Episode 0010 · January 10, 2023

The podcast about what to do next.

Should I Quit?

Rich advises Paul (who is pretending to be a guy who works in video editing) on whether to quit his job or not. Together, they look into THE VOID. THE VOID looks back. Paul digresses on corporatist epistemology. In the end everything is okay.



Paul Ford: So the reason I asked you today if you would get coffee with me is, is um, I’m trying to figure out my next move.

Rich Ziade: I thought you just wanted to see me… but, okay.

Paul Ford: Well…

Rich Ziade: How’s work? I was about to ask [chuckles].

Paul Ford: Uh, well work’s okay. I’ve been there for a while. You know, you guys, you guys worked with us.

Rich Ziade: Yup.

Paul Ford: At one point, I’m doing the video editing, so I’m still there. I have like a, I’m okay. I have like a team now.

Rich Ziade: Oh, nice! Congrats.

Paul Ford: They’re good. You know, I’ve been there for about seven years now.

Rich Ziade: Okay.

Paul Ford: So I’m just like– you were somebody who I always thought kind of got what a next step should be, and I was like, Hey, maybe, maybe Rich would have like, I don’t know, what do you think? What, what’s it look like to you? 

Rich Ziade: So it leaves me to ask the question, what’s wrong?

Rich Ziade: Are you enjoying work?

Paul Ford: I mean, it’s [00:01:00] okay. I go to work every day, you know,

Rich Ziade: That’s a good sign [laughter].

Paul Ford: I get on the train and I’m like, I don’t go — so we’re in the office about three days a week,

Rich Ziade: Okay.

Paul Ford: and about, uh, about two days a week I’m home. So that’s, that’s our post pandemic.

Rich Ziade: Okay…

Paul Ford: I don’t know, like the work is okay. I’m not learning a whole lot. I’m not really like, so I, that’s what I’m trying to figure out. 

Rich Ziade: So, are you happy at work?

Paul Ford: Richard, what is happiness? When you’re in your forties and you’re working and editing the videos and putting them on YouTube, what does it all mean?

Rich Ziade: [chuckles] Let me ask a different– I’ll ask it differently. Do you like the social setting of being around the people you work with in your team? Like, do you look forward to seeing your team and your colleagues?

Paul Ford: I like some of them, sure. I don’t love my, you know, the management team, but I, I do like some of the people I work with.

Rich Ziade: Okay.

Paul Ford: I like my peers. I, I love my group, they’re great. I want them to succeed.

Rich Ziade: The work’s not challenging you though.

Paul Ford: No, the work is not challenging. I can now do it not in my sleep, it’s a lot of clerical and a lot of like, just, just, you know, you’re just kind of batch processing hours and [00:02:00] hours of video and putting the titles on-

Rich Ziade: Is the pay grade?

Paul Ford: No, of course not.

Rich Ziade: It’s okay.

Paul Ford: I, I mean, I’m fine. My kids are okay. They’re in school and you know,

Rich Ziade: Okay.

Paul Ford: it’s– college is gonna suck, but I’m okay.

Rich Ziade: Okay. I can hear it in your voice though, you’re not happy and you’re wondering if you should make a change.

Paul Ford: I am not happy. I’m wondering if I should make a change.

Rich Ziade: We’re here having coffee now.

Paul Ford: Yes.

Rich Ziade: Do you want me to tell you to quit your job?

Paul Ford: Kindaa…

Rich Ziade: Have you been putting feelers out? Are you having other coffees?

Paul Ford: Of course not.

Rich Ziade: So, okay. I will give you advice then, let me give you advice. You’re not happy.

Paul Ford: No.

Rich Ziade: You feel like you’re sleepwalking through your work days.

Paul Ford: True.

Rich Ziade: That’s kind of lame.

Paul Ford: Yeah.

Rich Ziade: You’re a talented guy.

Paul Ford: Thanks.

Rich Ziade: Um, and, uh, you want to leave, but you’re scared… because it’s scary to leave. It’s scary, the [00:03:00] uncertainty ahead, the instability. You’ve got a family, how are the kids, by the way?

Paul Ford: They’re great. They’re doing good.

Rich Ziade: Good.

Paul Ford: I mean, up and down, typical kid stuff, but ultimately they’re, they’re doing better than I am.

Rich Ziade: I’m gonna tell you something about advice, Paul.

Paul Ford: Okay, let’s break character for a minute here.

Rich Ziade: Break character. 15 years ago, I would’ve told you, quit that job, douse the place with gasoline. Get on that motorcycle and there’s like a wall of flames behind you as you ride away. Because I was giving advice to me.

Paul Ford: Sure. I was your business partner for years, that sounds about right [chuckles].

Rich Ziade: But what I’ve learned is that for most people, that kind of chaos and uncertainty on the other side is hard to stomach.

Paul Ford: Can I tell you what I, what I really think here?

Rich Ziade: Yes.

Paul Ford: You and I– you grew up in a very chaotic environment.

Rich Ziade: I did.

Paul Ford: So did I.[00:04:00]

Paul Ford: Different,

Rich Ziade: Yes.

Paul Ford: but, but ultimately, like I had, we had unstable relationships with our fathers would be a good way to put it. Um,

Rich Ziade: That’s what we should name the, the podcast by the way,

Paul Ford: Uns- [laughter].

Rich Ziade: Unstable Fathers.

Paul Ford: Um, and-

Rich Ziade: That’s right.

Paul Ford: I’d never been in an office before I was 22.

Rich Ziade: Yeah, yeah.

Paul Ford: Right? I didn’t know what– I didn’t cubicles, I didn’t know what that was.

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: And you know, when I saw a movie like Office Space, I went, well, that looks kind of nice [chuckles].

Rich Ziade: It’s a comfortable setting [laughter].

Paul Ford: Yeah, everybody hates their life. But I’m like, well, the printer’s broken. That’s kind of cool, you can mess around with the printer. Like-

Rich Ziade: If you ever worked in a New York, I worked in a New York pizzeria when I was a teenager– Office Space looked amazing.

Paul Ford: That’s the thing, like there’s, there’s-

Rich Ziade: The smell of cheese, when I went home– I was, it was just this grotesque setting. It was like being in a mine.

Paul Ford: [chuckles] There is a great piece of advice I have to tell you about a job I had this was one of the worst, but there’s a great piece of advice, uh, which was like, if you don’t know what you want to do, go into the army and then [00:05:00] you’ll know that you want to do something else. Right?

Rich Ziade: [laughter].

Paul Ford: Like that’s the advice for 18 year olds who can’t quite figure it out.

Rich Ziade: Right, right.

Paul Ford: I once had a job, uh, in college, I got a work, it wasn’t work study, it was like, it paid like $12 an hour.

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: It was great, and the job was slowly lowering pieces of glass used for medical injections into an 850 degree salt bath.

Rich Ziade: God.

Paul Ford: At which point boiling salt would, would, would set your shirt on fire.

Rich Ziade: Oh God.

Paul Ford: You had to wear these big gloves-

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: and it was summer and like no one lasted at this job. I just kind of kept going cause I’m like $12 an hour.

Rich Ziade: It’s money.

Paul Ford: Yeah, shirt-

Rich Ziade: You’re a kid.

Paul Ford: Shirt catches fire. And, um, anyway, regardless. I do think that most people approach work not as like, where am I? What’s going on? Let’s create a hurricane, or I’m going over the cliff. Most people are like, I want a job and I want to do my work. And I, I, I, I would [00:06:00] prefer to be a classical composer, but I’m not.

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: And, uh, I want to have a good life that’s respectful and I want to have a house.

Rich Ziade: Yes.

Paul Ford: Like, I think, like that’s, that’s most of the world. And then we have injected this idea that that has to associate itself with meaning, and focus, and life.

Rich Ziade: That’s right. And, and, and, but look, I can’t fault the person in their thirties and forties wondering, is this it? Right? And, and I–

Paul Ford: Well that’s the advice here is very different, right? Because if you’re in your twenties, just quit.

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: Just stop, cause you’re actually driving everyone–

Rich Ziade: Go for it.

Paul Ford: You’re driving everyone crazy anyway. You don’t think you are, but they all know.

Rich Ziade: No, but also take some risks. You don’t have kids yet. I mean, assuming you don’t have kids, you don’t have a mortgage, you don’t have all the things that kind of weigh you down and make the equation a lot harder. Go, go try stuff. Go try stuff.

Paul Ford: Tell me, I, I’ll tell you, I’m saying this as someone, lots of 20 year olds have quit on me.

Rich Ziade: Yeah, yeah.

Paul Ford: Like it’s not, it sucks, it’s a pain in the ass, but go. But also when, when it happens as a boss, you’re just like, okay…

Rich Ziade: The other [00:07:00] thing I’ve learned is that when people come to you for that advice, they actually don’t want the advice.

Rich Ziade: They already have sort of a preconceived idea of what they should do. Sometimes they actually, I’ve had examples where people did want the advice and they actually took it, but usually, It took time.

Paul Ford: 90% of the time.

Rich Ziade: [chuckles] They had to kind of stew in it for a while. Most of the time they just don’t, they actually just want permission to do what they want to do.

Paul Ford: That’s right. This is funny cause we’re, we’ve started this podcast about being advisors, right?

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: But we really should call it, um, Ziade and Ford permission.

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: Like that’s, that’s what people want.

Rich Ziade: Yes.

Paul Ford: And I honestly, I, I’ll give it to you right here in the podcast. You have permission, whatever you need to do, just go do it.

Rich Ziade: Just go do it.

Rich Ziade: I, I wanna, I wanna also give a comforting sort of signal back out to the person that just can’t seem to do it. I have friends, I know people who are just generally frustrated in kind of this perpetual state of [00:08:00] frustration. Not unhappiness, but just feeling like, you know, they get to vent with their friends about the job, but they never leave.

Rich Ziade: They never actually take the leap. And what I wanna tell those people is that’s okay if, if you don’t have it in you, like again, this is not, the 20 years ago me, which would be like, you coward, you sad, sad coward. Now I’m more like, I understand where you are, uh, and I understand why you haven’t made the move.

Rich Ziade: What I would, the advice I would give those people is stop judging that as failure. Like you’re, you’re doing okay. You’ve made decisions. You’ve actually made probably sacrifices cause you’re taking care of either elders or kids or whatever. It’s okay. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Yes, they dive into their hobbies and they wait for their vacations. That’s normal. That’s like most of the world.

Paul Ford: I don’t know why people look for joy at work and look for comfort. It’s [00:09:00] work.

Rich Ziade: That’s a very out of fashion statement to make, right?

Paul Ford: Of course.

Rich Ziade: Like you’re supposed to find fulfillment and joy and happiness. We are also in the most wealthy advanced society in history where you can pretty much cherry pick what you want to do, right?

Rich Ziade: Um, but, try to find that good place where you are. Like there, most people don’t have the stomach to just jump into the void and say, wee, let’s go see what this is about, and that’s okay. 

The Void

Paul Ford: People get real excited about that void. I’ve been in the void a couple times. It’s not that great.

Rich Ziade: It’s a void.

Paul Ford: Sometimes you’re able to,

Rich Ziade: It’s dark.

Paul Ford: Yeah… Here, I’ll tell you what, so, you know, Rich, look, this is Paul talking here.

Rich Ziade: Alright.

Paul Ford: Part of me would love to just go home and mess around with computers and I [00:10:00] have a little time, a little flexibility in my life. I could do that, but I’m over here wearing a sweater and a shirt.

Rich Ziade: Mm-hmm.

Paul Ford: Talking to you in an office.

Rich Ziade: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Paul Ford: Because that’s really good and healthy to have, to set some challenges, try some things and do things in a stable way.

Rich Ziade: Ideally, you get to do, uh, you get to do stuff that makes you feel fulfilled and good, and you also make lots of money to– having both is the home run. Usually it’s, I’ve been at this consulting firm for 11 years, I’m unhappy, but they pay me lots of money.

Paul Ford: There is a lot of that, there is– I’m, I’m building a wine cellar.

Rich Ziade: Yeah…

Paul Ford: I, I can’t ever get another job.

Rich Ziade: Right, or there is, I lease the studio in Gowanus and I’m an artist and I love painting, but I’m not making any money.

Rich Ziade: There’s a gallery, there’s a gallery showing in [00:11:00] six months, like it– those are the two. Now, if you can somehow get both of those to have, that’s why people are just enamored with athletes. It’s not their athletic ability, it’s they get to kick a ball and make lots of money.

Paul Ford: Yeah, but you know, no one’s ever happy. No one.

Rich Ziade: Well that’s, that’s a separate podcast. That’s a separate series of podcasts [chuckles].

Paul Ford: That’s the thing. So I– but this is back to the advice, right? Like there is, it’s as simple as the grass always being greener. God, you do yourself a favor if you just cherish what you have. And I don’t know. I don’t know why, my wiring is such, I’m an anxiety driven person, but I swear to God, the minute I had $2,000 in checking, I was like, I’m gonna be alright.

Rich Ziade: Yes. 

Jobs for Meaning 

Paul Ford: You know what I hate? I hate that the job is the structure that is now supposed to deliver meaning in society. It used to be the church.

Rich Ziade: It used to be the church.

Paul Ford: And it could be the government.

Rich Ziade: Which has its own set of problems.

Paul Ford: Yeah, and it could be civic life. Well, yeah I know,

Rich Ziade: Yes.

Paul Ford: But it’s, but you had like mainstream Protestantism and so on.

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: You used to have these structures in life.

Rich Ziade: That’s right.

Paul Ford: Where it was like, and it was stuff that we roll our eyes at now, like [00:12:00] the Lions Club and the Rotary Club, and it was very,

Rich Ziade: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Paul Ford: And it had a lot of problems.

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: It was very male and so on and so forth, but, but there was this kind of orderly life that you could get at-

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: And your job was part of it, but not the only focus.

Rich Ziade: Correct.

Paul Ford: Now we have this very corporatist view of reality in which you have to be, the job has to deliver meaning it has to make people happy, it pays for your healthcare. It’s replaced-

Rich Ziade: It’s the center of your life.

Paul Ford: But I, I don’t know if that is sustainable for society to have the job be the unit of meaning. I, I think we, that’s, and that’s, I wanna grab the person who I’m pretending to be by the shoulders and say, “what the hell’s wrong with you? You have a Keurig machine and people pay you to use a computer. You’re doing great”.

Rich Ziade: Yeah, yeah and you’ve got those extra cycles to do stuff that is meaningful to you. Look, again, I don’t wanna discourage that person from not chasing the thing that could give them meaning, but also pay their bills. I don’t wanna discourage that person because that was the person, that’s [00:13:00] the person– that is my makeup.

Rich Ziade: My makeup is, I gave myself, I, I took care of my family.

Paul Ford: I get it but that’s, you going to make your-

Rich Ziade: Yeah, I’m back to me, right? 

Paul Ford: The next job, exactly, the next job will not have more meaning than the old job.

Rich Ziade: That’s, that’s the rub isn’t it?

Paul Ford: Unless there is– there are transitions, I, someone that I love very much went from a corporate job to a not-for-profit job and there it is, hands-on and they work with homeless people and they make the world objectively better like people get fed because of the work they do.

Rich Ziade: Yeah, right.

Paul Ford: And that they get paid less money, but their life has more complexity, and richness, and meaning.

Rich Ziade: Yes.

Paul Ford: So there are, there are transitions, but you are not gonna go from video editing gig one,

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: And say, “Hey, I’m really good with YouTube”, over to video editing gig two and f-

Rich Ziade: And find joy all of a sudden.

Paul Ford: It’s the same shit.

Rich Ziade: You may do it for more. Look, if it pays better and you can go get it, go get it. Good for you.

Paul Ford: Money lets you go out and buy meaning,

Rich Ziade: Yeah, exactly.

Paul Ford: That’s the best part of it [chuckles]. [00:14:00] 

Rich Ziade: Go for it. Go for it. Um, I do wanna use another podcast episode to talk about quitting your job, to try the thing.

Rich Ziade: You’ve got some savings, you have an idea and you want to go. And I’d love to explore that. That’s a, that’s a different case, a different example. Um, The advice is nuanced here. It’s not quit or don’t quit. It’s, you’re looking in the wrong place for that ju- that nugget of happiness.

Paul Ford: You are looking for a personal solution to a societally structured weirdness, right?

Rich Ziade: Yeah, yeah.

Paul Ford: Like you’re looking for an answer that kind of isn’t there.

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: Take care of your friends and family, live your life, um, and, uh, don’t feel bad,

Rich Ziade: Don’t feel bad.

Paul Ford: That you don’t love your job.

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: It’s not, you didn’t do anything wrong.

Rich Ziade: Um-

Paul Ford: Look, the do I quit my job or not is like the ultimate challenge of living in a capitalist society.

Rich Ziade: Yes. Yes. [00:15:00] That’s right. And there’s another, there’s another consequence of this capitalist society.

Rich Ziade: We’ve shit on social media a lot on this podcast for good reason, right?

Paul Ford: Sure.

Rich Ziade: And I wanna shit out, shit on it once more. All the extra cycles outside of that job, um, goes into airing grievances, complaining, and watching dumb videos. There’s a lot of tech out there where you can signal out in constructive, creative, interesting ways, whether it be writing or if you’re a coder, putting some projects out.

Rich Ziade: There are other ways to express yourself and find fulfillment. Uh, the problem is social, um, really eats up all the extra cycles. You just sit on that toilet and just scroll. 

We Helped Here (Outro)

Rich Ziade: I think we, we helped here. I think we just wanna give people some perspective. This isn’t about clear cut advice, but rather perspective with those extra cycles while you’re not at work, you know what you [00:16:00] should do Paul?

Paul Ford: Check out ZiadeFord.com and send an email to hello@ZiadeFord.com if you need any advice.

Rich Ziade: We love giving advice, we hope. Uh, thanks for the coffee, it was good seeing you, Jim.

Paul Ford: [chuckles].

Rich Ziade: Best of luck in your video editing job.

Paul Ford: I think I need to do it like special voices when I’m playing a character.

Rich Ziade: No special voices.

Paul Ford: Oh yes, of course Richard.

Rich Ziade: No. Let’s keep it-

Paul Ford: Oh Damn it.

Rich Ziade: Have a lovely week everyone.

Paul Ford: Bye. 

More Ziade+Ford Advisors
RSSApple PodcastSpotify