, it's not anything to do with development and he's just — I don't know. I mean, that sounds like a problem you want to nip in the bud, right?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:39:00] Yeah, I think so. And that's a whole other topic. I know we can't get into it but —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:03] Yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:39:04] — I know that she's kind of handling both of these things and I'm sure dealing with her dad sucks a lot of energy away from the energy that she really needs for her child.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:11] Exactly.
[00:39:14] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:39:19] This episode is sponsored in part by chiliPAD. I use this every single night. If you're not prioritizing your sleep, well, your health is going to suffer. I'm telling you., Your performance is going to suffer. I can't do this show on a low tank. Clinical research shows that 40 percent of chili respondents reported being less likely to have trouble going back to sleep and 36 percent reported, they are less likely to wake up from pain or discomfort during the night when using a chili product. What this is, it is a climate-controlled mattress topper. So chili makes the chiliPAD and the Ooler. They fit over the top of your existing mattress and use water to control the temperature of the bed. Water is more thermally efficient than air, so they can lower your temperature, trigger, sleep, really relaxing sleep, and your whole bed kind of feels like the cool side of the pillow. If that makes sense, it doesn't get all mucky and dirty in there. There's a UV light to auto clean. It's remote-controlled. You use a little app. It can even start up and cool the bed before you get in, or it can heat everything up, by the way. I use the cooling but, of course, it can go up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. So it suits every sleeper. Jen uses it to keep the bed warm for the baby.
Jen Harbinger: [00:40:19] Head over chilitechnology.com/jordan to get $200 off any sleep system. That's C-H-I-L-I-technology.com/jordan to save $200 on a sleep system.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:30] This episode is sponsored in part by NetSuite. If you're a business owner, you probably don't need me to tell you that running a business is tough. You might actually be making it harder on yourself than necessary. Don't let QuickBooks and spreadsheets slow you down anymore. Upgrade to NetSuite. I've used this before. A lot of the businesses I work with, use this. It simplifies everything and it's not just because you have everything in one place. It basically puts all these systems that you have right now that are separate, that all have separate dashboards and back ends and all that. And it just links everything together in one cohesive place. It works on mobile. You don't need old software and old spreadsheets. This is the world's number one cloud business system. Control over your financials, inventory, HR, all that stuff in one place, very responsive and quick. Basically, things talk to each other. All that antiquated stuff is out the window.
Jen Harbinger: [00:41:19] Let NetSuite show you how they'll benefit your business with a free product tour at netsuite.com/jordan. Schedule your free product to our right now at netsuite.com/jordan, netsuite.com/jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:32] This episode is sponsored by Georgetown MBA. When you choose a Georgetown MBA, you can feel confident, you're getting a good return on your investment. Last year's graduating class once again, security impressive starting salaries with offers from top employers. With a Georgetown MBA, you can take your career anywhere. Thanks to a focus on versatile skills and experience that translate across a range of industries and a variety of roles. The incoming MBA classes represented 42 different countries and 67 percent of students have lived, worked, or studied abroad. This multiculturalism is just one of the ways Georgetown exposes you to diverse perspectives and prepares you to excel on the global stage. Benefit from Georgetown's worldwide network of more than 200,000 alumni. As a lifelong member of this global community, you'll enjoy access to professional connections, ongoing education, and more. Explore the full time and flex MBA programs and discover how Georgetown McDonough can help you launch the career you want at choosegeorgetown.com/MBA.
[00:42:32] 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. And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:42:50] All right, next up.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:42:51] Hey, J Team. I've been in my current role for nearly two years and I've been looking to step into a promoted role. I've been doing most of the work of a position one or two steps above me for most of my time in my current role. But when I've mentioned the desire to grow, I'm hit with the old, "We're still working to define our new division," for the last six-plus months.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:08] Corporate gobbledygook, yeah.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:43:10] Yeah. I know times are tough during a pandemic and I'm grateful for my job, but how do I go about expressing my dissatisfaction with the current title and compensation while being asked to work well beyond that? I appreciate the perspective. Stuck and Stunted.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:24] Well, I love that you've been over-delivering and over-performing here. Whenever somebody writes in asking, how do I get promoted, or how do I get a raise? I always tell them to start acting like they got promoted and start acting like they're getting paid more. The title and the money usually follow. And this is not some metaphysical, baloney. This is like stepping up into the role. Because look, you've already made the case for why you deserve it if you start acting as if in many ways within reason, and that in a nutshell is how you get ahead in most cases. But sometimes you end up creating a ton of value for people who don't value that value. It sounds like that's the situation you're in right now and that sucks. Not only is your company not rewarding you with your work, but then they're giving you the corporate runaround BS, like, "We're still working to define our new vision, but by all means, please keep crushing it like a VP while we pay you like an associate. We really appreciate you. We're a family." I mean, look, maybe they really are trying to define the division, but for six months, it sounds like they're not given too many craps about that. And they're just moving along while you take the pain.
[00:44:24] This is why slow ass corporate bureaucracies, by the way, often lose high performing talent. And that's why companies in Silicon Valley are like, "We have to move so fast," and they often move almost recklessly because the people who work there don't want to sit around, waiting for their next performance review. They're just going to bounce. So, anyway, it sounds to me like you've asked for this promotion, but in a fairly casual way, maybe even in a kind of vague way. And I think you've said, "I've mentioned the desire to grow," which is nice clearly that is not landing for them.
[00:44:54] So here's what I do. Write an email to your bosses, explaining everything that you've been doing for the past, not everything but explaining what you've been doing for the past two years. Tell them all the ways you've been performing a few levels above your position and what the impact/results of that work have been and be specific. Be concrete, quantify that as much as you can if you can get metrics and things like that, ROI, that's the best. Tell them how much you enjoy working there. You want to stay at the company and rise up. Tell them you understand that they're still defining the vision, but you would be stoked to help them define it yourself and then tell them what you want. You want to be promoted. You want to be paid commensurate with the work you've been doing. It's up to you. But I recommend putting this in writing rather than just having a conversation in person or on Zoom or whatever because a conversation can fade as soon as it's over in one ear out the other. "Oh, she's been heard," right? You hear that old thing?
[00:45:46] Email is concrete. You're going on record. You can boomerang it for a month later and be like, "Any thoughts when they don't reply." Your bosses will have to deal with that email in some way. And if they still don't want to promote you, then you get to decide where you want to go or whether you want to stay or go. If it's me, I'm interviewing for other jobs that I'm seeing what offers come my way. The good news is that all this great work you've been doing, that won't be for nothing. You'll be able to speak to all of it when you interview at other companies. And what a great pitch, right? "Yeah. I've been working for two years as an associate at Shlemiel Corp or whatever. And I've been doing this and that and the other at VP level." You're basically showing them what kind of employee you'll be before you even start.
[00:46:28] Also interviewing for other jobs right now, it is actually so much easier than it was before COVID in many ways. Right now, with everyone working from home, you don't have to tell them you're going back to the dentist for the fourth time this month in order to get the time off and go and interview. You don't have to say that you got to take your dog in for the 16th round of shots. You just take a little time off Zoom with one team and you go on Zoom with another, and it's possible that your company will only promote you when they realize that they might lose you, which sucks. But that's corporate life, or maybe you'll get an offer you really like, and then you leave. Either way, you win.
[00:47:03] My only other advice here is to keep and continue building relationships within your company and outside your company and to keep working on your soft skills — so the management style, your public speaking, your personality, all of that. When you're not getting what you want, even though you're clearly killing it, sometimes that's because of these other skills you need to develop. So keep investing, bring in those skills while you chase this promotion. And I know you're going to end up somewhere great. It's kind of a bummer to be stagnant, but you definitely have this unlock. If you're that valuable, you can find a home. Companies will be tripping over themselves to hire you.
[00:47:39] All right, Gabe, last but not least.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:47:41] Hey Jordan. As a middle-aged man, I try to maintain my adult friendships by reaching out and catching up when I can in real life. I often feel like I'm the person making all the effort and while my friends respond, I do wonder if I'm being too needy. I get that people, especially people with kids like me, are busy, but I'm afraid that if I stop reaching out, the friendship will eventually die off. If I'm the one making all the effort, where is the line that tells me that I should stop and let people reciprocate? Or is it okay to be the one who's always making the effort? Signed, Building Relationships for Two.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:11] So I get this question a lot, and my answer is almost always this, if you're serious about building relationships, if you're very deliberate about your networking like I am, then you're probably going to feel like you're always making the effort, period. I don't think that's a bad thing. I used to take it as such, but it's really not. It's just a by-product of caring about other people and wanting to keep those connections alive. I've started to realize that this might actually be more than just a by-product of good networking. It might actually be a sign of good networking because people who consciously maintain relationships. They're usually the ones making the effort. I mean, look at me, I've got my systems. Everything in Six-Minute Networking. I've got my habits. I've got reminders to check in with people in connectionfox.com. I'm doing that on a regular basis at regular intervals. That's why I have such a strong network.
[00:49:02] Does that mean I'm doing something wrong? If I'm the one who's usually reaching out? Well, no, that means I'm on top of this stuff a lot more than everyone else because it matters to me and I have systems to maintain it. So in a way being the one who always reaches out could actually be a great sign that you're doing the work of investing in the people around you. So that's awesome.
[00:49:20] That said, you're asking a good question, which is when is my effort actually worth it? And that's a very fair question. What you need to get clear on is this, are you always making the effort with these people because you value them and they value you and you're just the guy who's more proactive in reaching out? Or are you always making the effort because they don't value the relationship and you're the one picking up all the slack? And if it's the latter, then you might want to consider whether you're investing in the right people. There might be other people who deserve your love and affection attention, whatever more there might be. And this can be tricky because I bet some of the people really do value you, but they're just not as proactive.
[00:49:59] I have a few friends who I know for a fact love me. We've traveled together. We've exchanged photos of our kids. We help each other out with work jobs, all that stuff. They rarely reach out first. I'm good with that. I know that they know that it's because that's kind of my default role, right? I'm the connector. I've always done it that way. But I've also tried really hard to stay in touch with people in the past, who I later realized just did not care about me very much if at all. And yet that was a bummer, but it was also kind of liberating because then I could focus on the right people.
[00:50:27] And by the way, you can always ask your friends point-blank. You can be like, "Hey, I know I reach out a lot. I hope you know it's because I care about you. I just want to know, is this too much? Am I keeping you slammed? Would you rather talk less? If so, fine. I won't take it personally." See how they respond. If they're kind of, wishy-washy like, "Oh, you know, things are crazy for everyone. LOL," and then, or an emoji or something maybe they're sending you a signal. But if they're like, "No, no, no, of course not. Sorry. I'm just slammed with work. I'm trying to stay on top of my kids' Zoom ballet classes, and I'm making dinner and chasing this promotion. I love that. I can count on you to stay in touch. I'm sorry if you feel like it's one-sided." Then, you know, it's all good. It's just style and circumstance and the fact that you have superior systems and habits to other people. And when you're doing things like Six-Minute Networking, you are in the 99th plus percentile of connectors and networkers because everyone else doesn't use any of those systems or drills. So then they're just kind of flying by the seat of their pants.
[00:51:20] And yeah, if it really bothers you, you can ask people to put in more effort. But like I said, if you're doing most of the work, it's probably because you take your relationships seriously in a world where most people don't. And in my book, that's a great sign.
[00:51:33] Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone that wrote in this week. Go back and check out David Shimer, Renee DiResta here in the podcast feed if you haven't yet.
[00:51:41] If you want to know how I'm booking all these amazing folks, it's all about Six-Minute Networking — I just mentioned that in the last little bit here — jordanharbinger.com/courses, where you can find it. Now the problem with doing this later, you got to dig the well before or you're thirsty. That's how this works. The drills take a few minutes a day. That's why it's called Six-Minute Networking. jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:52:01] A link to the show notes for this episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts for every episode are in the show notes. There's a video of this Feedback Friday episode going up to our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can hit me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe at @GabeMizrahi on Twitter or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:52:24] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My amazing team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Rob Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and of course Gabe Mizrahi. Keeps sending in those questions, especially the juicy ones you all, firstname.lastname@example.org. Our advice and opinions, and those of our guests are their own, and I'm a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on this show. And remember, we rise by lifting others, share the show with those you love. If you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody 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.
[00:53:04] I keep thinking about what are my favorite episodes. Here's a preview of my conversation with Bryan Johnson. After selling his company for $800 million in cash, by the way, Bryan dedicated his fortune and his life to brain-machine interfaces. In other words, figuring out how we can connect our brains to computers and to the internet. This isn't just for Sci-Fi novels anymore but could be the next level in human evolution or a really terrible mistake that kills all of us. Guess, we'll see if that jury's still out. Here's a quick listen.
[00:53:34] You believe human intelligence and AI will essentially be symbiotic in the future.
Bryan Johnson: [00:53:39] We haven't had the tools that actually allow us to be experiencing how these new tools and machine learning can help us in ways we care about the very most. And so these new tools of machine learning and brain interfaces will open up this new era of human improvement that we've never had before.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:58] You'd mentioned that the ability to co-evolve with AI is important. If humanity were to identify a singular thing to work on the thing that would demand the greatest minds of our generation, it's human intelligence. That's a big statement.
Bryan Johnson: [00:54:10] The way we are going to survive ourselves and create a thriving future is we have to increase the rate in which we adapt, specifically the fastest way to do that is our minds. Our brain tricks us into thinking that the reality we occupy right now is the only reality that exists. However, I think that could be a false assumption and we need to look back. Like, for example, Homo erectus two million years ago that had very rudimentary language. They didn't have abstract concepts like math or other, physics. Homo erectus did not have the imaginative capacity to imagine the stock exchange. And so we need to realize we are in the exact same position. We have no reason to believe we've reached this apex of reality construction. And to imagine that our reality could be entirely unrecognizable to us in 30, 40, 50 years, breaks our brains. We could, and we may want to head in this evolutionary direction. The question is, can we replicate two million years of evolutionary advance with technology? And I don't know why we couldn't.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:15] To learn more about how our brains will eventually be able to interface with computers and other machines and how we may quite literally become cyborgs, check out episode 223 right here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.