To do the work you love, you’ve got to unlock a few doors. UNLOCKED Stories are honest conversations with 20 and 30-somethings who chose a path + made it happen.
A note from Ellen: I’m thrilled to spotlight Mason Robinson, Content Guru for Chubbies Shorts. Mason’s story is seriously bold — he walked away from a high-paying job in the health field and completely reinvented his life + career, all before age 30.
Today, he’s a professional video producer! (Check out some of his amazing videos, here!)
Mason took big risks and unlocked some mighty big doors along the way.
I’m proud of him and inspired by him. I know you will be, too!
Read on, and don’t miss the reflection questions at the very end of this interview.
What do you do?
[Mason]: I am the Content Guru for Chubbies Shorts. We make radical shorts for men who enjoy relaxing, looking cool and being awesome.
In other words: men of discerning taste… who hate the confines of pants and all that they stand for.
Chubbies is a super fun company to work for, because nobody here takes themselves too seriously. We like to laugh, crack jokes and have fun and we know our customers do, too!
We definitely make high-quality, American-made clothing — but there’s nothing uptight and formal about Chubbies.
As the Content Guru, my job is to produce videos for our website and social media channels. I write the scripts, oversee the shooting of each video, do the editing, packaging and sometimes even post the videos online. Basically, everything!
What’s your favorite part about your job?
[Mason]: I love my job because I get to take every video concept from “idea” to “finished product.” I like being part of the entire process, start to finish.
I also love knowing that I’m contributing to the growth of the company — building a fanbase and reaching new audiences. with every video we release.
Our fanbase continues to grow, which is so exciting to watch. Right now, we have almost a million followers on Facebook, 98,000 on Twitter, 92,000 on Instagram and 5,000 on YouTube.
To sum it up: I get to make awesome videos for an audience of awesome poeple. For me, it doesn’t get better than that.
How did you discover that you love making videos?
[Mason]: It’s something that I have always loved. My buddies and I have been making videos since we were 12 years old. As we got older, I continued making videos of all of us on snowboarding and surfing trips.
I guess it’s always been always been a passion of mine… but for a long time, I didn’t really believe that it could be my career.
And for a long time… it wasn’t! Tell us what you were doing before you started working at Chubbies.
After I graduated from Stanford in 2008, I thought my career choices were limited to banking, law or consulting. It never occurred to me that I could branch out and do anything I wanted. So I applied for a “safe” job and wound up working for a healthcare consulting firm. I was there for 4 ½ years.
But my job didn’t really have anything to do with “healthcare” or “helping people.”
Basically: I was a glorified bill collector.
My last 6 months on the job were literally painful. I hated going to work. I was making a great salary and only working 35 hours a week. But I was really unhappy.
Finally, I just had no choice but to leave. I couldn’t do it anymore, and I realized that I needed to be doing something more creative.
People thought I was crazy to leave my “solid” job, but my mom was totally understanding and supportive and told me to go for it. So I did.
Wow! A bold move. What was it like after you quit your job? And how did you transition from “bill collector” to “videographer”?
[Mason]: After quitting my job at the healthcare company, I was scraping by on unemployment and minimum wage — doing part-time work.
But even with a lot less money, I was so much happier in my life.
I started working with a startup company called The Getaway Club — a travel agency for people in their twenties. I also did freelance writing for a PR company and some modeling. I tested out lots of different things and tried to stay curious and open-minded. I definitely didn’t want to rush into another job… that I hated.
I got involved with Chubbies after I saw a Facebook post from one of the founders who was an old friend from school. It said: “Anyone out there good at creative writing?”
I had always liked creative writing, so I figured, “Why not?”
I contacted him, and that was how I landed my first gig with Chubbies.
You started working for Chubbies, but it was tough for you to turn that part-time gig into a full-time position. What happened next?
[Mason]: It was a twisting turn of events. Unfortunately while I was working part-time, Chubbies instituted a hiring freeze — which meant that nobody could get hired for a full-time position, period.
I didn’t want to give up because I Ioved the company and I loved making videos. I wanted to prove to them that I was worth hiring — freeze or no freeze!
I started working 60+ hours a week, even though I was told not to work over 30. I was working an insane amount and making substantially less than I’d grown accustomed to. But I kept going.
Finally, after many months, I had a tough conversation with my boss and said, “I love it here… but if you can’t offer me full-time employment, and a full-time salary, I’ve got to find another job somewhere else.”
Thankfully, my hard work paid off. They were able to offer me a fulltime job, and it has been everything I’d hoped for and more.
Hooray! Your perserverance and grit really paid off.
[Mason]: Since unlocking that door, lots of exciting things have been happening for you. Your video footage has attracted a huge following online, with many of your videos getting over 100,000 views, each. And your footage has been featured on major TV networks like ABC and CNBC!
What’s the absolute BEST thing that’s happened to you, since you wrangled your dream job at Chubbies?
The best thing that has happened to me is that I have absolutely fallen in love with visual storytelling.
I am learning an immense amount about a fascinating art form, working with people I really like, and getting free reign to be as creative as I can be.
The office culture is amazing. We spend hours each day brainstorming and coming up with creative ways to engage and impress Chubster Nation!
Back in my bill collector days, I had to drag myself to work and I felt like I was wasting away. But now, I cannot wait to go to work. I often work late into the night or happily on the weekends… not because I have to, but because I want to!
This career path has opened my world in ways I could not have imagined.
What’s the next big door that you need to unlock? (And what’s the plan?)
[Mason]: I would like to continue to evolve as a videographer.
Eventually, I may want to go to film school or write a screenplay.
But for now, I am committed to doing my part to attract an amazing (and amazingly big) audience for Chubbies shorts.
Last but not least: What’s your biggest piece of advice for anyone who wants to stay motivated, do amazing work and unlock major doors?
[Mason]: I hate to seem cliché, but the usual advice that we all hear is so true:
Do what drives you.
Stay optimistic and avoid negative energy.
There are always trade-offs in life, but don’t settle for a job that just provides you with money or comfort. It’s not enough. At least it wasn’t enough for me.
There may be opportunities in the future that you are not seeing… yet.
Be open to possibilities.
And when you find something that you love to do… don’t give up!
Three questions to think about, write about — or talk about with a friend.
1. After college, Mason took a “safe” job that paid the bills and stuck with it for years, even though the work was miserable.. Finally, he found the courage to walk away.
: Have you ever walked away from something that “seemed” like a good idea? How did you find the courage to do it?
2. Mason loves working at Chubbies Shorts because the workplace culture is laid back, offbeat and seriously fun — just like the products they create!
: What are three words that might sum up the “workplace culture” of your dream company?
3. Mason had to work double-time — literally — to prove to his employers that he was dedicated, passionate and highly valuable to the company. Finally, he landed the job of his dreams.
: Is there a task that you’d be willing to do for 60 hours a week… for several months… if it meant getting the job of your dreams? What would that “task” be?
For more UNLOCKED interviews, click over here.
Know somebody that ought to be spotlighted? Write to me here.
See you next time for another inspiring conversation!