How I Get By

How I Get By

How I Get By is a show about what happens when the pursuit of happiness meets the pursuit of a paycheck. It’s a show about how people stay afloat—whether it’s with a dream job or a B.S. one, a job from hell or… no job.

Episodes

November 23, 2020 15 min

Marti is a travel agent who lives in Thousand Oaks, California. After 10 years in the travel business, the coronavirus pandemic rapidly put the brakes on it- there were virtually no trips to plan. Fortunately, she was beginning a transition into wellness coaching, and with the pandemic she’s pushed her new career into overdrive. (find Marti's episode page here)

She talks about the stresses and challenges of working as a travel a...

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Nick Morof works for an architecture firm in Paris. Just a year out of architecture school at USC, he’s already established a solid career path, thanks to strategic internships in Detroit, Tokyo and the one in Paris that led to his current full-time salaried position. He talks about the strict Parisian quarantine protocol he lived through (fortunately his roommate has parents they escaped to outside the city), living in tiny apartm...

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Christy works at a grocery store - part of a national chain - in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A recent college graduate, she talks about what it's been like as shoppers went into panic mode, navigating customers who don't follow public health guidelines, and the empathy involved in her job, one which she compares with being a therapist. She also talks about her mature relationship to income and savings, and the possibility of t...

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Phillip P. is a Santa Barbara-based landlord and project manager who works with multi-millionaires and billionaires. He talks about maintaining a minimum standard of comfort when he travels – which he does often for work –including everything from where he sits on the plane to where he draws the line when it comes to the quality of his hotels. He also describes how and why he expanded his work life into commercial real estate, the ...

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Ethan Herschenfeld is a standup comedian and actor (his acting credits include: Girls, Boardwalk Empire, High Maintenance, and the Plot Against America) living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He's managed to reach a level of financial security that's very unusual for a creative type. He talks about how he's managed to do it (hint: real estate), his various early gigs including opera singer and college prep tutor, and, eventu...

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Allen (not his real name) works in corporate IT. He makes very good money, but only works about half of the year—the rest of the time he is “unemployed” (at least that’s how he essentially presents himself to people he’s dating). When he’s not traveling abroad, he’s traveling the country in an Airstream trailer, parking in RV parks, and periodically taking on corporate IT jobs along the way. He grew up mainly in the Seattle area, l...

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Rachel Sherman episode page

I speak with sociologist Rachel Sherman about her book, ‘Uneasy Street: the Anxieties of Affluence,’ which explores very wealthy (rich) New Yorkers’ wealth, and how they feel about it. I also spoke with my collaborator Maia Laperle about my experience talking with Rachel, and Maia’s own thoughts about rich people generally and the subjects of the book specifically. Why is there such a culture of silence a...

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Just a few years ago, L.A. comedian Zane Helberg was being swallowed by his job: he was working upwards of 80 hours a week as a restaurant manager for a small chain called Fat Sal's, where he was on call 24-7 for any issues that came up among the various restaurant locations. He gained weight, getting up to nearly 100 pounds over his usual size, and he was miserable. He somehow found a small opening of hope through a couple of ...

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Colin Beavan is a Brooklyn-based writer and life coach. In the mid-2000s, he launched his “No Impact Man” experiment in which he and his wife and daughter led a carbon-zero lifestyle, in New York City, for 6 months. The project went viral, but Colin wrote books before No Impact Man (which also became a book and documentary), and has published books since, including most recently, “How to be Alive,” which explores how both science a...

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Berlin-based American Spencer McDonald describes his path to becoming a professional filmmaker, from driving Lyft in San Francisco to interning for a filmmaker in Portland -- while doing odd jobs from wild-berry harvesting to carpentry - and barely getting by. Cut to his getting paid to shoot commercials for companies from Lyft to Disney, sometimes making as much as $30,000 for a single one-month job. He also talks about why he lef...

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Stephen Johnson is a twenty-something tech entrepreneur who splits his time between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It's a lifestyle that's actually far less pricey than you may imagine, because he's a member of the co-living space PodShare, which costs him only $1000 a month for adult-dorm style accommodations. He talks about launching his internet advertising business, FlipMass; the 11 items he owns (and why despite t...

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Elvina Beck, the founder of PodShare - a co-living space with five locations in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco - talks about moving from Russia as a child to Brooklyn with her family, then New Jersey, and subsequently Hollywood at 19. She discusses transitioning from working in production in the entertainment industry to starting her business, and how PodShare resulted out of her own need to live closer to Hollywood.
She talk...

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Anna Scott, housing and homelessness reporter in Los Angeles and prior guest, talks about her and her husband's financial dynamics by way of clarification.
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This episode introduces Elvina Beck, the owner and director of PodShare, a group of five (as of Aug. 2019) co-housing living spaces throughout Los Angeles along with one site in San Francisco. Elvina is also a resident - a ‘member’ - of PodShare, and she talks about how it all got started. We also talk one more time with housing reporter Anna Scott, in particular about Paul, an individual she’s reported on, who lives in an SRO-type...

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We continue to talk with housing reporter Anna Scott, this time about Renae, a woman she reported on who went from having a tenuous housing situation to having to live our of her car, a car she's leasing through Uber, and how she wound up in that place through a series of multiple circumstances. Anna explains how these scenarios are becoming much more common.
I also talk with producer Maia Laperle about my own housing story, i...

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Anna Scott is a full-time radio reporter for the Santa Monica-based NPR station KCRW, where she reports on housing issues in Los Angeles. She talks about her job, which involves talking to many people who are homeless or near homeless, and how she herself gets by, along with her husband and 15-month-old son.
We talk about the finer points of covering Los Angeles' complex housing market, from giga-mansions on one end to vast hom...

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Maneesh Seethi runs the company Pavlok, which produces wearable products to help keep you on task, including waking up in the morning, and they also offer coaching. It goes back to when they introduced the Shock Clock into the world. Maneesh spends about half the year in Medellin, Columbia, these days, and works with a remote company team that's based far afield, including in the UK, Asia and the U.S. He talks about the influen...

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Lynne Ferguson is a musician living just outside Seattle, on a section of Native land that she loves. For over 20 years, she's run Native Horsemanship Youth Program, a non-profit that teaches horse skills to tribal and special needs young people, and helps them heal their emotional wounds. She talks about her life as a musician; recovering from a traumatic event with the help of dear friends in Nashville, where she lived and pl...

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Brian Gurien, a comedian and improver living in Brooklyn, talks about the reality of having a day job, which is currently a full-time, but not long-term, gig helping to set up passover camps in a couple of locales. Brian's admission that being in entertainment is NOT a long-term career option is unusual, and he's sticking with both comedy and improv for now regardless. He also talks about his past gigs, how he got into cred...

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Oliver Sykes lives off a trust fund. It's doled out to him in $5300 monthly increments that are controlled by his mother and the investment account she set up for him. This source of income has been complicated for Oliver throughout his adult life, both enabling him to overly depend on it and in turn limiting his independence, and also causing rifts in his relationship with his mom. He's currently trying to get a tutoring c...

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