When tech is hot, everyone wants jobs in tech. Besides the cool campuses, all glass and steel and open spaces, besides the free yerba mate cashew milk smoothies, organic lunches and craft beer on Friday afternoons, besides the uncapped vacation days, onsite free day care, fitness club, and private napping rooms, there are the great salaries and even more importantly stock options. For the last two decades, the tech sector saw the greatest growth in equity prices and all those employees were not just cashing in on the benefits and salary, they were making bank on their stock options as well. When tech is not so hot, and stock prices are falling faster than Biden’s approval rating, people still want jobs in tech, if not so much for the stock prices than for pretty much everything else. We still get craft beer and yerba mate smoothies, right?
If you’re a talented developer, you’re in good luck, because the tech companies want you too, and want you bad. Rumors have abounded of one tech company or another giving out six figure bonuses at the end of the year just to keep their developers from jumping ship to some other tech company. But if you’re in marketing, well… it’s a bit more complicated. It feels like for the last decade marketing or communications degrees have been almost as common as psychology or general studies degrees making them close to worthless (unless you’re applying for a job at Walmart, where your BA will bump your starting salary by 25 cents an hour).
The reality is that marketing is like web development in the sense that if you’re good, you’ll get work and jobs thrown your way regardless of whether you have a BA or not, and if you’re not, there still is that 25 cent bump on the starting salary at Walmart, not a bad return on your $120,000 college degree investment. Getting jobs in marketing for tech company is not easy, applicants are a dime a dozen and talent is far more scarce. Often, it is difficult to even get an interview, and as much as 75% of jobs go to someone with a personal or professional connection anyway. Which is what brings us to the wild story of Lukas Yla.
Lukas grew up in Lithuania, where he developed a impressively successful marketing business, but impressively successful in Lithuania was not where Lukas saw himself. He saw himself creating ad campaigns for Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Amazon. He saw himself as a marketing genius living in Silicon Valley, making big dollars, producing creative content seen by billions, and of course sipping on free yerba mate cashew milk smoothies. So, he moved to the Bay area in the summer of 2016 with nary a friend or connection and set about trying to land one of the most sought-after positions in the country. And what he was missing in connections and job experience he made up with doughnuts.
He knew that if there was any prayer of him getting a job, he would have to actually get in front of a hiring manager, but his resume would be rejected out of hand if he just sent it in the conventional way, and he couldn’t just walk into the campuses of tech companies and go to someone’s office, security wouldn’t let him past the lobby. Instead, he printed T-shirts with the logo of Postmates, a popular food delivery service, and he would wear them along with a pair of sunglasses. He would go buy doughnuts at a boutique bakery, and show up at a tech companies campus. He had already previously researched the names of a hiring manager in the marketing department, and he would just walk up to security and say, “I’ve got a delivery for Jordan Manifer?” and they would most often dutifully look up what floor and department he Jordan worked in, and they would wave him though and even tell him how to get that persons office!
Once he got to the office, he would bring the doughnuts right in and deliver it to the startled manager. While at first his “customers” were shocked that he got into the building, they also were impressed by his creativity and pluck and on top of that, he had boutique doughnuts and it’s really hard to be mad at a guy who just brought you a box of awesomeness!
Even if the manager he was looking for was out or in a meeting, he would simply leave the doughnuts on their desk. And always, inside the box was a note that said the following:
Most Resumes End Up In The Trash.
Mine – In Your Belly.
This delivery is not a mistake. I pretended to be a Postmates delivery guy to ensure that my resume was delivered to your personally.
As you have noticed, I approach things in a different way and most importantly – I like to get them done.
My name is Lukas; I am a marketing guy with 5 years of experience. I admire your company and would love to work for you.
If I spiked your curiosity and your are wondering how to reach me, please enter bit.ly/check-resume in your browser window,
For the time being, please enjoy these magnificent & famous donuts from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.
Lukas’ efforts paid off. According to an article in Business Insider, Yla delivered more than 40 boxes of doughnuts to companies like Lyft, Uber, Instacart and others. His ploy worked as he picked up more than 10 interviews with executives at top tech companies and ultimately landed a job with a ride-sharing startup!
Be the creative difference you want to provide to the world.
The Talmud (Berachos 28a), tells us that when Rabban Gamliel was the Rosh Hayeshiva, Head of the Academy of torah scholars of his time, he had a guard at the entrance of the Yeshiva, and his job was to keep out anyone who did not have the quality of “,his insides were like his outsides,” i.e. anyone who was not fully authentic. My Rebbi, Rabbi Shmuel Brazil Shlit”a once asked, “How did this guard know who was fully authentic and who was not?” Did he have some sort of authenticity detector wand like the metal detector wand at the airport that he would wave over a person, and it would beep if the person wasn’t fully sincere? What tool did this person use to keep out people who weren’t fully authentic.
My rebbi posited a beautiful answer. He said that anytime a new person came to learn in the Yeshiva, the guard would automatically bar him entry. He would tell him something along the lines of, “Sorry, but this is a private study hall, we aren’t accepting new member right now.” If the person wasn’t fully sincere in his desire to study Torah, the person would simply walk away. He now had an excuse for not studying Torah, he simply could tell people that he tried but he was denied entry.
But a person who was fully authentic, a person who NEEDED to study Torah, would not allow a guard to deter him. He would walk around the building, find an open window or back door and make sure that he got in. The Torah belongs to all of us and no guard can keep a person with an authentic desire to study Torah away from the Torah. Indeed we have the famous story of Hillel lying on the skylight in middle of a winter storm to hear the Torah he so deeply desired to learn.
Tony Robbins, a motivational speaker famously says, “If you want to get more sleep, you probably won’t get more sleep, if you need to get more sleep, you’ll get more sleep. If you want to lose weight, you probably won’t lose weight, if you need to lose weight you’ll lose weight. Humans have an unlimited capacity to get what they need, but not the capacity to get what they simply want.”
If you want a marketing job with a tech company, you might get one, if you NEED a marketing job with a tech company, you’ll hand deliver resume laden doughnuts to the hiring manager.
We all have a laundry list of things we want. But we now also have a new metric for self-evaluation, a way to measure what we want and what we need. If we stop at the stop signs, it’s a want, if we keep forging through, praying for it, strategizing how we’ll mount our next attack, and doggedly pursuing it, it’s a need. And when we truly need something, our limitless Neshama, a piece of the infinite Creator, will find a way to bring it to fruition.
Parsha Dvar Torah
Last week’s Torah portion described the census that was taken of the tribe of Levi, starting with those 1 month and older. This week’s parsha continues with another census of the members of the tribe of Levi, this one only of males between the ages of 30-50. In both countings, we find a surprisingly low number: 22,273 in last week’s portion, 8,580 in this week’s – far fewer in number than any other tribe.
What makes this even stranger is the fact that Levi was the only tribe that was not forced into labor in Egypt. The Medrash records that the slave labor in Egypt was started by a massive public works campaign, one in which Pharaoh himself participated. But soon afterwards, the Egyptians slipped away and forced the Jews to remain. The tribe of Levi, who were preoccupied with Torah study, never joined the labor, and were thus never forced to remain. Knowing this, one would think that they should have been the largest tribe.
Nachmonides explains that it was precisely the fact that they were not subjugated that led to their small numbers. He explains that G-d gave a special blessing to the Jewish people that the “the more they oppressed them, the more they multiplied, and so did they gain strength” (Exodus 1:12). Thus it was the tribes that were oppressed that grew with prodigious blessing, while the tribe of Levi only grew at a normal rate, and consequently had the comparatively lower numbers they had. Oppression, though something few would welcome, can sometimes be the harbinger of special blessing.
This message is reinforced in a verse in Psalms. The Psalmist praises G-d by saying, “He covers the heavens with clouds, He prepares rain for the land,” (Psalms 147:8). Rav Tzadok HaCohen explains that we often go through difficult times – times in which the horizon appears dark and cloudy – but what is really happening is that G-d is preparing for an outpouring of rain, and blessing. We see this in the germination of seeds, as well, the process that allows for all life on earth. At first, the seed disintegrates, seemingly beaten to nothingness. But then a new life sprouts forth. G-d’s miraculous nature has a way of showing us the light when all we can see is darkness.
A friend shared the following slice of life that underscores this point. Growing up, he had two classmates who were stepbrothers. The mother of one was a divorcee who married a successful attorney who had two children of his own. The woman indulged her child, taking care of all his expenses, providing him with a nice car, and not requiring him to work. The father, who achieved his success through hard work, treated his children much differently. He made them work hard for everything they received. That classmate constantly worked odd jobs, earning low wages in order to buy the things he wanted.
Ironically, the indulged son of the woman is today a baggage handler in a local airport. The husband’s son is a world renowned psychiatrist, who has published dozens of articles, written two books, and is frequently featured on CNN. The hard work, the stress, and the difficulty he went through as a teen certainly paid off. In a similar vein, people with physical handicaps, or who have undergone a serious illness, surprisingly tend to score much higher than others on tests that measure levels of happiness.
Many people are facing new challenges today, due to the economic climate and the market meltdown. This week’s counting of the tribe of Levi gives us a perspective that may help us see the silver lining behind those challenges. That silver lining may come in the form of some bountiful rain about to be showered upon them, or it may come in the form of us developing a deeper appreciation for our family, our health, or other aspects of our life that we may have neglected to appreciate.
This week’s Parsha starts off where the the last Parsha finished, namely, the jobs given to different families within the tribe of Levi. Here, the Torah describes the parts of the Tabernacle that the families of Gershon and Merari carried when the Jews moved from place to place in the Desert.
The Torah then commands us to treat our camp with holiness. In order to do so, people with specific levels of ritual impurity are not allowed into different parts of the camp based on the severity of their impurity. (It is interesting to note that the only group that has to leave the entire camp and sit alone is the people who contracted Tzara’as through speaking badly about others and alienating them. What goes around comes around!) After that, the Torah tells us what to do if someone steals, swears falsely to deny it, and then admits. OK, I won’t keep you in suspense; he pays an extra fifth and brings a special sacrifice for atonement. If the victim dies and leaves no heirs, the money goes to the Kohanim.
The next law discussed, is that of the Sotah. This is a wayward woman, who secludes herself with a specific man, despite having been warned not to do so by her husband. In order to determine if she committed a sin while in seclusion, she is brought to the Temple where a procedure is done to determine if she is as innocent as she professes to be. (If, at any point, she admits to being guilty, she goes home without doing the procedure.) The procedure includes a Kohen reading her the passage regarding the Sotah, and dissolving the parchment into water. She then drinks the mixture after bringing a meal offering. If she is guilty, she immediately dies a difficult death, (as does the adulterer wherever he is at the time), but if she is innocent, she is rewarded with an easier birthing in the future, and great children. (Even though she shouldn’t have secluded herself with someone her husband asked her not to, since the procedure was a difficult one she is rewarded for being innocent.)
The parchment which was dissolved contains G-d’s name. If G-d considers marital harmony to be of such import that he allows His name to be erased (for if the wife lives past this procedure, the husband will be placated and no longer think that she betrayed him), how much more should we be willing to go out of our way to keep our marriages peaceful even if it occasionally costs us a bruised ego. After these laws, the Torah discusses the nazir, whom we discussed above. The two are juxtaposed because when one sees the sotah in her degradation, he should be inspired to take measures to insure that he never fall in that way.
After the laws of the nazir, the Torah tells the Kohanim how to bless the people, a practice still done daily in Israel and on the festivals here in the Diaspora. The final art of the Parsha deals with special offerings the leaders of the Twelve Tribes brought to inaugurate the Tabernacle. The first thing they brought was six sturdy wagons and twelve oxen to pull them. These were to be used in the transportation of the Tabernacle, and were divided amongst the tribe of Levi.
The Kehas family didn’t get any wagons, because their job was to carry the holiest vessels and it would be inappropriate for them to relegate such vessels to wagons. In addition to the wagons, the tribal leaders each brought a number of sacrifices during the first twelve days that the Tabernacle was in service.
Although the Torah never uses an extra word, in our Parsha, it spends over seventy verses repeating the sacrifices that the leaders brought even thought they were exactly identical. The Torah is telling us that although on the outside the sacrifices were the same, each leader had unique intentions and meaning in his sacrifice, thus making them different. This underscores the idea that even though we may all pray the same prayers, and do the same mitzvoth, each one of us can have an incredibly unique and individual relationship with G-d based on our intentions and thoughts. Let us all continue to develop that relationship, and grow closer with our Father in heaven!
Quote of the Week: Plan for this world as if you expect to live forever, plan for the hereafter as if you expect to die tomorrow. – Ibn Gabirol
Random Fact of the Week: Wood frogs freeze solid in the winter, and then thaw back to life in the spring.
Funny Line of the Week: Money may not buy you happiness, but I would rather cry in a Bentley than on a public bus.
Have a Chic Shabbos,
R’ Leiby Burnham