After building a successful career and family, you’ve come to realize you’d rather spend your remaining days in the company of men half your age rather than with your wife of 25 years. Now that it’s time to retire, should you stay tepidly wed or chase all the young dudes, instead? We’ll explore this and more here on Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- After building a successful career and family, you’ve come to realize you’d rather spend your remaining days in the company of men half your age rather than with your wife of 25 years. Now that it’s time to retire, should you stay tepidly wed or chase all the young dudes, instead?
- Every time you land a career, some global economic catastrophe seems to send you in search of a new one. How can you future-proof yourself against financial displacement if your next chosen field once again goes kaput?
- How can you resolve a pet custody dispute with an unreasonable ex when your state doesn’t have laws to definitively settle such matters? [Thanks to attorney Corbin Payne for helping us with yet another doozy!]
- Since being preemptively stigmatized as a potential child molester by your brother-in-law’s vindictive ex-wife, you’ve gone from being an uncle who takes the kids to the zoo and plays board games to the man who leaves the room when your niece enters. How do you handle this situation without punishing your daughter and niece — or running the risk of being baselessly accused of the unthinkable?
- You’ve discovered that your neighbors can hear your Zoom therapy sessions through the paper-thin wall between apartments. Should you talk to them about it?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at email@example.com!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- US Bank: Apply at usbank.com/altitudego for 20,000 bonus points
- Excel University: Visit excel-university.com/jordan to unlock your Excel superpowers
- BetterHelp: Get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan
- Scotts: Pick up a bag of Scotts Turf Builder today
Miss the show we did with Jack Barsky — author of Deep Undercover: My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America? Catch up here with episode 285: Jack Barsky | Deep Undercover with a KGB Spy in America!
Resources from This Episode:
- Paul Rosolie | Perusing and Protecting the Pristine Amazon | Jordan Harbinger
- Beau’s Bad Bets Bust Beloved’s Bank | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Daniel Pink | The Power of Regret | Jordan Harbinger
- Corbin Payne | Twitter
- What Happens to Pets in a Michigan Divorce? | Elkouri Heath, PLC
- What Do You Need to Know About Pet Custody in Michigan? | Paul Tafelski
- Who Keeps the Pets in Michigan Divorces? | Mitten Law
- Who Gets the Family Pet in a Michigan Divorce? | The Law Offices of Elaine Stypula
- Who Gets to Keep the Pet When Couples Split? | The Detroit News
- I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy | Amazon
- Office Space | Prime Video
- Succession | Prime Video
828: Time to Retire and Chase Closeted Desire? | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to US Bank for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:08] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, a man whose beard this week I could only describe his bougie yoga teacher training in Costa Rica day nine, Gabriel Mizrahi.
[00:00:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know, I'm not mad about it. I think that's accurate and not entirely unwelcome.
[00:00:27] Jordan Harbinger: If you're a yoga trainer, you're not allowed to get mad about anything.
[00:00:30] On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. 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 your own mind.
[00:00:55] If you're new to the show on Fridays, we give advice, we answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers. This week we had Paul Rosolie. He lives in the Amazon Jungle. Same place that I went to go visit a few years back. I wish I had known him then. We could have hung out in the jungle. Really amazing guy. Great conversation about conservation, the Amazon jungle, crazy wildlife, poachers, illegal gold miners, fun for me because we've both been to the jungle the same place in fact. And I think you'll enjoy the conversation as well.
[00:01:27] Gabe, before we dive in, we got to share that hilarious email that I got from a listener this week. Can you read that for us?
[00:01:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure. So, the letter goes like this.
[00:01:36] Hey, Jordan and Gabe, my partner and I love the show. I just wanted to tell you that I recently gave birth to our first baby on Christmas Day. And for the majority of the 24th and the morning of the 25th, I was listening to your show. It was something I could completely focus on, and every time I got interrupted, I would get so annoyed because I would miss something. So keep it up. You're helping women get through the pain of labor. Signed, Georgia.
[00:02:02] Jordan Harbinger: Well, Georgia, all I can say, first of all, 10 seconds back button, always your friend. But all I can say in addition to that is that I am honored that we could keep you company through contractions. Nothing like hearing about human organ harvesting and sex cult vagina branding to help you push a literal human out of your body.
[00:02:21] Gabe, I'm just imagining what it was like in the delivery room that day. Like, "All right, Georgia, you're eight centimeters dilated. Let's do this." "No, I'm learning success strategies from a former pimp. Come back in an hour."
[00:02:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, totally. The real Christmas miracle here is our back catalog, honestly.
[00:02:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yes, exactly. The baby's kind of just a bonus really.
[00:02:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, just nice to have.
[00:02:42] Jordan Harbinger: Anyway, congratulations on your baby, Georgia. We're super pumped for you and thanks for listening to the show and bringing us into literally the most intimate part of your life. I would imagine. We get letters from people saying they listen in the car, in the kitchen, sometimes in the shower, before they go to bed, but I think this one really takes things to the next level. And I'm going to also pretend I'm not hurt that you didn't name your baby Jordan. It's really the least you could have done. But thanks for the note anyway.
[00:03:07] All right, we've got some fun ones. We got some doozies. I can't wait to dive in. Gabe, what is the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:03:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, I'm a 55-year-old scientist and executive at a healthcare company with a satisfying career and financial security. I've been married to my wife for 25 years, and we have two adult children who are now becoming independent. Although my wife has always been quite good at running the household, the sexual attraction between us hasn't been there for quite some time. Having achieved conventional success in career and family life, I've recently been giving some thought to what would make me happy for the rest of my life. I feel increasingly attracted to men who are about half my age and have been fantasizing about spending more time traveling, maybe even the rest of my life with someone I really like. But I'm torn between seeking happiness, selfishly and dutifully, maintaining the status quo with little joy. I feel if I don't try this new life, I will regret it on my deathbed. But ending my 25-year marriage to seek happiness with younger men is a big moral barrier for me to cross. What should I do? Signed, Chase These Youths or Deny My Truth a Conundrum Forsooth
[00:04:21] Jordan Harbinger: Forsooth? I've never heard that one, Gabe. What does that even mean?
[00:04:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: It basically means indeed.
[00:04:27] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, okay. Obviously, you're going full Shakespeare on us today.
[00:04:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Eh, yeah, I got to keep, yeah, I got to keep the signoffs fresh. You know, you got to innovate. I can't just always stay the same.
[00:04:35] Jordan Harbinger: I hear you. I appreciate that. Well, this is quite the conundrum forsooth, quite the midlife crisis you're going through. There's a lot going on in this question. Let's pick this apart just a little bit. Now, this is an older guy who wants to leave his wife to go travel the world with younger men. And just so I get this straight. And first of all, I'm assuming from your letter that you are attracted to men and women, or maybe just men, but either way, there's a pull to be with men that's clearly a part of who you are.
[00:05:04] So when you talk about what would make you happy, I'm guessing that means a few things. One is being with men, which, if you've been keeping that part of yourself hidden for a long time, which I think you might have been if you were married to a woman. I imagine that would be a profound step for you. And probably a key to living more honestly and more authentically. Another thing is just being more you, in general, which means potentially ending a passionless marriage, pursuing a relationship that you do want, being in touch with all these interests that have been tucked away or ignored for a long time. And it also means, as you pointed out, doing what you love, traveling with somebody you really like. Orientation aside, that is also a profound thing. I mean, you were pretty clear when you called your marriage the status quo with little joy.
[00:05:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh.
[00:05:50] Jordan Harbinger: That would be an issue even if you weren't into dudes. I was going to say suddenly, but I assume this is not sudden. I think you want to seek out a very different relationship, but not just with another person, but with yourself.
[00:06:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hmm.
[00:06:02] Jordan Harbinger: But then there's the final variable of this happiness equation that you want to seek out that experience with men who are half your age. So, okay, let's talk about that for a second. So look, I'm not going to judge you for your preferences. You're into what you're into, that's fine. Maybe it's not even about looks or whatever. Maybe it's also about the vitality and energy and you know, possibility in a younger partner. I can understand that. But I think it's important to take a moment and really consider what exactly draws you to younger men, what you're really hoping to gain or access through these younger partners, these potential abstract partners, I should add, since you haven't found one yet. It's not like there's a guy that you're already with or whatever. Because right now, I'm gathering that you feel trapped. You feel inauthentic or in some way. You want to travel the world, which is another sort of dream-like escapist wish. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but you know, it's escapist and you want to do that with somebody who has all the qualities you're missing in your marriage.
[00:07:02] So there's a part of me that's wondering. Like, is there an element of fantasy here, I guess is what I'm trying to say? Is there an idealized partner you have in your mind who's 28 and carefree and they're not going to bore you with conversations about which laundry detergent to use and the deadline for your kids' college tuition payment? They just want to bang 24/7 in a beach shack in Bali. Okay.
[00:07:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: I feel like you just nailed, like that's exactly what he is hoping will happen.
[00:07:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, well, I get it. I mean, I don't want to go TMI. But who doesn't want to bang in a beach shack at Bali with somebody?
[00:07:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Fair. Yeah, I get it.
[00:07:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And is the pull of that fantasy, perhaps an expression of deficiency or a need that is much closer to home; namely, that your marriage feels constrained, your identity feels misaligned, and you feel you need to make some major changes if you're going to live a fulfilling life. None of that is inherently wrong. I don't want to sound like I'm condemning this. I'm just inviting you to understand what the fantasy version of your life might be trying to tell you about your current life. And I'm asking you to take a beat maybe and consider whether the life you're looking for here, if that life doesn't begin by making some intense decisions about your life right now. Does that make sense, Gabe?
[00:08:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Okay. So by that, you mean like sitting down and talking to his wife about their marriage, right?
[00:08:21] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, yeah, absolutely. For starters, you got to find out what she's feeling, what she's wanting. It seems like that wasn't even in the letter unless we just sort of chopped it for brevity. Exploring where the passion and their relationship has gone, acknowledging that it has gone, whether this is still the relationship they both want, how their kids growing up has played a role in all this. Whether there's a way for them to respectfully separate and move forward as co-parents and friends, hopefully, with some love on that level. I mean there, there's a lot to talk about here.
[00:08:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, there sure is. I'm with you. I suspect that he might be skipping over those conversations, maybe kind of running away from that whole stage of this transition by diving headfirst into the fantasy. And I can understand why, because I'm sure the prospect of sitting down and telling your wife, you know, "So listen, honey, the last quarter century, it's been great. Thanks for giving me kids in a household and a family, but you know, the thing is I've been looking at shirtless selfies of guys named Sledge on Grindr, and I've come to the decision that I want to live out of a suitcase in five-star hotels with one of them for the next, I don't know, three to five years. I mean, you know, until he is 30, anyway, then we'll see what's what." It's intense.
[00:09:34] Jordan Harbinger: Sledge is a nice touch, and that's quite a bomb to drop, especially because, you know, he's going to be using their life savings to do it. She probably wants a vacation too, but—
[00:09:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, that's another whole other—
[00:09:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: —side of this story. But yeah, it's terrifying. This will not be an easy conversation, but it is the conversation that has to happen before you pick up with a new partner and design a whole new life.
[00:09:53] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, you'll definitely have to talk to your wife before you, you know, hop on that Virgin Atlantic flight to Mykonos with one of these guys.
[00:09:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: So there's just no way around this.
[00:10:01] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. And it's always going to be a Virgin Atlantic flight, and it's definitely at least making a stopover in Mykonos. Right.
[00:10:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: So it's just those purple and pink lights. You know what I mean? It just gets you in the vacation mood.
[00:10:11] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, true that. All right, so I think he's putting the cart before the horse a little bit. Is that where you're going with this?
[00:10:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, a little bit. But you know, that doesn't mean that this fantasy isn't very useful to look at. Our fantasies, they're like dreams, right? They're full of interesting information. Obviously, this guy's fantasy is telling him a lot about what he really wants, so that's meaningful. But it might also be telling him what he's avoiding and that might be even more useful for him to look at right now.
[00:10:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a good point, Gabe. I'm also curious to know more about this whole, "Should I seek happiness selfishly, or should I dutifully maintain the status quo with little joy?" thing. It's a—
[00:10:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:10:47] Jordan Harbinger: —kind of interesting dichotomy he's painted here because that's also an important part of this guy's personality. And to your point, Gabe, there might also be some avoidance buried in that conflict too. Not wanting to own his orientation, subsuming his own needs in this concept of duty to his wife. On the other hand, he's also, and don't even get me started, he's not even doing the duty to his wife. He's just pretending that nothing is wrong, which is not quite the same thing.
[00:11:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's also a very good point. I would invite him to consider what being selfish really means. Because, sure, it's self-interested to break up with your wife after 25 years to be with a very different kind of partner. Although, uh, I don't know, I'm hesitating here. Look, I'm not sure that that's entirely a bad kind of self-interest. It just means that his wife might get very hurt in the process, which is the price you pay sometimes for living your truth. But if you look at it another way, I guess to your point, Jordan, it might also be selfish of him to stay in this passionless marriage where he's hiding important parts of himself and kind of deceiving his wife. You could argue that he's depriving her of the chance to live a happier life, or at least a more honest one. Again, that might be extremely painful, but it is an interesting question whether that makes him entirely bad.
[00:12:01] Jordan Harbinger: Well, some people listening might be going, "But he is being selfish. He's selfish for lying to her about his orientation and his desires this time, all this time." And now, look, the cost of being honest is way too high. It's going to blow everything up.
[00:12:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, totally. But if that's true, what I'm trying to figure out is which part of this makes him selfish. Is it staying in this marriage and living a lie? Is it pursuing these needs of his now or is it not being in touch with these needs a lot sooner and getting this out of the way 15, 20 years ago?
[00:12:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I mean, that's a really good question. I think that's something for him to figure out. But you know, you're getting at a bigger theme here, Gabe, which is that sometimes there's a kind of healthy selfishness in life.
[00:12:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:12:44] Jordan Harbinger: If he can't be who he is, because that would automatically be selfish, and selfish equals morally bad, then he's in a bind here. He's really in a bind here.
[00:12:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, exactly. I think where it gets tricky is when somebody else pays the price for your honesty. In this case, it's his wife and possibly his children.
[00:13:01] Jordan Harbinger: Right. But her feelings are not necessarily a reflection of the legitimacy of his choice. And by that I mean—
[00:13:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:13:07] Jordan Harbinger: —her anger, her hurt, if she is angry and hurt by all this, that's fair. That's real. It makes total sense. And it can also be true that he's attracted to the dudes who are in their twenties and is allowed to live a very different life if that's what he wants to do.
[00:13:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Also, a very fair point. So I guess my last question for this guy would be, is labeling this transition as selfish and is calling this a moral barrier that you won't cross, is that maybe yet another way to shut down a process that might put you in touch with some new thoughts and feelings; namely, a tremendous amount of guilt for hurting your wife and pulling the rug out from under your family?
[00:13:47] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Okay. Like, "I can't deal with the implications of this decision, so I'm just going to label selfish and wrong, and maybe that'll help me avoid all this because it takes the option off the table.
[00:13:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's kind of the flip side to the fantasy, right? The fantasy is running off with these young guys that allows him to indulge the best version of his life and the moral barrier that he's describing. That allows him to just keep things on an even keel and not change. Both of them in very different ways might be allowing him to avoid what he would have to change now to live that life.
[00:14:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, well, it's fascinating. So you know what I'm about to say. If you're not already there, I would highly recommend exploring all of this with a therapist, making major life transitions, exploring your identity, possibly coming out to your entire family as a middle-aged man. I mean, that's a huge thing. And it would be great if you had some support as you navigate all of this very, very complex stuff. So good luck. I wish you the best. We're sending you and your family our best thoughts.
[00:14:50] And Gabe, I can't wait to get emails from people all over the spectrum going like, "You guys are depraved satanic scum. How dare you encourage a man to blow up his family so he can live in sin with a young man." And then, the next email's like, "Hell, yeah, honey, welcome to the rainbow. Love your best life, Queen. Work."
[00:15:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep. I'm already responding to that. How did you know? Like, that's exactly what is in the inbox.
[00:15:12] Jordan Harbinger: Because that's what our reviews are. Like, "You're a leftist, kuck."
[00:15:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally.
[00:15:15] Jordan Harbinger: "Ah, you, right-wing bastard."
[00:15:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:15:17] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, it's like one right after the other.
[00:15:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: I love being called a kuck and a fascist in the same day.
[00:15:21] Jordan Harbinger: Fascist kuck.
[00:15:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's wonderful.
[00:15:22] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, that's my AOL scream name. All right. But listen, on a serious note, if anyone listening has gone through a major life transition like this and you want to share your story or some lessons that you've learned, we can pass those along anonymously to the guy who wrote in. Those stories, they really do help people going through something alone. We're here for it.
[00:15:41] Gabe, have we ever mentioned this on the show, that we do forward people advice either anonymously or we'll connect people? I don't know if we talk about that, but a lot of people write in, they're like, "I've been in the exact same situation. We routinely connect people—
[00:15:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:15:52] Jordan Harbinger: —based on that, on this show.
[00:15:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: We love doing it and we're happy to do it, and it's really a wonderful way to keep, you know, keep the conversation going after the episode. So don't hesitate to send us those. We love them.
[00:16:00] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Regardless of genre. You don't have to be a middle-aged scientist who's going after dudes and suspenders and assless chaps. You can really just, it can be—
[00:16:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Anyone.
[00:16:09] Jordan Harbinger: —can be anyone. But Gabe, I really do wonder what these younger men are all about. You know, is he trying to recapture his younger years through these guys? Does he maybe like the idea of taking care of younger people who are, you know, universally broke, or is it just about those tight abs?
[00:16:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay. Yeah. All great things to explore with his therapist, I would say.
[00:16:28] Jordan Harbinger: You know what you'll definitely want to take with you on your sex-rom to Mykonos? Something from the amazing products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:16:38] This episode is sponsored in part by Excel University. Are you a Microsoft Excel nerd? Well, I've got a challenge for you. I bet that you can learn something new that will help you save a ton of time. Take the Excel University speed challenge. It's totally free and it's fast. Just sign up, watch a few short videos, and do some hands-on exercises. You'll learn some new things in Excel that'll help you get your work done way faster. Excel is one of the most versatile tools that everyone should learn. I wish I'd learned this back in high school because we use Excel so much now. I, of course, rely on Jen's Excel skills. We use Excel for our production calendar, personal budgeting, to track marketing. There's just not a day that goes by where we don't use Excel. I highly encourage you to take Excel University to get a competitive advantage in the job market. Excel University is awesome at helping people learn all kinds of tips and tricks. It's made to be fun with a gamification portion and story mode. Jen took the course. She loved it. The training is legit. This challenge starts on Monday, so head over there today and grab your spot. Go to exceluniversity.com/jordan. That's E-X-C-E-L-university.com/jordan to register for free, exceluniversity.com/jordan. Seriously, guys, this is super freaking useful, exceluniversity.com/jordan.
[00:17:51] This episode is also sponsored by Better Help. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Stress, not quite yourself, join the club. But hey, if you got something weighing you down, something on your chest talking to somebody, might lighten that load. And let me tell you, venting with friends. That does help. After a while, they get tired of it, and plus you can probably get some resolution by talking to a licensed professional therapist who's actually trained to help you. And you don't need to leave the house. You don't even need to get out of bed. Stay in your PJs if you want. Try Better Help. It's an online counseling platform that provides access to licensed therapists from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Schedule phone, video, chat sessions at a time that works for you in pretty much any time zone. So anywhere in the world that you are, you can use this. You don't have to worry about transportation, you don't have to worry about childcare. Like I said, Better Help is available worldwide. They have over 94,000 reviews on the iPhone app if you're curious to check those out and see how they've been helping other people.
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[00:19:13] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:19:17] Okay, next up.
[00:19:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. My first job out of college was at a dot-com right before the dot-com bust. My first job after grad school was at a bank in 2008. After some time scraping by as a consultant. I started a job two years ago in big tech. All of these led to at least one layoff. That said I'm happy overall, have a happy family, and am an expert at navigating unemployment. But I'm now asking myself a few questions that I would love your guidance on. First, what industry would you like me to ruin next?
[00:19:51] Jordan Harbinger: Well, I can knock that one out right now — fast fashion.
[00:19:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:54] Jordan Harbinger: Lead smelting.
[00:19:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Nice.
[00:19:55] Jordan Harbinger: And whatever industry is responsible for creating those TikTok videos of people popping zits. If you can finagle a job in that sector, that would be great. Because that's freaking, I mean, I can't stop watching them, but they're also really gross.
[00:20:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Same. I was about to say that. Like, why every time they pop up I end up watching most of it. Like, it's weirdly satisfying, but I think that's why it exists.
[00:20:17] Jordan Harbinger: Probably got some sort of, I don't know, not fetish, but like what's the OCD thing? What's the opposite of a phobia where you're like, strangely, I have to, well, the bigger and grosser it is, I'm like, oh, I'm here for this.
[00:20:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. And then when they get it out, you're like, "Oh, okay. Job well done."
[00:20:30] Jordan Harbinger: Job well done. Good thing I watched this. They wouldn't have been able to do that without my help.
[00:20:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maybe also land a job in cobalt mining while you're at it. Wouldn't mind if that industry took a hit after that episode.
[00:20:40] Jordan Harbinger: You know, I thought of that, but then none of us would have these sweet iPhones or Teslas. So it's a tough bargain.
[00:20:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, it's a big trade-off. Plus our pregnant listeners wouldn't have something to listen to when they pass their mucus plugs out.
[00:20:51] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, The Jordan Harbinger Show, a mucus plug for your brain since 2017. Anyway, continue.
[00:20:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Second, what industries do you see as future-proof, especially with the new AI escalation? And third, my friends point out that I would be doing very well financially if I were only born three years earlier and took the same career path. How do I handle this? Somewhat false regret? Signed, Using All Means to Hang Onto My Green As We Face the Machines.
[00:21:20] Jordan Harbinger: Good questions. Well, first of all, I'm sorry that you've gone through all these tough periods. I understand how stressful that is. As you may know, I was laid off from my job on Wall Street after the crash in '08, which frankly turned out to be a real blessing. But yeah, it's intense. I do love that you think you might be responsible for these busts. It's very solipsistic of you. Gabe, did I get that correct? Did I nail that?
[00:21:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Nailed it.
[00:21:45] Jordan Harbinger: You know, you were right. That is a good word. It's very solipsistic of you as well.
[00:21:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: I know. I told you.
[00:21:51] Jordan Harbinger: Anyway, it's hard. I'm glad to hear you've become good at navigating unemployment and that you and your family are happy overall. That tells me you're doing the right things. You have the right mindset, which is awesome. So here's the deal. Nothing, no job, no industry, nothing is truly future-proofed. Sure there are more stable and less stable careers, but there are no sure bets. I mean, hell, you could be born into money and that's still, you know, there's still X factors and black holes involved in that. The law. Being a lawyer that was considered super stable until it wasn't. Creative fields, they seem to be on the reach of ai. Now, it's coming for lawyers and creatives. So it's hard to say. It is true that people always seem to be hiring in certain industries, cybersecurity, medicine, food and beverage. But again, if the economy contracts or an industry goes through a major upheaval, those jobs can be in peril too. And there's no shortage of doctors that are driving a nine-year-old Prius and have two roommates. Trust me, we get those letters in our inbox.
[00:22:49] But the fields that seem safest from AI right now, they seem to be the ones that require a real human touch. You know, like mental health, writing, teaching, litigation, police work, managing people, even ironically, the field of AI itself, that is until the machines can design themselves, which is terrifying to think about, that's like the whole plot of Terminator, I think, but, or at least T2. But even still, aspects of those fields will still be eaten up by AI as it gets better and better. Patients will be partly diagnosed, even operated on by AI. In fact, that's already happening. Parts of writing could be done by software. Classes could be designed and delivered by machines. There could conceivably be a point where police departments are staffed almost entirely by freaking Boston Dynamics robots, which is also very terrifying to think about. That feels like a movie Matt Damon would be in or something.
[00:23:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally.
[00:23:42] Jordan Harbinger: There might even be a point where that same movie is written with the help of ChatGPT. Gabe, you're probably cringing when you hear me say that, but it's true.
[00:23:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, and it'd probably be just as bad as most of the stuff coming out these days, but yeah, yay machines.
[00:23:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:23:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: I can't wait.
[00:23:57] Jordan Harbinger: It is hard to get worse than some of the stuff I've seen on Netflix recently, which I think was written by humans.
[00:24:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Tell me about it. Mm-hmm.
[00:24:04] Jordan Harbinger: I'm not saying AI movies will be good, they'll just be possible and possibly at the same level as any Michael Bay flick. But the point is, even the jobs that seem relatively safe from AI, those are still subject to the economy, to poor decisions by management. So looking for stability in this world. Ah, it's a bit of a fool's errand. We actually talked about this a couple of months ago on episode 804. It was question three on that episode. The guy writing in, he was feeling insecure after his company went through layoffs. I definitely give that a listen. A lot of the same ideas apply to your situation as well.
[00:24:40] That said, I do think that AI is being hyped a lot right now. It's kind of like blockchain was a few years ago. It doesn't mean it's bullsh*t, like blockchain sort of seems like it might be. It's obviously huge, but it does mean that nobody knows exactly who will win and where the technology is going to go yet. So even if you wanted to, you can't really predict how AI is going to shape your career. As for wishing you were born three years earlier, uh, I get it, but obviously, there's nothing you can do about that. Even if you had been born three years earlier, you'd still been laid off. You'd just have more experience in the industry before getting canned, which is not always the advantage it seems to be. That can make it harder to pivot.
[00:25:24] When my entire law firm went under back in 2009 or whatever year it was, the partners who had been there for longer, some of them were forced into retirement because they were just, it was old dog new trick stuff, and they were too wrapped up In the bankruptcy. You might have dodged one or two rounds of layoffs, but you weren't going to dodge the entire 2008 mess, period. So there's no point in trying to time your entry like that in a way that's impossible with a time machine. Your best bet, in my view, invest in your skills and your relationships. Dig that well long before you get thirsty. Learn to bounce back. I really do believe that those assets, that resilience, those will serve you better in times of uncertainty versus trying to protect yourself from the uncertainty in the first place.
[00:26:11] And if you bank on that, you're going to be great, whatever ends up happening with AI or whatever. I would also check out the interview I did with Dan Pink on the Power of Regret. That was episode 635. That'll help you use regret to your advantage rather than beating yourself up for something that you couldn't control in the first place. We're going to link to that in the show notes for you. Really good conversation. Dan Pink always delivers. Good luck and I'm just waiting for the day that I can replace Gabe with ChatGPT. That's going to be a lot easier.
[00:26:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, well, good luck trying to get ChatGPT to do the sign-off names, I know, that much
[00:26:42] Jordan Harbinger: Touche. I might have to keep you around a few years longer till the tech gets a little bit better.
[00:26:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: There's a few years. You know that's actually going to happen too. Like they'll be able to do puns and limericks and everything.
[00:26:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's terrifying. We're going to do the whole show in, what is it called? iambic pentameter. Yeah, no problem.
[00:26:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: You imagine just feeding the Feedback Friday script into ChatGPT. Just turn this into a Shakespeare sonnet.
[00:27:02] Jordan Harbinger: Oof.
[00:27:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Boom.
[00:27:03] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know how many listeners we'd retain after one of those, but yeah, worth a test.
[00:27:08] You can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep your emails concise. Please try to use a descriptive subject line that makes our job a whole lot easier. If there's something you're going through, a big decision that you are wrestling with, or you just need a new perspective on stuff, life, love, work. How to overcome your shoplifting, addiction? Whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up email@example.com. We're here to help and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:27:33] Okay, what's next?
[00:27:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. I've been broken up with my ex for three years, and this whole time we've been sharing custody of my dog, a small Yorkie named Athena. He bought her for me as a Christmas gift early in our relationship, and she's my favorite dog since I was 12. I have clothes for her. I take her everywhere. I have a backpack. She sits in while I ride my bike. She goes kayaking with me. I've got multiple big canvas pictures or paintings of her around my house. You get the point. I'm kind of obsessed with her. She went back and forth week to week without much problem for all three years. He's been in a new relationship for almost two years now, and just got engaged. Almost immediately after that, he decided that he's done sharing Athena and said that he and the new girl are keeping her for good. He said that I could see her to say goodbye, but wouldn't let me be alone with her. I'm truly heartbroken and blindsided. I know it wouldn't be practical to share her forever, but in theory, I would do it because she was loved and cared for by both of us while we were together. And I can't deny that he loves her too, but since he's the one who doesn't want to share her anymore, I think he should be the one to give her up. He's starting a new life and to me it only makes sense that they get their own dog together. I'm in Michigan where there are no pet custody laws, but I have a few things on my side. My name is on her vet records, and I've been paying those bills myself since we broke up. She's also licensed under my name, and she was technically a gift to me. Should I take legal action here or should I try to see her and then just snag her back so that he has to go through this whole process? Signed, Shaken Up, and Trying Not to Crack Up as I Lose My Pup After This Brutal Breakup.
[00:29:19] Jordan Harbinger: This is incredibly sad.
[00:29:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:29:21] Jordan Harbinger: Going through a breakup is hard enough, but then losing your dog to your ex and his new fiance is way worse. Uh, it's even worse, I should say. I'm really sorry this is happening. You obviously love this dog a lot. She's like your daughter. She's your little homey. You're a little mascot. It is just brutal. It sucks to hear this and the way your ex is doing it just announcing unilaterally that he and his new gal are taking Athena, not letting you see her anymore. This feels quite cruel to me, very unnecessarily so. And also cruel to Athena because I'm guessing, you know, she's got a strong attachment to you too. This is just not cool at all. And again, totally unnecessary in my opinion.
[00:30:01] We wanted to run your story by an expert. So we reached out to defense attorney and friend of the show, Corbin Payne, and the first thing Corbin said is that pet law is weird and it varies state to state. Weird is a technical legal term, I guess, thanks, Corbin. He said he can't opine on the specific laws in Michigan because he is not a lawyer in Michigan but he can give you some general pointers. First of all, Corbin thinks that a pet would be considered property. I know kind of a gross term to apply to a pet when you're dressing her up in little tea-time sweaters and putting a helmet on her for the bicycle. But the law likes hard and fast, black and white categories. And this is where pets fall. And generally speaking, Corbin said you can recover property in a few different ways. Option one, you can contact law enforcement, show proof the dog is yours, see if they'll recover the dog as stolen property, but Corbin said he'd be surprised if they do this. In his experience, they're probably going to look at this as a question for the courts.
[00:30:57] Option two, you can hire a lawyer to write a demand letter. Now, this is a letter that briefly explains your rights to ownership of the dog and demands your ex turn her over to you. Again, Corbin said this may or may not work, but it's going to put your ex on notice that a lawyer is involved and that he needs to take this seriously. Option three, yeah, you can probably sue your ex for Athena, and Corbin also thinks that it's likely to be a much cheaper option than it sounds, but you never hear from lawyers about lawsuits, by the way. You could probably do this through small claims court. That's quicker. It's more informal. It involves far fewer steps in, so it's of course cheaper as a result.
[00:31:37] Also, FYI, based on what we've read, you'd have to represent yourself in small claims court in Michigan and in many other states for that matter. So you wouldn't even need to shell out money for an attorney for that. Now, that would involve going in and proving who the true owner is. In Corbin's view, your ex can and will argue that hey, he's the one who paid for the dog. The dog has lived with him too, et cetera, et cetera. And Corbin said these points are in his favor. But you have points in your favor as well. Athena was a gift to you. You've paid for her vet visits, she's licensed in your name, all of that. Corbin said your points sound more compelling, but again, he says that without knowing how the law in your state actually works. And if the lawsuit did resolve in your favor, the judge would execute paperwork authorizing law enforcement to go get possession of the dog and turn her over to you.
[00:32:27] And Gabe, I am just picturing a SWAT team knocking this guy's door right off the hinges and coming out with a Yorkie. But that's just my fantasy because I'm a hundred percent on this woman's side. This guy's being a total asshole.
[00:32:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh, I am too. I hope it doesn't come to any of that. But yes, the legal route might be the only way. And by the way, we found a bunch of resources about pet custody in Michigan. So we're going to link to all of those in the show notes for you. I would just give those a read, see where your options are. But look, before you pull any of these triggers, I just got to ask, have you done everything in your power to make your ex realize just how unfair this situation is? I wonder if you need to just sit down with him and maybe even with his fiance or write them a letter if they're difficult to talk to, and tell them just how heartbreaking this has been for you and what a strong bond you have with Athena. What, losing her would mean. I would hope that they would know that already, but maybe they don't fully realize what position they're putting you in by taking her away. I would literally tell them, "Look, guys, this is incredibly difficult and I can't imagine that you would want to deliberately hurt me like this. So can we please keep sharing custody? Or if you don't want to have contact with me anymore, that's fine, but can you please consider letting me keep Athena and you guys get your own dog as you start your new life together? Like, let's be reasonable here."
[00:33:45] Jordan Harbinger: Dude, he got engaged. He is a fiance. What she has right now is an adorable dog. She takes with her to brunch. Let her keep the pup. Go rescue a freaking golden retriever together. It just seemed, ugh, I hate this. I hate—
[00:33:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: I know. It does seem cruel. Although, you know, to be fair, like she said, he's probably attached to Athena as well. So yeah, it's tough.
[00:34:05] Jordan Harbinger: Share custody like a normal human being. I'm getting worked up over here. You know, this has occurred to me just now that maybe this is the fiance's doing. Maybe she doesn't love the idea of them still having contact and a mutual thing that they both like.
[00:34:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:34:22] Jordan Harbinger: And she's all insecure about it. And maybe a lot of other things, which is petty and lame. But, you know, it happens. There's a world in which he speaks highly of his ex and they share Athena and the fiance's like, "Uh-oh, that means that I don't have him fully on lock and I'm a controlling crazy person and I got to plug this gap. That's what it seems like to me. I just can't imagine doing this to someone.
[00:34:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, if that's the case, I would remind them that this arrangement is not going to last forever. And it's not anything more than sharing the dog. And, sorry, I know that's sad to think about. I don't mean to bring up your dog's inevitable mortality, but the reality is you won't have to be tethered to each other forever. You'll just have to be minimally involved in each other's lives, as long as you both share Athena. I'm just wondering if maybe that will help.
[00:35:07] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, I guess it's a good thing they didn't adopt a tortoise or a parrot or something. You know, imagine these two sharing custody of a pet in their 70s.
[00:35:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh yeah. Those things live forever. I have a friend who has a tortoise in her backyard, and they think it's like somewhere between 60 and 80 years old, and it's going to live until it's, I can't remember how old, 120 or 130, or something.
[00:35:26] Jordan Harbinger: How do they know how old the tortoise in their backyard is?
[00:35:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: They took it to a vet and the vet has some way of guessing, I don't know, based on wrinkles or—
[00:35:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I was going to say count the rings or something.
[00:35:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think it's the shell. Something with the shell and how big it is and how many squares it has, or—
[00:35:40] Jordan Harbinger: Huh.
[00:35:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know, anyway, on the bright side, You know, if they do share a pet this long, maybe the fiance will have died by then. That should make things simpler.
[00:35:49] Jordan Harbinger: That does simplify things. That's a good point. But also maybe you can help them understand that by taking Athena, they're also depriving her of her other parent who she has a strong bond with. I mean, this is not cool either.
[00:36:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:36:02] Jordan Harbinger: If they can't have compassion for you, maybe you can appeal to their sense of compassion for her.
[00:36:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: As for grabbing the dog yourself, we asked Corbin about that and he said that he would be careful about doing that without consulting an attorney. Because on one hand he thinks you could argue that the dog is yours and you're just reclaiming property that's been unlawfully withheld from you. But on the other hand, your ex can and likely will argue the exact same thing, and Corbin would hate for you to get sanctioned for going into their house and grabbing mutual property. Plus he did say that there's a slew of other things that could also get you in trouble if you go over there and dog nap your own dog. A trespassing charge, an assault if this ever somehow turned into a scuffle, you know, stuff like that. So if your ex can't be reasoned with, then you do have all those other legal options.
[00:36:51] Jordan Harbinger: Right. But I'm with Gabe, exhaust your diplomatic options first, then escalate if you need to. Gabe, I got to say, if I were being forced to be a dick to my ex because of my current fiance. And then, I got served with papers. I would probably just give up the dog. I mean, if I know it's going to cost me 30-freaking-K to keep a dog that I'm just trying to keep because my fiance is being insecure about it—
[00:37:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:14] Jordan Harbinger: —I'm going to choose the 30K over the dog.
[00:37:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:37:16] Jordan Harbinger: And what I'm saying here is if she ends up suing as a last resort, I wouldn't be surprised if they settle and she ends up with the dog. I'm just hoping her ex and his new fiance are as cheap as they are petty. Again, I'm so sorry this is happening to you. The thought of you biking alone without her in the backpack, too sad to think about, for real.
[00:37:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh. Seriously forsooth.
[00:37:37] Jordan Harbinger: Forsooth. Well, we're waiting for you and for your pup.
[00:37:41] You know what else you won't want to share custody of? The products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
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[00:39:42] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:39:45] Okay, next up.
[00:39:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. My niece is 12 years old and due to a nasty divorce, she visits our extended family twice a year for a month at a time. My 10-year-old daughter looks forward to these visits. Recently though, I discovered that my brother-in-law's ex-wife told my niece to never be alone with me in a room because I might molest her.
[00:40:07] Jordan Harbinger: What?
[00:40:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: This wasn't a blanket statement. She specifically mentioned me. I spoke with my wife and my sister-in-law to see if I was somehow giving off those creepy uncle vibes and both said no. During the divorce, my niece's mom accused my brother-in-law of a wide range of abuses from sexual to physical, all of which have been proven 100 percent false. I also discovered that she set up a YouTube channel for my niece when she was eight, in ways that I found borderline abusive in their own right. So I have no doubt that this woman would coach my niece to say things just for the attention.
[00:40:42] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh.
[00:40:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Since I learned about these statements, I've gone from being an uncle who takes the kids to the zoo and plays board games to the man who leaves the room when my niece enters. I also won't allow her to spend the night anymore or do any of the fun things we used to do. I'm a recently retired senior military leader, and I've seen firsthand what accusations like these can do to a man regardless of plausibility. What should I do here and how do I stop punishing my daughter and my niece from my brother-in-law's ex's BS? Signed, Feeling the Gloom of Being Doomed to Stay Out of the Room.
[00:41:18] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh, this is terrible. This is all kinds of sad. It's sad for your daughter, it's sad for your niece. It's sad for you. It's sad for the whole family, really. Your brother-in-law's ex, ugh, she sounds like a real piece of trash. That's all I can say. I mean, I'm not even sorry about that. The fact that you checked in with the other ladies in your family and to see if you were in fact giving off some kind of creepy uncle vibe, and they're like, "No, you're totally normal." Coupled with the whole YouTube, was it YouTube or Instagram? Some sort of—
[00:41:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: YouTube.
[00:41:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's weird. Eight-year-olds don't need a YouTube managed by their parents unless they're super musically talented or something. I don't know. The whole thing is disturbing. That paints a picture for me of a very troubled and troubling woman. And what's really messed up is that everyone else pays the price for this woman's manipulations. It's so common with these kinds of people though, so I can't say that I blame you for putting distance between you and your knees.
[00:42:12] It must be terrifying to feel like you could be accused of something awful by a person like this, a person who has a track record of making these nonsense accusations. In a way, it's really the most logical thing to do. Just stay far away from these people. But again, the tragic thing here is that your niece and daughter, they're the ones who pay the price and you, you have to feel like a monster when you haven't done anything at all.
[00:42:40] Ugh, man, Gabe, this is so infuriating. I hate people like this. This is like victim culture plus, I mean, so this is sociopathic nonsense. This is crazy.
[00:42:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: I also hate that the crazy people often win because the normal people like this guy can't out crazy them. It just sucks.
[00:42:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, exactly. This guy wants to look at giraffes and play Dungeons and Dragons and enjoy his retirement. He doesn't want to play 4D chess with freaking batsh*t Charlene, the YouTube stage mom, who cries child abuse to retaliate against her old family.
[00:43:12] So what do you even do here? All right, well, first of all, there's a version of this where you keep doing what you're doing. You keep your distance, you don't have your niece over anymore. And when she's. 17, 18, 19, you explained to her why you guys didn't see her that much, and you and your daughter rebuild your relationship with her when she's a bit older, as best you can. Obviously, unfortunately, it's a huge chunk of time to lose, but it is an option. The upside is you don't antagonize Charlene, you protect yourself. The downside is you deprive your daughter of a great friendship. You miss out on being an uncle, which sucks, but there are some other downsides to consider with this option two.
[00:43:53] One downside is if you play along with Charlene's BS, if you leave the room every time your niece comes over, I worry that she'll interpret that as a rejection and she's going to internalize that as anger or shame or just some sort of generally weird feeling, and that'll cause even more damage. Another downside, and it might send a signal to her mom and everyone else in the family, that there really is something creepy going on. Otherwise, why do you act so weird when she comes around and you leave the room? What's the deal there? That's kind of weird. You know, we want to avoid that kind of thing.
[00:44:24] And finally, if your ex-sister-in-law ever did accuse you of anything, there's nothing going on here. So you avoiding her? Not necessarily. I said, you're not going to antagonize Charlene before if we don't actually know that, right? If she did accuse you of anything, your relationship with your niece is going to be much weaker, which means it could be easier for her mom to manipulate her memories or get her to turn on you. And it could be harder for you to set the record straight because you don't have a good relationship with her to set straight in the first place.
[00:44:52] It's almost like protecting yourself in this very logical way that might have the unfortunate effect of feeding your ex-sister-in-law's position.
[00:45:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Whew.
[00:45:02] Jordan Harbinger: So, ugh, yeah, I think there's another strategy here, and that strategy is you don't let this woman intimidate you. You still have your niece over. You act normally just like you always have, and the message here is, "I got nothing to hide. I am not scared of you, and if you want to manufacture some ridiculous ass claims about me, you're going to have to prove them. And there's nothing to freaking prove because I've been totally normal and open." Now, if you decide to go this route, I still do think you should take some precautions. For example, maybe you never have your niece over to the house when it's just you and your daughter alone. Maybe you always make it a family gathering. So there's at least one or two other people around people who could vouch for you, who could be witnesses. Maybe you decide to never spend time completely alone with her until she's an adult, to just avoid any pockets where her mom could get in and twist her memories around. Maybe you guys don't do solo outings, just the three of you for a little while, but unfortunately, that might be necessary during this weird interim period, but that's not the biggest sacrifice. It's better than denying your daughter, the cousin she deserves. In fact, your niece might not even notice that that's happening. It's just something you do to minimize this threat, and you just hope Charlene gets over this crap or goes bother somebody else.
[00:46:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: I like those strategies a lot. Jordan, while you do all of that though, I would also protect yourself in one other big way, which is by talking about this with your other family members and just building good relationships with them, which I'm sure you're already doing, but I mention it because this will probably be your greatest asset if her mom ever did try to turn around and mess up your life.
[00:46:36] If I were in your shoes, I would literally go to your family members, obviously starting with your wife, your sister-in-law, and then everybody else, but also your brother-in-law because look, he's your niece's father, right? And he gets it and tell them what Charlene said and make them understand that this would never happen, which I'm sure they already know. And tell them how it's impacted you and your daughter. Maybe ask them how they would handle it, you know, get some advice, "What should I do guys?" Maybe ask them if they think you should stop interacting with your niece or whether they would be willing to hang out with you guys to give you just some more cover. Basically, I would invite them into this problem and create some allies here and get out in front of it and be as transparent as possible.
[00:47:15] That way. If this woman ever did accuse you of anything, and I don't know, I'm, this is such an extreme case, but if the authorities ever did investigate, which I hope never happens, if that ever came to be CPS or the police or whatever, they would come over. I imagine that they would interview you, they would interview your brother-in-law, they would interview your niece, maybe your daughter, maybe your extended family. And if everybody in this situation is going, "Look, this guy is not a predator. He's a great uncle. This woman has been saying that you would accuse him of exactly this for years, and we've never, ever seen him do anything like this. In fact, he came to us months ago and he talked to us about this and he said, 'He didn't know what to do,' and we were all so comfortable with him being in her life that we told him, of course, be in your niece's life. Like don't deprive your daughter of her friend." These people could hopefully vouch for you if it ever came to that, and they could provide some very important context about how credible your niece's mom really is, which is not at all.
[00:48:12] Jordan Harbinger: Right, yeah, I like that strategy a lot, Gabe. But look, if Charlene ever really gets aggro, if she starts becoming truly unhinged, maybe then you reconsider how much contact you have with your nieces. But if she's just making vague threats and literally no one in the family believes her, it might not be worth giving up on being an uncle and making your daughter and your niece pay the price. And regardless when your niece turns 18, maybe even sooner, depending on her maturity level and her relationship with her mom, which I'm just going to go ahead and guess is not great, especially at that point, you're going to be able to sit her down, fill her in on what her mom did, and hopefully you guys can repair the relationship then. I hope it doesn't come to that. But kids, as they grow up, they start to realize their parents are freaking crazy, especially if their parents are actually freaking crazy.
[00:49:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:49:00] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh, but man, I am so sorry you're dealing with this. We're sending you your daughter and your niece. Our best thoughts. Her mom, I'm thinking we're going to see her in a creepy stage mom's documentary on Hulu in a couple of years or something like that. I mean, what a train wreck. Someone's going to need therapy in about six years, some good old-fashioned un-Charlene to undo all of that.
[00:49:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Un-Charlene.
[00:49:24] Jordan Harbinger: It's just gross. It sucks, man. She's ruining her kid. She's messing with the extended family. I mean, this is a damaged person that just makes everything about them. She's got issues.
[00:49:31] It reminds me of the book. Have you heard of this book? I'm Glad My Mom Died. Heard of this book.
[00:49:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, is this by the child actor who wrote the book about her mom?
[00:49:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:49:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: I heard about this.
[00:49:41] Jordan Harbinger: I was recommended it early and then un-recommended her on the show. I don't want to give away too much information, but it was basically her mom just drove her to, I think, eating disorders and made her really miserable and sort of drove her career to fulfill her mom's unfulfilled ambitions in many ways. And it was just kind of sick.
[00:50:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:50:02] Jordan Harbinger: It was actually sick. Yeah. Really, really gross.
[00:50:05] Anyway, alright, what's next?
[00:50:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys, I do therapy over Zoom from home, and I recently started to worry that my neighbors were eavesdropping on my sessions. Then, recently, I heard my neighbors, a man and a woman next door discussing my therapy session through the thin apartment walls. I was on a Zoom with my therapist discussing sensitive topics when I overheard a female voice say to someone else, "Shh, she's doing therapy. Can you hear it?"
[00:50:33] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god.
[00:50:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: As their voices got louder, I knew that they were getting closer to the wall.
[00:50:38] Uh, that's so weird.
[00:50:39] Jordan Harbinger: This is so weird. Yeah, irritating.
[00:50:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: So invasive.
[00:50:43] This discovery has left me deeply disturbed, and I'm concerned about what other personal information they might have heard. I've only seen my neighbors a few times and don't know them personally. How do I approach this situation? Should I let it go or should I say something? Signed, Trying to Ball Without Getting Into a Brawl With These People Who Have the Gall to Listen Through the Wall.
[00:51:07] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man, this is super awkward.
[00:51:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: So awkward.
[00:51:11] Jordan Harbinger: I have to imagine that tons of people deal with this problem just because hashtag apartment life and Zoom therapy.
[00:51:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:51:16] Jordan Harbinger: But man, this is so uncool. Ugh.
[00:51:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Also, these neighbors are the worst eavesdroppers ever. If they can hear you through the wall, why don't they understand that? You can hear them talking about you through the wall.
[00:51:27] Jordan Harbinger: Of course.
[00:51:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't get it.
[00:51:27] Jordan Harbinger: Freakingg amateurs. The way to eavesdrop on your neighbor's Zoom therapy is to tiptoe to the wall, put your ear against it, and shut the hell up, people. God—
[00:51:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Correct.
[00:51:37] Jordan Harbinger: —no respect for the craft. But seriously, it's gross. It's an invasion of privacy. It's disrespectful. I mean, look, I get it. We all love hearing our neighbors bullsh*t. It's weirdly fascinating. I mean, this whole show, is that right? I mean, I don't know how much room we have to talk, but it's a bridge too far. So you have a few options here. All pretty straightforward in my humble opinion.
[00:51:58] Option one, you find somewhere else to do therapy. The car, the closet, the bathroom, wherever you have a little nook. Tons of people already do this, especially with people who have roommates or partners and need a little extra privacy. I mean, the car is pretty common, not always the most comfortable. Option two, you create some privacy somehow. Maybe you drown out the sound in the room. You get a white noise machine, maybe a white noise app on your phone. You turn on a fan, you run the AC, you put acoustic panels up on the wall that might do the trick. Or ugh, and I don't love it. You start doing in-person sessions, but I understand that might not be possible for whatever reason. It's largely inconvenient compared to Zoom therapy.
[00:52:39] Option three, you get a little more assertive here. I know this is daunting, it's uncomfortable, but if you're not getting the privacy you deserve in your own home, I might add, then you are well within your rights to say something to these neighbors. Maybe you just go over there one day and you say, "Hey, listen, I know this is awkward. I've gathered that you've listened in on some of my conversations with my therapist, and I would like to ask you not to do that anymore. I realize the walls are thin, but I need some privacy and I'm sure you can understand. So I'm respectfully asking you to stop. Or maybe, you know, you say between three and four on Mondays, would it be possible for you guys to turn on the TV or go for a walk? Because that's my therapy time and privacy's really important to me." Honestly, that'll probably stop them dead in their tracks because they're going to be so mortified at being caught. They're not going to be able to defend themselves and they're going to maybe back off, maybe.
[00:53:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: I hope so. Or they'll keep doing it because they'll be even more interested in her sessions, but they'll just be quieter about it, which is oof, this is a real problem.
[00:53:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I realized as always saying that this could also be true. And I hate these people. I don't know them, but they need a goddamn hobby.
[00:53:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, she is in a pickle forsooth.
[00:53:53] Jordan Harbinger: Forsooth.
[00:53:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Even if they did back off, how would she know for sure, right? She might always be paranoid that they're listening, which means that she might have to do therapy in another part of the apartment or in another location. Yeah, just to have that peace of mind.
[00:54:06] Jordan Harbinger: Right. They've already ruined it, haven't they?
[00:54:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:54:08] Jordan Harbinger: They've invaded already. It sucks. It's like when you get broken into, you don't feel safe in your home anymore. It's a similar vibe.
[00:54:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: But you know, this would also be an interesting thing to talk to her therapist about because maybe they have some ideas for how to handle it. And look, if the idea of confronting your neighbors feels too daunting, hey, that could be a really interesting topic for you guys to explore because it might get into some interesting stuff about how you manage conflict, how you deal with difficult people, how you draw boundaries when you need to.
[00:54:34] Jordan Harbinger: Totally. Man, it's a fascinating situation because it might speak to aspects of her personality. It reminds me a little bit of Office Space. Remember that movie where the neighbor can hear him through the wall?
[00:54:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Of course.
[00:54:43] Jordan Harbinger: And he's like—
[00:54:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:54:43] Jordan Harbinger: "Hey, Earl, you want to come over?" And he's like, "No, thanks, man. I don't want you screwing up my life."
[00:54:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: I forgot about that. That's such a good character.
[00:54:51] Jordan Harbinger: Such a good character. I think he's the writer or one of the writers on the show or the movie.
[00:54:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Is that Mike Judge?
[00:54:57] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know. Yeah, look it up. I definitely remember hearing that somewhere.
[00:55:00] Honestly, if this were me, and I'm a little aggro in situations like this. I know not everyone's like this, but if this were me, I'm marching over there and I'm knocking, or I'm shouting through the wall. "Yeah, you're right. I am doing therapy right now, so can you please stop putting your ear to the wall and go watch Succession? It's the final season. I promise you. It's more interesting than what I'm talking about," and just kind of give it right back to them. Although Gabe, the black hat, dark Jordan version of this is—
[00:55:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:55:30] Jordan Harbinger: Let's hear it. I make sure they're listening to my next session, right? And then, I start telling the therapist about, "I'm struggling. I saw my next-door neighbor tonguing down, a woman, it's not his girlfriend, and they live together and I see them. You know, they're right next to me. I'm just not sure how to handle it." Just make half the session about how you feel so bad for the girl next door. And the guy is, he's such a disgusting scumbag and he's groped you in the elevator once, or he made passes at you before, et cetera, whatever. And then just switch to another topic and never say anything about it ever again.
[00:56:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dark Jordan is back.
[00:56:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:56:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, I love dark Jordan.
[00:56:07] Jordan Harbinger: Dark Jordan forsooth.
[00:56:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm just picturing them on the other side of the wall hearing this and just turning to each other. Like, "What?" "Now, we have a problem." "No, it's not me."
[00:56:18] Jordan Harbinger: And he's like, "Nah." "But what—?" "Nah, I just — yeah." And then, you hear pounding and furniture moving. Seriously though, they'll never know if you're making it up.
[00:56:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:56:28] Jordan Harbinger: They would definitely fight about it and they could never confront you about it. Not really. Because then they'd have to admit that they listen to your therapy sessions.
[00:56:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's such a good point.
[00:56:36] Jordan Harbinger: So they're going to lose weeks of sleep over this and I would just relish the sh*t out of every minute because look, despite how I come across here on Feedback Friday, I am indeed not that warm and fuzzy. And I will destroy you if you mess with me. But I digress.
[00:56:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's really funny because my closet studio shares a wall with the unit next door, obviously. And I can, sometimes I should say this more quietly because it's happening right now.
[00:57:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Maybe tone it down there if they're listening.
[00:57:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: I can sometimes hear the couple over there talking. So I assume they can hear me talking.
[00:57:07] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:57:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: But what they hear is me reading these crazy ass letters every week, but I don't know if they know that they're letters.
[00:57:14] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:57:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: They probably just think that I'm talking to my friends about my life. So for all I know, they're just like, "Dude, that guy next door is a mess."
[00:57:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:57:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Like he wants to leave his wife for younger men in Mykonos and like his boyfriend stole 70 grand from him. His ex took his dog. Like, who is this guy?
[00:57:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:57:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: And the funny thing is, I've never run into them in the building. Just like this woman, we've never talked. So these Feedback Friday letters are really all they have to go on.
[00:57:40] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my, it's amazing. Like your kids live with a pedophile. You're worried you might be a pedophile. Your brother-in-law tried to blackmail you for sex. Jesus, dude, what is going on with you? Get your life together.
[00:57:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's exactly it.
[00:57:52] Jordan Harbinger: Good thing you're in therapy. These people have been looking for a new apartment since the week you moved in, for sure. And it's probably the reason you've never met them. They are avoiding you like the plague. Like everything this guy touches turns to absolute sh*t. Don't even look at this guy.
[00:58:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Or they're sticking around because it's the most entertaining neighbor they've ever had.
[00:58:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:58:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: And they're just keeping their ear to that wall. I don't know. I can't tell you how often I've practiced my little speech for when I finally run into them in the hallway. Like I got it down. It's like, "Listen guys, you probably hear me screaming into the microphone every week. I host a show. They're just letters, you know? I just want you to know in case you were wondering why I talk about pedophilia so much."
[00:58:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:58:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: And I hope it goes well.
[00:58:32] Jordan Harbinger: I'm looking forward to the day we get a letter from somebody that's like, "So I recently found out that my neighbor is a pedophile. He's constantly talking about it through the wall. What should I do?" And we're like, go report it to the police. And a week later you get a knock at the door and the cops are standing there and they wonder why you have a scream-proof closet with acoustic panels on the wall.
[00:58:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: They're from [East Home]. I don't know what to tell you.
[00:58:57] Jordan Harbinger: I am a podcaster. We've heard it all, but tell it to the judge.
[00:59:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, totally tell them. Police like, "Anything you want to tell us?" And then, I just lead them into the closet and point at the microphone as I start to cry.
[00:59:07] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, this would be the greatest Feedback Friday story ever, except for the part where we have to spend half your salary bailing you out of jail. And we missed three weeks of the show.
[00:59:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's a business expense if I've ever heard one. That's just pure right off there.
[00:59:21] Jordan Harbinger: It's coming right out of your check. I am not covering that.
[00:59:23] I hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week and everybody who listened. Thank you so much. Go back—
[00:59:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Especially the neighbors next door.
[00:59:30] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, especially the neighbors next door.
[00:59:32] Go back and check out the episode we did this week with Paul Rosolie. If you haven't had a chance to yet, you can hear about our time in the jungle.
[00:59:39] And if you want to know how I manage to book all these great people and manage relationships using the same software systems and tiny habits that I use every single day, I got a course on networking, but not the gross kind, the not gross kind, I guess the clean kind. Six-Minute Networking, the course is free. I don't want your credit card number. It's actually free. It's on the think if it platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. And don't kick the can down the road, man. Dig the well before you get thirsty. Build relationships before you need them. It'll serve you well in life. Trust me. I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago. Once again, free, jordanharbinger.com/course.
[01:00:12] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes. Although you know, maybe you can just listen through your neighbor's wall and get the gist. Advertisers, deals, discounts, ways to support this show, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also try the chatbot, jordanharbinger.com/ai, and that'll find any promo code or any question we've answered ever on this show, which is pretty dope. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or you can also connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi or on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
[01:00:47] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions, they're our own. And I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on this show. Ditto Corbin Payne. Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. And if you found the 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.
[01:01:19] We've got a trailer of our interview with Jack Barsky, former KGB spy, who posed as an American in a truer-than-life version of a Hollywood movie. This is one of our most popular episodes of the show. Jack not only dodged the FBI for decades but also defected from the Soviet Union secretly becoming a real American. We'll learn how spies were recruited and trained during the Cold War and what skills Jack used to assimilate seamlessly into American culture.
[01:01:45] Jack Barsky: I was untouchable. I was above the law. I was always bypassing customs and passport control. So as a young person that really feels good because I never liked rules.
[01:01:56] Jordan Harbinger: How did you flip to eventually becoming full American? I know they tried to call you home. Can you take us through that?
[01:02:01] Jack Barsky: They called me back as an emergency departure. They've done this in the past. They call back an agent and as soon as they step on Soviet soil, they are jailed or even executed. I was stalling the Soviets. And then, one day, they send one of their resident agents and he said to me, "You got to come home or else you're dead." It was a threat. I decided I would defy them and tell them that I'm not returning. I will not betray any secrets and please give the money on my account to my German family.
[01:02:33] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Tell us how you got caught, because this story's just not complete until you, like you said, had to face your past.
[01:02:40] Jack Barsky: I was stopped on the other side of a toll gate. It was a state trooper. He says, "I'd like to check your license and registration. And could you step out of the car?" I step out of the car and still not having a clue what was going on. Out of the corner of my eye, somebody is approaching me from the back. The fellow introduced themselves. He says, "Joe Riley, FBI," and he showed me his badge, "We would like to talk with you." The first question I asked is, "Am I under arrest?" And the answer was no. Then, I said, "What took you so long?"
[01:03:09] Jordan Harbinger: For more from Jack Barsky, including how Jack was finally caught by the FBI and what happened after that, check out episode 285 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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