Jackass Penguin

“Satisfying Work” David Walks Epidsode 27 with Career Transitioning Schaeffer Arnold

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Schaeffer : Right here, we’re on the 10th floor. We had 14 people in our office. It was literally the new company that took the spot is 6 people and they fit there comfortably. We were all smashed in like sardines.

David: Funny when people cut corners.

Schaeffer : This guy was paying next to nothing to stay there. Took everything we had basically getting to 16 people for them to say, “We literally can’t fit in here anymore.” Another funny story about that co-founder I’ll leave nameless. One of the employees wanted a keyboard for an extension off of his laptop. He didn’t like typing on the laptop keyboard. The co-founder said, “Hey, I could get you this, but then I’d have to get everyone else a keyboard, too.” My buddy just kind of sighs and goes on with his day. Two days later, the co-founder comes in. He’s got this keyboard. He’s like, “Look what I got for you.” He’s like, “Here you go.” Hands it to my buddy. It’s got hair and dust and coke stains on it and everything. My buddy just kinds of looks at him ands like, “Thanks a lot. This is really nice of you.” He was like, Where did you get it?” My boss was like, “Down in the alley. It was just sitting there. I came in, plugged it in and it works. Can you believe it?” My buddy’s just sitting there with a look on his face, shaking his head and internally is like, “What is this guy doing?”

David: Welcome to David’s Walks. Today, we’re going to talk about finding satisfying work. I’m here with Schaeffer. You’re kind of in a cool spot in your career right now where you’re looking for … More about satisfaction and purpose. You’re in a transition.

Schaeffer : Transition to say the least. I just left my job about 5 weeks ago with really no plan other than to take some time off to travel. I was doing sales at a food startup. Basically, a middle man that connects vendors to business clients, corporate clients that are feeding their employees lunch …

David: Middle man sounds so negative.

Schaeffer : Middleman’s good. Business is good. I mean, it’s very flourishing. We were doing good work for the vendors side, I think especially because these are vendors that come from countries that … They really just want to put their recipes on the table and get them in front of people. They really don’t have the business background so we kind of accelerate their sales and marketing for them. That aspect of it was really fun. The other …

David: Yeah, cool market right now.

Schaeffer : Very cool. I’m kind of in the midst of … I just got back from a 2 week stint where I went to Ohio, Dallas, Boston and Oklahoma City for various reasons. Wedding, golf, catching up with friends and in about a week, I’m going to be heading off to Africa. We’re going to go to Cape Town, and then Tanzania for a safari. The main thing I wanted to do on this break was interact with animals. For whatever reason, it just makes me really happy. Quitting your job can be so depressing at times. When you wake up and don’t have anything to do …

David: Do you have a dog?

Schaeffer : No. No animals.

David: No Animals?

Schaeffer : The landlord doesn’t allow that.

David: Have you considered the secret pet?

Schaeffer : They are around too often for us to get a dog. I think it would get noticed …

David: Maybe a turtle?

Schaeffer : That’d be a good one or a hamster. Wants to spin around in his wheel.

David: I don’t like animals that have to stay in the cage.

Schaeffer : No? Where do you put a turtle?

David: I think you just let it roam around your … It has a cage, but you can just let him roam around the apartment for a while.

Schaeffer : That’s true. They can’t get very far.

David: Yeah. What did you do the day after you quit your job?

Schaeffer : I slept until about 10 o’clock. I think I watched every Marvel movie up to Avengers 2.

David: I saw the new one.

Schaeffer : It’s pretty good.

David: Yeah, it was solid.

Schaeffer : Pretty action packed.

David: Hopeful entertainment.

Schaeffer : I did that for about a week, actually. Just relaxed. Felt the joy of … Not going into work and doing the exact same thing over and over again. Literally, catering to people who are upset if their food’s 5 minutes late. That just seemed a little too high maintenance for me. I want to do something that either gives back more or has a purpose behind it. Other than having bratty, corporate clients, make sure their food is 1 minute on time or 2 minutes ahead of time.

David: People are hungry, man. They’re not rational. You’re going to that industry knowing there’s a irrational customer. You know, they have a need. If it’s a few minutes late, it’s not the same as the person buying food or waiting in line on their own.

Schaeffer : Completely different.

David: Yeah.

Schaeffer : 300 hungry engineers lined up and there’s no food in front of them. They’re all like …

David: They get like group think

Schaeffer : Super pissed.

David: Yeah.

Schaeffer : It’s a really cool industry to be in. It’s growing like crazy. It’ll be really interesting to see where it goes in 5 years because I didn’t think it would ever be where it is now, whenever I first started, 2012. It’ll be really interesting to see how they incorporate wellness, giving back.

David: Yeah. We had a good talk today about [C-dot how chow 00:05:03] …

Schaeffer : Chow!

David: Chow! What are you gonna do when you get off the plane in Africa? What’s the first thing?

Schaeffer : There’s a little beach about 45 minutes south of Cape Town …

David: You want to go to [Em-bark-ah-day-oh 00:05:19]?

Schaeffer : Let’s check it out, yeah. There’s a little beach about 45 minutes south of Cape town where you can actually see penguins.

David: Oh, that’s wild.

Schaeffer : That’s going to be my first destination.

David: What’s the temperature there?

Schaeffer : It’s weirdly not cold enough for penguins but this is a different type of penguin. It’s actually called a Jackass Penguin. I was looking it up the other night on the internet.

David: That’s the official name?

Schaeffer : Yeah. It’s one of the official names. It’s the name I’m going to go with.

David: Oh, Postmates right in front of us.

Schaeffer : Ah, I didn’t recognize …

David: Little bike.

Schaeffer : I talked to a guy the other day, jumping off that topic of the penguins, who made all of his money doing Lyft, until he made 100 bucks a day.

David: Uh-huh.

Schaeffer : Then he did Postmates till he made 100 bucks a day. He did that everyday, all day, every single week. He was making between 75 and 80,000 a year doing that. Just think about how mind numbing … If that was your full time gig, you’re probably going to meet a lot of cool people …

David: Well, how many hours do you have to work to get those rates?

Schaeffer : On the Lyft, it’s like 2-4 depending on how long because if he’s down here, where we are right now, downtown San Francisco, one ride is going to be 20-30 minutes given traffic. If you’re out there into Sunset, you can do way more in the same amount of time. I signed up to be a driver. Actually, I haven’t even given my first ride yet. I just did all the orientations stuff. I did my driver test, test run. It was super, super easy. I actually signed up when they were doing the $1000 promotion. It was, give one ride in one week, get $1000, no questions asked. They had 15,000 people sign up in one day, which is basically meant … I think it was a $30,000,000 commitment because they had to pay the referrer and they had to pay the person signing up.

David: Did they referrer also get a grand?

Schaeffer : Yeah.

David: Wow.

Schaeffer : They’re in a class action lawsuit right now because there was a bunch of people, specifically, the one example I read about, in Miami, FL, that literally canceled their weekend plans. They also carpooled down to Miami from wherever it was that they lived, because Miami had Lyft and wherever it was they were, did not. They booked a hotel, stayed there …

David: I admire this little group of people.

Schaeffer : I do, too. Then, Lyft couldn’t deliver on all of the promises that they made. I didn’t get my thousand dollars because I didn’t get signed up in a week. It took them too long to go through the 15,000 people it had signed up. They did extend it a week, but it still didn’t matter. They didn’t have enough time to get that many people signed up so these people are in a class action lawsuit …

David: That’s a bit of of recruitment marketing nightmare. I understand what they were going for but …

Schaeffer : It backfired.

David: Yeah. They did not estimate how many people would do it, the capacity volume. I’m sure they hid something in the fine print. The guy pitching the campaign was like, “This is going to get you so many leads, whether they become drivers now or later. It’ll guarantee x amount of drivers now to meet your need that’ll continue … Get through the rate and continue being a driver but that sounds like a nightmare. From what I’m hearing from you, it sounds like they’re not going to win that case.

Schaeffer : Probably not.

David: Yeah.

Schaeffer : In retrospect, I think what would’ve been cool is if they did something like, a thousand bucks to the first x number of people to sign up. Then, $500 for the next tier and kind of cascaded it down that way. That way, people weren’t completely upset if they missed the thousand, they got 500. If they miss 500, they get 250 …

David: Especially if you ran it all through Facebook ads. The moment you hit your number, you just drop the ad.

Schaeffer : Yeah.

David: Something you can control the ad as your going and not have it … I guess people would pick up the ad and republish it elsewhere as an offer.

Schaeffer : Yeah.

David: I don’t know. That’s a pretty crazy use case. Whenever you get back, how are you going to start finding satisfying work?

Schaeffer : I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing now. As I was telling you earlier, taking some free courses on Udemy, Code Academy. Refining some skills that I, frankly, do not have yet. Taking the lead from sales, account management into what I would like to do, but I think at least right now, what I would like to do, which is some type of product manager. Where you get to kind of quarterback a product or a set of products. The sales is fun, it’s very lucrative but you’re someone’s bitch all the time and that aspect of it has worn on me. Maybe I’ll come back to it someday because of the money. I do like interacting with people. I’m a friendly guy. I generally get along with all types on personalities. We will see. My intention span changes, it seems each month. Maybe next month, I’d want to be a safari guide after this African trip. Who knows what it’ll be. The plan is to keep learning and apply what I learn to the next job interviews.

David: Do you think you’ll be a good safari guide? First of all, are you going to touch the penguins when you get there?

Schaeffer : If they allow it, absolutely.

David: Who’s this they? Can’t you just … I thought the whole point of going over there was your on the same plane, there’s no cage.

Schaeffer : Yeah. I don’t want to break any rules and go up and be that guy petting the penguin and have someone …

David: Did you get shots and stuff?

Schaeffer : Oh yeah. I’m taking Typhoid right now. Just took my first dose two days ago. Made me really dizzy. Very stomach ill. We gotta start …

David: The cost of meeting penguins.

Schaeffer : The cost of … And cheetahs and lions.

David: Oh shit.

Schaeffer : That’ll be in Tanzania. We’re going to go scuba diving in Tanzania, Zanzibar specifically. Then, we’re going to go to central Tanzania for the safari. There’s an option to pet this cheetah at the place we’re staying at Zanzibar. Part of me is like, “That sounds really fucking cool.” The other part is, “What if this guy is in a bad mood that day?” Decides to snap at me.

David: Yeah.

Schaeffer : Then I lose my fingers.

David: Well, that’s a good story.

Schaeffer : Well, it would make for a good story.

David: Yeah. You’d probably use the keyboard less.

Schaeffer : No more coding.

David: Yeah. Well, I mean, if the keyboard comes from an alley way, what’s the point?

Schaeffer : I don’t want to touch it. The less fingers I get on that thing, the less chance of a disease.

David: Yeah. Do you think when you come back, you’re going to have … [inaudible 00:11:46] traveled a bit. I was kind of hoping for a new perspective when I traveled in February and a little bit in March. You get some of that, but it’s … Once you get back in the environment, there is a level of you are who you are. You get here and it’s like, these companies pay me for x. I keep doing x. Let’s make it to the water.

Schaeffer : Yeah, it’s going to be interesting because I think … Clearly, that’s what I want to get. I want to get a fresh perspective. I want to come back and have some vision or some new idea about what it is I’m meant to do or suppose to do. I don’t want it to be a disappointment if that doesn’t happen. I kind of need to leave with the focus on, regardless of what happens on this trip. This is what my 60-day, or 90-day plan is for my return. Certainly not eager to start working again immediately when I get back. At the same time, I don’t want to jump in to something too soon. If it’s been 3 months and the only thing I can find is sales jobs, at that point, do I take it and be miserable again or do I just keep the search going? That’s the trade-off, right? Financially responsible, I need the income. I got to pay for my rent. At the same time, does happiness have a price?

David: Yeah. I mean, not to sound too harsh, but it certainly does. If there was no money and you had no consequences, would you be doing exactly what you’re doing today? Maybe some of it.

Schaeffer : Yeah.

David: I’d probably still walk around. Do some podcasts. I’d still write. Would I hit the same deadlines? Would I be negotiating as hard? It’s like, no. Maybe for the principal negotiations it’ll get fun, but it’s also like, you know, you’re putting lines in the sand for certain monetary reasons. Putting value on your time.

Schaeffer : What’s the San Francisco’s housing market? If it wasn’t so insane, it’d be nice to stop paying rent and start paying a mortgage, just for the sake of …

David: Oh yeah. Ownership. Longevity.

Schaeffer : Yeah.

David: Yeah. You got to strike it big on one, make a down payment and then you’re good.

Schaeffer : Yeah.

David: You know. You got to get one big hit in there. Maybe you’ll be the guy who takes the most remarkable picture of the penguin and it’ll get licensed by Disney. Did you see that new monkey movie? You can do your own version with the little penguins.

Schaeffer : Here’s my jackass penguin.

David: Yeah. Maybe you can make a famous internet meme. I heard that makes a lot of money.

Schaeffer : I’m going to have plenty of content, for the memes.

David: What are your content tools? What are you bringing?

Schaeffer : Actually, after this, I’m going to go look at cameras. There’s a place on Kearny that sells cameras. I need a lens and a camera. I’ve never bought a camera before, do you have any advice for me? When I’m looking, is there a minimum money I should be looking to spend? Is there a number I shouldn’t go over because …

David: One of the first big decisions is whether you spend big on the body or the lens.

Schaeffer : Okay.

David: This is from my YouTube experience, watching, not making. We did, at my last job, I did buy about a thousand dollar video camera. Did some research but essentially, getting SDR … No, LRD. There’s a special type of lens that’s kind of like a barrier.

Schaeffer : Okay.

David: You buy a bad-ass lens and you can get away with a little cheaper body.

Schaeffer : Okay.

David: The body’s a lot more with stability. The lens is real clarity of the shot.

Schaeffer : Okay.

David: In terms of which way to spend money on … Helping people out. You still get to cross the street. Yeah, she’s a stroller.

Schaeffer : I wonder how she didn’t notice that.

David: Yeah.

Schaeffer : Oh, the San Francisco Ferry Building.

David: You’re not buying data there, are you? You’re giving up the cell phone, right?

Schaeffer : I’ll have a cell phone, no access to my phone calls. Unless I’m on a WiFi, which probably isn’t … Is promised, but in my experience, when they say free WiFi, it usually doesn’t mean the best signal.

David: Yeah.

Schaeffer : Kind of back in the day, all the little motels along the highway would promote free HBO and that would be the winning ticket. Oh, this one has free HBO. We’re going to stay there, for sure. One channel.

David: Times have changed.

Schaeffer : Yeah. I wish this was the Ferry Market Dave. Looks like there are some vendors up here though.

David: Any chance you drop out of tech entirely? Do you think …

Schaeffer : No.

David: It’s just like the past?

Schaeffer : Yeah. I mean, when I think about dropping out of tech, I think about what it was like living in Louisville. Not that there is no tech in Louisville, but the industry is much smaller. You have to take more of a traditional, I call it traditional because when we were young, these were like the job in Kentucky growing up or in the mid west. Maybe even where you’re from in Pennsylvania.

David: Yeah.

Schaeffer : You thought yourself a financial advisor, financial analyst …

David: Doctor, lawyer, finance …

Schaeffer : Yeah, more traditional paths. Then San Francisco just opens your eyes up to … I can do literally whatever I want or go work for whoever I want because all the ideas are being spawned up here.

David: Oh yeah, I can write about whatever I want, you know? Everyone needs things written about.

Schaeffer : Macaroons.

David: Macaroons. Pretty good. Let’s see what else we got.

Schaeffer : Juice bar. 4-5-0-5 Cheeseburger. If you’re ever in the mood for a cheeseburger, I don’t want one now, you have to try their cheeseburger.

David: 4-5-0-5.

Schaeffer : Yeah, the best. It’s incredible. Yeah, it’s called the best damn cheeseburger for a reason. [why sons 00:17:38], I am volunteering at their booth at Outside Land.

David: With the last company I was with, we did a video with (Wise Sons) hiring people.

Schaeffer : Oh, nice.

David: There’s a shot right here shaking hands. Want some?

Schaeffer : Those pastrami fries.

David: Yeah.

Schaeffer : They have them on the menu today.

David: What are you doing with the volunteering with them?

Schaeffer : At Outside Lands, it’s pretty much, any vendor will do this, if you volunteer for 4-5 hours, then you get a pass for the rest of the day.

David: Oh, that’s a good idea.

Schaeffer : I volunteer from 10-4:30. Then I …

David: You hang out. You serve food. Eat a sandwich. [inaudible 00:18:07] enjoy the music.

Schaeffer : Hell yeah. Better than paying $150 for the day.

David: Yeah, that’s a good idea. I should get in on that. There’s probably a fun way to do it, too.

Schaeffer : I can send you the Google doc.

David: Yeah. How hard is it?

Schaeffer : It’s actually fun. You can do front of house or back of house. Back of house, you’re composing the fries. Front of house, you’re just making the sale.

David: Composing?

Schaeffer : Yeah. Literally fries, pastrami sauce, pastrami, seasoning, boom, pass it up to me. Then I get to be all, “Pastrami fries! Who had the pastrami fries?”

David: Yeah. The front would probably be more fun.

Schaeffer : Its a blast.

David: Yeah. Should I put in my application right now? I know you want a Google doc, but here’s my card.

Schaeffer : Call me.

David: Ready to volunteer, what is it, August 23rd.

Schaeffer : Yeah. See Elton John.

David: Yeah.

Schaeffer : Elton John was actually the first concert I ever saw in my entire life. I was in 8th grade and my mom wanted to go see Elton John across the river in Evansville, Indiana. We rented a limo. I saw Elton John sing the song about Princess Diana. Forgot what it was called. It was basically a rendition off of one of his existing songs. It’s blanking me right now. Makes for a bad story.

David: Well, everyone remembers the first concert.

Schaeffer : Yeah.

David: Well, parts of it anyway. You know, titles, whatever.

Schaeffer : Everyone was holding up their lighter or candle whenever they sing the Princess … That’s really the only moment I remember. Interesting to see him again, 20,30 years later.

David: He’s basically doing Paul McCartney this year. That’s what Paul McCartney was.

Schaeffer : Yeah. I don’t know if …

David: Kind of like headliner aging but absolute legend roll.

Schaeffer : Yup. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was last year.

David: The coolest part with Paul McCartney was when he did foxy lady by Jimmy Hendrix.

Schaeffer : Oh my god.

David: He threw it down. He was good. He’s 72 and was still just like …

Schaeffer : He played for 3 hours up there …

David: Yeah. He’s a machine. There’s musicians now that won’t do that, you know. In their prime, like 35 years old. Ready to fill out Madison Square Garden, they’re not going to play for 3 hours.

Schaeffer : Yup. He was incredible. He had some girl come up on stage and he signed her arm. She must of been 20 years old …

David: Yeah.

Schaeffer : I don’t even know if she knew who was signing her arm.

David: Did you have a good spot? Did you get up front?

Schaeffer : We were in the mid section. I forget where we were coming from before that. It was okay. It was good enough. They had the big screen up there, you can pretty much see Paul McCartney pretty easily.

David: Yeah. Any closing advice on someone else trying to make a transition? There’s a lot of people out there who are like, “Hey.” You know, they’re not really enjoying the fresh air or walking around. They have a job where, yeah, it pays the bills. You know, there’s a lot of this sense of, this isn’t the job I want to be doing.

Schaeffer : Yeah.

David: You know. It takes some balls to move forward. What would you say to that next person?

Schaeffer : Well, I know a few of them right now actually. When you don’t just up and quit, then you feel when you get off work, you don’t want to go home and do your job searching. Nothing really ever gets accomplished. If you really want to leave, unless you’re doing it on company time, which I may or may not have done, a little bit. I would take the leap because if you just stay there and you’re unhappy, you’re going to be unhappy. That’s one negative. You’re not going to come home and do the job searching or put forth the time to learn a new skill.

David: When your committing like that, it’s hard … Thinking about new opportunities while you’re committed to something else …

Schaeffer : Yeah.

David: The type of person that’s looking for more purpose, they’re not generally someone who half-ass things.

Schaeffer : Right. I was reading an interesting article yesterday about this counselor, who every year takes a group of 14-16 year olds, about 15-20, in the Appalachian mountains for a hike. He compared that hike to what it’s like to feel lost. He let’s these kids … Literally, they have to get from A to B. It’s almost like survivor, on The Discovery Channel. If they’re going the wrong way or if they’re not using the compass and map properly, he doesn’t say a single word. He just let’s them screw up because he knows telling them the right way or telling them how to do something isn’t going to teach them what they need to learn about …

David: Yeah.

Schaeffer : About life, frankly. It kind of relates to me in that, no one can tell me what I have to do. I kind of need to get lost and figure it out for myself. It’ll be so much more rewarding at the end of the day or whenever that does happen.

David: Yeah. I know this is probably a bad comparison but it reminded me of basically, Phil Jackson, NBA coach, would treat the regular season … He wouldn’t call timeouts when they’re in trouble.

Schaeffer : He just let them figure it out. I remember this.

David: He was notorious for the style. “Oh, they went on an 8-0 run, so what? I’m going to need you guys to figure this out for the playoffs.”

Schaeffer : Yeah.

David: “Don’t have time in the regular season to tell you how to change, how you’re messing up, stop the momentum. No. Just keep riding it out. Keep riding it out.”

Schaeffer : When you got guys like Kobe and Jordan out there, they were usually pretty good at figuring out how to diffuse the problem.

David: Oh yeah. Yeah. He was very smart about taking jobs that had the best (co-workers).

Schaeffer : Yeah.

David: “Oh yeah, I’m retired. Wait a minute, Kobe and Shaq need a coach? Maybe I’m not retired.”

Schaeffer : One of his former players doing that right now with the Warriors, Steve Kerr.

David: Oh yeah.

Schaeffer : Up 3-2. Hopefully they can close it out in Memphis.

David: He took the Phoneix job as GM. Went on TV for a while, just waiting for that right opportunity. Then the Knicks and the Warroirs offer him a job and he’s like, “Okay!”

Schaeffer : Steph Curry. Carmelo Anthony.

David: Versus. Well, I guess at the time, they had J.R. Smith, but Carmelo’s bulky knee.

Schaeffer : The criticism that comes with working in New York. It doesn’t sound very exciting to me, but some people like that lime light.

David: It’s all about finding good, telling people to take the lead. There is a level of … People are just scared. You have an inertia to what you’re doing every day. You’re looking back at it and it’s like, “Hey, you know, yeah, I don’t like this 20% of my job.” That’s the cost of having a job. They call it a job for a reason. How would you shove them off the edge?

Schaeffer : Well, I should caveat this whole thing with I’m not married and I do not have a kid. I think those things would lead to a very different type of experience for me. I probably wouldn’t have just up and quit had I have a kid or a mortgage payment I was making. If you’re in my boat, it feels good. You have to be okay with being lost. You have to be okay with being out there and not knowing what’s next. If that makes you really, really uncomfortable, gives you lots of anxiety, it’s probably not a good idea. I was open to that. I hadn’t had that feeling in a while. Actually, before I moved out to San Francisco.

David: That’s a good feeling.

Schaeffer : It is. It does feel good. I always tell myself, things have always worked out for me. I hope it hasn’t been mostly for luck, which I really don’t believe in. I think you kind of create your own luck. I have a feeling things’ll work out. I’ll figure out what it is that I need to look for and that I need to be doing. A year from now, if we’re talking, I think the discussion will be very different.

David: Cool. Well, I’m confident in that. I am. It’s been a pleasure. Let’s wrap it up. Have fun in Africa. Thanks for walking with me Schaeffer.

Schaeffer : For sure. I’ll share some good photos and I’ll have some Jackass Penguins.

David: Oh cool.

Schaeffer : To meme. Sweet.

David: Cool.

Schaeffer : Nothing like being on live mic. Oh, we’re still recording?

David: I couldn’t hit the –