You’re an American citizen living and working in Kyiv, Ukraine. The embassy just released a statement recommending you evacuate as the situation with Russia escalates, but you’ve considered staying there and becoming an independent journalist to cover what happens should armed conflict come to pass. Is this a foolhardy death wish disguised as a passion project, or a perfect time for a prudent career pivot? We’ll try to find an answer to 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:
- You’re an American currently living and working in Ukraine, considering a pivot to war reporting should the situation with Russia escalate. Is this flirtation with danger a death wish in disguise, or a perfect time for a prudent career pivot? [Thanks to seasoned war reporter Danny Gold for helping us tackle this one!]
- You’re a 37-year-old married man who’s come to realize you don’t really have any male friends your own age. What can you do to change this?
- How do you establish healthy boundaries with the sister who mistakes your support system role as an invitation for constant abuse?
- You and your spouse went into marriage with a noncommital attitude about having kids. Eight years on, you’ve decided you’d like to try having some, but your spouse does not. Is there a win/win way to work through this?
- You took a 50% pay cut to join a startup making a product you strongly believe in. But the pandemic happened, and now your pay cut is 100% as your company struggles to regain momentum. What are your options for seeking job opportunities in your network without simultaneously signaling there’s something wrong with your current company’s product?
- 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.
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Miss our conversation with Fyre Festival fiasco fraudster in federal prison? Catch up with episode 422: Billy McFarland | From Fyre Fest Fiasco to Federal Prison here!
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Resources from This Episode:
- What to Know Before You Go to Your First Goat Yoga Class | Men’s Journal
- Daniel Pink | The Power of Regret | Jordan Harbinger
- Adam Grant | Why Helping Others Drives Our Success | Jordan Harbinger
- Six Powerful Positives Provided by the Pandemic | Jordan Harbinger
- Whether He Invades Ukraine or Backs Down, Putin Has Harmed Russia | The Economist
- Danny Gold | Breaking News from the Underworld | Jordan Harbinger
- Danny Gold | Twitter
- Daniel Levin | How to Find a Missing Person in the Middle East | Jordan Harbinger
- A Hostage Negotiator for Journalists Like Daniel Pearl | The Forward
- How to Make Friends as an Adult | Jordan Harbinger
- Jackass Forever | Official Website
- Love Actually | Prime Video
627: Would I Be Insane to Report from Ukraine? | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, a nine toed dude, living in a 10 toed world Gabriel Mizrahi.
[00:00:13] So you broke your toe. I assume—
[00:00:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: I broke my toe.
[00:00:16] Jordan Harbinger: —doing goat yoga or something there in LA, right?
[00:00:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Obviously, that's the only way you break a toe in Los Angeles, yeah, doing goat yoga.
[00:00:23] Jordan Harbinger: Well, you could have been sprinting to the Feedback Friday inbox to check the inbox.
[00:00:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's actually closer to the truth. I was crossing my apartment a couple of days ago, and I just caught it on the edge of a table.
[00:00:33] Jordan Harbinger: Your vast one bedroom—
[00:00:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: My vast studio apartment.
[00:00:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:00:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: And yeah, I just cut it on the table. It was very glamorous.
[00:00:42] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man.
[00:00:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: But what's super embarrassing about this whole thing is I actually did do goat yoga a couple of months ago.
[00:00:48] Jordan Harbinger: Of course, you did. Of course, you did.
[00:00:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: But it was part of a joint bachelor bachelorette party.
[00:00:55] Jordan Harbinger: As one does. I mean, it sounds wild. Yeah. "Hey, bachelor party, what are we going to be doing?" "You know, goat yoga."
[00:01:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Goat yoga.
[00:01:02] Jordan Harbinger: How cliche?
[00:01:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Goat yoga—
[00:01:05] Jordan Harbinger: Is it really like the goats stand on your back when you're doing poses and stuff? Is that really what you see in—?
[00:01:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, that's one of the things they do. They also just kind of like lean on you and they watch it. Yeah, that's cute. It's a fun thing to do.
[00:01:18] Jordan Harbinger: It's fun. There's no therapeutic benefit though from adding the goat, right?
[00:01:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: No, although they do add a lot of weights. So if you try to do pushups, it's like amazing exercise.
[00:01:26] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, okay.
[00:01:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. It's not. No, you're not getting more enlightened because there's a goat on the nape of your neck.
[00:01:34] Jordan Harbinger: Licking you as you drip sweat in downward dog. Gross.
[00:01:39] 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.
[00:02:04] Now, if you're new to the 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 incredible people from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers. And this week we had my friend Dan Pink on the power of regret. He's a great writer, a great thinker, really interesting conversation on what people regret and how to use regret to sort of preemptively strike against those types of behaviors that might end up in regret. We also had the one and only Adam Grant. I love this guy has been on the show a bunch of times. He is just a frigging genius in multiple areas. We talk about networking and relationship development. Obviously, that's a big thing for me here on the show. Adam Grant with his book, Give and Take kind of set the table for a lot of this. And this episode is packed with practicals from some of the best in the business when it comes to outreach, networking, and relationship development.
[00:02:53] I also write every so often on the blog. My latest post is positives to take with you out of the pandemic. This one's all about the unexpected upsides of this crazy chapter. Like any period of adversity, the pandemic served up a whole lot of stress and uncertainty and very real heartache. But also forced us to confront a ton of new insights, habits, ideas, mindsets that could change the rest of our lives for the better. So that's what I talk about in this article. The benefits you can focus on as you ease out of the pandemic and how you can harness them to be happier, more connected, more resilient, and you can find that article and all of our articles at jordanharbinger.com/articles. So make sure you've had a look and listen to everything we created for you here this week.
[00:03:36] All right, Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:03:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm an American citizen living and working in Kyiv, Ukraine. The embassy just released a statement recommending that we evacuate given the escalating situation with Russia, but I'm unsure that that's the right decision for me. In fact, I'm considering staying here and becoming an independent journalist to cover what happens should it actually come to a major armed conflict. My reason is pretty simple. I served here in the Peace Corps before taking my current job and I believe in democracy. The idea of leaving everyone I know here behind is racking me with guilt and I want to do something to support them. Frankly, if the US deployed militarily, I'd have my hand up to be the first one back. Of course, this might be a fool's errand. I have no military training. I don't know first aid. I don't even really have practice as a photographer/videographer. And the closest I've been to being a good journalist is a podcast on China that I produced with a close friend of mine from college.
[00:04:32] Jordan Harbinger: Can I pause you right there? There's something funny about like, "If the military wants to go, I'm the first one in line. By the way, I don't even know how to apply first aid, but I am a podcaster." Like I'm with you, bro. These skills are limited in use though, in a war zone anyway.
[00:04:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: So it's basically me, my intermediate Russian, and a nice GoPro. At the same time, I've also felt insecure about not having a career as a 31-year-old guy for a while. My options stateside are not great, but I would find something eventually. The thing is I've always been this person who cares about the wider world, loves languages, and isn't afraid of being in danger, especially if it's for a purpose. Maybe this crap in Ukraine is none of my business, or maybe it's literally why God put me here. There's probably something saner that I could do from safety or something more effective that I can do, even if it's dangerous, but I don't have much time to figure it out. So should I stay and give this a shot? Signed, Ukraine in the Membrane.
[00:05:29] Jordan Harbinger: Nice. Well, this is a fascinating question and a fascinating moment in history. As some of, you know, I lived in Odesa, Ukraine for a time about 20 years ago now, and that place was amazing. It's known as the city of spice. It has a ton of history. There's a lot of really cool beachside clubs there. There's a lot of great bars and restaurants there. The food is awesome. The people are kind of a unique culture, even within Ukraine. It's just a really, really amazing place. And I have a lot of love for Ukraine. I just had a blast there. I wish I'd spent more time there. I always planned to go back there. I used to hang out with old dudes in parks and talk about their wartime experiences because they would be selling their medals to make money. And I'd be buying some like Order of Stalin medal from an old guy. I'd be like, "Whoa, I want to hear how you got this. That's what I want to hear." And old guys would walk around with their medals pinned to their chest because it was kind of like, you know, these old World War II guys wanted the honor. It's just an incredible place. Ukraine is near and dear to my heart. And this whole situation with Russia, I'm obviously paying close attention to it. And I completely understand your impulse to get involved because I've literally been there in a very similar situation as yourself.
[00:06:37] We wanted to talk to an expert about your question. So we reached out to my friend, Danny Gold. He's a foreign correspondent, a director, a producer, and long-form writer, and most importantly, a former guest of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Danny's covered multiple conflicts from Syria to Gaza, to Iraq, to El Salvador. And he knows better than anyone what this career actually entails. And the first thing Danny said was you have a few advantages here. You're already in Ukraine. You seem to speak the language well, one of the languages anyway, Russian, and you have some common experience with the place you want to cover, which is actually why Danny felt comfortable advising you here, as opposed to, you know, some Yahoo who reads about the Ukraine situation on Reddit and hops on a Ryanair flight with a frigging flashlight and an iPhone, hoping to become a war documentarian overnight.
[00:07:24] That said, Danny had some sobering advice about the realities of working as a journalist, especially in a war zone. The reason you're chasing this conflict, to create a new career for yourself, you have to do that with eyes wide open. As Danny put it to us, journalism, especially war journalism, this is not a good career, if you want stability and money and a three-bedroom apartment in Tribeca with your cool war photos hanging above your restoration hardware couch. If that's your intention going in, Danny said, you are choosing the wrong career. He actually warns people about this pretty often. It's just not the kind of thing you can do if you want to have nice things.
[00:08:04] If you want to support a family and buy a house, now that might be more doable since you live in Ukraine, you might get paid by American companies in US dollars and things might be really inexpensive over there, relatively speaking. But that anxiety you have about being 31 without having a solid career in Danny's view, becoming a journalist, especially a war correspondent, that's not going to make this feeling go away at all. And as he put it to us, people have a romanticized view of what this work is like. It is noble work, for sure. It is important work. I would have loved to have done some of this work myself, but you can't go in thinking you're going to change the world or look for glory in action.
[00:08:44] I mean, maybe you'll get a little glory, but in Danny's words, changing the world is a very small part of what the job actually entails. So Danny's advice, if you're serious about pursuing this, is that you think about it as a business. Most of the big outlets, CNN, BBC, Fox, whatever it is, they have their own people on the ground. You'll probably have to find smaller publications that would want a 400, 800-word story, a three-minute video, a shorter piece. So start reaching out. Yes, send cold emails to editors. Use the Six-Minute Networking stuff. Get introductions if you can. Tell them your history, why you should be the one to tell this story, the connections you have, the language skills, the fact that you're already there, which means they won't have to pay for travel expenses. Danny said you have to prepare to just not make a lot of money. You might even lose money at least, at first.
[00:09:37] Danny's other thought is can you embed with a battalion or a military unit? Do you know anyone who can be your fixer? This is like a local guy who knows the right people who can help you maneuver. They can make translations, they can get you in and out of checkpoints, stuff like that. A lot of times these guys are gangsters or military officers that might want to pad their paycheck a little bit. Those people are absolutely key. Also in Danny's view, you don't want to be in a conflict situation alone. He's worked with other journalists a lot in his career. And if you can team up with somebody, who's got more experience, who's willing to take you along, show you the ropes and keep you out of trouble, that's always the best.
[00:10:18] Also Danny did mention that GoPro footage, it's just not going to sell unless it's insane. To sell video, you generally need high-quality video, good editing, which is a whole other skill that you may or may not have. In his view, your best bet is to write up stories. It's just so much simpler from a business perspective.
[00:10:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's exactly right. And Danny also zeroed in on one other thing you mentioned, which was your personal passion for this conflict. And actually, it was very interesting that did trouble him a little bit, because ideally in Danny's view, as a journalist, you really want to temper your personal biases about the story you're covering. Danny made it super clear to us. He's not saying that, you know, you have to be like a total robot in order to cover a war zone or that you can't be sympathetic to the people you're covering or the sources you work with. But when you mentioned wanting to volunteer, if the US deployed militarily that in Danny's book is probably crossing a journalistic line.
[00:11:13] Now, look, this is complicated. Your passion is obviously drawing you to this opportunity, and there are tons and tons of journalists out there who are clearly sympathetic to the people they're reporting on. Right? You see that all the time. But even if you have those sympathies, your editors have to trust what you say. They have to trust that you'll be accurate. So Danny's advice is to not mention your personal passions when you reach out to these publications, they have to know that you're not going to censor yourself or cherry-pick details, or straight-up make sh*t up. If you're covering a story, which obviously has happened in the past. As Danny put it to us, he sees the mark of a good journalist as somebody who might have sympathies or might have a narrative and still reports against those sympathies or that narrative, if that's where the story wants to go.
[00:11:56] But in terms of sinking your teeth into the right stories, Danny's main advice is to find characters. When he started out, he told us, he thought people just wanted like an overarching picture of a situation, kind of a broad view, but then he realized that what they really want is a character that he could tell a story through.
[00:12:12] Another mistake Danny sees people make, by the way, is that they think they have to be right in the thick of the conflict, but he pointed out that you can also find plenty of great stories, a mile back, five miles back, 10 miles back from the front line. For example, what's going on with Ukrainian civilians right now? How is the average store owner or police officer or student being affected by what's happening with Russia? Sometimes those stories are actually more fascinating than the actual combat itself. That, by the way, might also be a smart move in a situation like this, where there really aren't clear terms. There's no clear front line, at least not yet. And this Ukraine, Russia thing is obviously a fast-moving situation. You are a first-timer. So if you're going to go into this again, eyes wide open and you definitely want to be smart and you want to stay safe.
[00:12:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a really good point. And speaking of staying safe, Danny also strongly recommended getting safety equipment before you head into a war zone. It might seem obvious, but a vest, a helmet, first aid equipment, all of that, and have a plan in case something happens to you.
[00:13:12] Danny actually had a friend who got kidnapped in Ukraine while he was working on a story. And this stuff happens all the time. Do you have insurance? What if you get sick? What if you get hit with shrapnel? What if you get stuck somewhere and your phone dies? You got to plan ahead for this stuff and assume the worst and also have some plans and tools and contacts in place.
[00:13:33] So Danny's advice and I second all of it, what you're trying to do, it's noble, it's important. It's exciting, but you have to do it with clear expectations and a solid plan. It'll be a steep learning curve. It could get dangerous. You'll probably be flailing for a while, but you could also be an important voice on the ground in a monumental conflict with huge implications for the world. And that's pretty cool. Just make sure you're being thoughtful and safe while you chase this dream. So good luck there.
[00:14:01] And by the way, if you want to learn more about Danny Gold, a fascinating guy, I highly recommend checking out the interview we did together. That was episode 619. He also hosts a podcast about organized crime called The Underworld Podcast. And you can find him on Twitter at @DGisSERIOUS. We'll link to all of those in the show notes for you, as well.
[00:14:21] Also, this just occurred to me, listen to our Daniel Levin episode that aired a few weeks ago. Daniel, if you haven't heard it, he helps kidnapped people in the middle east and find missing people and things like that. And a lot of those people are journalists. And one of the things that he said in the episode was shame on all these news networks because instead of sending their own people out there, they will send these freelance journalists into ridiculously dangerous situations to like go cover ISIS because they're not responsible for them. They're not insured. They don't have to worry about it. And they'll send these like fresh out of college kids to cover extremely dangerous situations that they know they can't even send their own crazy AF war correspondents into because it's too hairy. Don't become a pawn in that game because you might contact a network and they might say, "Yeah, great. Go get a story and done best. Be on the front line. Let's get some great footage, maybe bring a drone." And then you end up getting sniped by Russian separatists or by Ukrainian forces wondering who the hell this guy is running around their area of operations. That's one other reason why you need a fixer, but this is an extremely dangerous line of work.
[00:15:24] So definitely listen to that, Daniel Levin episode, episode 617, and then Danny Gold, 619. Got some homework for you.
[00:15:31] You know, who won't try to invade your country under the pretext of limiting NATO expansion? The products and services that support the show. We will be right back.
[00:15:38] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:15:45] This episode is sponsored by Better Help online therapy. Better Help and I, we want to tackle some stigmas around mental health. I've gone through therapy. A lot of my close friends regularly see therapists as well. I know, I know we've been taught that taking care of our mental health shouldn't be a part of everyday life, but look, we work out. We stay physically fit, or at least we try. Focusing on and investing in the health of our minds, it's as, or even more important. And don't make the mistake of waiting until your life is just in the toilet before trying therapy. I did that too. I don't recommend it. Therapy is a tool to utilize before things get bad and it can help you avoid those lows. And those lows suck. Better Help is customized online therapy that offers video, phone, even live chat sessions with your therapist. No driving, no parking. You don't have to see anyone on camera if you don't want to. It's more affordable than in-person therapy and they'll hook you up with a therapist in under 48 hours. Why invest in everything else and not your mind?
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[00:17:55] And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:18:00] All right, what's next?
[00:18:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, I'm a 37-year-old man and I feel that my social life is completely compartmentalized. While I have a small number of acquaintances associated with the hobbies I participate in, mostly pretty solitary activities like competition, shooting, and gaming, I don't feel as if I have any true friends like I did in college or in the Marine Corps. I see some of these acquaintances monthly, but not once has the subject of inviting anyone over to anyone's house or meeting outside of the activity come up. I feel like it would be weird to be the first one to bring it up. And I have no idea how much I actually have in common with these guys, aside from the shared activity. Not to mention it would definitely be weird for it to be like a one-on-one man-date situation. I attempted to join both Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion, but nobody at the local chapters was within a couple of decades of my age, my parish, same story. My only really purely social friends are those of my wife. This sort of tricks me into not feeling like the hermit I am, because she's particularly adept at making girlfriends, wherever she goes. And we spend most of our free time together. I'm just now coming to the realization that I would be completely alone if it weren't for her. And I don't feel like it's healthy to be so dependent on one person. Now, that my wife and I are expecting our first child, I'm realizing that I can't think of anyone nearby, who could be my child's godfather and that makes me concerned. I feel like I'm missing a very fundamental part of what it means to be a member of society without close male friends. And I just don't know where to begin. Am I completely off base and thinking that casual associates from a niche activity are not a good basis for a real friendship? And am I wrong that men don't simply contact each other just to hang out? Signed, Looking For My Bros As My Loneliness Grows.
[00:19:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, man, this is a real thing you're describing. There have been a ton of studies on the crisis of male friendship, the lack of connection among men. It's almost an epidemic. I know that word's overused, but whatever, and I'm sure it's only gotten worse during the current pandemic. And you're right. Men do tend to bond over an activity more than they do over, just like being a human being who wants to hang out and talk. But that also speaks to our ability as guys to connect with another person as a person, rather than mediate that connection through an intense job or a trip or Call of Duty on Xbox or whatever it is, which is a shame, but it's absolutely something we can work on.
[00:20:23] The thing is, it sounds to me like you have a lot of assumptions about what male friendships should look like. You're not sure if you have much in common with these guys outside of your hobbies. You don't know if it would be weird to bring up the idea of a one-on-one, sort of man-date. You also said this thing about your wife. "I don't feel like it's healthy to be so dependent on a single person." It's a fair point. And I think it's great that you're aware of that, but I also wonder if there's some anxiety there. Maybe some fear of relying on someone else, needing them to feel connected. So it makes sense that it's been hard to make close friends.
[00:20:56] You have a lot of ideas about how men ought to relate to one another. And those ideas are probably making it hard for you to open up. And by the way, I am not judging you for any of these. Tons of guys have these beliefs. Like, "If I ask Dave to brunch is he going to think I'm gay? What if I asked Mike to go for a hike and he doesn't want to, and then it gets weird or whatever," right? It's all in your head, man.
[00:21:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally.
[00:21:17] Jordan Harbinger: That model of how male friendships should look. Maybe that comes from the way that you were raised. Maybe it was reinforced by the Marines. I can imagine that's the case, or maybe you just inherited it from our culture in general. And the sad thing is that model doesn't make it easy for you to just be like, "You know what? I'm feeling kind of alone or lonely or whatever. I could use some bro time. I'd love to talk to Dave. He's great." "Yo, Dave, you want to go see Jackass Forever." And yes, I chose Jackass because I feel like that's the safest man-date movie I can think of right now. There's no subtext there. Just a bunch of good old fashioned immature American-man children getting punched in the nuts
[00:21:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yup. Much better than Love Actually, I think.
[00:21:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That might be — okay. Look, I'm still subject to the Western culture a little bit. That could be something.
[00:21:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. It didn't stop you from inviting me to go see another theater, but whatever.
[00:22:01] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Hey, look, Gabe now that we're talking about it, the fact that we as guys even call our hangouts man-dates, that just says everything right there. Women don't call their hangouts women dates. They just hang out. Maybe they call it ladies' night, fine, but there's isn't all this sort of like self-consciousness and gender crisis built into it. Again, it says a lot about how we deal with friendship. A buddy of mine, he goes on trips with his friends and he goes, "Yeah, it's a man-cation," which is kind of a fun way of saying they do manly stuff. But also if you say vacation, it's like, "Oh, I assume you brought your wife and your kids." "No, we all went rock climbing with my college friends," and it's like, you got to put a term on there, so it's not as lame. So it's not as weird.
[00:22:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Isn't that funny?
[00:22:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:22:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. It's so interesting. Good point, which is actually again, to your point, it's kind of sad because look to the guy who's writing in, if you're feeling this urge to reach out and be more connected, I promise you that your other guy friends, they are feeling the same way. But I'm guessing in this friend group, nobody's making the first move because they're all self-conscious about it. Just like you are. And the fact that you met them at the shooting range or in a gaming group, that doesn't matter. You meet people however you meet them. And then you can just build the friendship from there.
[00:23:08] So to answer your question, yeah, I think you are off base in thinking that casual associates from a shared activity are not a good basis for real friendship. And no, it's not true that men don't contact each other just to hang out. Of course, they do. I mean, the ones with strong relationships do. The ones without strong relationships, probably don't, which is why you have to change your outlook here a little bit.
[00:23:28] My advice is, start putting yourself out there a little more. Make the effort to build these friendships. You don't have to think of it as a man-date, just think of it as a hangout. Maybe you start by making an effort to get to know them a little more when you guys are doing your activities, gaming, Halo, whatever it is. Chat with them while you guys game, stick around after the shooting competition, shoot the sh*t, catch up, whatever it is. And if you feel a bond with one of these guys, it's totally fine to say, "Hey dude, you want to hang out, give me your number." Text him, propose a plan. It could be anything. You could watch a movie. You could catch a game at your house. You could grab a couple of beers at a bar, whatever it is.
[00:24:01] And when you guys hang out, you might even want to talk about this exact question you're asking us. You could say something to whoever you hang out with. You know, like Dave, you could be like, "Dave, it's funny. I actually don't really have a lot of close guy friends. I want to change that, but it feels pretty hard to make friends as a dude, especially later in life. Are you noticing that too? Is it just me? Am I crazy? Am I all in my head?" And maybe Dave will say, "Dude, same here. I'm like super in my head about that. I was really stoked that you asked me to hang out today." Or maybe, he'll say, "Actually I do have a bunch of friends. It's really awesome." And then you can ask him how he did that. Maybe you could learn from somebody who has the exact kind of relationship that you want. Either way, you're going to get somewhere good. And while you do it, you'll be bonding in the process.
[00:24:42] Jordan Harbinger: That's great advice, Gabe. And don't worry if this is hard at first or it's a little awkward or some of the people you invite don't respond. It's totally fine. It'll probably feel very new for you to put yourself out there. But again, of course, it's a good thing. You're rewriting a pattern that takes time and work, but it'll pay off. And I also think you'll find that the more you make an effort to engage with people, the more they'll make an effort with you. It really is a virtuous cycle. So good luck, man. I love that you want to work on this. I think it's going to make a huge difference in your life. Congrats on your first child. It's so exciting. It's so fun. Start making some friends, man. It's going to be healthier and we're rooting for you.
[00:25:18] You can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep your emails concise. Use a descriptive subject line. That keeps things easy for us. If there's something you're going through, any big decision that you're wrestling with, or you want a new perspective on life, love, work. What to do. If your daughter is moving to the Middle East to check up with a guy she's never met in person? Whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up email@example.com. We're here to help. We keep every email anonymous.
[00:25:44] All right. Next up.
[00:25:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. I recently got engaged to an incredible man who has helped introduce me to setting healthy boundaries. Boundaries like not stressing if I can always pick up the phone for somebody and not feeling guilty whenever I have to tell my family, no. But my little sister has always been my weakness and lately I've been at my limit with her. She loves to come to my apartment to cook, bathe, get ready, and then go back to her boyfriend's house where she lives. She says that she isn't comfortable doing it over there. And since she used to have a room here, she feels more at home. She used this room as a place to haphazardly throw all of her stuff and pushed off cleaning it out for months after moving out. I ended up cleaning and packing up all our stuff only for her to rip open all of the bags and make a mess again because she needed to search for clothes. Eventually, I took it upon myself to pack everything up again and bring it all to my mom's house. I also had to kick her off my phone bill for nonpayment. All of this has led her to call me a bad person. Things finally came to a head when she belittled me and mocked me for asking her to clean up after herself when she came over to cook. My sister constantly diminishes my feelings and it seems that whenever I'm upset about something, she shuts down and becomes hateful. I kept trying to give her a chance, but I finally had enough and just blocked her number with no contact. But I feel horrible as both of my parents work entry-level jobs and she has no real role model. Her boyfriend is also a walking red flag, in and out of jail with no real job and a 10-year-old kid. They live with his mother and he's already cheated, lied, and verbally abused her. Part of me hates to leave her alone, especially with him. But another part of me feels taken advantage of, because she continues to use me for my apartment and my money and countless other things. Am I just nitpicking here or do I have a reason to be done? Signed, Finding My Spine While I Draw This Line.
[00:27:37] Jordan Harbinger: Aw, man, what a sibling relationship, huh? I mean, this is incredibly frustrating and in my opinion, pretty disrespectful. It sounds to me like you've been there for your sister in almost every way, financially, emotionally, logistically. And I'm guessing you've played that role for her since you guys were young. And based on what you've shared, she hasn't always honored that kindness. She's been messy in all senses of the term. She's taken advantage of your generosity. She's lashed out and withdrawn when you try to talk to her. So, no, you're not nitpicking. It's fascinating to me that you think you might be nitpicking. It's actually kind of funny given how stark your sister's behavior has been. That probably speaks to just how high your tolerance for her bullsh*t is. But no, I don't think you're being fussy or whatever. It seems to me you have some very concrete reasons to feel taken advantage of and probably pretty hurt by your sister.
[00:28:30] That said, I totally understand the conflict you feel here. First of all sibling relationships, always complicated. Sibling relationships, where one sibling is a mess and the other sibling is the super put together caretaker who's constantly saving the other sibling, even more complicated. Despite your anger, I'm sure you love your sister. I'm sure she loves you, although she struggles to show that sometimes, and it hurts to stand up to her. But on top of all that, when you cut her off, you're also sending her back to this dumpster fire of a boyfriend and who knows what's happening over there. I'm sure you have a movie reel in your mind of all the things she might endure. If she doesn't have a safe haven with you. So you, taking this that's not just you standing up for yourself. That probably feels like you're condemning her to this very dysfunctional life that she's chosen.
[00:29:17] But still this boundary-setting you're doing right now, it sounds very healthy and appropriate. You're starting to get clear on what is and isn't fair. Your fiance is helping you see this dynamic you're caught up in. He's giving you the conviction to draw a line, and that's a huge step for you. But the thing about boundaries, especially when you're drawing them after decades of playing along is that they're really frigging hard to maintain.
[00:29:40] In fact, drawing boundaries can be as painful for the person drawing them as they are for the person who's on the receiving end. We've talked about this before drawing boundaries can bring up a lot of guilt, sadness, feeling like you're betraying the other person or even abandoning them. When you try to change the situation by drawing a line, you're going against a ton of programming and rules that have guided you until now. But those feelings, they don't mean you're wrong. And your sister's feelings about those boundaries, those don't mean you're wrong either. How she reacts. Isn't a referendum on whether you have a right to say, "Sis, I love you, but you're not being fair to me. This doesn't feel considerate. I won't put up with it anymore. I care about you and I want only good things for you, but you have to find your own way now."
[00:30:24] And in your case, given the facts, I think this move with your sister is a super important moment in your relationship because not only are you taking yourself seriously, you're also giving her a chance to step up. Without you there to enable her, your sister will have to learn to take care of herself. She'll have to figure it out if this relationship she's in is actually healthy and maybe, hopefully, she'll start to appreciate how lucky she was to have you there all those years. But she can't do that until you say enough. So I think you've made the right call here.
[00:30:57] I actually think you're really doing great. This doesn't mean you're not going to ever speak to your sister again. It doesn't mean you don't care about her. She might come back in six months and say, "You know, sis, I was freaking furious at you when you kicked me out and you blocked me, but I see now, I just, wasn't very good to you. I wasn't taking care of myself and if it's okay, I'd like to be close again in a different way." That would be a great way back together. Or maybe she won't get there and that's okay too. You just have to be clear about what you will and won't do for her, what your relationship is really about. And that's where holding the boundary becomes just as important as setting it in the first place. So, good luck. I know it's hard now, but it will get easier and you really are doing right by both of you in the long run.
[00:31:42] You know, Gabe, this reminds me of my mom and her brothers. So my mom's brothers were real charmers. There's a million examples of this, but one of them was like always asking her for stuff, borrowing money, and like, "Can you bail me out of jail?" literally, you know, like all this stuff. And finally, my mom was like, "No," I mean, with some help from my dad, she was like, "No, I'm not doing this anymore." And years later after like going to prison and then drug rehab, he was like, "You know, that was totally understandable. And you did a lot for me."
[00:32:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:32:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. But it took, it took like years and years—
[00:32:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: A long time.
[00:32:16] Jordan Harbinger: —and years and years. Yeah, because it looks like, "Oh, well, she's being terrible." And also, if somebody is in the throes of addiction, for example, as my mom's brother was, it's like, "Well, I'm just looking to get my next fix. I can't even think about this," you know? And then once you come out of the fog, it's like, "Oh, I was crappy to everyone. It wasn't them."
[00:32:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:32:34] Jordan Harbinger: So this is a complicated situation. But as the sister grows out of this, she's probably going to be like, "Okay, I kind of get it. I was a freaking toxic mess." You know, who won't mooch off you until you finally blow a gasket and kick them out of your life? The sponsors who help support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:32:52] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show, and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:32:56] This episode is sponsored in part by Away. One of the first gifts Jen got me, and one that's been the most practical and thoughtful is Away luggage. Away is crafted with features that make travel seamless. It's got four 360-degree spinner wheels that guarantee the smoothest roll, gliding effortlessly through the most hectic of airports and stations. Thoughtfully includes a TSA-approved combination lock to keep all your belongings safe. I can't wait to head frankly, anywhere, but Taiwan, Greece, Portugal, Spain, a few other destinations I've been dreaming about with my spiffy Away luggage in tow. All of Away suitcases are designed to last a lifetime. Even more incredible, they encourage you to take the product out of the road. There's a 100-day trial. And if you decide it's not for you return any non-personalized item for a full refund, no ifs, ands, or asterisks. Free shipping and returns on any order within the US, UK, Europe, and Canada.
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[00:33:58] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored in part by Manscaped. Manscaped, trademark, just launched their Ultra-Premium, also trademark, collection. Believe it or not, it's free or not so private parts. All in one skin and hair kit for the everyday man, covers you from head to toe, literally. Manscaped, still trademark, is trusted below the waist. Now, trust them with the rest. We all know how essential the Manscaped Lawn Mower, still also a trademark, 4.0 is for that precise trim below the waist. They're advanced SkinSafe technology, that's a trademark too, not sure whether they need to tell us that, but it reduces cuts to your most delicate areas. But now you can enhance your perfect grooming routine with their Ultra-Premium, also a trademark, yes, collection, which includes Manscaped Premium deodorant that dries clear. It's aluminum-free, smells like their signature scent. Bodywash to leather you up with their infused aloe vera and sea salt showers gel two-in-one shampoo and conditioner to clean your scalp with one easy step. And that works for me great because I'm just lazy in the shower, and more. All of these products are cruelty-free, paraben-free, vegan-friendly, dye-free, the best ingredients with zero compromise.
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[00:36:03] Jordan Harbinger: And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:36:07] All right. What's next?
[00:36:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, my wife and I have been married for about eight years. When we first got married, we weren't really sure where we stood on kids. We were young and we thought we would just figure it out later. Then we slowly shifted to never wanting kids, partly as a knee-jerk reaction to the pressure of everyone telling us to have them. We're both turning 31 this year, and I've slowly come around to wanting kids while my wife has moved further in the other door. We've talked several times and besides the expected personal reasons, you know, like, "I don't know what that will do to my body," or, "It'll ruin our freedom," or, "Kids are expensive," stuff like that. She's also voiced, not wanting kids because she feels guilty about, quote, "bringing them into this terrible world," unquote. She acknowledges that she has a good life, job, car, house, and all of that, but she still can't get over her guilt. My wife suffers from high levels of clinical anxiety and has had childhood trauma. So I wonder if that plays a role in our reluctance to have children. It hurts a lot to think that not only will I not be a father, but I won't get to see her as a mother and create a life with her. She has said that you would be open to therapy, but I'm afraid that she'll make a decision she'll regret just to keep me happy. Do you have any advice on how my wife and I can work through this without anyone having major regrets? Signed, The Conflicted Multipliers.
[00:37:26] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. This is quite a conundrum. I got to say. I really appreciate both of your perspectives here. I get wanting to have kids. Obviously, y'all have heard way too much about my spawn and you will continue to do so here on this show. And I also understand being concerned about the world you're bringing them into. I think about that all the time. The thing is if your wife succeeds in convincing you to not have kids, you might resent her for denying you this huge thing that you want. But if you succeed in convincing her to have kids, she might resent you for forcing her to compromise on her belief. So, yeah, this is a tough one.
[00:38:00] The good news is you're already onto the answer here, which is you guys have to have some really deep conversations about all of this. I do think your best bet will be therapy, probably couples therapy. So you guys can have a space to talk about your goals, your concerns, really communicate about this big decision. But given your wife's history, individual therapy would also be really, really helpful. The anxiety, the childhood trauma, the guilt she feels — that's a lot to carry around and she has some big stuff to work through. Because I think you're onto something here that her past and her personality might be playing a role in her conflict around having kids.
[00:38:36] In fact, I'm sure, they are. I mean, yes, your wife has a strong belief that the world is a messed up place, that it's wrong to force somebody into it. But if she holds that view so intensely, she also probably feels that the world is a messed up place for her. So if there's a way for your wife to change her position here, and by the way, I'm not saying she has to change or that she should, that's completely up to her. And like I said, I can definitely appreciate where she's coming from, but if there's a way for you guys to feel comfortable having kids together, then she's going to have to really explore all that stuff. Why she have such a bleak view of the world? How her anxiety impacts her experience of life? How her feelings about herself are informing the kind of mother she thinks she'd be? And by the same token, your desire to have kids, I'm sure that's also a reflection of your worldview, which is very different from your wife's. That's what you guys need to dig into.
[00:39:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, that is a really good point, Jordan, because to a large degree, we see the world as a reflection of ourselves, right? If you're joyful and optimistic and you're well-functioning, the world tends to be a much friendlier place, but if you're feeling depressed and hopeless and you're struggling, life is a lot harder to cope with. But then you can also hold these philosophical positions, like something like it's objective wrong to have children and to bring them into this messed up world, and those seem like they're totally independent of our feelings. And to be fair, they probably are to some degree, but they can also grow out of those feelings or at least be intensity with which you believe in an idea like that. That's definitely fueled by your feelings about yourself and your feelings about the world.
[00:40:10] That's what you and your wife need to get clear on together. How much of this position of hers is just philosophical, it's just what she believes, and how much of it is informed by the struggles, the feelings, the experiences that she's having? And if her challenges are playing a big role in this reluctance to have kids, how she's going to work on that? If she does work on it and she makes progress, you guys might be able to have kids without creating the resentment or the regret that you're afraid of. If she doesn't make progress, though, then you guys are going to have to decide which one is more important. Is it your relationship or is it you getting to have children? And I'm not presupposing the answer to that. Both are completely valid and that's something you guys will have to figure out together, but it will require you guys to get very clear on your values and your priorities, your beliefs, and really what future you're creating together. All of that.
[00:40:57] It is interesting though, Jordan. I've had the same thoughts and it's usually the state of the world that gives me pause about maybe having children one day. But I also wonder, like, could his wife get to a place where she feels this reluctance to have children, but she decides to do it anyway. Like, "Yeah, the world is objective, dysfunctional, terrible things are happening. Life can be really hard, but also I'm going to be a great mom. I'm going to do my best to create a childhood that's loving and supportive, and I'm not going to pass on the trauma that's held me back in my life or made me think that I shouldn't be a mom," or whatever it is. I think a lot of parents go into parenthood like that. They're aware of the costs and the risks and the conflicts, but they also believe in some larger purpose in having children.
[00:41:38] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, definitely. I don't know any conscious parent who doesn't have some kind of conflict around this decision. Now, what you do with those concerns, how you resolve them or put them to good use. For example, by trying to be a different kind of parent from your parents or working extra hard to give your kids a different experience from the one you had or contributing solutions to the problems you see in the world, that's the question. And that's what these two need to figure out. Is his wife's conflict a sign that she shouldn't have kids? Or is it just pointing to work that she still needs to do on herself? I would make that the guiding question. I think it will take you guys to some very meaningful, very important territory. And if you do then, whatever the outcome is, that's how you avoid having regrets. So I hope you guys get to do that and we're sending you both good thoughts and whatever you decide to do.
[00:42:24] All right, next up.
[00:42:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys, three years ago, I left a lucrative job to join a startup. I took a 50 percent pay cut, which at the time I was comfortable with. We raised a bunch of money, created a great product, and then the pandemic. We spent most of 2020 continuing to improve the product but didn't get any sales to speak of. Sales are on their way up now, but not fast enough to keep up with the rate at which we are spending cash. As a result, I'm not currently getting a paycheck at all. I've exhausted my savings and I'm now taking on debt to pay the bills. I've been casually looking for another job, but I've been hesitant to reach out to my network because I don't want people to get a negative impression of the viability of the product. I also know that if I left, there would be a pretty big gap in skills on the team, which could impact everyone, including our investors. I believe in this product. And I'm confident that in time it will take off, but I also need to make a living. I'm struggling with whether to stay with this company, continue to take on debt out of loyalty and hope or reach out to my network to let them know that I'm interested in other opportunities. So what do you think I should do? Signed, Pouring Sweat Equity.
[00:43:32] Jordan Harbinger: I'm sorry to hear this. This is tough. It sucks. You guys raised all that money and then built a great product, and then the pandemic hit. I do feel for you and for a lot of businesses in the same situation. But the position you guys are in now, it's also extremely common in the startup world, as I'm sure, you know, The thing is you're not looking for another job because you're being loyal to your company. And now, you're foregoing a paycheck and taking on debt, so you can protect your teammates and investors. That says a lot about you. You sound like a really thoughtful, dedicated person, but honestly, this is not wise. This is irresponsive. And I'm not sure it's actually helping your employer as much as you think, because even if you did stick around for another six months or a year, it's just not guaranteed that this would save the company. And if it did, they should be paying you for that commitment.
[00:44:21] So I think it's time to get clear on your priorities. If you're putting yourself at serious financial risk for an extended period of time, I don't just mean, you know, making minimum payments on your credit card for a couple of months until your series B comes through. I mean, making half of what you use, taking on personal debt just to protect your employer's reputation, then it's time to have a real serious conversation with your bosses. I would be pretty straightforward with them. "I need a raise. This is how much I need. Here are the reasons I believe I deserve it. Here's what I'd be able to do if I stuck around and then just give them a chance to make it right." But if they can't or they won't, then I would seriously reconsider your strategy. Either you need to change your lifestyle to live within your means, if you can and if you really believe in this company, or you need to look for another job. It really is that simple.
[00:45:09] Now, if you were the founder of the company, the calculus would be totally different, then it might make sense to fund your vision with debt for some time. It would be a lot harder to jump ship, but that is not your situation. Your situation is you're an employee and you're not being compensated at all. I know it's a tough pill to swallow, but it's not your job to manage everyone else's impression of the product or to make sure your team has all the skills that it needs forever and at any cost. That's the founder's and the senior executive's jobs, and they have investors providing resources to ensure that happens. Your job is to do right by yourself and by them.
[00:45:47] Now, that doesn't mean you should leave them in the lurch or talk smack about their product to your network or not give them a heads up that you might be leaving. There's obviously a thoughtful way to do this, but if you need to find a new job, then you have to accept that people might wonder what's up at your company, and that's just how it is. I live in the Bay Area. I hear it all the time. Every company deals with this. I know you're worried about creating problems, but your company has problems anyway. And truth be told, you probably won't have as much of an effect on them as you think. And if your effect is that strong, you should be getting compensated for it. So I wouldn't hesitate to start reaching out to your people. And I would be doing this, either way, just as a matter of habit.
[00:46:28] That's that good old Six-Minute Networking for you because imagine this scenario, you stick around for another six or nine months, the company goes under or you decide to finally leave and then you have to hit up your friends like, "Hey, long time, no talk. I know it's been forever, but I'm leaving my company and I really need a job." The worst message to get the worst one to send all because you were trying to protect your company that just went under/you finally gave up on. Think about it. How much harder is that job search going to be? How much more tedious will those conversations feel? You know what I'm about to say, dig that well before you get thirsty because — it sounds like you got a little cottonmouth coming on right now. I hope you get what you want here, whether it's at this company or someplace else. They are lucky to have you. It sounds to me like you have a lot to offer to any employer. Don't forget that. I'm wishing you have the best.
[00:47:20] I hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week. And of course, everyone who listens. Thank you so much. Go back and check out the episodes with Dan Pink and Adam Grant.
[00:47:28] If you want to know how I managed to book all of these great people and manage my relationships using software, systems, and tiny habits, check out our Six-Minute Networking course. It's free. It's over there on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. The drills are designed to take just a few minutes per day. Like we saw on that last letter, it's the type of habit you can ignore only at your own peril. You can find it all for free at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:47:53] A link to the show notes for this episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or you can hit me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:48:08] 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. Our advice and opinions are our own. I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on this. Ditto, Danny Gold, and thank you, Danny, for sharing your experience and wisdom with us. 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 want, and we'll see you next time.
[00:48:47] If you're looking for another episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show to sink your teeth into here's a trailer with the infamous Fyre Fest, Billy McFarland, from inside federal prison, where he's serving six years for fraud and on the hook for $26 million in restitution. Here's a quick bite.
[00:49:03] Female Operator: You will not be charged for this call. This call is from—
[00:49:06] Billy McFarland: William McFarland.
[00:49:08] Female Operator: —an inmate at a federal prison. Hang up to decline the call or to accept, dial five now.
[00:49:16] Jordan Harbinger: When I asked before on our first call, if you were a con man, we had 10 seconds of silence. Is this the new Billy that we're hearing or are you the same Billy that tried to pull off the Fyre Festival?
[00:49:27] Billy McFarland: When I think about the mistakes that were made and what happened, there's no way I can just describe it other than what was I thinking. I was wrong and I hope now that I can, in some small way, make a positive impact.
[00:49:40] Jordan Harbinger: Once you knew that the festival wasn't going to go as planned, why didn't you call it off?
[00:49:46] Billy McFarland: So a lot of people don't know, but the decision to cancel the festival was made when I was told that three people had died at the event. Thankfully, no one was actually physically hurt in any way, but up until the last second, I believed, incorrectly, we could pull it off. And obviously, I was wrong.
[00:50:02] We had something called the urgent daily payments document, and basically, it was a Google Excel sheet. Essentially, it was a list of payments that we had to make that day or else the festival couldn't proceed. In the couple of months leading up to the event, it went from a couple of thousand dollars a day to a few million dollars a day where had wake up at nine in the morning, find three million dollars by noon and then make the payments by four.
[00:50:23] Jordan Harbinger: How has solitary confinement, essentially, been locked in a box? like that sounds terrible.
[00:50:28] Billy McFarland: It really makes you think. I think the biggest takeaway was you know, there was one guy who was serving a 30-year sentence. He was already locked in the same room for over three and a half years that I was there.
[00:50:39] Jordan Harbinger: You had a big vision. I mean, it was huge. And you got so close to something great that everyone wanted to be a part of and people still want to be a part of it. I have to wonder if there's going to be a Fyre Fest version two. I assume you wouldn't call it that, but are you thinking of doing something similar?
[00:50:52] Billy McFarland: If there's anything that makes you want to create and build and do with being locked in a cage for months or years, are you going to come?
[00:51:00] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Billy McFarland, including lessons learned on the inside, the value of trust, and Billy's plans for the future once he's served at the time he agrees, he rightly deserves, check out episode 422 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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