Homesick Runner by Captain Marvel

We’ve all worked hard jobs before, right? Whether they’re backbreaking physical labor jobs, morally debilitating jobs in the service industry or extremely high-profile jobs that demand long hours after the office has closed for the day, the truth is that all difficult jobs add stress to your life. At best they keep you up worrying at night, and at worst, they can be so anxiety-inducing that it’s hard to function. 

Our client today works an especially hard job. She’s a self-described defender of the universe, and has about 8,000,000,000,000,000 clients across a million different galaxies. That’s a lot of work for one person, isn’t it? 

That’s what Carol D. — whose job title is “Captain Marvel” — thinks. In fact, while she once loved her career more than anything, she’s become so overworked and overtired that she’s losing faith in the job itself. These days, she thinks more about visiting her home and family than anything else… it’s been decades since she’s seen them, and she’d love a chance to reconnect and relax with those closest to her. 

If you’ve ever had a job that was so taxing you ended up hating it, keep reading… because this episode of Character Coaching is specifically for you. Let’s read what Carol wrote to us in her first journal entry and see what she’s struggling with, shall we? 

Carol’s first journal entry: homesick runner

Entry One:

“I love space. Feeling power coursing through me as I jet along the galaxy. The solar wind blowing through my hair… just kidding, that isn’t how solar wind works. Also I’m wearing a helmet out there. Also, I’ve gotten sidetracked. Point is, I love space. I just don’t love how much I had to give up for it. I go around protecting parts of space that other people can’t, because other people just can’t do what I can do. With great power comes a great workload. That means I don’t get to visit home much, and when I do, it’s because the place is basically falling apart. How’s that for power? I can handle supernovas but I can’t will myself into some paid vacation. Being the top of your game means you don’t get time to just… leave.” — Carol D. 

First impressions: overworked, overtired and oversaturated

One of the first things that jumped out to me while reading this journal was a question — and if you’ve been keeping up with the podcast, you know that I try my absolute best to not ask questions right away. Instead of assuming things about my clients’ situations and posing questions immediately, I’d rather get to know them better and uncover their true challenges before suggesting solutions. 

With that all said, I still couldn’t help but ask: “Don’t you think that breaks are important sometimes?” And obviously I believe that, and many people agree with me, but if I started out by asking that question right away, I might never truly understand what Carol’s struggling with. 

So, instead of asking that out of the gate, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to step back, remove my biases and assumptions about Carol, and try to gather some more information about her situation. In other words, I’m going to encourage a little info-dumping, if you will… 

The first thing I’m curious about is what a break for Carol would actually look like. What would she do with her time off? What things are valuable to her that she would engage in while not saving the universe? 

My next question has to do with her capabilities as a worker. She might very well be the absolute best at what she does, but does that mean nobody else is really amazing at that job, either? Is she truly the only person qualified to do what she does? And what’s stopping her from training a protégé who might be able to remove some of her workload down the road? 

I’m going to pose these questions to Carol now, and see what she comes up with. 


  1. What would you want to do with your time off?
  2. What’s preventing you from training someone to cover for you?
captain marvel
Image Credits

Next: even the most important people take breaks 


“Sorry for the delay in reply, I think I have to get our planet to use better satellites. Although I’m used to getting my messages through a pager so who am I to talk…My best friend and her kid are waiting for me back home and I make sure to pop in whenever I’m around. They catch me up on life in their little corner of the universe and… well, honestly, it reminds me what I’m doing this all for….I’m going to be pretty irreplaceable until I can figure out how to make some space Avengers. I heard Gamora talk to you guys and her team is also pretty helpful in a pinch, but we’re at different levels of management, so to speak. Bad things happen when I’m not at my post and I cannot just drop everything on a whim.”

I appreciate Carol’s earnest  answer here. In her journal response, she’s basically saying that she’s irreplaceable until someone as capable as her comes along. And do you want to know something? 

Maybe she’s right. Maybe she really is the only person who can do things the way she does them. But there are other people who are like that, too. Doctors, rocket scientists, surgeons, firefighters and structural engineers are all critical parts of society, aren’t they? Without them, the very foundation of our social fabric comes apart. 

But, just like Carol, those people become less effective if they never take breaks. It’s part of the human condition to need rest, and failing to do so can lead to sloppy work and worse outcomes for clients. 

This just goes to show that the whole mentality of “I’m the only one who can do this” is a bit of a thought trap. Because the universe isn’t going to end if Carol steps away for a few days, will it? In fact, if Carol doesn’t step away for a while, the universe might be a little worse off for it. 

It’s kind of like how air traffic controllers and flight pilots can only work brief shifts at a time, and they need to be well-rested to do their jobs — what they do is so crucial that they can’t possibly complete their job functions without proper breaks and sleep. 

More than that, if Carol’s simply auto-piloting through life just to assess and solve one crisis after another, is she really living her own life? Or is she simply a bystander watching her own actions from afar? 

Lastly, I think it’s important that if Carol does decide to take a break, she should make sure it’s not out of “guilt” for being able to perform her job effectively. Is she enjoying herself when she’s on vacation? Or is it just another box to check?

Clearly I have a lot of questions, so I think it’s time to check back in with Carol and see where she’s at. 

Follow-up Questions: 

  1. Do you believe that being reminded of why you’re doing your job holds less/as/more important than actually doing the job itself?
  2. What’s the long term game plan… are you just going to be the only person who can do your job until you retire?

The check-in: finding work-life balance 

Closing Journal:

“Hey, I’m back in town and had a second, so I thought I’d post a reply. I’m working on training some new recruits to help with some of the smaller fires I put out. I’m a bit too used to being a lone soldier out there I think. Being at home is so nice. Cell-phones don’t suck anymore, so that’s fun. Everyone is growing and changing and here I am staying the same, stuck in some old habits. I’m going to try to find a better balance between out there and what’s here. After I catch up on about two decades of shows. I’m just starting this new one with thrones and dragons… hope that turns out well.”

Well… I guess I can’t really comment on how Carol’s new show is going to turn out, but if I could, I’d have some choice things to say… 

That all said, I’m glad Carol decided to take a break for the first time in a while. It seems like she’s realizing something a lot of us discover when we take breaks: that breaks are good. A lot of us get pretty comfortable in our work routines, and as a result we don’t take the chance to slow down, step away and see the world a little. When we do, however, we realize just how much we were missing by chaining ourselves to our jobs. 

And while Carol’s work is definitely difficult, I think there’s ways she could take more frequent breaks without worrying that a supernova is going to go kaboom every ten seconds. Instead of taking month-to-year-long hiatuses, Carol could reasonably take a week off here and there to recharge while putting some else at the wheel — maybe that Gamora friend of hers she mentioned?

Whatever the case, I think it’s wonderful that Carol has found a way to create some more infrastructure in her workplace that allows her to step back and collect herself. That’s a key piece of any self-care puzzle, so I’m happy she’s found a way to snap that into her own routine. 

If you’re like Carol, and you work a job that’s just a little “too much” sometimes, I’d love to hear from you. Your problems might not be quite like hers, but I guarantee you we’ll tackle them together. 

Unless, of course, your job involves closing black holes and preventing untold trillions from dying… that might be a little above my pay grade. 

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Jon Rom: Character coaching is an exploration of coaching principles applied to fictional characters by the host. Any likeness to real people or situations is coincidental. And none of the advice given is intended to take the place of real coaching. Learn more about getting accessible coaching at

[00:00:21] Jonathan Friedman: I'm Jonathan

[00:00:22] Jon Rom: and I'm Jon. And, and this is character coaching, coaching, character, coaching, character, coaching, coaching ching

all right, Johnny. So you're telling me about, uh, your toilet problems.

[00:00:45] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah, so, um, my, my girlfriend moved in this month after we've been dating for almost four years and thought it was finally time, but one thing that's been happening is we've been having this toilet problem in our second bathroom. Uh, I tried to fix it because, uh, you know, full-time podcaster part-time plumber is just a thing that goes on in the world.

[00:01:06] Jon Rom: I've read your resume. Yeah.

[00:01:07] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. Impressive, right?

Um, and

so not impressive?

[00:01:14] Jon Rom: I was, I was just giving you the room to brag.

[00:01:17] Jonathan Friedman: I'm impressive… crickets.

[00:01:19] Jon Rom: Yeah, no. So impressive clap, clap.

[00:01:22] Jonathan Friedman: Um, but nothing ever got solved with this toilet. Uh, my, my girlfriend's father came to try and fix it, uh, twice. And, uh, apparently our toilet is just too stubborn for that.

Uh, so. Yesterday, my girlfriend. And I decided that you know, it's been a stressful couple of weeks with this. So we went, wanted to go see, uh, the, the movie starring, uh, Dr. Strange, you know, we've been trying to reach out to him for a while as a client and, you know, he's top tier, top-rated actor mm-hmm

Um, but it was so beautiful outside that we decided to hit up a patio instead, and we went to this amazing restaurant called Han Ba Tang and they have, you know, um, Korean food. So they have, uh, Tteokbokki which is kind of like Korean rice cakes, which I can't eat, but my girlfriend eats, um, for any new listeners I'm allergic to everything, but we won't go into that today.

Check out a past episode where we go in-depth about my allergies. Um, But, uh, we got to see an old friend of hers who she worked with at another restaurant who, uh, stopped by. And it was nice to catch up. It's, uh, nice to like go out and be a human again. Food and drink good drinks and talk about, the important stuff.

[00:02:47] Jon Rom: So instead of engaging in media, which is the only prep work that we, uh, have for this podcast, you went and engaged in social behaviors with other human beings. Uh, how does it feel to be the laziest person on this podcast?

[00:03:06] Jonathan Friedman: Me the laziest? Um, that, that's ice-cold gram gram.

[00:03:13] Jon Rom: Um, I, I, I, here I am slaving over a hot television watching, uh, I believe I've watched, uh, five entire seasons of anime and, uh, you're just having fun cavorting out there.

[00:03:34] Jonathan Friedman: What does the wording mean?

[00:03:35] Jon Rom: I don't know that I, I don't have the time to look it up. Cause I'm so busy watching anime.

[00:03:39] Jonathan Friedman: My resume's not impressive enough for me to understand that.

[00:03:42] Jon Rom: Yeah. See, this is what happens. The guy learns a trade, learns how to be a plumber and a podcaster. And doesn't think that he has to do the work anymore. Just show up.

[00:03:56] Jonathan Friedman: Um, I'm sorry you feel that way? Like sh should we, do you wanna take this offline and talk about it for a few minutes?

[00:04:01] Jon Rom: No, no, no,

no, no, no, it's fine. It's fine. Uh, I, I, I, I understand how it is. I'm just gonna do all the prep work and prepare the podcast soup. For everyone to enjoy and you are going to reap the benefits of my labor.

And I'm just gonna have to make peace with that, I think.

[00:04:18] Jonathan Friedman: Well, I don't want you to have to feel like you have to hold a grudge against me. If, uh, you wanna talk about it. Uh, you know, you can gimme a call anytime, Jon.

See, you

[00:04:27] Jon Rom: see what he does. See what it does, people he's too nice. So you can't be mad at him for an extended period.

Truly despicable.

[00:04:36] Jonathan Friedman: Do you feel like I'm like gaslighting you, is that what's going on here?

[00:04:40] Jon Rom: I, I don't, I don't even know what gaslighting means because I have not spent any time on the internet. I've just been watching television nonstop.

[00:04:51] Jonathan Friedman: So what, what shows have you been watching?

[00:04:54] Jon Rom: Uh, all of them have long Japanese names that I can't remember. Yeah. I wasn't paying attention while I was watching. Was I supposed to do that?

[00:05:02] Jonathan Friedman: I don't know. Are you the laziest person on the show?

[00:05:06] Jon Rom: I think I, oh, I think I've ever regained a title. Um, alright. Well, in, in my laziness, I'm gonna lazily segue into the, uh, post that we have from, uh, one of my, uh, coaching clients, if you're interested unless you wanted to, you know, go and have a social gathering outside at another restaurant and catch up with dear friends and loved ones.

[00:05:33] Jonathan Friedman: Well, one thing I value on the show is, uh, feedback. And if anybody listening, uh, wants to share some feedback, they can, uh, do so on any podcast platform. And, uh, because you gave me feedback, John, on me being lazy. Um, I'm gonna take it in stride and, uh, you know, I, I I'm here. I have my active listening ears on, I have a coffee in hand, and, uh, let's, lazily segue into this journal.

Uh, so I can be here for you being there for your client.

[00:06:01] Jon Rom: All right. I'm leaning back cause we're doing, ah, we're doing a lazy transition.

[00:06:06] Jonathan Friedman: Oh nice.

[00:06:07] Jon Rom: So this journal is called Homesick Runner and it's written by Carol D and Carol D writes:

"I love space, feeling power crossing through me as I jet along with the galaxy, the solar wind blowing through my hair.

Just kidding that isn't how solar wind works. Also. I'm wearing a helmet out there. Okay. I've gotten sidetracked point is I love space. I just don't love how much I had to give up on it. I go around protecting parts of space that other people can't because other people just can't do what I do with great power comes to a great workload.

That means I don't get to visit home much. And when I do it's because the place is falling apart. How's that for power? I can handle supernovas, but I can't will myself into some paid vacation being the top of your game means you don't get time to just leave."

[00:07:06] Jonathan Friedman: That's a good one.

[00:07:08] Jon Rom: Yeah, that's a good one.

We should start. We should, we should start rating these as, as we finish, like, uh, 10 outta 10. Good job. Good, good journal.

[00:07:19] Jonathan Friedman: Rate other people's feelings.

[00:07:21] Jon Rom: Yeah, exactly.

[00:07:23] Jonathan Friedman: Hey, welcome to this coaching podcast where, you know, we work really hard to make everyone feel safe. Also we rate your feelings. Yo, that journal is 1 outta 10.

[00:07:32] Jon Rom: I think, I think the dissent, the dissent, us being villains will start with us rating other people's feelings and with us deciding how they should feel.

[00:07:41] Jonathan Friedman: Uh, we'll have to get our podcasts, uh, artwork redone with us with, uh, evil go tease.

[00:07:47] Jon Rom: Oh, can we get that done for Halloween? Okay. No. Now we're getting sidetracked.

What, uh, what do you think about the, what do you think about the dilemma here? It sounds, it sounds like a pretty kind of tried and true problem. I. I, I think anyone listening to this has had a moment where they said, oh, I should take some vacation, but I also have 80 projects and they would die without me.

[00:08:13] Jonathan Friedman: For sure.

One of the things that happened to me is the second you finished reading this journal. I almost just blurted out the question I wanted to ask. And it's like getting, I, I was trying to move too fast. I think. Um, because yeah, it's like, come on, like, don't you see the other side to this, but, um, like obviously, like break's an important thing.

Doesn't matter. Like, if you're at the top of your game or not at the top of your game, like great leaders take great breaks, you know, and if you're seeing the whole world think about all the different places you could go, you could go to like Toronto and check out the sea and tower. That's like the ultimate vacation.

[00:08:55] Jon Rom: This, this episode brought to you by the Canadian National Tower.

[00:09:00] Jonathan Friedman: Is that what CN stands for?

[00:09:02] Jon Rom: I think so. I'm almost certain. It's pretty,

[00:09:06] Jonathan Friedman: I never thought to ask about what it would be, what that would stand for. I just always assumed, you know, it's the CN Tower. It's, that's the label. I never thought that CN would stand for anything.

[00:09:19] Jon Rom: Just looking it up really,

[00:09:21] Jonathan Friedman: then I am lazy.

[00:09:21] Jon Rom: Uh, yes, it is correct. I, I was right the Canadian National Tower. I am the, we're not gonna get emails, podcast.

I mean, I'm competing with you to be the laziest, to be clear. I'm not giving up that title, Willy Milly that you're y may be an edge. Um, I, we have to get a bit more of the story here.

Obviously. I, I don't think that, uh, what we have is enough information because. I don't even know where Carol wants to go to. I don't know what her vacation looks like. Like what is she even looking for here, but also, um, the job that she has sounds important? And, and I, and we, we don't want to detract from that.

It's, you know, some folks, uh, are the rocket brain surgeons in their, uh, in their respective jobs. And, and that happens. It's not to minimize that importance, uh, the importance of that role, but understanding a little bit about what the limitations are. That's preventing Carol from being, uh, covered for like a weekend is, is probably important because it's, um, it's great to be the best at what you do.

Uh, do you need to have the best around all the time, every day? Uh, or are there days where it could just be the second-best.

[00:10:48] Jonathan Friedman: And also, are there other people who are at the top of their game who, you know, might have some skills that are similar, right? It's not just because you're at the top of your game, doesn't mean other people aren't at the top of their game, right?

We all talk about one side of this idea where, you know, we shouldn't compare ourselves. We're all on our journey, but at the same time, we shouldn't compare ourselves. We're all on our journey. Some people might be at the top of their game and might be able to fill in and might even be able to, you know, like try out some, uh, new things.

That's what I wanted to blurt out when you read the journal, but I'm like, That's not why I'm here. I'm not here to blurt things out. I'm here to be lazy.

[00:11:34] Jon Rom: Why are you here?

[00:11:34] Jonathan Friedman: I'm here to be lazy. I'm here to listen.

[00:11:36] Jon Rom: Exactly.

[00:11:37] Jonathan Friedman: I'm here to like mozy in lazily segue, segue, segue make up new segues every episode.

That's what I'm here for. I'm, I'm here to sidetrack you.

[00:11:49] Jon Rom: Well, I appreciate that because go gosh, knows that I'm not going to be able to get sidetracked otherwise.

[00:11:54] Jonathan Friedman: Yes.

[00:11:54] Jon Rom: I have a question for you. Jonathan, who is your, uh, replacement for this podcast? Um, which will continue in per perpetuity until the, uh, end of linear time where, uh, who's, who's going to replace you if anything, uh, were to ever call you away.

[00:12:17] Jonathan Friedman: Hmm. That's a good question. Um, I think. It could be that it could be a solo cast because you're gonna, you're stuck to your chair until the end of time. Uh, because you're, you are the laziest one on the team here, like come on. Um, but I think when it's time, I, I think there are two pieces here. There's the end till the end of linear time where it's like, okay, well we need to find, um, and train a replacement.

Somebody who can fill in for a longer and a longer amount of time. Or a team of people who can do that. Um, but in the immediacy, you know, we, we don't stop podcasting. It's kind of a permanent gig. Um, so, you know, sometimes I need a vacation too. So if, if they're a possibility that we could take turns and do a solo cast, um, that way either one of us could take a vacation and, you know, could get the technician to come in and remove us from our chairs.

Um, That would be an idea we could have, um, special guest episodes, which I think would be pretty cool to listeners too. Right. Um, to sort of switch up the dynamic. So, it could be that having that switch up could be a good thing.

[00:13:33] Jon Rom: Well, so, okay. This is awkward because John's seen as my replacement.

Oh, that for this, uh,

[00:13:39] Jonathan Friedman: oh, you already did the work. You're not the laziest one. I, maybe am the laziest one.

[00:13:44] Jon Rom: Oh, no, I did that before we even started, um, the show. I just have an agreement with, uh, with John to, uh, to cover me if anything ever happened.

[00:13:55] Jonathan Friedman: Me only for three seconds. Right?

[00:13:58] Jon Rom: Uh, no, no, we have 'em for at least, um, three episodes

[00:14:02] Jonathan Friedman: we can afford that.

[00:14:03] Jon Rom: Uh, one episode does have to be, uh, uh, recorded, uh, for the, for the American troops, uh, stationed abroad, but, uh, that's, that's in his contract, but other than that, that's a good thing. Uh, yeah. You know, you know, giving back, but, um, yeah, we don't, uh, We, we have, you have to have, you have to have at least one Jonathan in the wings.

[00:14:28] Jonathan Friedman: Of course.

And we can ask for them from the council, that's part of the deal. And I feel like John Cena is a perfect podcaster because you couldn't even see him anyways.

Back to the crickets

[00:14:43] Jon Rom: I had to, I had to mute myself to laugh. Cause it was really funny.

[00:14:49] Jonathan Friedman: can't even see him anyways. He's John Cena

[00:14:55] Jon Rom: John Cena.

[00:14:56] Jonathan Friedman: He's been doing yeah, like he, he has taken some time away for the council, but we didn't know how long it would be when he asked cuz he's, he's been doing that other gig.

For a very, very long time.

[00:15:11] Jon Rom: Uh, what, what the other gig?

[00:15:15] Jonathan Friedman: Well, he, he, I, I, I, I, I think he's, uh, working, taken down, uh, other wrestlers.

[00:15:24] Jon Rom: John Cena is a wrestler? Anyway. Uh, okay, so, so what question do you wanna ask?

[00:15:30] Jonathan Friedman: Talk about that on the show, but like not allowed to talk about I'm sorry. You're you're right. He he's a superhero guy beating up bad guys named Dwayne, the rock Johnson named the Big Show.

These are all real things.

[00:15:47] Jon Rom: Um, I mean, that's his job and he's irreplaceable, except for when he stops doing it and starts doing our podcast full time per, uh, blood pact that we made in 2007.

[00:16:02] Jonathan Friedman: That's cool, man.

[00:16:04] Jon Rom: Yeah. So, Johnny, what do you wanna ask? You're we're coaching here. Is that what we do? Uh, oh yeah. Well, ideally on a good day.

[00:16:13] Jonathan Friedman: Um, I wanna know if there are other people. We're talking a lot about Carol and how Carol feels unable to take a vacation. I wanna ask if there are other people on the team and are there other people who, you know, um, she looks up to who take over different roles in the team and maybe, you know, there could be a swap, like she can take a vacation, um, one week or, or even train that other person part of the time to do some of her.

They can cross-train on different stations or different parts of the universe or for different problems. Um, that way we can, you know, sort of get to, um, a bit of a more maintainable place, because it doesn't sound like doing this forever until the end of linear time. Um, Is is, is, is an achievable thing, but maybe, that's a,

[00:17:12] Jon Rom: are you asking, are you asking her what her end game is?

[00:17:15] Jonathan Friedman: No, no. Uh, yeah, in, in a way, I, I, I just think that it would be good to know if there are other players on the team before we, uh, jump to solutions. I want to know the full story because, um, in this journal, we're talking a lot about, um, sort of Carol's experience of her. And, you know, the galaxy and the universe at large.

I just wanna know if there are other people on the team as well. What do you wanna ask?

[00:17:44] Jon Rom: Uh, well, it is very similar, very similar. I, I wanna know what, what is preventing her from having someone be trained to cover her, uh, but also just like what she wants to do with her time off. What is, what is the thing she's longing for?

What does vacation look like? What does vacation look like? You know, are you, are you in the Poconos? Are you, uh, uh, in Kokomos? Are you, um, I thought of a rhyme, but it's offensive. So what rhymes with Kokomos? Are you, uh, chilling in Japan with Yoko Ono? No. How was that? Is that rhyme? I mean, just a lame rhyme, at least.

[00:18:29] Jonathan Friedman: It's not your best work, but not your worst work. It, it, it, you tried.

[00:18:35] Jon Rom: And that's, uh, that's all that matters. The question, mark.

[00:18:40] Jonathan Friedman: Uh, I think it matters. I think that's a, I think that's an important thing.

[00:18:44] Jon Rom: Wow. The laziness, the laziness energy in this episode is going to rock the charts. I feel like, I feel like we're gonna have to create a whole podcast category called low energy, low hanging fruit. Low tide.

[00:18:59] Jonathan Friedman: You know, all those videos that people take of themselves and it's like, they, they stream their IRL, they're in real life, we could be lazy IRL people, you know, instead of, you know, oh, you know, today Jonathan's going to the mall and he's buying new toothpaste because he ran at a toothpaste. So how is John?

What, toothpaste is John thinking to pick? It'll be just me sitting in a chair, you know, hey guys, I'm Jonathan, and here are some thoughts of the day.

[00:19:26] Jon Rom: The internal, the internal drama of a child's life except we're adults. And it's external.

[00:19:31] Jonathan Friedman: We almost 30 years.

[00:19:32] Jon Rom: It's terrible.

[00:19:33] Jonathan Friedman: I'm almost 30 years old.

[00:19:35] Jon Rom: Yeah. All right. I'll send this, I'll send this off to Carol, and I'll let you know when she gets back to me. How does that sound? You can go get your toothpaste in the meantime.

[00:19:43] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. It's, it's a problem. Toothpaste is important.

[00:19:50] Jon Rom: Toothpaste is, Hey, coaching kid. Toothpaste is important. Keep your, keep your, keep your dances clean, you know.

[00:19:58] Jonathan Friedman: Gotta keep the chicklets looking nice.

[00:20:00] Jon Rom: All right.

So, you know, It took a bit, uh, didn't get a reply right away and that's okay. You know, we coach on our coachee's time, not on our time, but that means that, uh, uh, it's been a little while, but about a month, and here's, here's what I got.

"Sorry for the delay in reply. I think I have to get our planet to use better satellites.

Although I'm used to getting my messages through a page or so, who am I to talk to? My best friend and her kid are waiting for me back home and I make sure to pop in whenever I'm around, they catch me up on life and they're a little corner of the universe. And well, honestly it reminds me of what I'm doing this all for.

I'm going to be pretty irreplaceable until I can figure out how to make some space avengers. I heard Gamora talk to you guys. And her team is also pretty helpful in a pinch, but we're at different levels of management. So to speak bad things happen when I'm not at my post. And I can't just drop everything on a whim."

Did you like, did you like the little bit of, uh, editorialization there? Uh, uh, I thought I thought a breath would be appropriate in that sentence.

[00:21:33] Jonathan Friedman: Uh, it was nice. Um, speaks to your laziness. So we're doing something right?

[00:21:39] Jon Rom: Oh yeah. This is the laziest reading of any, uh, any journal post. Uh, I think we've ever done.

[00:21:44] Jonathan Friedman: My question comes like comes to me right away why do all the important people communicate through pagers?

You go to a hospital, you have doctors using pagers. Like we have phones it's twenty, twenty-two. What, why, why the pagers?

[00:22:01] Jon Rom: So fun story. Um, I, I had to use a pager, uh, uh, during some, uh, uh, training, uh, back in the day. And, uh, I was, uh, doing a psychiatry service and I get a page from an attending physician about 40 years older than me.

And he writes patient is sad. and that was the entire page. so. I think, uh, I think the pager might leave a little bit, um, to the imagination maybe a little bit more than we would like, but it, it was useful and it still is, you know, uh, if you can't take your phone out casually, then having a little, little highlights reels telling you, uh, what you need to know is, it isn't bad at all.

[00:22:49] Jonathan Friedman: Is there a character around ages?

[00:22:52] Jon Rom: Yes, I'm, I'm pretty sure also they yell at you if you don't. Uh, if you don't look at your page, it's, uh, pretty, pretty effective. Uh, what did you think, what did you think about, uh, Carol's delayed, but very earnest answer?

[00:23:08] Jonathan Friedman: I think it's good. I think it's honest. I like when people, you know, say what's on their mind and what they need to say also cool that talking that, uh, we, we got a referral from Gamora. That's, that's good to hear. Uh, nice to know that we're, uh, we're, we're making our way through the galaxy, so to speak. So, that's great. Um, I'm curious about what bad things happen. Like maybe, you know, it is that kind of chief of surgery, rocket scientist person that when they're not at their post, like actual catastrophe can happen.

Or it could be, you know, a lot of us and, and the truth is even rocket scientists and chiefs of surgery take a vacation. Like that's something that happens, um, and well earned and well deserved. Um, I'm wondering, I, I, I feel even myself and I'm not protecting the galaxy, but even myself, when I want to take a break, I feel like, oh no, I'm, I'm gonna have so much to catch up on.

Um, if I'm gone, who are people who are coaches gonna talk to you if they need support so on and so forth. And I'm like, well, man, that, that entire responsibility falls on me. But at the same time, if I don't take a break, how can I be helpful and be able to serve people who need it? Right. So it's a, it's, it's a, it's a catch 20.

It it's a, it's a, it's a thought trap that we have to kind of. Think our way through, I'm curious you, what your thoughts on this journal were?

[00:24:43] Jon Rom: Well, well, I agree with you wholeheartedly and, and I'm sure every job when you're in the thick of it, um, at least in my experience feels like it is of galactic universal proportions, and then you take a step away and you're away from it for maybe a couple days and the whole universe didn't end.

And you feel a little bit better, but what's, what's striking to me here is that it's not just about, uh, uh, time off for Carol it's, uh, about her finding her reason Detra. Then, the whole reason she's doing this in the first place. And I think, uh, not having reminders, not getting to. Uh, get recharged recharge, not allowing that battery to be recharged is very detrimental because if you start autopiloting through the entirety of an important job, just for the sake of getting to the next day, then you're, you know, are, are, are you living your life?

Are you participating in the life you're living? Or are you just trying to get to the end of the day?

[00:25:54] Jonathan Friedman: That's interesting. So sometimes, and this is the thought trap I got caught. Is the previous journal about taking a break. This journal. It seems like the, critical item is taking a break, but there's this one line.

Uh, they catch me up on life in their little corner of the universe. And while honestly, it reminds me what I'm doing, all of this for. And perhaps that's, as you're saying, the more important thing, like if you're going around, you know, floating around space, doing your space thing, Taking care of the universe, supernovas and stuff.

How long can you do that? If there's no reason for doing it, maybe taking those breaks makes it a better job and role like a job requirement. Yeah. Like it, it'd be cool if on, uh, People apply for jobs. You know, sometimes it'll say, you know, the perks, the benefits, oh, you know, you need two weeks. You get two weeks of vacation.

No, it should say you mm-hmm we require you to take two weeks of vacation.

[00:27:07] Jon Rom: Mm-hmm and, and there's a, there's a, um, There's a talker that I watch that compares American workplaces to European workplaces. And, and, uh, obviously I, I, I, I can't speak to the veracity of it because I, I have never worked in the European, uh, market, but, uh, he's, he's always basically saying like, uh, one, one is one workplace, one environment, one culture is worried about, are you taking too much vacation?

And the. Excuse me and the other one is worried. Is, uh, are you not, are you taking your vacation, um, uh, uh, uh, fully. And are you enjoying it and are you coming back recharged and are you doing what's required to not lose productivity in the workplace? And both, both are, are, you know, symptomatic of. Of capitalism and trying to get the most outta your employees, but they look at it very differently. And I think that what we've started to notice the shift in, in, in our culture, uh, even in Canada, is that people are expected to not just work themselves to the bone and then get used up. They're expected to find ways to, uh, have energy and, and excitement and, uh, Uh, motivation through their outside life.

Uh, and we're just sort of now finding ways to embody that in work culture, uh, uh, through kind of systems, instead of just having your boss say, Hey, are you doing okay? Do you need an extra day or two? Like instead of, instead of doing it bespoke, having it be kind of, an automatic thing.

[00:28:55] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. Like having, I, I, I think there's this old culture that we're starting to move away from a bit, at least here in Canada, where, um, it's, we're very crisis focused. It's like, if something terrible happens, it's like, okay. Yeah. You know, take all the time you need. But this is stuff that needs to happen to happen, happening, happening all the time.

You know, things like a four-day work week where we have three days a week to take care of ourselves. You know, do the things we need to do, spend time with our loved ones or family, or even, you know, just having that extra time to go to the gym, to take care of ourselves, to do what we need to do to the journal you must journal, um, you know, all the important stuff.

[00:29:43] Jon Rom: Yeah. So, I, I, I, I'm curious Johnny, like what, what questions, uh, do you wanna ask now that we sort of understanding the. Is the character of the issue a little bit better?

[00:29:54] Jonathan Friedman: Well, I'm sure this is something that you're also gonna ask, but I want to know, like, if they feel that spending more time remembering why they do what they do would be helpful for their role.

Like, that sounds like it's the the the crux.

[00:30:13] Jon Rom: Yeah. Yeah. I agree with you. You know, I, I, I had, uh, I had, I had thought like to maybe, maybe put it in perspective, like, do you, do you believe that being reminded of why you're doing the job is less or more, or just as important as the job itself, you know, putting, putting it as a, as a comparison.

Cause we know in what esteem she holds the actual job. So how does she hold, you know, finding? This, uh, this inspiration to do the job. How does she hold it?

[00:30:48] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah, that, that's a great question. I think it's, it is just something interesting to think about that. You know, there could be a system and I'm just making this up now, but there could be a system where, you know, Carol has some break in her week, and during that time she's bringing in people who are starting to, you know, learn the ropes of Carol's work that way.

Carol can take more breaks, go and like, hang out with, um, her, her, her best friend and their kid, and then, you know, feel more proud and empowered to do their work. And then at the same time, they're training somebody to do that work as well. And you know, it can be improved. So I think it seems like we're working on a good system.

Do you know?

[00:31:36] Jon Rom: And I, and I'd also say, you know, we, I joked about it a little bit earlier, but what is the end game? What is the long-term plan? You, what are you gonna, you be the, are you gonna be the only person who can do this forever until you retire? Whichever comes first.

[00:31:52] Jonathan Friedman: The end game. Yeah. I, I think when you have some, if, if, if you ever find yourself in a place where you're describing your work as irreplaceable, It's important to understand that it's the work that's irreplaceable.

It's the actions that we're doing. And maybe, you know, you're the one who figured it out. You're doing all the important stuff, but teaching and training that next round of peeps is, uh, a critical component. If that role is irreplaceable.

[00:32:28] Jon Rom: Mm-hmm.

[00:32:29] Jonathan Friedman: They might, they might have their flare. They might do it differently, but.

It's important to start at least thinking about it.

[00:32:36] Jon Rom: Yeah, exactly.

We're, uh, it Harkins back to the Zordon uh, conversation that we had because everyone, everyone needs to also think about who, how they're going to exit their role.

[00:32:49] Jonathan Friedman: Harkins back to Zordon sounds like a death metal band from Sweden.

[00:32:54] Jon Rom: Absolutely.

And I would listen to them, uh, every day as soon as I woke up.

[00:32:59] Jonathan Friedman: The band logo would have like the letters that look like tree branches that are impossible to read, but you know, they're heavy.

Harkins back to Zordon.

[00:33:10] Jon Rom: Well, if, if, if the last, uh, the pace of the last reply is to be, uh, uh, expected and respected, then we're probably gonna hear back from Carol in all of, uh, a few months.

So, uh, but I'm okay because this is the lazy energy episode, which means that she can get back to us, uh, at her own pace.

[00:33:33] Jonathan Friedman: And it also gives us some time to promote the work that we do because as you know, Jon we're not. When we're not getting paid for this stuff. All of the support we get comes from you, not you, John, but the listeners, you, the listeners out there, in your universes, taking the subway, listening to podcasts.

If you stumble upon us, in the character coaching world. The universe that we live in and you like some of the coachings that we're offering, our incredible, incredible clients. You can, uh, feel free to, uh, leave us a review. Um, throw us a, like, throw us a comment. Say, say, what's on your mind. Uh, we'd love to hear it.

We'd love to see what you're thinking or what listening to our episodes has made you, uh, think. Um, you can find us on Instagram at the journal that talks back, we are, um, supported by the journal that talks back in we're. So how do I say what I want to say, Jon, take it from here?

[00:34:36] Jon Rom: Jonathan, are you not getting paid?

[00:34:39] Jonathan Friedman: No. Um, I get some scraps of food every once in a while. Um, from the employer and, uh, yeah, again, we're glued to our seat recording podcast. That's what's going on here.

[00:34:54] Jon Rom: You know, I think that explains why I had the luxury to be the laziest person on this podcast is because, uh, I get, I get, uh, uh, listener support, uh, through every listen, every download.

Every, uh, comment, every rating, and review that we get every email that we get, all the questions we get sent in. Uh, I turn those into cash and I go to the bank. Yeah. I go to the bank and I tell them, look how popular I am on the internet. And they give me, um, a million Canadian dollars, which is roughly about seven bucks the US.

[00:35:35] Jonathan Friedman: So that's how you do it. That, that, that,

[00:35:38] Jon Rom: yeah.


[00:35:41] Jonathan Friedman: And, and if you're that popular, that means I'm that popular too, right? That's how it works.

[00:35:46] Jon Rom: Sure.

[00:35:47] Jonathan Friedman: No, there's gotta be equivalency among Jonathan's.

[00:35:50] Jon Rom: Yeah, of course. And Hey, if you wanna let Jonathan know how popular he is or isn't, uh, give us a review and, uh, message us at, uh, is Jonathan's with a

[00:36:04] Jonathan Friedman: That's what it is.

[00:36:07] Jon Rom: Jonathan.

So some, uh, some months have. And, uh, we did hear back from Carol and I would like to, I would like to read her, uh, reply, uh, if you, uh, if you have the time

[00:36:25] Jonathan Friedman: by all means, Jonathan all means, oh yeah.

[00:36:28] Jon Rom: In any means

[00:36:29] Jonathan Friedman: by any means necessary.

[00:36:32] Jon Rom: Okay. Well, this, this might get a little bit, uh, gritty, but

"Hey, I'm back in town and had a second.

So I thought I'd post to reply. I'm working on training some recruits to help with some of the smaller fires that I put out. I'm a bit too used to being a lone soldier out there, I think. Being at home is so nice. Cell phones don't suck anymore. So that's fun. Everyone is growing and changing. And here I am staying the same stuck in some old habits.

I'm going to try to find a better balance between out there and what's here. After I catch up on about two decades of shows after I catch up on about two decades of television, I'm just starting this new one with Thrones and dragons. I hope that one turns out well.

[00:37:25] Jonathan Friedman: Probably does, right?

[00:37:26] Jon Rom: Yeah. I, I don't have the, I don't have the heart to, to tell her so you know what?

She can figure it out. Hopefully, that's what she wants to spend her vacation doing. That's, uh, that's her, that's her right. Do you know? Whatever, whatever recharges the battery, you know?

[00:37:44] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. And I feel like there's a few seasons there, so that'll be some good R and r

[00:37:53] Jon Rom: R Martin so, okay.

[00:37:57] Jonathan Friedman: So, well now we can't have him on the show.

[00:38:06] Jon Rom: So, so I, I understand that, um, uh, you know, when you go on vacation, like a really like planned out vacation and you get there and you're like wow. I waited too long to do this and wow. I need to figure out a way to make this more of a part of my life than it has been. Have you ever gotten that feeling?

[00:38:34] Jonathan Friedman: All the time.

Every time I take a day off, I'm like, man, why don't I take days off? Why is that just something that I don't do, but every time I do it, I'm like, damn, that's something I should do. But, uh, it's, it's a vicious cycle.

[00:38:47] Jon Rom: Yeah, I drove, I drove down with my girlfriend too, uh, to New York for, uh, for a visit, for, to visit a friend down, uh, in New York and one in Philadelphia.

And the, uh, the most astounding thing was that I realized like how little. I had left my routine in the last, uh, two years. And obviously, we've all had good reason for that, but, um, it, it, it's made me conscious of wanting to put that more into my life and make that more of, uh, uh, a part of my responsibility to, to take care of myself is to just get outta Dodge and, and, and see the world.

Let myself do nothing for a little while, or just do fun things instead of constantly worrying about what's next at work.

[00:39:41] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. I think that's, a great thing to point out. I feel like all of us kind of get maybe not all of us, but a lot of us kind of live in a routine, and routine feels good because we can kind of, even if our job has a lot of curve balls, we can kind of know, you know, like you wake up the scope of what can happen that day is blank to blank.

But every time we throw off for a routine and take a break there, I feel like there's nobody in the world. Who's like, man, break, vacation. What a terrible idea. Um, So why don't we do it more? Why don't we, you know, access it or, you know, break up our vacation into smaller chunks so we can take more breaks or, you know, on weekends, instead of just focusing on, you know, just getting the adulting stuff done, like, you know, sweeping in the floors and all of that kind of stuff.

Um, we, we, we can be more mindful about like, you know, let's take some time to watch the show with the dragons and the Thrones because it does end well it's, it's a great show.

[00:40:49] Jon Rom: I think, I think purposeful relaxation and vacation and time off, uh, uh, as opposed to always trying to sneak, sneak it in and feeling guilty is, is a challenge that a lot of, uh, a lot of people do face and I'm one of them.

So I'm glad that Carol could find her. Her, uh, uh, opportunity to come home and is, is going to try to, uh, create some infrastructure in her workplace so that she can do that more often. I think that's brilliant. And, uh, honestly I think I'm going to do the same thing. Uh, that's why I reached out to John Cena.

All those moments are ago so that he could, uh, cover me on this podcast if ever I needed to take time.

[00:41:41] Jonathan Friedman: It's really, it's good. I, I was trying to think about, um, a cover me a joke, um, and that it, it didn't work. Like if I were gonna say cover me, I was gonna like 1, 2, 3. Um, but we don't have a bell. Um, and I didn't say the joke on time, so kind, kind of got lost, I think.

[00:42:02] Jon Rom: Yeah. One could say, I have no idea what you're talking about.

And the joke went completely over my head.

[00:42:08] Jonathan Friedman: I, I feel like I saw the joke over my head and then I tried to catch it and then, you know, say it into a microphone. So it's recorded and etched into our history books. Um, and now that's there. So that's good. Right?

[00:42:23] Jon Rom: I'm gonna, I'm gonna try to catch your joke and, uh, very, uh, discreetly turned it into a segue into listener questions.

You do you have, do you have a listener question for me? Do you have something where I can, uh, uh, advise and, and coach and help with, with my good friend? Uh, Jonathan Friedman.

[00:42:45] Jonathan Friedman: I'm here too. Wow. What is this? A crossover for an episode? Um, yeah, so we do have a listener question. Um, and it's in from Liz and it's, how do I be a friend to someone who's struggling with their mental health?

I feel frustrated with some of their actions and I don't know how to be a friend without being a therapist to them.

[00:43:12] Jon Rom: Thank you for being a therapist. Wait a minute. That's not how the song goes, is it?

[00:43:18] Jonathan Friedman: I don't know the song. What's the song. Thank you for being a friend.

[00:43:23] Jon Rom: Exactly.

No, you got it. You got it in once.

Woo. Yeah. This is hard, this is a hard question, Jonathan, what do you think?

You, you, uh, you probably, you have some thoughts about this.

[00:43:35] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah.

So, um, I think, and I'm sure Jon, it's similar for you. And again, I'm, I'm a coach. Um, I have a, a bit of a counseling background I'm far from a therapist, but, um, one of the things I think a lot of people in the helping profession deal with and struggle with on a day to day is like, where do they draw the line personally, with, you know, managing friends who are struggling with anxiety or depression or any mental wellness concern, or just, you know, feeling that burnout, where, where, where can we be friends and where is it appropriate to, you know, bring in other resources.

And I think that's kind of the piece that I replicate. Or that I would want to teach a friend who's struggling with a friend who's struggling with mental wellness. Um, it's to understand like, like a, like what the, what the scope is. And that's what I think we should talk about the scope of what a friend can do and what the scope of an outside resource can do.

And at what point should you bring in that outside resource? Because I feel like, yeah. Like if a friend confides in us and tells us, you know, like, Hey, this hefty thing has been going on, or I have, you know, I've been going to work and vomiting because I've been so anxious an as a friend and Jon, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but that's not something like we might be, we might have the ability to deal with.


[00:45:07] Jon Rom: Right. And, and it's, you know, I, I find this to be, uh, a very, uh, uh, relevant question just because as someone with a bit of therapy training, I'm often, you know, faced with the fact that, uh, I'm not supposed to use those skills right now. I'm supposed to use my friend skills and a good friend skill is to identify what you can and can't handle, uh, and to let the person have an easier, uh, uh, transition into a professional.

Instead of having to, uh, address that completely alone. I think I think giving someone the help they need is being a good friend, but helping them find the resources they need is also being a very good friend. And, and it's, it's your responsibility not to fix everything is your responsibility to identify what you're supposed to be fixing versus what are you supposed to be facilitating.

[00:46:09] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. I love that. And it's, it's weird that I'm gonna bring this up, but it is the whole give a man a fish he eats for a day. Give a man, teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. As a friend, no matter how skilled we are, we have a serious person. Like we have a serious personal investment with our friends.

That's just what happens. And therefore dealing with complex mental wellness issues, because are complex and dynamic and everybody has their own thing. We're not able to. To, to, to, to be that great friend and deal with those issues forever. It's, it's very finite. There will be a point of burnout.

It happens to everybody and that's okay.

[00:46:50] Jon Rom: Mm-hmm.

[00:46:51] Jonathan Friedman: So being that person to say, Hey, you know, like, It sounds like this anxiety you're experiencing or this experience you're experiencing is a lot, um, why don't we take out a computer together and find some other resources in the area to, to deal with that?

Because there are a lot of really fantastic professionals like therapists, coaches, and counselors, out there. Who work their entire lives to be good at dealing with specific issues.

[00:47:19] Jon Rom: And our, and our objective third parties who don't have a horse in the race, uh, which is the most, one of the most important parts is, is that you don't, you're not in it.

You're not in, you're not part of the story, meaning that you can look at the story, uh, from, from an Eagle eye view and, and is very valuable when you're trying to therapize or to coach or to do anything like this. Um, Sorry interrupted you. It's just, it's just the, uh, the value of having someone who isn't the friend who isn't a friend giving you, um, the direction is, is huge.

And people underestimate, underestimate that because friends are so easily accessible, relatively speaking, but it's not the same.

[00:48:03] Jonathan Friedman: No, it's not at all. And interestingly, and just kind of a, a backdoor look here is in any school to teach you how to become a therapist or a counselor. The thing they look at teaching is often depersonalization is a huge part of it.

It's learning how not to take on the problems other people are having and feeling. And one of the things that I often hear friends who are struggling with their friends who are struggling with mental wellness struggle with that was a lot of struggles, um, is that they do take on the problem and that they are getting burnt out.

And they're not sure how to, you know, get out of that ring with them. They keep jumping in and trying to fix the problem and the problem's not getting fixed. Um, but yeah, having that objective third party who knows how to navigate through those challenging problems and is trained for that, um, is a critical thing to do.

So, I know we always talk about the journal that talks back here, and it is a fantastic coaching resource, but beyond us, there are lots of other fantastic resources. There is a crisis, uh, lines or distress lines, warm lines with counselors on the other end, um, who can walk you through some immediate problems.

There are fantastic therapists. There are fantastic counselors, um, all over every single city. Um, there's lots of other online resources as well. Um, if you or anyone, you know, is struggling. Their mental wellness. Um, you can book an intake call at And if we're not the right resource for you, uh, we're gonna do our best to find a resource that's appropriate, um, for you, um, in your area.

We'll do all of that to help you out as well. Uh, cuz that's what we're here for. Not every resource is right for everybody. So we want to help find the resource that's right for you.

[00:50:07] Jon Rom: If only we were as good at creating segues as we are as connecting people to other resources and, uh, connecting people to great coaches, because then I wouldn't have calculate bring us to the end of the episode.

Character coaching is a production of The Journal that Talks Back a product, at Frame of Mind Coaching. To get accessible coaching for just $200 a month, book, a free intake call at Our music is The Swindler by The Original Orchestra. Featuring Ian Post. Our editing is done by one of the Jonathans on the show, which one? We'll never tell.