Your mother and aunt have suffered lifelong trauma from your grandfather’s physical, mental, and sexual abuse of them when they were children. The family has been considering legal action against him, but it would be difficult for your mother and aunt to repeatedly relive this abuse in court, and the strength of the case is in question because this happened over 30 years ago. Should they pursue it anyway? 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:
- Should your mother and aunt sue their father 30 years after he physically, mentally, and sexually abused them? Would justice — or at least telling their story in court — bring them peace? [Thanks again to Corbin Payne for helping us with this one!]
- You’re an ex-con whose rough childhood and over 10 years in prison have taught you some hard but valuable lessons, and you’ve earned a uniquely valuable skill set. So how do you market this experience in a way that will serve you in the outside world?
- You and your significant other have been living with their mother for much of the pandemic. While you get along, she can be passive-aggressive, petty, and dramatic. You try to sympathize, listen, and help her out when possible, but it’s stressing you out. What else can you do to maintain a good relationship without sacrificing your own sanity?
- You’ve been passed over for a promotion twice in a year and a half, and you suspect the reasons might be more personal than professional. Should you lodge a complaint at the risk of a hit to your reputation, or should you just take it on the chin and hope a third time will be the charm? Bottom line: how can you be truly proactive about advancement?
- 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!
This Episode Is Sponsored By:
HostGator has been around almost as long as the Internet. Does your business have an Internet presence? Save up to a whopping 62% on new webhosting packages with HostGator at hostgator.com/jordan!
BrandCrowd lets you put your brand name in the template maker to find an instant, perfect logo you can start using immediately! Try it for free and get 60 percent off the premium logo pack if you like what you see at brandcrowd.com/jordan!
Hosted by Brian Hurlburt, the Magnifying Excellence podcast motivates humanity to pursue excellence by magnifying awe-inspiring people, stories, philosophies, and performances. Give it a listen here or wherever you choose to hear fine podcasts!
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!
Babbel turns language learning into language using with a comprehensive system that combines effective education methods with state-of-the-art technology. Go to babbel.com and use promo code JORDAN for an additional three months!
Miss our conversation with Danny Trejo, the instantly recognizable actor, producer, and restauranteur with a resume that includes crime, hard time, and battling his own addictions while helping troubled youth overcome theirs? Catch up with episode 398: Danny Trejo | Inmate #1 here!
Pluto TV is available out of the box on your favorite connected TVs. Hit the power button and connect to your network to watch hit movies, binge-worthy TV shows, the latest news, sports, comedy, and more! Find out how Pluto TV works here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Dan David | Putting Muscle on the China Hustle | Jordan Harbinger
- Peter Diamandis | How to Create a Future Bold in Abundance | Jordan Harbinger
- How to Design the Perfect Morning Routine (and Avoid a Bad One) | Jordan Harbinger
- State Civil Statutes of Limitations in Child Sexual Abuse Cases | NCSL
- 3 Women on Testifying at Their Sexual-Assault Hearings | The Cut
- What I Learned Spending the Day in a Maximum-Security Prison | Jordan Harbinger
- Frank Abagnale | Scam Me If You Can | Jordan Harbinger
- Catch Me If You Can | Prime Video
- Kevin Mitnick | Twitter
- Mitnick Security Consulting
- Justin Paperny | Lessons From Prison | Jordan Harbinger
- Lessons from Prison by Justin M. Paperny (Free Ebook)
- Marcus Bullock | Twitter
- Marcus Bullock: An App That Helps Incarcerated People Stay Connected to Their Families | TED Talk
- He Was Facing Life in Prison. Now, He’s the CEO of the ‘Instagram for the Incarcerated.’ | The Hustle
- Send Photos to Prison | Flikshop
- From Prison to the Workforce | Planet Money
- Six-Minute Networking
Will Suing Abusive Father Bring Mother Peace? | Feedback Friday (Episode 478)
Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, my comrade in consultation, Gabriel Mizrahi. 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.
[00:00:37] Now, if you're new to this show on Fridays, we give advice to you. 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. And if you're joining us for the first time, or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about this show, we have episodes starter packs. These are collections of your favorite episodes, organized by popular topics to help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show. Just visit Jordan harbinger.com/start to get started.
[00:01:09] This week, we had Dan David talking about reverse merger scams. He's an activist short-seller. Really interesting about how foreign companies, especially Chinese companies are merging with essentially dead dormant US companies, being listed on US stock exchanges and grossly inflating the amount that they're worth, and essentially hoovering up money from mom-and-pop investors, just like you. If you're listening to this and you have a pension or a 401k or a mutual fund that follows the S & P 500, or anything like that, index funds you're getting robbed right now by this. So that was an interesting episode. We also had futurist Peter Diamandis. This one's from the vault. He's great at predicting future technology, the way things will operate, whatever in the future, really, really interesting take on a lot of all things future. So that's Peter Diamandis and Dan David. Have a listen to everything we created for you here in the past week.
[00:01:57] You can reach us email@example.com if you want to get your question answered here on Feedback Friday. Please keep your emails concise, include a descriptive subject line. That makes our job a lot easier. And if there's something you're going through any big decision that you are wrestling with, or you just need a new perspective on stuff, life, love, work. How to break up with your narcissistic partner, whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. Here to help. Keep every email anonymous. Don't worry about it. We're not going to out you here as always. We've got some fun ones and some doozies. I can't wait to dive in.
[00:02:30] Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:02:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. When I was three years old, my family decided that they wanted no more connection with my mom's parents. Growing up I was told bit by bit that my grandfather was abusive. I wasn't given any specifics. Other than that, my mom had been put into the hospital when she was a teenager because of her dad. I'm now in my late 20s and I want to be there for my mom who is now thankfully in therapy. I'm now learning that her dad was in fact sexually abusive, not only to my mom, but also to her two sisters. My mom's sister, she just recently died from alcoholism, from the trauma that she had endured. My mom heartbroken over her death seems much more stable than her other sister, who is also a full-blown alcoholic. Our family has brought up the idea of taking legal action against my grandfather for the emotional damage that he has done, but it would be extremely difficult for my mom and my aunt to have to replay their childhood over and over in court. And I don't even know if they have a strong case since this all happened over 30 years ago. So my question is, could my mom and her sister take this to court? If they can muster up the courage to tell their story, could they potentially win? Is it even worth a shot? Signed, Seeking Relief.
[00:03:36] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Well, thank you for writing in. Stories like this that are never easy to talk about. They're even harder to live with. And I feel for your mom and her sisters. I really do. I think obviously they had horribly traumatic childhoods. The fact that your mom is this stable is actually really impressive. She sounds like the highest functioning of her sisters, the most willing to do the work to get better, going to therapy, not succumbing to addiction, talking about her childhood with you. That's all really admirable, but I know it's not always enough. And you guys are wanting some kind of justice for what your grandfather did, which I can certainly understand.
[00:04:11] But since you're asking a legal question here, we consulted with Corbin Payne, defense attorney, and good friend of the show, but you're also asking a question about trauma and justice and how to live with something like this. So we'll get into that too. First, let's talk about your family's potential case here. As you probably know, there's a period in which you're allowed to bring certain kinds of legal action. And that's called the statute of limitations. Those statutes, they vary by state. There's actually a really good list of them by the National Conference of State Legislatures. We'll link to that website in the show notes, so you can see if you are still within the statute of limitations for the case in your jurisdiction. That means like if somebody robs a store and nobody prosecutes, and then 10 years later, they're like, "You know what? I don't like that guy. He's no longer a part of my family. I'm going to throw the book at him." It might be too late. The statute of limitations has run. That's what that means.
[00:05:02] But with or without the statute of limitations, Corbyn's opinion, is that your family's case, it's probably going to be pretty damn difficult to prove mostly because it's a "he said, she said" situation. Still your mom, your aunt, they absolutely could try to collect on emotional damages, the cost of therapy, any other treatment, plus whatever a jury would decide to give them. But that's only if the jury believes the charges, if your grandfather has the money to pay the damages, right? There's a lot of ifs here and that's a very real consideration in lawsuits. Rich abusers, they have the means to mount a pretty ferocious defense. And lower income abusers, they often can't defend themselves as effectively because they don't have any money, right? But at the same token, poor abusers, they can't pay the money. They don't have to they're victims, no matter what the court orders. So they're almost judgment proof.
[00:05:48] And Corbin told us something funny. He said that attorneys, they actually have a saying about that. You can't squeeze blood from a beet, especially from a deadbeat. Now we don't know how much money or time or resources your family has to devote to this lawsuit or how much money your grandfather has, but either way that'll play a big role in the outcome. So you should take it into account. But if you want to know, if you have a real shot here, I would book a few calls with some attorneys in your area who have experienced with litigation like this. They can give you their opinion on whether you have a case, how it would all go down, what it would require from your mom and aunt, what the potential damages might look like. All of that.
[00:06:26] You're also right, that your mom and aunt would have to testify in court. And that's another thing to consider whether it's worth the pain involved in telling this story. Corbin pointed out that testifying about abuse in a courtroom, that can go a couple of ways. For some people, testifying can be fundamentally a freeing experience and empowering experience. You stand up and you say, "Here's what happened to me. Here's what this person did. I own it. I want to see some justice done." But telling that story in public, that can also be extremely traumatic for some people. Testifying would also open up your mom to cross-examination by your grandfather's attorney, which I imagine would be pretty intense.
[00:07:03] Now a judge will obviously rein in an attorney from being abusive while questioning a victim. I mean, they should, but that doesn't mean this whole experience would be a walk in the park. It could be retraumatizing, it could be triggering. It could be pretty hurtful. So your mom, your aunt, they have to be prepared for that going in. That said Corbin has worked with and around victims of abuse. And he's found that many of them, they really do empower themselves to take back their agency by telling their story in public. Everybody's different, of course, but in general, hiding your past that can foster a sense of shame. A feeling that if the details of this abuse ever did get out, it could somehow ruin their lives.
[00:07:41] And I'm sure that's something your mom and her sisters have dealt with over the years. And it's a huge part of the burden of a childhood like this. So telling the story in a courtroom. That could allow your mom and your aunt to finally take control of the narrative. Sexual abuse, advocates and prosecutors, they're generally pretty passionate about ensuring that victims have a chance to tell their stories in a criminal prosecution, partly for this exact reason.
[00:08:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, definitely that experience could be very therapeutic for them, but that doesn't necessarily mean that a courtroom is the only venue for their family or even the best one, because there are a lot of resources available to somebody like your mom. There are support groups, there's talk therapy, there's group therapy. There are informal meetups. There are a lot of safe spaces for victims to tell their stories, process their trauma. Corbin pointed out that there are also a ton of ways for victims to raise awareness around what they've been through, you know, to use their story as a way to make meaning out of the trauma and use it to educate other people when necessary. For example, they could work with nonprofits that serve victims of abuse. They could tell their story to, I don't know, legislators to help influence public policy, or they could lead or contribute to support groups for survivors, stuff like that. And doing things like that, that can be incredibly healing in and of itself in some cases, even more healing than just winning a lawsuit and getting some cash.
[00:08:54] So if your mom and aunt are willing to brave a courtroom to get some relief, then it could absolutely be worth it. But if testifying publicly and maybe being cross-examined would be very traumatic for them, if it would force them to relive a whole bunch of stuff, that they just have no interest or need to revisit. If it would just dredge up all this stuff that they can't face again, then they'll have to consider whether a lawsuit is actually worth pursuing and they should balance all of that against the strength of their case obviously. The likelihood of actually collecting any relief from their father.
[00:09:22] And if they decide that it's not worth pursuing this case, then maybe you can help them explore other ways to process this experience, other forms of emotional relief. And I know that's a tricky calculation to make it hinges on some very complicated emotions that are so personal to the people involved. And I'm sure that not doing anything here, just allowing your grandfather to escape any kind of punishment for what he did, that probably feels pretty damn unfair to you guys. So I get why this case matters so much to you, but Corbyn, he also helped us appreciate that there's another kind of justice at work here. And I don't mean to get overly philosophical here, but the truth is your grandfather, he was kind of a monster, right? He was obviously a very troubled guy, a very damaging person. He completely missed out on having a healthy relationship with his family.
[00:10:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, look, his kids hate him. His grandchild hates him. It sounds like no one's going to miss this guy when he dies. I mean, I'm sorry to kind of say that. It sounds horrible. I don't mean to be cruel, but it's probably the truth.
[00:10:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly. That's a very real punishment in and of itself and it's entirely self-inflicted. So if this guy can't be touched by the legal system, he's definitely going to be impacted by the consequences of his actions. And meanwhile, your mom, she has this incredibly caring child looking out for her, you. You're supporting her, you're doing everything you can to help her get justice. You're even writing into us to find more resources. I mean, in a very real way, your mom she's already won just by surviving her dad and building a radically different life from his.
[00:10:41] Jordan Harbinger: I agree. It's like Corbin said, when we talked, sometimes the best revenge is overcoming your trauma and just leaving your abuser in the dust. And sometimes the best justice really is redeeming your own story. As cheesy as that sounds, there's real truth to that. So I hope that that helps. I wish you and your mom and your aunt the best I really do. I think they've been through a lot more than anyone should have to go through in life. And it sounds like your mom in particular is doing really commendable work to get better. If a lawsuit would help balance the scales and it's not too late. That could be a helpful avenue to pursue. Just know that facing down an abuser in court, getting a little bit of money out of it. It's not going to change the past, even if you've got a lot of money out of it, right? It won't change the past. It won't heal your mom's wound on its own, even if she ends up winning. That kind of healing can only happen within herself. And I hope that she gets to do that and I hope it helps her move on so she can keep building a great life and a meaningful relationship with you. So we're pulling for you guys, we really are. And we're sending you and your family good thoughts.
[00:11:38] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:11:45] This episode is sponsored in part by HostGator. These days you can learn a lot about somebody by Googling them, but on the other side of it, that also means that someone can learn a lot about you by doing the same. But who's in control of that narrative? If you have a website, well, you are. And the good news is it's not even that hard or expensive. HostGator makes it affordable and easy for all budgets and levels of tech expertise. And the good folks there will guide you through every step of the process. HostGator has plans that start at two dollars and 64 cents a month for our listeners. And let's be honest, that's cheaper than a freaking parking meter, especially in this town. HostGator's offering all of you up to 66 percent off packages for new users with a 45-day complete money-back guarantee. And if you're still worried, they won't have what you need, HostGator offers choices on how to build a website, WordPress, builder, e-commerce, and plans that will help grow with you, including VPs and dedicated hosting. It's time to make it official. Go to hostgator.com/jordan right now, and get started. That's hostgator.com/jordan.
[00:12:42] This episode is also sponsored by Brand Crowd. Brand Crowd is an awesome logo maker tool. That'll help you make an amazing logo design online. Using high quality handcrafted designs, Brand Crowd takes your business name and industry and generates thousands of custom logos for you in just a few seconds. What you do — this is actually quite cool. You go to brandcrowd.com/jordan. Enter the name of your business and the option to include keywords. So like Jordan Harbinger cars or fitness or music or animals. Try it out for free. Just check it out and see what goes on. It's kind of funny. There's a lot of really good options there and great ideas get generated by this thing. Within seconds, Brand Crowd generates thousands of logos for you based on those keywords and the name. You browse the logos, you can edit the fonts, the colors, the layout, as many as you like for free, you can save them and then you can buy that logo and download all the logo files you need. You can also access a whole suite of design tools, create social media posts, business card designs, other print materials. They've got hundreds of layout templates and a massive photo library as well.
[00:13:41] Jen Harbinger: Check out brandcrowd.com/jordan. That's B-R-A-N-D-C-R-O-W-D.com/jordan to learn more and play with the tool for free and get 60 percent off Brand Crowd's premium logo pack.
[00:13:53] Jordan Harbinger: And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:13:58] All right, what's next?
[00:13:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys, I had a pretty intense life growing up. My biological family were drug addicts, criminals. My father, he was murdered and I spent my entire childhood in foster homes. At the age of 16, I made a poor decision that ultimately led to me being incarcerated as an adult and being sentenced to over a decade in prison. Being a child in an adult system had a lot of challenges. I was considered weak. I was considered vulnerable. In the beginning of my time, there were attempts to harm me, rape, assault, and so on to which I had to adapt. I could have joined a prison gang. Like a lot of my family, some of my family members are part of a motorcycle club, but I didn't want that to be my life. And I knew that I would be drawn into a downward spiral of issues. This was not an easy decision when my life was on the line and I was having to use extreme violence at times to protect myself. A couple of years into my sentence, I realized that I was good at asking questions and getting information from people often, without them realizing what they were divulging. Eventually, I became adept at getting information from the staff as well. That information helped me coordinate other "operations" for people and acquire various goods and services in prison. This skill set, it made me very useful to people which I used to create relationships with guys that ran important prison gangs. Those relationships kept me alive and allowed me to help protect a couple of my friends. Even with that though, there were still risks. In 2019, a year prior to my release, I was jumped by a couple of guys and sent to the hospital after they bashed my head in with a padlock. I was released last year at the age of 28. I've enrolled in school for software engineering. I want to focus on securities since most of my life has been finding ways around it. I'm a distinguished toastmaster. I've worked with the ACLU and other organizations to help better the penal system, but in the real world, I just don't know how to market my experience. How do I explain that I'm good at networking, reading people in negotiation because I ran a black-market underground smuggling operation in prison? Or that I would be a great candidate for a cybersecurity firm because I compromised prison staff members and bypass security for a decade. I don't necessarily want to glorify my behavior, but it did help me survive an environment that some people never make it out of. How do I frame my experience in a way that I can market my skills? Thank you for your time. Signed, Marketing, My Masterful Mendacity.
[00:16:07] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. That is one hell of a story dude, an extraordinary letter top to bottom. And given where you came from, what you've been through, what you had to do to survive, the fact that you've ended up achieving all of these incredible goals, it's inspiring, really. I love that you want to use your black hat experience to do white hat security work now, I think that's awesome. And I'm pretty sure that you'd be an amazing asset to so many companies and not just because of your networking and your negotiation and your people reading skills, but because you seem like a thoughtful, sensitive standup dude. You're committed to growing, working hard, becoming a different kind of person. But you're right, it's going to be hard for some people, probably most people to wrap their heads around your background. If you're going to make them see past your sentence, you're going to have to have your own story and tell it in the right way.
[00:16:55] Luckily, you're not the first person who's had to do that. There's absolutely a template for rehabilitating your image, making your, shall we say, non-traditional background work in your favor. Frank Abagnale is one guy who comes to mind, episode number one of The Jordan Harbinger Show. He's a legendary check forger, a former check forger. He's the guy they made the movie, Catch Me If You Can, about again, episode one of this show if you're interested. My first interview on this show, this current show. Frank went from passing bad checks and outrunning the law to consulting for the FBI, basically marketing his killer forgery skills to the Bureau.
[00:17:29] Another interesting example is Kevin Mitnick. He was convicted on hacking charges, probably like it got to be like the 80s. He spent some time in prison. Now, he's a super successful computer security consultant and an author. There's also Justin Paperny who's also on the show. He was a successful stockbroker who later got convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, securities fraud. Now, he's an author with a successful consulting practice, advising other people who are facing prison time. He was a guest on the show as well. So that was episode 226 if you want to check it out. And there's this other incredible dude, his name is Marcus Bullock. He got sentenced to eight years in prison at the age of 15 for carjacking. And when he got out, he climbed his way from job to job until he built his own seven-figure company. Amazing. Now he's the founder of this new company called Flikshop, which is an app that allows you to send a personalized photo or message to any incarcerated person in the United States. We'll link to an article about him in the show notes as well.
[00:18:27] So there's probably hundreds and hundreds of stories just like that. People who had to rebrand after prison and we don't even hear about them, but what all of these people did and what you have to do is control the narrative around this chapter in your life. You need to tell the story of you in a way that will make it understandable and meaningful to other people. And so where I would start is with a series of blog posts about your life story, just a few pieces about what you've been through, where you're heading, ideally publish these on your own website, but you could also put them on a blogging platform like Medium. You could even do both, whatever.
[00:19:02] The first blog posts part one, that should cover your life story at a high level, just like you did with us in your email: where you first came from, what you went through growing up, why you committed the crimes you did, how that landed you in prison, what you experienced while you were there, all that. Don't hold back. Don't self-edit too much. Don't overly apologize or justify anything you did. Just tell the story of what happened with as much detail and compassion for yourself as possible.
[00:19:27] Now, if this gets super long and it might, and that's okay, then you can break this up into a few parts too, or keep it super high level. Get all the major events down in one piece. Then I would write a few posts about the lessons you learned from each of these chapters. So for example, part two could be lessons I learned growing up in foster care after my father was murdered. Part three could be lessons I learned from being sent to prison for a decade at 16 years old. Part four could be lessons I learned being a child in an adult system and so on. You can do as many of these as you feel moved to do whatever makes sense for how you want to tell your story.
[00:20:01] The key here is to be super concrete about what you took away from these experiences and how they have made you a better, stronger, more conscientious person. Don't just rehash or celebrate what you've been through. I don't think you'd do that anyway, but I'm sure it's tempting with a wild story like yours, just capture what happened and how it taught you to be a different kind of person. If you approach this project as a way to articulate the things you learned and how you can help other people learn from it too, then I'm pretty confident you'll avoid glorifying your story too much.
[00:20:32] After that I would write up a short overview of yourself and send it along with the links to these pieces, to anyone you think would appreciate your story. Anyone you'd want to get to know that could be former inmates who are doing good work, nonprofits focused on criminal justice reform and rehabilitation. Self-development experts working with incarcerated people or returning citizens. Podcasters who do stories about people turning their lives around writers, authors, politicians, hiring managers, experts. The list goes on and on really anyone you might want to build a relationship with.
[00:21:02] By the way Marcus Bullock, the guy who founded Flikshop, I bet he'd be an amazing person to reach out to. I bet you could find a way to connect with him. People like him would be amazing mentors or at least role models to learn from. And I'm sure he'd be very interested in your story. And if there's anyone listening who happens to know Marcus Bullock or could help make that connection. We'd love to hear from you. We'll pass that along to the writer here.
[00:21:23] Anyway, these blog posts they'll basically become the spine of your personal brand. There'll be your calling card for connecting with new people. Once you publish them, they'll probably be the first thing people find out about you online. And that's great. That's what you want. For them to hear your story from you before they hear about your past out of context. And look, you might not get a job offer tomorrow, but you're laying the groundwork for new relationships and opportunities that will pay dividends down the line.
[00:21:51] In a year from now, you might, I don't know, find yourself being featured on a Planet Money episode about the job market for former inmates or talking to a psychologist who's writing a book about resilience or something like that. Who knows? Maybe these blog posts will get the attention of a publisher. And one day, you'll end up writing a book about overcoming adversity and rewriting your life story. Who knows? The sky's the limit here. You don't know how this will all play out, but you don't have to know right now.
[00:22:16] All you have to do is tell your story and get it out there. And by the way, that's exactly what Justin Paperny did. He didn't hide from his past. He didn't try to spin it. He published an eBook on his website that lays out all the shady stuff he did and why he did it. And now he talks about it openly to pretty much anyone who wants to know.
[00:22:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, such a great point. And as far as positioning yourself and marketing your skills, that will be a lot easier once you write these pieces because another thing you're doing here with these blog posts is you're helping people empathize with their story. You're helping them understand your unusual skills in context. You're basically saying, "Yeah, a lot of bad things happened to me. I did a lot about things myself, but I had to go through all of that to become a better person. And also I picked up some amazing skills along the way that I now want to use for good."
[00:22:59] In fact that would actually be another amazing blog post, Jordan, right? Five management skills I learned in prison or something like that.
[00:23:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's a catchy headline.
[00:23:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. And you can talk about running that smuggling operation and how it taught you how to negotiate or how compromising CEO's at the prison made you understand security, vulnerabilities, all of that. I mean, that would be such a great article. I can just imagine reading that and going, "Damn, this guy is legit."
[00:23:19] Now, look, we're not saying that this is going to be a walk in the park. I think it's pretty clear. It's not like all you have to do is write a couple of posts on Medium and suddenly Facebook will come blowing up your phone to interview you for their cybersecurity division. I mean, there are going to be a lot of companies out there that cannot hire you as a matter of policy. A lot of people, unfortunately, who will be too scared or too narrow-minded to take you on it sucks. I know it sucks, but it's just the way it is. And I'm sure that you know that already. But luckily you don't need everybody to like you, you just need one or two people who get your story, who want your skillset.
[00:23:49] And yeah, you'll have to wait through a lot of rejection to find them, but it will be worth it. Kevin Mitnick, Frank Abagnale, Justin Paperny, Marcus Bullock, they all have pretty great careers now, but it's been an uphill battle for all of them. So just be prepared for that, so that when the going does get tough, you'll know that it's not a sign that you should give up or that it's not worth it. It's just the path that you are on.
[00:24:07] Once you're actually in a job interview though, then it's all about how you tell those stories once again. Personally, I'm inclined to think that people will take your skills a lot more seriously. If they understand that you road tested them in perhaps the most high stakes environment you can imagine. I mean, hearing you talk about how good you are at pen testing because you, I don't know, I'm guessing smuggled cell phones into a prison or something like that. That's a lot more meaningful than hearing some 22-year-old Carnegie Mellon grad talk about how good they are at pen testing because they manage their fraternity's Discord server, or whatever. Your stories, they are high stakes. They are vivid. They're practical. That's huge.
[00:24:40] The key, though, is going to be articulating exactly which skill or which knowledge base you're offering. So it's not just like, "Yeah, I know how to exploit people," or, "I'm really good at getting people to do what I want." You want to be able to point specifically to skills that these companies actually need. Like, for example, negotiating with the vendors to get the best rates or developing physical pentesting programs for corporate campuses or running validating background checks on candidates, that kind of thing. It's almost like you want to start with the skill that the company wants, right? And then use the prison stories to bring that skill to life.
[00:25:11] Jordan Harbinger: Totally. But you're going to have to really practice those stories, the tone you use, your body language, your attitude, your style, all of that. It's a very specific vibe that you want to create here. It's not so much, you know, "I'm a shady guy who knows how to do some shady things that are pretty cool." The vibe is more like, "I'm a smart and responsible person who learned some really useful skills in a messed-up way. And now I'm determined to use those particular skill sets for good." Being funny, being playful will be really helpful when you talk about all this. It'll endear people to you it'll make them like you, but you also want to be sincere, genuine, and trustworthy and not coming across as like a sociopathic scam artist who knows how to charm people, right? You don't want to gloss over the ethics of what you did. You don't want to sound too flip or flippant or dismissive.
[00:25:58] You know, there's a very delicate line. You're walking here and you'll have to practice your story a lot with different audiences to get it just right. Your toastmasters cred though. I bet that's going to come in handy. I love that you've been doing that to toastmasters. It's often full of people who are like, "I'm here because I work at the post office or some accounting firm or whatever. And my boss says, I need to learn how to run a meeting and it's such a snore." So I bet people loved hearing you talk about your time behind bars and what you've learned, running your networks and everything. I think that would be like a thousand times more interesting than your typical toastmasters practice session.
[00:26:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I'm with you. It sounds like he's done a lot of work to hit the right note. One last thought here, though, in addition to being a great candidate, I would also be prepared to get a little bit scrappy with your career. You might find that getting a traditional job is really hard at first. Maybe even impossible. I hope that's not the case, but it could happen. And if it does, then you might have to get a little bit entrepreneurial. You might have to take a low paying job at first and go ham on the company to improve the business and up your salary. That's what Marcus did by the way. And maybe you start your own company and you invest in yourself for a few years. Maybe that company succeeds on its own, which would be amazing. Or maybe it just becomes the proof that you need to show employers that you're smart. You're ambitious, you're trustworthy. And that'll be the thing that convinces them to hire you.
[00:27:09] I guess what I'm saying is I love that you want to position yourself as a great candidate and you should, but if you meet too much resistance from people who will not hire you, then don't spin your wheels for three years, waiting on people who just don't want to be convinced that you are awesome. Keep investing in yourself, just like you've been doing. Find ways around these gatekeepers, keep reading, keep writing, keep building relationships, create solutions for problems that you understand, like nobody else does. Like Marcus did, right? With his company, whether it's an article or a community that you start, or a piece of software. Share those solutions with the people who could use them, keep improving them, figure out how to market them, monetize them. If you can, that's really the best way to launch a business. But more broadly, if you go all in on yourself first and foremost, and don't just place yourself at the mercy of traditional employers who have their own set of issues around hiring people like you, then I think you'll be in a much stronger position to build a great career.
[00:27:58] Jordan Harbinger: Agree a hundred percent, that entrepreneurial mindset, that's going to be key for somebody like you. If you do all of that consistently, I'm very confident that your path will unfold the right way, even if you can't always see it clearly. And since you have a good head on your shoulders and a good heart from the sound of it, I think you're going to do well, my man, I mean, this is just the beginning. It's going to be hard sometimes. It's going to be really hard. I think it's going to be freaking frustrating, but I also think this process is going to be really meaningful.
[00:28:24] So good luck, keep us posted. And if there's anything we can do to help you along the way, you know that we're here and Oh, if you need resume, help or anything, you may be past that, but I know we have some listeners here on the show that do pro bono resumes services to those in need. So that might come in handy too. Happy to help wherever we can.
[00:28:44] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:28:48] This episode is also sponsored by Magnifying Excellence podcast. Many of you listening right now are striving for excellence, but have you ever thought about the exact definition of excellence? I hadn't until recently when I came upon the new Magnifying Excellence podcast which features some of the world's best from sports, entertainment, and business, even a secret agent here and there. And each episode begins with the foundational question, "How do you define excellence?" You can get further insight in each episode because after that initial answer, the host and fan of The Jordan Harbinger Show, Brian Hurlburt and the guests, they take a deep dive into all things excellence, including getting very candid about how failure is always a part of the journey of excellence, even for the best in the world.
[00:29:27] Jen Harbinger: We've added Magnifying Excellence to our podcast playlist and hope you will too. It's available on all major podcast networks and you can also visit X-L-E-T-E.com and sign up to receive a free Magnifying Excellence eBook written by the host and also receive the show's weekly newsletter. It might be the best podcasts that you didn't know you needed.
[00:29:44] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Better Help. Often people freak out when they hear the word therapy. But contrary to common misconception, therapy isn't just for those who are struggling with mental illness. It can be beneficial for anyone who's experiencing stress, intense emotions, or life transitions and wants to improve their life. I've been a big fan of therapy at different transition points in my life, and I'm relatively sane. At least now, I am. Talk therapy provides you with a safe, nonjudgmental place to vent about your experiences, explore your options, and develop the skills to handle various life challenges. If you've already always wanted to try therapy or you'd like to try it again, or you never wanted to because you thought it was intimidating, I do recommend Better Help. They've got great reviews from you as the listeners writing in having tried it are telling me you love it. Better Help offers online licensed professional therapists who are trained to listen and help with pretty much any issue that you can think of. Everything's confidential. I think it's very convenient. It's a great way to dip your toes in the waters of therapy here.
[00:30:41] Jen Harbinger: The Jordan Harbinger Show listeners get 10 percent off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan. Visit better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan and join over one million people who have taken charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced Better Help professional.
[00:30:54] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored in part by Babbel. Heute ist mein Geburtstag. In case you don't speak German, that means today is my birthday. And you can learn stuff like that from Babbel, the number one selling language learning app. Look, there's a lot of copy in front of me, but I will say this about Babbel. You know, I love languages. I see a lot of language apps. Babbel is really a fun way to learn a language. They have five-minute lessons. They have 15-minute lessons. Jen's been using it for Spanish. So you can test her next time you see her on her Spanish. Right, Jen? But I just think it's fun to have a five-minute lesson, right? You're wasting a lot of time on social media. Instead, you could be learning languages. We all tried languages in high school. They were horrible. You're memorizing a freaking verb table. Babbel designs their courses with practical, real world information, real world conversations in mind. Things you'll get to use in everyday life. Other language learning apps often use AI for their lesson plans to kind of amateurish AI, but Babbel lessons were created by over a hundred language experts. They've got 14 languages, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and more. I think it's a great way to get started with the language. Just to see if you enjoy learning a little bit and speaking a little bit.
[00:31:57] Jen Harbinger: Right now when you purchase a three-month Babbel subscription, you also get an additional three months for free. That's six months for the price of three, just go to babbel.com and use promo code JORDAN. That's B-A-B-B-E-L.com code JORDAN for an additional three months free. Babbel, language for life.
[00:32:14] Jordan Harbinger: 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.
[00:32:32] All right, next up.
[00:32:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys, after COVID hit and the riots began last year at the neighborhood that my boyfriend and I lived in became unsafe. So we moved in with his parents in a spacious house, in the suburbs. I just started a job after college. He's doing his PhD and we continue to work and study online. The four of us, we get along very well, cooking and enjoying one another's company every day. The issue is this, my boyfriend's mother can be very passive, aggressive, not toward me, but toward any issue in her life in general. She's a pretty privileged woman, so all the things that bother her seemed like non problems to me. She is very intense and petty and makes things seem much more dramatic than they are. I try my best to sympathize and listen and help her out when possible but the atmosphere lately has been so suffocating. It stresses me out when I finish the workday and have to leave my office to face them at dinner. His dad, on the other hand, he's very chill and fun to talk to, so no issues there. I try to be on my best behavior and always give them thoughtful gifts that make our life at home more convenient. But what else should I be doing to create a good relationship with my boyfriend's mom. Signed, COVID Cohabitating Without Incapacitating.
[00:33:36] Jordan Harbinger: Well, as somebody who's been living with my brother-in-law for the past, like eight, nine months, I can definitely relate to the COVID family bubble drams. Although I got to say, we haven't really good in our house. Glen and I get along great, my brother-in-law. I think the biggest conflict we get into these days is which true-crime doc to watch after dinner. But I know not every family is as chill and sometimes you've got to deal with some — shall we say unique personalities when you live together?
[00:34:01] From what I'm hearing though, you sound like the dream girlfriend/future daughter-in-law. So you're easygoing. You're respectful. You're generous. You're not adding fuel to the fire with your boyfriend's mom. You're always looking for ways to make her life easier. You get along great with his dad and your mother-in-law — all right, I'm going to call her your mother-in-law because it's easier. She is not getting mad at you, which is lucky. The conflict is not between you. She's just kind of mad at the world in general, which is kind of sad. This incredibly fortunate woman is so unhappy in a world where there are many real problems that she could be dealing with.
[00:34:33] But as I'll get into in a minute, I think that might be an entry point for you. So look, it sounds to me like you already have a pretty good relationship with her considering the circumstances, but if you want to improve your relationship, here are a few ideas. I'm getting the vibe that your mother-in-law, she's probably wrestling with some anxieties, some anger. Who knows what else? She's not really dealing with it. It just sort of comes out whenever she gets upset or bummed. So what would happen if you took her out for a walk one day, made her lunch one afternoon, or something like that? Some time when you two can be alone and just start chatting with her. Ask her how she's feeling these days, what the pandy has been like for, how she feels about everyone staying in the house together. You know, just get her talking. Tell her how much you appreciate her letting you and your boyfriend stay in the house. How nice it's been to be around family.
[00:35:19] Let her know that she's loved to make her feel appreciated. Then if you feel like she's opening up a bit, you could say something like, "So, hey, Annette, I can't help but notice that you seem a little down these days." Or, "The other day, when you cussed out the UPS guy, you seemed a little bit more stressed than usual. I just want to know if everything's all right." Again, let her talk and if she does draw her out. She might just vent for a while. She might even go on another monologue about some BS that you know is not important, but let her. Resist the urge to point out how trivial it all is. Or to fix her problems for her.
[00:35:52] This first conversation, it should just be about making her feel comfortable, opening up to you. Then make these conversations a little ritual. Grab five minutes with her here and there. Maybe when you're getting a snack in the kitchen or making dinner or watering the lawn or whatever. Eventually when she has a meltdown over the fact that, I don't know, they didn't have broccoli at Whole Foods. "They only had broccolini. What was me? How incompetent are these people?" You can be like, "Listen, Annette, let's not get worked up about this. Broccolini is great. We're all fine. I'm just grateful. We have dinner tonight. Thanks so much for cooking." Something like that, not in a scolding kind of way more in a, "let me put my arm around you and show you another way of looking at things right now" kind of way.
[00:36:31] And if you guys keep talking, you can ask her more directly about why she gets so upset. Maybe you can help her work through some of that anxiety. Maybe you can help give her some perspective. Maybe you can remind her that there will always be hiccups in life and that she can decide whether to let them get to her. Maybe tell her that you see how hard she works and that you don't want to see her get even more stressed than she already is. Maybe you can help her realize that her reactions are only making things worse. Again, not by lecturing her about it. Just like rubbing her shoulder and being like, "It's okay, Annette. Remember when we talked about this the other day, just let it go. It's not worth it." Hey, if that doesn't work, maybe you can lock her in the basement.
[00:37:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. That's always the possibility. Just turn her into the family and parasite and live out the rest of the penny-ante upstairs. That's an option. I don't know. I like that. I think you're absolutely right, Jordan. I think that's a really nice approach. Definitely worth a shot at least. But if you try all of this with your mother-in-law and nothing changes, then it is possible that your mother-in-law, she just wants to be miserable. In that case, you'll probably have to back off and just let her be miserable. You can be as supportive as you want. But you can't reach inside this woman's brain and rewire it or live her life for her. You know, some people, they just want to be unhappy. I don't know. I can't explain it. On some level being unhappy, getting worked up about stuff that doesn't matter, it's probably fulfilling some important need for her, maybe to get attention or play the victim or — I don't know. I'm just guessing here. Maybe feel superior to other people. Who knows? There might even be some low-key narcissistic tendencies going on here, which would be extremely hard for you to rewrite on your own.
[00:38:02] If she's going to change, she has to want to change. And that's not your problem to fix that's her and maybe her husband's problem to fix. Although it sounds like your father-in-law, he's really just a chill dude. He's just like, "Oh yeah, Annette, she's freaking looney tunes, so I'm just going to look the other way and watch ESPN while she screams at the Instacart guy for being 15 minutes late."
[00:38:19] Jordan Harbinger: I can see that family dynamic playing out for decades, right? Mom going ballistic, dad ducking out, laughing it off, son kind of desensitized to his mom's shenanigans. Like, "Ah, it's always like that." Daughter-in-law watching all of this, like, "You all know this isn't normal, right? You know broccolini is totally fine, right?"
[00:38:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally. That's their coping strategy to avoid conflict, find the path of least resistance. And that's probably enabled mom, I'm guessing, for pretty long time.
[00:38:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think you're right. I mean, anyway, long term, if your mother-in-law doesn't change and it's really affecting your mental health. I would consider whether you want to keep staying in the house. I'm guessing this COVID cohabitation thing was a temporary situation anyways. It's probably not the healthiest situation for you and your boyfriend to be in living with his parents long term if it's not absolutely necessary. So maybe you guys can start making some plans to find a new place. Now, that the vaccine's coming things will maybe hopefully start going back to normal slowly here.
[00:39:13] And knowing that there is an end date here that will probably help you deal with your mother-in-law a lot better. Then you can just appreciate her for who she is while you're there. Let it go, knowing that one day soon, you won't have a front row seat to all of the crazy. Or, you know, keep living with your in-laws forever, like some kind of millennial all in the family. That could be fun too. For good luck.
[00:39:35] All right. Last but not least.
[00:39:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan, Jen, and Gabe, I work as a public servant. I've been with my current agency for a year and a half. And in that time I've been passed over for a promotion twice. I have leadership experience, thanks to my previous roles, but I suspect that my current agency doesn't care that I've worked in three different government agencies in the past. The first time I didn't get promoted, the selection panels, chairperson, he gave me some constructive feedback about my interview responses and how they needed to focus more on results rather than on my actions and my methods. Needless to say, I took this on board and worked hard to apply as feedback in my next interview. In my last promotion panel, the chairperson made fun of me and ridiculed me in front of the panel after I asked if another panel member had the appropriate security clearance to listen to some sensitive information. I found this to be extremely unprofessional, but I let it slide because it was in the middle of the interview and I was nervous enough as it was. I also have concerns about a potential conflict of interest here. As I know that another panel member has a close relationship with another candidate who in this case was successful in getting the promotion. So here are my questions. Should I lodge a formal complaint? I'm worried that by doing this, I might make enemies in the agency. Our industry is quite small and I don't want to affect my reputation and hamper potential career moves. Or should I just take it on the chin? Wait for the next round. This is frustrating because a small part of me thinks that there could also be some potential discrimination against me based on my ethnic background. And finally, how do I go about finding out the exact reason why I wasn't successful? Over here government departments will provide the same cookie-cutter feedback without really telling you the reason why you weren't selected. Thanks for making the show and getting so many interesting guests. Signed, Passover, Pissed Off, But Pressing On.
[00:41:14] Jordan Harbinger: Thanks for sharing your story with us. And I'm sorry, you've been passed over for promotion a couple of times. I think a lot of people listening right now can relate. This kind of thing happens all the time, especially in the public sector. I got to say, though, I admire your work ethic and your self-awareness about all this. You sound like a humble person who's ready and willing to do the work to get this promotion. And you're asking some great questions. So let's jump in.
[00:41:35] First up, should you lodge a complaint or should you just cop it on the chin and wait for the next round? I wouldn't file a complaint, not at this stage anyway. Listen, if you had slam dunk proof that the selection panel was discriminating against you on the basis of your ethnicity, and there was no way to get ahead or make some changes in your department without getting kind of Karen-ish about it, I would say, yeah, go for it. These people need to be called out, but there are just too many variables here to know what's really going on.
[00:42:01] And I know it's frustrating. I know you're wondering if it's discrimination. It might even be discrimination on some level. You just don't know. But the upside to filing a complaint right now, pretty slim. The downside seems pretty high in a small agency that obviously runs on loyalty, filing a formal complaint, it's not a great way to make friends in the department and I can totally see it backfiring. I can also see them retaliating and icing you out or finding ways to keep you stuck in your position, which is the opposite of what you want.
[00:42:30] So I'd keep your head down, keep working hard, see what happens in the next year or two, your time and energy would be much better spent figuring out why you were passed over and doing the work to level up as a candidate. Again, unless somebody was like, "Yeah, they don't like Latinos," you know, or whatever. You know, like, "Yeah, John, he said only white people are going to get promoted." Like then yeah, file a complaint. But if you're just not sure and you think that might be one reason it's a little bit trickier because it's not going to go anywhere probably.
[00:42:58] And this is why I was happy when you asked how to find out exactly why you weren't successful this time around. This is super important. And it's really difficult sometimes because most employers, they don't like telling candidates to their face why they're not getting ahead. Like you said, government agencies, they tend to provide the same cookie-cutter feedback without really telling you the reason why you weren't selected. So you're going to have to be extremely proactive to get to the real story.
[00:43:23] So how do you actually do that? Well, the best way in my opinion is to build strong relationships. That answer won't surprise you, but surprise, surprise. I think this is going to be the key to your situation overall. People who develop meaningful relationships with their supervisors, their colleagues, mentors, they don't just get ahead faster. They don't just have a better experience at work. They also have access to better information because when somebody likes you, when someone wants you to succeed, they also want you to have as much information as possible, including information about how you're performing, what you need to focus on to get ahead, what other people think of you, all that critical data. Whereas people who don't have strong relationships, they tend to be out of the loop there, or they're kept at arm's length, or they're fed a version of what's happening instead of getting the real deal. And so they're not getting any actionable feedback here.
[00:44:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally. That's when you start to hear things like focus more on results rather than actions and methods, you know, instead of, "Jerry just thought Chris was better for the job. And by the way, that joke he told at the Christmas party, not a good look," you know, that kind of thing. Like you're getting some sort of cookie-cutter templatey version of what's happening as opposed to the real download, right?
[00:44:29] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. And I'm not saying that focusing on results over methods was bad feedback or whatever, that could totally have been part of why he didn't get the promotion. I'm just saying that stuff's almost never the full story. He needs the full story right now. And this reminds me of when I got kind of a cold offer from a law firm a long time ago. They said something like, "Well, your level of enthusiasm about certain work projects was unclear and your communication habits and managing expectations was a little unclear." And then I told everyone in the office about it because I thought I'm never coming to this firm. I'm not going to accept the offer because I just kind of got like taking down a couple pegs in this meeting and I don't like it here and I never did. And I started asking people, like I said, "Okay, this is probably what I'm going to get real feedback if I ask people for it."
[00:45:14] And I remember one partner, he was like the, "I don't give a crap" partner who is not grouchy, but very straightforward. He goes, "Yeah, I guess like, you know, you were trying to be funny at this party and then like some of the other guys, they think you're kind of like lame cause you don't go out with everyone and drink and like, we have a drinking culture here. And so they kind of think you're a stick in the mud." And I was like, "Oh, that's probably at least half the story, right?" The other communication skills, something, something managing expectations. That stuff's probably true, but I could probably be A-plus in that level and everybody would go, "Yeah, but nobody likes Jordan." Or like, "Jordan, he doesn't party with us. And we're suspicious of him," which is funny because then at my next firm that I went to I think the opposite was probably true. It was probably like, "Hey Jordan. Wow. Okay. Calm down." So I think the pendulum swung pretty far in the other direction, I was in a good culture for that on Wall Street, honestly, but you got to make sure that you're getting the real story.
[00:46:08] So the best advice I can offer you is to keep working hard, keep being a great employee, but also start investing more deliberately in your relationships within the agency. Even if you find one or two allies there, you're going to be in a stronger position when the next promotion round comes. You need a couple of people who will be in your corner, who can tell you specifically where you need to improve, who will go to bat for you when promotion time comes. And I'm not talking about, you know, kissing ass and buying lunch for everyone every Friday or any of that smarmy bullsh*t. I'm talking about genuinely connecting one-on-one with people, helping them succeed, investing in them, deepening your connections in general, not just so you get promoted next year. That's obviously part of it, but so you can create a strong tribe of people that have your back at work.
[00:46:51] This could truly be a game changer for you because I could be reading into this a little bit too much, but I get a sense from your letter here that you're a little isolated in the job right now. You're maybe the odd man out. So you're doubling down on your track record and your performance to get ahead, which is smart. Don't get me wrong. But if you had a strong network, in addition to being a rockstar employee, if you walked into those promotion meetings with better relationships from the jump, they could really start to see you in a new way.
[00:47:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: I completely agree. And I got to say, I thought it was interesting that he mentioned this thing about the other panel member who's close with that other candidate, the one who got the promotion instead of him, I think he called it a potential conflict of interest and in a way he's right. It is a conflict of interest. If he's looking at this situation only from his own point of view, because from the panel members point of view, from that other candidate's point of view, they just have a great relationship that they probably worked hard to invest in. That's making them want to work together and they're both benefiting as a result. They're not thinking about, "Oh, who else is going to lose because we built this strong connection. "But the fact that, the guy writing in, the fact that he views this as unfair. I think that's very telling.
[00:47:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's a common reaction for people who are still, let's say, newer to relationship building, who don't quite see the Matrix when it comes to how networking drives so many outcomes in life and in our careers, especially. I'm not trying to make you feel bad for that. I had the exact same reaction when I started out in my career, I just didn't get the whole relationships thing. And when I saw people playing at that game, it didn't sit well with me. It made me kind of angry, because I hadn't figured out yet that I should be playing this game too. And that is good for everyone involved, but once you do that, start building relationships like that other candidate, I think you're going to start to be less annoyed and more excited about what opens up for you.
[00:48:31] And by the way that other candidate, the one who got the promotion, that would be a great first person to reach out to in the office I think. Take them out to lunch, congratulate them on the promotion, get to know them a little bit better. Ask them what they're doing, how they operate at work. Eventually, you could even ask them for some feedback on what you need to do to prepare for next year's panel. And by the way, that's a good example of horizontal networking, not just trying to hobnob with higher ups, but building friendships with people at your level, or around your level too. Oftentimes, those people turn out to be even more valuable connections. So I would definitely start there. At the same time, keep working on yourself, your personality, your style, how you present to other people.
[00:49:09] That story about the security clearance comment. I thought that was an interesting moment too. And I can see that playing out in a couple of ways. In one version, you were a hundred percent right to ask if someone had the right clearance to have that conversation. And the chairperson, they're just a total dick who threw you under the bus so they could look important or whatever, but it's also possible that the way you brought up the security clearance thing, maybe it sounded a tad condescending, maybe a little schoolmarmish or something. In which case they were responding to your style or how they perceived your style, which like it or not happens in every organization. We're rarely evaluated just on how good our work product is. We're also evaluated on our personality, our relationships, our likeability, how we behave. So I would do just some work on calibrating your style at work, because that's really important too.
[00:49:59] Anyway, bottom line, make relationship building a priority this year. Keep knocking it out of the park at work, but create those systems and tiny habits to invest in your network too. Don't lose your humility, your curiosity, your work ethic. Those are amazing qualities you have use them to figure out what it'll take to get ahead there. We all have areas that we need to develop. Yours just happens to be your network and maybe your style at work in the office. And look, if you're still in the same place in a year or two, and you're not getting ahead and you're absolutely miserable, look for another job. This might not be the agency for you long term and that's okay. But before you jump ship or lodge a complaint, I'd really give this a shot. Worst-case scenario, you become a better networked person, a more personable candidate, and you take all those new skills to a place that really values you. Either way, you win.
[00:50:48] Hope you all enjoy that. I want to thank everyone that wrote in this week. Go back and check out Dan David and Peter Diamandis if you haven't yet. If you want to know how I book all these folks, it's always my tiny habits, my network, my skills systems here. I'm teaching you all this for free in Six-Minute Networking. It's over on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. Don't put it off, right? Dig the well before you get thirsty. Don't be like question four over here. And I'm just kidding, man. Once you need relationships, you're way too late. Do it now. Dig the well before you get thirsty. This stuff takes five minutes a day. Come on, ignore it at your own peril. Find it all at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:51:25] A link to the show notes for the episode are found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts at jordanharbinger.com in the show notes. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also hit me on LinkedIn. Gabe is on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:51:42] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Keep sending in those questions to email@example.com. Our advice and opinions, and those of our guests are their own. I'm a lawyer, but 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. And if you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice that we gave here today. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:52:23] Here's a preview of my conversation with Danny Trejo, an ex-con turned icon, featured in over 350 films and TV shows. You've seen them everywhere in Machete, Breaking Bad, Desperado and much, much more. He's never been through acting school, which doesn't matter when you're a legend/icon. Before becoming such a prolific star, Danny Trejo was a drug addicted criminal, hooked on heroin at age 12, who spent more than a decade in and out of prisons. Here's a quick preview.
[00:52:52] Danny Trejo: Once you started doing robberies and you're using heroin, the robberies become addictive. You don't know whether you're doing robberies to support your drug habit or doing drugs to support your robbery habit.
[00:53:06] Jordan Harbinger: I read you robbed a store with a hand grenade.
[00:53:09] Danny Trejo: This was later on. This was like, we did a robbery. We winded up with this hand grenade. So I tried it and it was very simple. You know, when you hold a hand grenade and you've got your hand on the pin and you asked somebody for some money, they think twice.
[00:53:22] In prison, there's only two kinds of people. In prison, there's predators and their preys. That's it. And you got to decide every damn morning, what are you going to be. And I know a lot of people that decide, "I'm a prey. F*ck, I don't care because I'm tired." I know a lot of people that took an elevator off the fifth year. There's no elevator. I knew a lot of people that cut their wrists. I've seen guys with all the muscles in the world get stabbed by a short Mexican in tennis shoes with a big knife. "Get fighting." "I don't fight you." That's prison.
[00:53:55] Prison has a taste. Put one of those fake pennies, leave one in your mouth, and keep it there. That's the taste of pressure. That's the taste of anxiety. That's the taste of fear. That's the taste of everything. You feel it. That's what you walk around with. And when you finally lose that taste that day, you've decided whether you're going to be predator or prey. That's the only way you can lose it.
[00:54:21] Jordan Harbinger: For more, including how Danny Trejo walked onto a Hollywood movie set as a drug counselor and left as a bonafide actor and how Danny Trejo has managed sobriety for over 50 years and continues to help others maintain theirs, check out episode 398 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:54:39] Male Narrator: Support for this podcast comes from Pluto TV. Need an escape? Drop into Pluto TV for a world of free TV. Stream hundreds of channels and thousands of movies and shows all for free. Yeah, free, no subscriptions, no fees. Imagine 24/7 channels of Narcos, CSI, Star Trek, Survivor, and everything else from hit movies to binge-worthy TV shows, the latest news, live sports, comedy, and more. What are you waiting for? Download the free Pluto TV app for Android, iPhone, Roku and Fire TV, and start streaming now. Pluto TV, drop in, watch free.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.