Modern Professional Journalism and ADHD w/ CNBC’s Gili Malinsky
Gili Malinsky is a lead work reporter at CNBC where she covers labor and employment law, U.S. work trends, and mental health. She has contributed to outlets including The New York Times, NBC News, MTV News, the Village Voice, and many others. She’s also a playwright, having written a parody of the D.A.R.E. program called “The Drugstoppers” and, most recently, written and performed a monologue called “This is My First ADHD Support Group” at the New York Theater Festival. The monologue is loosely based on her experience getting let go and fired many times before discovering she has ADHD. She’s planning to expand it into a full-length play also touching on anxiety and depression. Gili is an Aquarius, thank you for asking. This is another good and fun one, enjoy!
In this episode Peter and Gili discuss:
00:45 – Thank you so much for listening and for subscribing!
00:46 – Live again from the flop house…
01:21 – Welcome Gili Malinsky!
02:22 – Oh my gosh, a fellow BU Alumn! When did you get diagnosed?
03:06 – Our stories are a little similar; what was it like for you growing up?
05:01 – What if we had known we had ADHD during college?
05:28 – Would Peter change anything about his life prior to his ADHD diagnosis?
06:16 – Would Gili change anything? How about her work experiences?
08:21 – About Gili’s first ADHD epiphany about work, (via therapy)
09:20 – On finding this condition actually has a name; I’m actually not alone in this!
09:45 – A note on self-forgiveness
10:38 – Peter’s “leftover pizza concept”
11:44 – Once diagnosed, what changed, what were you able to do, how do you keep on track?
13:55 Ref: Peak Mind -Amishi Jha
14:36 – How do you handle deadlines?
15:49 – Talk about Imposter Syndrome?
16:55 – How can people find more about you?
On the Web: https://www.cnbc.com/gili-malinsky-bio/
17:42 – Thank you Gili! Guys, as always thanks so much for subscribing! Do you have a cool friend with a great story? We’d love to hear. I’m www.petershankman.com and you can reach out anytime via email at [email protected] or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterNormal on all of the socials. It really helps when you drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse!
19:08 – Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits
TRANSCRIPT via Descript and then corrected.. somewhat perfectly:
[00:00:36] Peter: Peter Shankman yo, yo, what’s up everyone. Peter Shankman here on Faster Than Normal! Another episode. I am thrilled to have you with me. I am doing this again from the flop house. Reason I began started telling you about the flop house with my apartment. I had the massive water issue and, and it’s finally being renovated. Uh, so I, in New York, you can’t just move your stuff to another room. You actually have to move it out of your apartment. So a bunch of men came and they packed up everything I owned ever in my life, and they took it to some storage unit in Queens. I threw an air tag into a couple of boxes and I, I, I look at the air tag and remember, like, I used to have a Peloton and I used to have a bed and I used to have all this stuff. And now I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m on a couch in a one bedroom down in . Battery park city. And it’s, it’s a little odd. Either way life goes on as, as does Faster Than Normal!
Welcome to the stage today, Gili and I probably, I probably just pronounced that wrong, even though she told me 10 seconds ago ahead pronounce so welcome to a ADD, Malinsky who is a lead. Did I pronounce it wrong? Gili Malinsky is a lead work reporter at CNBC. All right, so we’re talking about some business press today. She covers labor and employment law, US work trends and . Mental health. She contributes to outlets, including New York times, NBC news, MTV, the Village Voice, and many others. She’s also a playwright. She’s written the parody of the dare program, which I love because D.A.R.E did more to introduce me to drugs than ever keep me off of it. And that’s called The Drugstoppers . And most recently she wrote and performed a monologue called This Is My First ADHD support group at the New York Theater Festival. I love that the monologue is based loose on her experience, getting, let, go and fired many times before discovering she had ADHD welcome to my world. She’s planning to expand into a full length play. Also touching an anxiety and depression. Love that. And I love that she puts . She ends her bio with Gili’s an Aquarius. Thank you for asking. welcome to FTN you’re awesome. I love you already.
[00:02:19] Gili: Oh, thank you so much. Yaaaay!
[00:02:22] Peter: So I just also share with both Terriers, you went to Boston University, you graduated mm-hmm um, uh, 94 0 4, 14 years after me. Yeah. So, whatever . So you went to BU when did you get diagnosed? You get diagnosed at school or after school? After school?
[00:02:36] Gili: No, I got diagnosed when I was 33. So I got diagnosed three years ago in that 2019. Yeah.
[00:02:41] Peter: That was about the same age as me. Um, yeah. Wow. But what was it like for you? Cause for me, everyone listened to this podcast knows I, I was. Had the social acuity of a turnip and, and, you know, barely passed by the skin of my teeth. I mean, I was at BU in the college and general studies with literally a D plus average until I got into, uh, college communications where it’s like, oh, I Al I have to do is write? Okay. Here. And, you know, went to A’s, but it was, it was brutal. I was on academic probation for like four years. How did you, what, what was your story like growing up? Tell us.
[00:03:07] Gili: Sure. So I, uh, I’m the listed three grew up just that’s out of Boston in a town called Newton. My brother was diagnosed with ADHD when he was pretty young. I think he was like, it must have been when he was in middle school. Um, so it was sort of always like in the background as just. Something that we knew was in the family, but I, I didn’t really get too deep into it. I don’t think that he and I even really talked about it until the last few years. And, um, I was always like a, you know, pretty good student was always genuinely interested in school, kind of a big nerd, really liked learning things and was always really engaged, um, by what we were doing. So. I think, and, and I learned fast, you know, even if I wasn’t necessarily always paying attention, like it just, I had a good enough brain to soak up the information and I was super engaged, uh, that I just like did pretty well in school. At BU I think, I mean, definitely the stakes got higher. There was a lot more work to do. I, I don’t think that, um, The concept of working harder, really computed for me. Whereas like I did pretty again, I did pretty well in high school and I think that like I did all my assignments and stuff. I mean, there were certainly things that I did very, very last minute, which, you know, our people know all about. Um, but, um, at school at when I got to BU I think like suddenly they were like really piling on the work and I, how to get myself to do like. More work to be more planned about doing the work to not leave everything to the last second, I think was really beyond me. And then I was so far, you know, so far away from my diagnosis, but it certainly wouldn’t have occurred to me that something was, you know, quote unquote wrong at that point. So I think I, I was like to be honest again, because I was genuinely interested in everything and, um, you know, curious to learn, I, I. Probably like a A’s, B’s some C’s it wasn’t as good as in high school, but it was, I wasn’t a terrible student. I, I could have done better though. Like had I known, had I known, um, I definitely could have done better, but, uh,
[00:04:55] Peter: I think that’s the that’s isn’t isn’t that though the, the catch phrase of anyone, with ADHD early lives I could done better. Had I known.
[00:05:01] Gili: Yeah, totally. And I it’s so interesting because like now having reported on ADHD and adults with it, like I’ve, I’ve heard of this, this thing of sort of, um, the depression that the diagnosis sets on, because there’s this looking back and thinking like how much better you could have done, how much more you could have achieved off until this point? I will say I did not experience that personally, but yes. Thinking back, like I know I could have done better.
[00:05:24] Peter: Um, you know, it’s interesting. Go ahead. Go ahead. No, no, no, please. Yeah. What’s interesting about that is I was, I was about to comment that neither have, I, I haven’t either. Um, I am very much of the belief and look, maybe this is just something I’ve been telling myself to, to, to, to, you know, get through it. But I am of the belief that. All the crap that I had to put up with in high school, in college, almost failing out, having very few friends, being that awkward. I am a, I, I, everyone says, what would you go back and change? I wouldn’t change a thing. Yeah. Cause I’m like the believe that everything that, that I got everything, I survived, everything. I learned how to do everything that brought me to this moment to is, is what got me to where I am right now. All that. I mean, it was a nightmare. I wouldn’t wish some of those days coming home and just crying myself sleep from weeks on end. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but yeah, I, I believed that I wouldn’t be anywhere near whatever level of success I’ve reached in my life had it not been for ADHD.
[00:06:16] Gili: Totally. Yeah. That resonates so much. Uh, yeah. And which I, and that actually like brings me to, um, the sort of work world, which is really where I started getting into trouble. Um, because I also yeah. Went through a lot of hardship when I came to that. So, so yeah, I think, um, went to school for journalism, kind of always knew that that the very least I wanted to start my career as a writer there. Um, you know, don’t see an end insight right now, really love being a journalist, but, um, yes, I’ve definitely been dabbling with other things, but, um, I started, you know, I was like freelancing for a lot of these publications. Some of them you read in my bio and then, um, started getting staff, writing gigs at, you know, major media outlets. Um, and I kept fucking up, like, so, you know, I, uh, was just getting super overwhelmed. They were giving me these like very straightforward tasks and it was just like, my brain could not handle them. It could not organize them, you know, could not help me like do them in methodical ways. It would. So much information all at once. And like, all I could do was just sit in my computer and stare at my email or look at YouTube. Like it was just, it was so, too much, too much all at once. Um, you know, I would miss a lot of deadlines and, uh, you know, I would like prefer to do the easier tasks and the harder ones that were really like the crux of the job anyway. Um, and so, um, I ended up getting let go. You know, and it’s, oh, there’s, you know, you get, let go for lots of reasons, but, but certainly like looking back, I know that that played into it, um, because I can see the fuckups that I made along the way, you know, this happened time and time again. And like you said, like it, you know, It’s really heartbreaking. I think like we live in this very individualistic society that tells us if something like that happens, it’s only your fault. Um, you know, and if it keeps happening then, like, what is the, what is the conclusion that I can come to? Like other than that I’m a fuck up myself, you know, that something is deeply broken and wrong with me. Yeah. Um, and so, yeah, it was very miserable. I was broke, um, and I felt like an idiot and I, I, I hated myself. Um, and then I think after the, I don’t remember what, how many times this happened before I finally, uh, was talking to my therapist and was telling her that I have this like motivation thing at work, or like four or five months into a job. Like I just lose all motivation and it’s I want the job. I always want the job, but I’m just like sitting there. Like trying to force myself, trying to, will myself to do the work. And like, everything is slower. And I I’m like going home and reading productivity hack articles and like nothing works. Um, and she was like, you know, that could be ADHD. Like, have you been tested for that? Uh, and I said, no, uh, I haven’t, my brother has it. Uh, but no, I that’s. That’s something that it, you know, I’ve gotten tested for. Um, and I did. And lo and behold, I have it.
[00:09:03] Peter: nice to put a name to everything that you’ve experienced
[00:09:05] Gili: Well, that’s the thing, is that like, for me having a name, like even before I was officially diagnosed just that morning when she said that I might have it, like I cried the rest of the morning because it was. Oh like, yes, exactly. This has a name. If this is what it is, it has a name. Um, I’m not crazy. There is something about me because you know, you can see the people around you are functioning differently, that they’re processing information differently from you and that you just can’t get yourself to work in the same way. And suddenly it was like, oh, I’m not crazy. Like, there really is something in my brain that is making it difficult for me to, to perform in the, you know, in the same way that they are. And also like maybe I can actually forgive myself. Like that was the big thing for me. I think like it was less looking back and being really upset at everything you could have done and more like, oh, like maybe I don’t have to have this growing anger inside of me, this growing self hatred. And I can kind of just start to let that go.
[00:10:02] Peter: It’s funny. I, I, I, I, I try to, I make light of that. Sometimes I make light of the fact that what you said specifically about how you are, uh, you know, other people do things and don’t seem to have the same problems that you do, and you’re watching them do these things. And I think that I’ve always had that and it’s always been frustra, even knowing what I have and knowing that the things I do. Work. Right. Like, you know, I get up at four in the morning to exercise before my day mm-hmm so I have the Dopamine I needed, but every once in, so while I’m like, God damn it, why do I have to do that? Why do people do, why can people sleep in until six or seven, then just go to work and be on. And, you know, but I always make a joke out of it. I talk about, you know, I call it the leftover pizza concept that, that, that. Other people, they work a full day. They come home. They, I don’t wanna cook ’em so they order a pizza. They eat order pizza. They have two slices. They put the rest of in the fridge. That’s leftover pizza. Yeah. Never had leftover pizza in my fucking life. that’s that’s that’s not a thing. I order a pizza. I eat the pizza. Yeah. And you know, for me, it’s the same thing with alcohol, right. So I’m very aware. I quit for several years. I’m very aware of how I drank. I mm-hmm, maybe, maybe a few times a year in very specific conditions with very specific people. Um, because it’s not one. Right. And so every once in a while I get a little frustrated, you know, how come they get to do this in I and I don’t. Mm. Um, but then I think about it, I’m like, well, they also don’t have the faster brain goodness. Right. They, you know, they haven’t started and sold three companies by 40. They haven’t mm-hmm , you know, done things like that. So, so, so, so ya try to find the benefit, but yeah, every once in a while, it’s, it’s very, very frustrating, but let’s talk for a second because. Once you got diagnosed, right? Mm-hmm I I’m sure that you’ve been putting things into play. Same way. I did. Same way. Almost everyone does. You’ve been putting things into play subconsciously to allow yourself to get through, to, to work, to get on deadline and things like that. Once you got diagnosed here, you are on a high pressure job with deadlines mm-hmm um, once you got diagnosed, what changed and what were you able to do? Cuz obviously you’re you let’s see CNBC, they haven’t fired you today and said, you’re, you know, you can’t do this. So tell us about the kind of things I think this will interest the audience. Tell us about the kinda things you put into play. What are your tips and tricks to make sure you don’t go down the wrong road. I mean, for Christ sake, you have to do, you know, half your job is research, right? Mm-hmm half your job is there’s a, how do you not wind up eight hours later on Wikipedia looking up Roman sewage canals, having nothing to do with your original story.
[00:12:10] Gili: Wow. That was that’s like Tuesday. No, um, no, totally. um, no, no, no, totally. \Um, so yeah, it’s a great question. I mean, for me, I think the biggest thing was I just started learning about it immediately and like equipping myself with knowledge. And so I started reading. I read, um, there’s one called smart, but stuck. Um, which I read and then, uh, driven to distraction is another one I read recently. And one thing that these things did for that these books did for me is by, is like, I, I was reading stories of other people who have this neurological disorder as well, and seeing myself in them and feeling again, like less alone and more okay. Um, and so I think. Again, that, that anger and that self hatred that I think in and of itself was a distraction kind of started to dissipate and created space for me to be able to focus better. Um, but that was the first thing is I just kind of started learning about what this is. Um, I think I kind of messed around a little bit with Adderall. Like I was like trying, I tried a little bit, but, but I think, you know, I was. The psychiatrist I said, said I have mild ADHD, you know, whatever that means. So, so I don’t know if it was because the Adderall doses that I tried, like didn’t really work for me or whatever it was, but I decided that I was gonna just try to make do without them, without that, you know, without medication mm-hmm . Um, but, um, yeah, I mean, so have always worked out but have started, um, but started doing it first thing in the morning. Um, I, I was, yeah, I was like, have always kind of messed around with doing it sometimes throughout the day, but that has always been part of my routine. Um, and definitely find that that’s an amazing release first thing in the morning. Um, I, as of the last six months, I’ve also been doing some mindfulness meditation for like 12 minutes when I first wake up, I read, um, this book called peak mind, um, by, um, a researcher and professor in Miami at university of Miami. I mean, Amishi Jha and she, the whole book is about the attention system in the brain. Um, you know, and she touches on ADHD and of course, like there’s no real fix for this brain, but there are, there are methods to, um, sharpen, I guess, some components of it. What meditation for me has helped with has just been, um, to have a growing awareness of where my mind is. And so maybe I can’t stop it from going, you know, in a trillion directions, basically every 30 seconds. But at the very least I have more of an awareness of where it is and I. I can reel it back to what it needs to be doing. Like that’s just something that, you know, that’s a skill that has really helped me.
[00:14:35] Peter: No question. What do you, um, how are, how do you handle deadlines?
[00:14:39] Gili: It’s yeah, also such a great question. Cause I have them every day. Part of it is the, you know, the, so I actually got hired at CNBC about four months after I got diagnosed. Um, and so at that point I had already sort of started the process of like learning what this isn’t. How do I work with the brain that I have, um, It just worked out that I was in a really supportive system. And so my, you know, shout out to Kelly Grant, Esther Bloom, um, Jenna Goudreau , these are my editors and now Hannah Howard, they’re, they’re very, um, supportive. They’re very open. They’re very welcoming, you know, and. You know, having that external motivation is extremely helpful in, and getting me to continue to be motivated to get my work done. But I think what happened by nature too, is like the longer you do something, the better at it, you get. Right? And so I have learned, you know, by being in this environment where I’m super supported. To do my job very quickly, you know, to be a better writer to say, this is good enough, you know? Good enough is, that’s what I have. So yeah. Good enough is super helpful for deadlines. Um, cause it’s easy to be a perfectionist, like what you want is to give them the best, but it doesn’t matter. Good enough is like that will just have to suffice. Um, yeah. I don’t know. Does that answer? I can think of other things.
[00:15:49] Peter: Yeah. Perfectly last, last question. Yeah. Talk about imposter syndrome.
[00:15:53] Gili: No.
Imposter syndrome, you talk about, about syndrome, huh? imposter syndrome. Um,
[00:15:59] Peter: Hmm. Do you have it, does it affect you? How do you do? Hmm,
[00:16:03] Gili: I mean, sure. Of course. Like I see lots of people around me, you know, at a level of success that I would love that I would love to be at. Um, but. I, you know, I have been blessed with a very big ego
[00:16:16] Peter: Haaah! Spectacular!
[00:16:20] Gili: No, I think, um, I think to be honest with you, like, um, yeah, I, I come from a very supportive environment. My parents are, are super loving and supportive. And so I think that I do have some level of like self confidence. Um, That has really helped, like push me through, even in the moments where I was really failing. Um, I mean, I, I get jealous of people. Of course I do, but, but I somehow I think my Ambi, my ambition, um, you know, and just my, like my hunger to, to, to create, um, has just, you know, pushed me through even whatever insecurities I might have had.
[00:16:54] Peter: Awesome. I love it. I love it. Yeah. Wow. This has been amazing. Um, how could people find you tell, tell us where you are, uh, Gil, where, where you go, what your Instagrams are, uh, whatever, your favorite type of pizza, whatever.
[00:17:07] Gili: Oh, favorite type of pizza? Uh, well, I. I mean, I like French fries better than pizza. I will just say I’m a French fries person, even more than a pizza person. So you’ll
[00:17:13] Peter: and we’re done here guys. Thanks for listening. It’s been a pleasure. We’ll talk.
[00:17:18] Gili: sorry. I like pizza, but French fries would like too much ketchup. That’s my go to junk food. I love it. I love it. People can find me on Twitter and Instagram, um, at Molin kids. So M a L I N S K I D. That’s my handle.
[00:17:33] Peter: Yeah, a L L I I’m. I’m just putting it in for the M a L I M
[00:17:37] Gili: M a L I N. S K I D so my last name is Malinski gotcha. And my, yeah, my handles in Alinski. Yeah. I, I post like all my articles and all my stuff on this, so
[00:17:46] Peter: very cool. Guys what a pleasure. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time. This was a great interview. Um, thank you. It gives people hope. I mean, I, I remember, um, My, you know, again, being a diagnosed I remember in college, I had a photo photojournalism professor who told me that I’d never make it. I should probably go to something boring like accounting. Said I’d never make it as a journalist. And, uh, when, when I was the first ever, uh, digital journalist to cover the democratic Republican conventions in 1996, I photocopied my press pass, uh, and sent him, sent it to him and said, kind of doing terribly .Hope you’re well. That was a nice, that was a nice feeling.
[00:18:21] Gili: Um, a nice little FU.
[00:18:22] Peter: Indeed really. You probably know the journal, the professor too. Isn’t comp. Really appreciate you being here. We will have you back. Most definitely. This was a pleasure. We’ll definitely have you back.
[00:18:32] Gili: Thank you so much. This was delightful. Thank you. I really appreciate it. Peter.
[00:18:35] Peter: Awesome stuff. Most definitely
[00:19:08]Credits: You’ve been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We’re available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I’m your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at shankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you’ve heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were composed and produced by Steven Byrom who also produces this podcast, and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll see you next week!