19th of October 2015

Helping Joe, Episode 35


This week on Helping Joe, Nils and Charlie go over Joe’s personal website he made on Strikingly and they dig deeper into his career issues, why he holds on to the memory old jobs, what skills he wants to be known for and build a career from, and which jobs might be great for him to do.

Charlie gives Joe more exercises from his Land A Job You Love course. They also get updates from him on his dating and social activities over the last few weeks.


You can click here (right click, then click save as) to download the episode directly.


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Joe’s Thoughts and Takeaways From This Episode:

Hey this is a running commentary of random thoughts, notes, and takeaways I had during or after this episode. – Joe

@Beginning – I created a Strikingly

I told them I rushed this and it’s not great. I didn’t tell them that I threw it together right before the call which wasn’t professional. This should have been better. I don’t know why I waited last minute to do this. It was easy but I rushed it.

HW from last episode was:

Build a better visual showcase, more screenshots of stuff I’ve worked on etc. I got some of that in the strikingly and sent them some other stuff.

I also thought about major life events in my past that Charlie was talking about in last episode. I’m not even really sure what to look for here but I came up with a few good ones I think.

Here it is ->


@2:30 – Enstitute closed down this week

This was the nonprofit I talked about in the last episode @51:00

If you look at their website ( now or as of Oct 7th, they just left a last letter talking about their ups, downs, and end.

The “End Of An Era” thing as the title was a bit much, they had a great 3 year run with a lot of support, demand, money and blew it, but “era” that sounds weird. This was an experiment, not an era, but still a great thing worth doing and I was glad to be a small part of it even though they fired me.

This was odd timing because I haven’t talked with anybody about them in months, I barely talked with Nils and Charlie about them before this podcast and now that I’m talking about this in public as part of my work history, they close up shop, done, finito.

My first reaction was surprise, wtf happened?!, then just sad.

I compare this to an old girlfriend dying, which maybe wasn’t the best analogy but it’s how I felt at the time.

Nils gives me some shit for this, but was totally on point in calling this out for what it was:

“But she led you on, and lied to you, made promises about you future, then coldly broke your heart and dumped you.”

“So why are you hanging on to this romantic vision of something that didn’t exist?”

“You have to step back from this and instead of looking at this from the lens of What Could Have Been, you have to look at this through the lens of What Actually Was. ”

“Good ideas are easy. Doing the right thing and making a successful business are hard.”

Yea they had a great idea but didn’t do either b) or c) even though they had opportunities to. Not every time, but too many times they took shortcuts or the easy way out or straight up lied to people. And in the end it didn’t work out anyways.

“You’re placing it’s mission and it’s history above your own. Fuck these guys. Yea they had a great idea and they fucked it up… You’re better than them. You have more value to your own life than this idea. You need to flip the lens on this.”

Haha yea I don’t feel this way at all. I don’t feel like I’m better than anybody or that I could ever put an idea together and build a company that came close to this thing that they almost pulled off.

“You sound like a battered wife.” This was really funny but not correct. We argue about this for a few minutes.

“It’s important for a battered wife to recognize for how long they have been doing the wrong and how long they’ve let themselves in harm’s way just so they don’t repeat the mistakes, but that doesn’t reduce the culpability of the abusing partner for the abuse… You are shouldering all the blame.”

Yea even in this conversation it’s pretty evident I would rather blame myself for what happened than them (Tucker recognized this pattern all the way back in Episode 9 @ 1:03:30, was a great observation), even though they did some shitty things, half of them I haven’t even talked about yet and probably won’t because it doesn’t matter any more. Nils’s point here is to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future.

@10:00 – Charlie is confused about why I am holding onto this

I explain why, basically I liked who I was in that job more than I like who I am now.

“You’re giving all the credit to the company for that. You were that person.” – Nils

I wish we dove more into this because looking back on it yea I think he’s right. I am giving them all the credit.

I feel like they chose me to be a part of this cool thing and I was lucky to get selected to be a part of it … instead of looking at it from the lens of: I brought a lot more to the fucking table than they did with regards to our employer <-> employee relationship. For f*cks sake, I spent 2 whole weekends helping them sell and move their apartment/office into storage and to Washington DC, all the logistics and the manual labor.

Was there ever any overtime? Fuck no! I never asked for it and I didn’t expect it because I was working with the understanding that I was putting in sweat equity and investing toward a future with them which turned out to be a bullshit.

I know I’m looking at this from the wrong mindset and I wish we talked more about it, but it might have been a waste of time. I don’t know.

@12:00 – Recession Proof Grad!

I don’t think I used this method exactly, but RPG was most def an inspiration in how I approached working with them and getting in the door.

@13:30 – Other companies that are similar awesome things

I talk about 4.0 Schools here.

I didn’t mention this but I actually applied to a marketing job with them in early 2014 after I got let go at Enstitute.

I didn’t get the job because of my experience or they found a better person, but they were very impressed with what I sent them, which was a 5 minute YouTube video about how they could improve their website which sucked at the time and a Word doc full of other marketing ideas. To be honest I’m not sure if I would have been a good fit, but I put my best foot forward anyways.

In the end, the CEO (who I met earlier that year in NYC) offered me an experimental spec job on some other project, but I declined because I had already decided to move to Colombia to go after that job there, which turned out to be the wrong move, and wished him well.

I don’t know why I didn’t mention this. I guess I felt ashamed that I wasn’t good enough to get the job and just didn’t want to talk about, would rather just bury it.

ANYWAYS, Charlie’s point was about re-creating that kind of great meaningful job again.

@15:00 – Valuing your relevant past experiences and skills

We spent all last call talking about these and I still don’t believe I’m that good or as good as I was.

I’m lost here and they try to straighten me out.

“Lost in title porn” … Nils had some good points here:

“Those things are very malleable. You can build your way into those positions over time. Do you know how many times Tucker has called himself a CEO?”

“You have to get in the door first and not let these titles be the thing that restricts you from walking through it.”

“The destination makes itself known as you plod through the journey.”

“You’re hitting the brakes on yourself.” – Charlie

@21:00 – How to decide which skills you want to market and be known for

Nils’s first step, figure out which skills he can regularly get paid for.

Next, do something that didn’t drive him crazy and go towards skills in fields that he enjoyed.

He opened up here about his own career and going through work he hated to build towards the work that he liked.

“I would not have been able to [all this enjoyable, fun work] had I not gone down the editing path first because it opened up relationships, built a track record of proven success, and gave me enough money to make a living. Joe you are at the beginning phases of that first step.” – Nils

Yea this strategy makes a lot more sense than anything else I’ve thought of doing and seems like a good path going forward.

@24:00 – Good skills have 3 things

From Jefe, Charlie’s friend:

1. Financially rewarding – Does it pay?
2. Meaningful, fulfilling – Is it fulfilling?
3. Fun – Is it fun?

Use this as a model to look at skills or things you could do.

For me: building partnerships, some sort of selling, and research

@26:30 – Major life events

I was confused when thinking of these, but I thought had some good stuff here.

“A part of the reason why you [don’t have confidence] is because you are thinking of this future self that is uncertain instead of staying grounded in what has already happened and who you are. You have no reason to feel insecure about your past… We’re working with somebody here who hasn’t given himself credit because he’s feeling bad about the future … you’ve done all this cool stuff that is valuable. This isn’t uncommon.” – Charlie

Yea totally. I have no idea where I’m going or who I want to be and for some reason I disregard or diminish the good stuff I’ve done so far.

He makes a good point about this is why it’s important to be socially grounded. Tucker

@30:00 – Glenn Beck clip on the Tim Ferriss show

I’ve wanted to talk about this for a while because this clip hit me out of no where but meant a lot to me. I didn’t know how to work it into the podcast in a way that made sense. I think here was a good place for it but I’m not sure.

Listening to this affected me on a deep level. I was running and it hit me and I stopped, went home, meditated or thought more about it and just started crying. It was weird.

I don’t care about Beck one way or the other. He’s interesting but crazy sometimes. The point is here was a guy who made it, was famous, made $90 million in 2014, and and he felt the same way at 30 that I do right now. He hated himself or didn’t think that he was good enough, thought he was bluffing, and was directionless.

“You don’t spend enough time appreciating the things that you’ve accomplished. We start to take them for granted because they fold themselves into our history.” – Nils

“In reality there’s an immense amount of value because the value is defined by how much other people want it. You dismiss that a lot.”

@35:00 – “The future of education is all about partnerships.” – Nils

Nils’s point here was that the future of education is going to be all about partnerships between public and private sectors, educators and employers. And it already is. I saw that with Enstitute.

“The fact that we are just now learning that you have these skills tells me that you have devalued them in the context of your own experience and your own life. It’s time to flip that and own that success and own those skills.” – Nils

I have a pathway to start to pursue here.

@37:00 – Externalizing your work

“The highlight of his life was just working in a team… and on a journey.” – Charlie

“And maybe that’s the external part of this for you, Joe… and quantify or count your success. Your natural instinct is to diminish it.” – Nils

So one way is to get a good group of people around, a team, to hold you accountable and be able to bounce stuff off of.

Another is to count or see it completed in front of you. Having a number or target to hit or watching it being built somewhere.

We talk about how I’m at my happiest when I have a good group of people around, and I think that’s totally not just for me but for most people. You’re better off being around good people or people that you want to be around or in a group with a common goal.

I had that at Enstitute and I had that in a 10 week study abroad where I had an amazing time and made some great friends in a small group.

@42:00 – Building a culture VS joining a culture

Nils made a great observation here about me standing on the outside, having more difficulty breaking into circles VS building the circle.

And to be honest in my past I’ve been awful at figuring out the politics and vibe of my coworkers or the culture around me, probably because I’m slow to pick up on things socially.

I struggled with the major life events thing

I don’t think Nils and Charlie were on the same page with this. At first Charlie gave an example of him just wanting to build stuff as a kid so I talked about what I liked to do as a kid here (read) and Nils wanted something more specific or meaningful or whatever and Charlie went back to:

“The things that you found yourself turning to and doing when no one was thrusting you into those situations and forcing you to do them. The things that you really enjoyed that made strongest impact and shaped you.” – Charlie

Which for me is reading and video games and lifting at the gym.

Also maybe Charlie didn’t explain this right. I don’t know. We didn’t get very far with this topic or exercise.

@46:00 – Being a pedicab in Austin

These are the guys that ride around Austin like bike taxis, biking people around, usually from Rainey to 6th or West 6th to east 6th or something.

I never really considered it. I just shot it down because it wasn’t cool. There was no status. Anyone can do it. I would feel like a loser doing that, even if I internally enjoyed it.

They gave me some shit for this, which was warranted.

“You’re obsessed with something appearing to be cool VS dorky… People respect people who do what they love and own who they are.” – Nils

Yea that’s a big problem I have. I don’t own my own interests or habits or who I am because I’m too worried of being made fun of or looking stupid.

To be honest, it would be fun and a great workout, although I hate dealing with sloppy drunk people that I don’t know when I’m sober. I don’t know why I get so annoyed by them but I do and I imagine I would be dealing with these people all night.

Also, there’s no group of people around. Maybe you meet a lot of people. But you’re solo trying to hustle.

@49:00 – Work that other people praise but you hate

The point here was it doesn’t matter what other people think or how cool the job is to other people, if it’s not internally rewarding to you, if you don’t also dig it. You’re going to be miserable.

“It’s very tiring when all these people tell you that they dig you but you yourself don’t dig you.” – Bob Dylan via Charlie Hoehn here

I thought for sure Charlie had this in his work with Tim, but I was probably wrong. He did feel this way though working for an app company.

@54:00 – Being a personal trainer

Nils brings this up and as he was talking, I kept thinking in my head: “That won’t work because of ABC reasons.”

I don’t know why I shot it down. I don’t know that much about personal training. I’ve only known 2-3 personal trainers in my life. They were good people.

I even liked nutrition back in college. It was one of the first real career paths I kind of considered, there were a lot of women that worked in that field, but I didn’t want to commit to it.

“That is taking the things you say you like and the skills that you have developed and applying them to different areas.” – Nils

Yea this is a smart way of looking at things but I’m so negative or pessimistic about most of their suggestions. I just find all the ways it won’t work. I don’t know why I have that reaction. It’s not helpful.

“It’s so hard for you to conceptualize this stuff without shooting it down. It makes sense for you to sample a handful of things that we come up with based on all the stuff that we’ve talked about.” – Charlie

@57:00 – Get a sense of the tribe and mission you want to be a part of

I got confused about what Charlie was talking here. High-level I get it but finding specific people and companies I’m not so sure what is the best way to do that.

He gives me a worksheet to go through.

“Do your best when in this process to not make value judgments on cool VS uncool. Do whatever you can to avoid that. It’s going to stand in the way of what might be perfect for you even though what they do might not be cool.” – Nils

They think I’ll shoot something down without even trying it because it’s not a cool, a waste of time, bullshit job, which is fair because I’ve already done that twice with their first 2 suggestions. I don’t know I’m so pessimistic or perfectionist about this. Maybe that’s why I’ve been stalling for so long on this job/career stuff.

@1:01:00 – What’s going on with women?

Not good.

My phone broke and because I have no money I didn’t get it fixed right away and I just lost a lot of momentum socially and with women because I wasn’t hanging out with people as much when I had a phone and I was dating as much either.

They gave me some shit for this and they could have been a lot harsher. Not having a phone for a month in this day in age is rigoddamndiculous.

“You realize that has allowed you to go back into social isolation.” – Nils

Yep, not having a phone made it really easy to slip back into old awful habits here and lose momentum.

@1:02:00 – Breaking up with Harry Potter girl

She’s great but the last few dates I’ve been feeling like I want to end it.

@1:04:00 – Social life, dropping improv classes

I stopped doing classes but am still heavily involved in that community and shows and doing stuff and still meeting new people there.

“You can tackle this improv thing however you want for your goals. You don’t have to let their system define your participation. Use your own goals to do what you want to do there… There’s no shame in doing that. Let your own goals guide what you do there.” – Nils

@1:07:00 – Homework for next call

1. Get a fucking phone!
2. Sign up for a new improv class. Keep doing stuff socially.
3. Get a list of potential companies and
4. Redo Strikingly and make it better!

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