394: How To Leverage Curiosity During Career Change

Jeff started out as a fashion designer running his own company. And then he switched into film and video production, and many years later has become well known for working with organizations like Victoria's Secret, Ralph Lauren, and even Harvard.



Jeffery Madoff, Founder & CEO Madoff Productions

on this episode

  • What happens if you’re lacking in curiosity
  • How you can get attention by being a novelty
  • How you can take a bad experience and turn it into an opportunity


What’s better? Being a specialist or a generalist? Are you better off having a deep body of knowledge or a wide set of experiences? This comes up in conversations I have all the time. 

My question is why not both?

Jeffrey Madoff, author of Creative Careers, shares how he leveraged curiosity in various career changes.

Success Stories

I think what helped me the most was focusing on my strengths and the connections that this process, the whole happened here, the career change bootcamp, those connections that basically you're prompted to go reconnect with people right? So, that helped me the most because the roller coaster that I was on with the role that I was in that I was trying to exit from, again, it realizing that people had a positive view of me and that they saw things that maybe I didn't see in myself really helped me articulate who I already was and who I wanted to be in my next role, if that makes sense.

Elizabeth , Digital Marketing Analytics Strategist, United States/Canada

I wanted to thank you because you have helped me land a job that is more fulfilling in every way than a job I thought I could have had before I met you. The work you did and the techniques you taught me literally changed my life.

Eric Murphy, Science Teacher, United States/Canada

Sometimes you just need someone who has done these things before to make it easier. Scott’s advice allowed me to get exactly what I wanted out of my new job!

Andrew Trujillo, Digital Marketing, United States/Canada

My brain always goes 'Well, what's the worst that could happen?' And that was another one of the exercises from Figure Out What Fits and once you realize what the worst that can happen is, it's not really that bad. In the big scheme of things, it might knock it back for a minute or two, but it's not not a biggie. They have not found it to happen yet. So I've just been pleasantly surprised every step of the way.

Mark Sinclair, Photograher, Australia

Getting clear on what I wanted helped me to recognize how perfect this opportunity was when it came along and the choice to switch was a no-brainer. Thanks for doing the work you do!

Austin Marlar, Frontend Developer, United States/Canada

Nadia Career Change HTYC

If you're stuck, if you want to know what to do, go listen to this podcast, it will change your life. And I was thinking, "great, okay." And then of course, I go to the website, and everything that I read, it was like, "Yes, this is what I've been looking for."

Nadia , Support Team Coordinator, United Kingdom

Jeffrey Madoff 00:02
If you are lacking in curiosity, you're going to be a really uninteresting person, because anybody thinks that they know and they're no longer curious. To me, it's like oxygen to be curious.

Introduction 00:19
This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:43
What do you think is better? Being a specialist, or a generalist? Are you better off having a deep body of knowledge or a wide set of experiences? This comes up in conversations I have all the time. And my question is, why not both?

Jeffrey Madoff 00:59
He took the money. And of course, the reason you never heard of the film junkie is because it never got made. But what it did do is expose me to the film business.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:10
That's Jeff Madoff. He started out as a fashion designer running his own company. And then he switched into film and video production, and many years later has become well known for working with organizations like Victoria's Secret, Ralph Lauren, and even Harvard. What's not obvious about his change, is the role that having both depth and breadth played in his success over the years, not just being a specialist, and not just being a generalist being both in really concentrated areas. How did he do this? Well, that's exactly what we're gonna talk about today. Listen for later on in our conversation. And I'll give you a clue. It has something to do with leveraging your own curiosity.

Jeffrey Madoff 01:57
We design career, which happened by accident, I did achieve very rapid growth, we were doubling like every three or four months, within a year and a half, I had about 120 employees, a factory in Foothill Wisconsin, I'm sure you've heard of that. And then a second factory in a place in northern Wisconsin, which I actually can't remember the name of, an office in New York at the Empire State Building. And you know, some things happen quickly. And I was chosen one of the top 10 young designers in the United States, which isn't as impressive as it sounds, because I think there were only eight of us. Back then, young people weren't doing startups, that just wasn't a thing. A lot of the companies like when I go to buy fabric, when I was starting out, didn't want to work with me. Because you know, to them, I was a kid. And I was a kid. I was like 21 when I started it, but so they didn't think there was any credibility behind the business I had. But I had attracted very good financial backing. And, you know, I was a legitimate business and in national magazines, and all of that kind of thing. But I did also, was fortunate enough to find some mentorship, and was also unfortunate enough to trust people at times that I shouldn't have. But you learn, you know, you learn from that. And so I did. So I started when I was 21. And when I made the decision to move to New York, which we might want to go into why, about that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:29
I am super curious as to why I read about this, that move to New York. However, I don't know all the backstory. So please do tell.

Jeffrey Madoff 03:37
So the business was going well, there was a recession. And all of a sudden, the stores that used to pay in 30 to 45 days, usually the terms were net 30 on the sales, were taking 90 days, 120 days, that was really tough. My backer stuck with me was a very good man. But the main reason that he backed me other than he thought my business was interesting. And I was kind of a novel character to him and was making money. He owned five banks in Wisconsin. So all those people that worked at factories and work for me banked at his bank. And he told me that one of the main reasons that he was backing me was that I provided an employment for Wisconsinites. And he was a fifth generation Wisconsinite. And when things got rough, and I wanted to move to New York, because I realized I needed to be around people who are in this business. And this business really doesn't exist too much outside of New York, especially fashion, I mean a bit in LA, but way less than New York and back then it was way, way less than New York, and I had no interest in living in LA but New York was very seductive to me because I'm a stimulus junkie. And I just love the city. Didn't start out that way, by the way. Initially, the state was intimidating to me. You know, I had never ridden subway. Or gotten around on buses, I grew up in Ohio, in the suburbs. And initially New York is a bit intimidating. But the more I went there and learn the city, the more I loved it until I absolutely wanted to be there. The conflict that arose was that my backer said to me, if you move to New York, I'm not going to continue to back your business. And he made that clear from the beginning, it wasn't a mean thing he was saying, and I understood it. And so I was faced with a big decision. When I was like, 23 or so 24, which was, you know, do I stay in Wisconsin, and continue to do my business? Or do I give it up, maybe look like a failure, because the business wasn't going to continue. It would close if I moved, and I had the realization, money comes and goes, time only goes, and I was talking to a dear friend of mine, and he said, "so do you have a job lined up in New York?" "No." "Do you know anybody there?" "Not really, no." "You have a place to live?" "No." And he said, "Well, aren't you afraid of moving there?" I said, "No, you know, actually, I'm more afraid of staying here. Because I kind of knew what the script was. Or at least I thought I knew what the script was. And so I wanted to move on and do something different." And I had saved up enough that if I lived frugally, which I did, I could travel parts of the world and not work for almost a year. And then I started another fashion business because I had a good reputation and my stuff sold, and built that up, and then sold it to another company. And that's when I transitioned to the next career.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:44
So here's what I'm curious about then, Jeff, you said, you had that realization that money comes and goes, but time only goes, was it that conversation with your friend that led to that realization? Or was it another event or set of events? What led to that realization?

Jeffrey Madoff 07:01
My dad came... my parents were entrepreneurs. You know, my mom and dad owned some retail stores in Akron. And I remember one time, my dad coming home, and seemed particularly pensive. And I said, "Dad, what's going on?" And he kind of shook his head. And he said, "No, I don't remember the guy's name." But the guy who worked in the bank next door where my dad did his banking, they had a retirement party for him. He was 65. And they had a retirement party for him during lunch hour. And we're a few people said, you know, he's been of great service to the bank and that kind of thing. He was given the, what is now the cliche probably was a cliche then, the gold watch. And exactly, and my dad said, and I thought, "That's it? You work in this bank for 40 years, and you get a watch, and you just said, goodbye, and take a little box of stuff from your desk. And that's it?" And it just hit him. And he thought, you know, and he said, and adults always tell you this, now that I'm an adult, at least I've aged, if not mature. Time really goes fast. And my dad said, you know, for the time goes so quickly, you spend 40 years working there, and you get a 45 minute lunch actually not even lunch they had cake and then gave him the watch. And then he left. They said watching him walk out of the bank was one of the saddest things I've ever seen it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:37
It is so anticlimactic to put it mildly. Understatement of the many years, I suppose, of a lifetime for him.

Jeffrey Madoff 08:46
Yeah. And so that's, you know, when I kind of realized, you know, that left a huge impression that was years before I made that decision for myself. But that left a strong impression on me, and how it affected my dad. And then it made sense. And I started actually Scott thinking about words, I think about time and you think about money, you know, time is money. Well, time isn't money, right? You know, because you spend time, you spend money, you waste time, you waste money, you save time, you save money, but time only goes, money comes and goes, the time only goes that's a one way street. as it passes, you're past it. And it's always that and so I realized there's a real difference between the time is money because at a certain point, you can't buy any more time.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:43

Jeffrey Madoff 09:44
Yeah. And so when I was thinking about the words, and I'm always fascinated by word roots and where things come from, that really hit me. And I realized, I think fortunately at a young age, that money comes and goes, time only goes. And all of those other things don't really make any difference.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:04
That sounds interesting. So I have a lot of things about that are interesting, particularly the separation of time and money and looking at them as individual concepts versus what is now also very cliche, maybe even more so than the gold watch, that time you make is money. But I'm super curious too about your fascination with word roots and other things. Where does that come from? I'm also very fascinated by that to the point where, you know, our organization name Happen To Your Career is completely put together based on the etymology of where the original words come from. And you know, that's a longer story. Maybe we don't have time for right now. However, I'm curious where your fascination of word roots in the light come from?

Jeffrey Madoff 10:52
Well, I've always been and it's always been encouraged by it was always encouraged by my parents. I've always been curious about stuff. I remember when I was a kid. And you may have read this story in my book, when my neighbor invited me to look through his telescope that he had just gotten and we were like, 12 years old or something, and he said, "Look at Orion, do you see Orion?" I said, "No. I see a bunch of stars." He said, "No, no, look, there's the three stars under his belt, you don't see that?" "I see a bunch of stars." He said, "There's the shoulder. And then that's the sword. You don't see that?" I said, "I only see a bunch of stars." And more I said that the more frustrated and pissed off he got. And I said, he said, "I can't believe you can't see Orion." I said, "Well, Billy, I see what everybody agrees is Orion. But that's just because everybody agreed that's Orion. It's not intrinsically Orion." And I like the word intrinsically because it meant in and of itself. And, you know, we assign that because humans are always searching for organizing principle and meaning, but it's just a bunch of stars, until you assign that meaning to it. And by the way, it's only Orion. And you're not America, they have a whole different mythology around arts, you go to A they have a whole different mythology around stars. So it's uniquely in the United States, North America, what those stars represent. I always was interested in so why is something called something that's still a fascination I have. I always asked lots of questions when I was a kid. So my teachers either really liked me or found me...

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:33
That's fair. I can see that. But curiosity and innate curiosity, especially when it is to the extremes, it seems like there's no middle ground for teachers in that area.

Jeffrey Madoff 12:50
You know, I remember when I was in, I don't remember what grade, fourth grade or something like that. Yeah, we learned that, Columbus discovered America. And I raised my hand and I said, "How can you discover something when people were already here? What do you mean? I saw the Indians were already here. So how could he discover something, they were already here?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:13
Columbus discovered the edge. Yeah, not so much.

Jeffrey Madoff 13:21
And so that kind of thing also, you know, the words and how the words were used? And then in that case, what it implied. You know, I mean, not to get too deep into this, but there was an implied racism about it. These aren't people, there's something else. And that threw me off. So a lot of these things that made big impressions on me when I was younger. As I read more books, talk to more people, educated myself more, those things became actually more interesting to me, because it created more questions. And I think that if you are lacking in curiosity, you're going to be a really uninteresting person, because anybody thinks that they know and they're no longer curious. To me. It's like oxygen to be curious, you know, that keeps my life going. Because it's so interesting, all of this stuff unfolding, being in Manhattan now. And we did not leave during the pandemic. And I was acutely aware that history was unfolding every day here, and my family, we would open the windows and applaud for the health care workers. And that was happening every day for about four months, out the windows and just thinking, what an astounding thing is going on now? So I've always had that kind of curiosity and always, you know, wondered about things and you know, when, in order to wonder, I do this in my class, you know, I said, "if you change the O to an A, you wander and you wander so you can wonder about." You know, like I looked, I remember seeing a lobster, we went to a seafood restaurant when I was a kid, and then the tank with the lobsters in it. And I thought, who looked at that the first time and thought, you know better if I tore the ass off that and dipped it in some butter, it would be delicious. You had to be really hungry to think, oh, man, does that look like it tastes good. So, but I'm wondering about stuff like that, how did that happen. And that led me to actually study lobsters, not to a great extent. But the realization that lobsters were initially so plentiful off the coast of Maine, that they were prison food, and for poor people. And it was through a genius of marketing, that it became a huge cost a quarter of the price of chicken. And it was through genius of marketing, that they made this very plentiful, very ugly creature, I mean, maybe not ugly to another lobster, but to me it is and that it became a luxury food. And so if you go down the rabbit hole, those discoveries to me are really cool.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:14
I love those discoveries as well. And I suspect that if we go back to that concept of wandering, and actually knowing let's go all the way back for just a moment here, where you wander to New York, and you decided that, hey, this is.. I'm more scared of staying here in many different ways. And it sounds like in some ways too, they getting to know you a little bit, there was probably some element of curiosity is as well, that was on the other side of that. And what took place in New York, after you had opened up the other design company you had ended up selling it, what took place that made you decide, hey, this is something I want to sell, I want to move into what many people would consider to be an entirely different career path?

Jeffrey Madoff 17:04
So you talked about the transition and going into film then?

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:07
Yeah, absolutely.

Jeffrey Madoff 17:09
Well, you know, I had the experience very young with my first company. I started when I was in Wisconsin. And part of the reason by the way that I got was able to attract publicity is not because my clothing sold, but I was a young kid doing this out of Wisconsin, not a fashion summer, you know, so pardon me out. So I was a novelty also. When I moved to New York, moved 11 different places, you know, that first year, traveled around a lot, then ran out of money. So I was approached to start another company, which I did, I realized, you know, this business is not the business I want to be in. That I felt I had, and I didn't know that at the time. So I'll tie this together. But you know, I wasn't doing anything dramatically different than I had done when I was in Wisconsin, other than I was in a more interesting environment being in New York. One of the people that I bought fabric from, really nice man. And he was one of these guys that extended me credit. And when I was started my previous company, he had extended me credit, you know, because he liked me. I thought, he thought I was a bright kid. So he said to me, "Jeff, do you know anything about the film business?" I said, "Not really. I've read some books, and I go, I love movies, but not really." And he said, "Well, look, you've got a good head on your shoulders. My son is your age. He's going to involve us and people. Would you mind talking to him? Because he don't... he won't listen to me at all." "Yeah, I'd be happy to meet him." And I met his son. He was going out at that time with the daughter of I don't know if you're familiar with the actor, Eli Wallach, and his wife Anne Jackson, both wonderful actors who have very rich careers. For your listeners, Google them, because you've probably seen them if you've watched some older movies that are great. And his son, his name is Tommy, had optioned the rights to William Burroughs, his novel junkie. And William Burroughs was one of the seminal figures along with Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg of the beat movement in the 50s. And Burroughs was the sign on to the Burroughs business machine fortune, but he wanted nothing to do with his family business. He was a heroin addict. He was gay. So he was a total outcast in terms of his family and all of that. And he also wrote the book Naked Lunch, which is also quite a famous book, if you look at literature in the 50s and 60s. So anyhow, Tommy was doing the film based on Burroughs his book, and it was going to star and be directed by Dennis Hopper. So I met Dennis Hopper, he and I hit it off. He wanted me to be in the movie, and anyhow was really interesting for a while and then what happened is that Burroughs, Hopper and Terry Southern who wrote Magic Christian and a few other books. And Hopper and Southern would argue about who wrote Easy Rider, which is another one of the classic iconic films of the 60s. But they wouldn't get any work done. And so it was really interesting because I said to my friend, "look, they're going to squeeze you out of this, you've put this team together, they don't need you anymore." "It's my film." I said, "Yeah, but it's not going to get made, you know, they were getting high every night, they would wake up at four in the afternoon, I had taken a suite at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. And so it was clear to me that it was never going to happen." So it was initially interesting, in meeting these people, and spending time with them, became not so interesting anymore. Because unfortunately, you know, they were addicts. And when you're an addict, and you're numbing whatever pain it is in your life, you're also not terribly productive when you have something real to do. Sure enough, they told him, they wanted to buy him out of his option. And they offered him three times more than he had paid for it. I said, "You've tripled your money, in four months, take the money." And he said, "but it's my film." And I said, "it's not going to get made, they're not going to make it. I wanted to be in the film." You know, that was pretty cool initially, but it's not going to happen. He took the money. And of course, the reason you never heard of the film junkie is because it never got made. But what it did do is expose me to the film business. And through somebody I met through Burroughs, I met some people who are starting a company that wanted to start shooting fashion shows, because nobody was doing that. And I had this intuitive feel for the medium. And that's when I realized, wow, the fashion design stuff. I mean, that's been cool. That's been good to me. But this is so much more interesting to me. And it will use what I believe to be my talents in a much bigger and broader way. And I met these people we had dinner together, went back, looked at footage, and by I met them on a Tuesday and on Thursday, I started my first project with them. That was really interesting. And then I started my own company, you know, truncating the story here, but I wanted to start my own company and do what I wanted to do with it. But it was the, again, the curiosity and the opportunity to do something that would stretch and use my talents more than I thought the fashion business would. For what I liked, I mean, there's wonderfully creative people in fashion, I'm only talking about what satisfies me, I'm not saying anything about the industry.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:40
I think what's really interesting to me, and I would say fascinating to me about your story is I think that there's so many elements there that are common when people haven't, I'm just going to call it like a, you know, reasonable success on the other end where they are able to take their talents, as you said, and put them together in a way like talents and strengths and past experiences in a way that is really interesting and more fulfilling. Some of those commonalities that seem to be there that definitely appear to be a part of your story, Jeff, are that you went and did something and had a track record of success first, and then, you know, as you started, or I guess I should say catch, being curious and kept being open in different ways, then it eventually led to a way to be able to put those past experiences together. And I see that again and again, in different industries, different people's stories. If those elements aren't there, then it doesn't appear to get to the, I don't know what you want to call it, like the output on the other end, the happier place on the other end, maybe happier is the wrong word. But you know that higher fulfillment, higher interest, higher type. So I'm curious, what advice would you give to people that are going through or looking for, you know, that same type of transition in one way or another where they want to put together their past experience, but want to do it in a new and different way that is more interesting or more fulfilling to them?

Jeffrey Madoff 24:16
Well, there's a couple of things. One is what I learned when I started in the film business, was it was exactly like the fashion business. And what I mean by that is, so when I was designing a line of clothing, I came up with a concept, right? Did some research, came up with a concept. Then I sketched the ideas. And then once I had the ideas sketched and made my selections and all of that in finding fabrics or the materials for it, figuring out what the labor costs would be to make it, in other words, established a budget, established a selling price, had the salad, had to get paid for it, and then that would go back and I start the process over again, when I started in the film business, it starts with an idea, then it starts with some rough sketches which can become the storyboard, you have to cost out your materials, you have to cost out your labor, you have to figure out how much time it's going to take and meeting the deadline and getting paid for it. So the protocols of business and I maintained the protocols, and almost all businesses are essentially the same going from idea to concept to budget to billing, to collecting and starting over again. That's one thing that demystified an awful lot of business is to me, is realizing that if you can do a deconstruction of that, and understand the business much better when you just look at the protocols involved. Another thing is, is that, you know, we're compressing many, many years into a few minutes here.

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:52
Yes, we are.

Jeffrey Madoff 25:53
And I think that we should do my life in real time.

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:58
I hope you're clearing out your schedule. We're gonna meet a few minutes longer.

Jeffrey Madoff 26:03
Yes, we'll order in some food and I see...

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:06
Alright, perfect.

Jeffrey Madoff 26:07
But the point is, and I think it's one of the big myths of entrepreneurship, is that, you know, it somehow is easy. It's not easy. It's hard. It's a lot of work. And although I think more and more people are making those attempts, a lot of people go into it blindly as I did, and which was a good thing. In a sense, you've probably heard the phrase, ignorance is bliss. And that is true. Because if you knew all the risks involved upfront, you might not attempt it, you know. So it's not easy, it requires a lot of work. And that a lot of work phase never goes away. You get smarter about it, maybe use your time better, can delegate more as your business grows. But if you own the business, you're dealing with a lot all the time, that's just the nature of it, that's important to understand. When you get to the question of, do I make the switch? And what should I ask myself when making that switch? I think the first thing you have to ask yourself, and I don't think most people ask themselves this question until they're middle aged or older, is what is success? And what does success look like? You know, to me, is it having a home in the city, a country home for the weekends, in an island home somewhere else, and cars and wardrobe and every place? And you know, all of that doesn't mean that you're doing something that most of the time because it'll never happen all the time. But at least more than 50% of the time you feel happy and fulfilled about what you're doing? Or you know, what is success for you? There's not a right or wrong answer. But it's important if you're aiming for a certain destination, that you've got a map to help you get there. And I think that's a question people often don't ask themselves is, what does success look like to them? What does it mean? And then it's... why am I doing this? You know, what is my motivation for wanting to be whatever that is? So in my case, in terms of, you know, transitioning to doing film, I wanted to have a broader palette of creative expression. And that was what was really interesting to me, because I wanted to write stuff. I wanted to work with musicians to do scoring. I wanted to work with great cinematographers that I directed to do things. And I just wanted that richer palette to draw from for a greater creative expression. And I wanted to make enough where essentially, money wasn't a concern. But money wasn't a concern, because my needs, my family needs, and it's different, you know, I got married, I have two kids. So you can't just think about yourself, you've got to think about what's the impact on other people when you're taking risks and making decisions. So you can't be foolish about it. Because you have to realize you're putting other people's lives at risk, unless you have so much money, that you're fine. I didn't happen to be born into that kind of family. And I was hoping my wife was wealthy and she wasn't. So you know, you just have to sort of be sensible and calculate and assess your risks in terms of what you're doing. But for the first 15 years of my career after fashion, I didn't have a family and I was able to, you know, to do those things and establish that business. The question arises, Scott, if you're making really good money, but you hate what you're doing, and every day that you go to work, you find it a drag, are you successful? And to me that success and fulfillment are inextricably tied together.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:48
It's really almost a what should be a common milestone that we look at in people's lives. It's not a common milestone, that question that you posed earlier of, you know what is success to me, what does success look like to me? And what are some of my motivations around that? I feel like we've got all the normal things like, you don't get bored, you go to school, you know, maybe graduate from college, you get married or have kids or whatever, all of those conventional milestones, if you will. But then I feel like there's a whole other set of events that happen in someone's life, when they choose to grapple with that question of what success looks like. And it happens to your point all too often around, you know, the middle of life, sometimes even lighter.

Jeffrey Madoff 30:37
We're not at all.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:38
Yeah, we're not at all. Yeah, I've had many conversations with people that are in their 70s that are just now grappling with that type of question, and are trying to figure out for the first time, but where you... that milestone, I think is where you shift over from what are other people's ideas of what success looks like, into what are my ideas of what success looks like? So I'm really appreciate you articulating that, and I hadn't really thought about it in that exact way. Also, what is really fun to see, too, is I know a bit about the end of your story too, well, not the end of your story, but the current day.

Jeffrey Madoff 31:15
Oh, what's the end of the story?

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:19
Well, I guess we need to have lunch and ignore it...

Jeffrey Madoff 31:23
Died on the podcast. But you were there, folks.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:30
I might make for good radio? I don't know. But hold out on me, Jeff. You know, when we started this conversation, you were telling me a little bit about the play that you have coming up, you know, as of recently it's been rescheduled to it's going to launch in 2022, February of 2022, as well, right. And what I'm seeing now is some of those common threads that are running through your story, where you probably were not in a position to be able to put that play together in the way that you have now, if we went back to when you were running the design business, I'm just taking a shot in the dark here. And now it's totally possible in a new and different way. So I'm curious, your thoughts on that?

Jeffrey Madoff 32:13
Well, I think that I believe that one of the things this is true about the play, and frankly, it's true about you know, I became a parent older. And I think in both cases, I had more life experience, and I hope had more wisdom, in terms of coping with the realities of those situations.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:33
I'm curious, what do you mean, when you say, in coping with the realities of those situations? What does that mean, tell me more.

Jeffrey Madoff 32:40
Things never happen as quickly as you want them to happen. You get disappointed by people, you know, who seem in the moment to be very present, and don't follow up. And just all the things that are day to day life that when I was younger, I would tend to more personalize, but it really has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them and who they are. And that's just the way people function. You know, I have enough years under my belt to you know, to see that. I mean, it's amazing to me, and I've done some very unscientific market research in this. And I have friends that are CEOs of major companies, and a whole range of different occupations. And I would say to them, so what percentage of people would you say, either don't call back or answer an email, and one of these people, and I'll be discreet, he runs a major Entertainment Corporation. And he said, "I guess 85%" I said, "85%, don't get back to you. And he said, "Yeah, I understand. I'm in a position to give them money." And the numbers ran anywhere from 80 to 90%. In terms of people just not following through. And I said to my kids, if you just show up, ready to do the job, you're gonna beat out 85% of the competition, because most people just don't. And it's kind of incredible. And you know, I was brought up to be responsible, if you say you're going to do something, you do it, if you say you're going to show up at a time, you do it. If you say to somebody, I'll get back to you, you do it. But I didn't realize that was more the exception than the rule. And I know lots of people in business, take that to heart and feel like, I don't know why I, they didn't get back to me. And I've been waiting. I said, "Well don't wait, call them." And so this is I think good for your listeners, because one of the things you do is email them and say, "I just want to confirm that you received my previous email." "Oh, I'm so glad you contacted me." I didn't you know, and whether that was out of embarrassment or true it opened up the dialogue again, call the person, follow up. You don't know what's going on in their lives. They might have just died on a podcast. You know, you don't know what's going on. So don't assume it's about you and follow up. You've got nothing to lose. And a sure way to make sure nothing happens is do nothing. So take your own initiative and be proactive. And a lot of people are don't... I don't want to be a pest. So you just want to sit here and be anxious? You know, act on it, follow up, force in a nice way a response by asking for confirmation, just want to make sure you receive this, hope everything's okay. And that's all you have to do. And they're the percentage of response goes from this to that. And those are just some strategies, frankly, for waking people up. Because everybody's consumed with their own lives and what they have to do.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:36
Jeff, I so appreciate this conversation and to bring this full circle. All of these events have led to a recent book as well. And I just wanted to acknowledge that because one of the things I wanted to ask you in order to close this out, is, you know, if people want to get more, Jeff, where can they go? Where can they get more, Jeff? How can they get the book, which by the way, is Creative Careers: Making a Living with Your Ideas? Tell us more.

Jeffrey Madoff 36:04
Do I get to hold it up so I can show them and do a shameless plug?

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:08
Shameless plug of. Here we go.

Jeffrey Madoff 36:10
Thank you. Oh, a two first shameless plug. I love that. The book is available. We're all fine books are sold. You can go to Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or Audible, you know all of those places. And, by the way, if you liked the book, please post a review on Amazon because it helps in their rankings. And if you don't like the book, keep it to yourself. I have a website, two websites, madoffproductions.com, where you can see my film work. And then there's, acreativecareer.com. And you can see some of the clips in interviews with some of my guests. And I have an amazing range of really cool guests. And you'll get a lot of them in the book. And then there's an Instagram also @acreativecareers. And there's shorter clips there. And then I'm on LinkedIn, as the name you see on your screen B. Jeffrey Madoff. And there's a creative careers LinkedIn group I started.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:18
In the very next episode, and tell you about a story. Story where Alyssa and I were sitting out Woody's overlooking the beach in San Diego, we had banana pancakes, coffee and breakfast burritos. It wasn't just us, though. We were listening to Michael, tell us what his life was like now.

Michael 37:36
If work is fun, like what I'm doing now I find these moments when I'm like, you know, it's eight o'clock on a Tuesday night. And I'm like, should I watch a movie? I'm like, No, I actually really feel like working because, that's not work. It's fun. I'm having fun with it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:54
Michael had been an executive for Sony Entertainment for many years. And it was a great career for him until it wasn't. The crazy thing is that, you know, all these years working for Sony, even though we enjoy lots of pieces of it, he'd never realized that work could be something that was fun. And as we were sitting there listening to a story, it was evident how much life had changed for Michael in the last two years. And that was when I asked him if he would come on the podcast and share everything that went into his journey to find his ideal career. Next week, we'll dive into all that and more right here on the Happen To Your Career podcast. Until then, I am out. Adios.

Jeffrey Madoff 38:38
But I'll tell you something that you know that's one of the things that we can talk about. is you know, I went from my first adults career. Sounds like I did porn. It sounds was an adult person.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:54
I'll tell you what, we're just gonna jump right in, right now. So tell me a little bit about where that started. I'm super curious about that. What caused you to get into design in the first place? How did that come about?

Jeffrey Madoff 39:08
I had an acid flashback when I was in college.

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