Blake Fletcher is a leading voice in the appreciation of everyday and extraordinary people. As the host of The Half Hour Intern podcast, Blake interviews people like you and I about their professions, hobbies and characters – it’s awesome.
Similar to List For Life, Blake is endlessly fascinated by the people who are determined to forge their own paths. Between Sportscasters and Dungeons and Dragons masters, The Half Hour Intern podcast covers them all.
Blake was kind enough to let us role-play as the interviewer for a while, and here’s what happened.
1. Let’s start from the beginning, who are you and what did you do before podcasting?
Before podcasting I was ‘living my dream’ as a medical device rep, working with surgeons from a variety of specialties. My Dad was a medical device rep when I was a kid and I always thought it seemed so cool, so I had my sights set on it from a young age. It’s a really difficult field to break into so I had to work really hard and make a lot of right moves to allow me to become a rep. When I finally became a rep at age 24 I was the youngest guy on my team and I felt great, but I never really felt great when I was on the job working, something just didn’t click. I thought that maybe I had the wrong product or company or title and I just needed little shifts to give me the dream job I always thought I wanted when I was growing up. Over the course of the next 5 years it didn’t matter what I sold or whom I worked for, it always felt the same. That was a big lesson for me. The human mind and heart are complex things, and just because something looks great on paper doesn’t mean it’s going to be great for you in reality.
2. What led you to into the podcast format? Did you have any previous radio experience?
I wish I had previous radio experience! This past year has been quite the steep learning curve trying to pick up the world of podcasting and radio. As a device rep you have a lot of time in your car driving to and from hospitals, so I always wanted to learn something new or hear an interesting story. Podcasts were a fantastic fit. Even early on I thought about how cool podcasting would be, but I thought ‘that’s not me, that’s for other people, people who went to school for journalism or people who are already famous’. However, the years went on and I continued not liking my job. Finally, one day I thought to myself, ‘there have to be other people out there like me, people that don’t really enjoy what they are doing, but they don’t really know what it is that they would want to start doing.’ So I started the podcast to help people like that out, and to just be a super fun and interesting way to learn about what people around us are doing with their lives.
3. I’m interested why you chose the podcast format over Youtube or blogging? Would you agree there’s been something of a ‘podcasting renaissance’ in recent years?
There has definitely been a podcast renaissance, which is so awesome. As a huge fan of podcasts it’s great to have more and more really fantastic options to choose from. This is going to sound really hippy-ish, but I don’t really think I chose podcasting as much as it chose me. Most endeavors in life speak to your soul or who you are in some way. I feel really good when I’m talking to other people and connecting with them. Much better than I feel when I’m writing. I think if I had asked myself the simple questions of ‘what do you feel good doing, and what do you not feel good doing?’; instead of ‘what are you talented in, and what can you make good money doing?’ I would have chosen a different path for myself a long time ago.
4. Have you interviewed anyone yet that made you think “Wow, I really want to do what you do” to such a degree that you’ve made steps to doing it?
This is a great question that I’m surprised more people don’t ask me. Since there is still so much to do and so much to learn for me with my own podcast, I’ve never taken steps towards any of the careers. The one I thought about the most afterwards is the Hostel Owner episode. It sounds like it would change your life so much, and make it so fun and exciting. However, several of the hobbies I have picked up and tried to some degree including disc golf, bird watching, and rock climbing. Basically every hobby interview, while I’m talking with the person I think to myself ‘I HAVE to do this’.
5. From all the people you’ve interviewed, what is the most common advice you’ve heard for young people looking for their dream job?
It’s really interesting how common the threads can be with advice when the jobs can be so different. By far the #1 piece of advice is to go and get experience. No matter what the job is there is somebody that does it, or something really similar, that could use a hand. So be willing to volunteer your time for a while to decide if it’s really something for you. You’ll start to meet other people that do that thing and before you know it full time, paying jobs will start to open up for you. You can’t just research your way into knowing you will like something, you have to try it for yourself, and people ALWAYS need a free hand.
6. Where do you find all these amazing people, or do they find you?
About 95% of the show so far has been referral based. Friends of mine reach out and tell me about someone interesting they know, or someone writes into the show to tell me about someone interesting that they know. The other 5% has been me reaching out to people through reddit sub-forums. If I don’t know anyone who does a particular thing, but I really want to talk to someone about it, I’ll see if a subreddit exists and post asking for recommendations for the topic. I did that for the beekeeping trilogy that I made and a couple others. For that matter, that would be a GREAT place to start if you were looking for an internship in a field where you had no personal contacts.
7. Finally, if I loaned you my time machine, what advice would you give to yourself 10 years back?
I’m currently a believer in everything happening the way that it needs to in your life, so I would almost be hesitant to say anything. However, I would want to tell myself to not think with my head too much, which I always do. Allow at least a little bit of room for intuition and heart (which your head will tell you is nonsense). And the most important and most difficult to remember advice of all; It’s all good. Life is too short to make every little decision or bump in the road feel much bigger than it is. Hakuna matata.