prisonist - the blog
By R.E. Searcher – Ghost Blogger & Member of Our White-Collar Support Group
“Your Second Life Begins When YOU Realize You Only Have One!”
Have you heard of this saying? If not, keep rereading it. Also, pick up a copy of the book which is written by Raphaelle Giordano – I highly recommend it! It’s been a transformative book in my life as I begin my new career, my new identity and my journey with new perspectives. Battling addiction, depression, PTSD and so many other bottled up emotions in my heart that I am slowly uncovering have led me to a new road of recovery – an interview with myself.
As we experience a huge life transformation due to accusations and convictions of a white collar crime, the immediate response is how did we get there? Who are we? Why me? One of the exercises in this book that I mention to you asks to take an inventory of all the things that you are grateful for. I made a list from A-Z and placed it in my planner. I read it every morning as a reminder of what I am grateful for and that THIS DOES define me. Who am I? Who are you? – we are not the events that we took part of because these events DO NOT define us. Once we get past that awareness we are capable of being strong enough to look at ourselves in the mirror – this is where your job interview begins.
Look at the job interview as a strength training session. There will be many days that you will be so mad at yourself. You will be down, you will be crying, you will feel helpless; but this is where you consult with your life coaches. When these feelings arise, just say STOP! You need to recognize these emotions and let them go. Remind yourself of what you are grateful for and program your to thinking and being positive and seeking help through your “inner circle.” This can be your therapist, your support group and or your core family and friends you can trust. Your inner circle will also provide you with the strength and resources to prepare yourself for the next round – finding a job that will provide you with fulfillment.
Networking can be scary; especially since you’re experiencing so many stigmas simultaneously. You need to recognize your fear and box it away during “show time.” You are placed on center stage and this is where you need to be your best self – who you truly are. The more you practice being around people and becoming more comfortable with who you are; the better you will become at networking. The best way to start is by attending support groups. Read about other peoples’ stories online. We are not alone in this new episode of our lives. Talk to your friends who may have connections in private industry sectors. Go online and research companies that are willing to give people a second chance with felony charges – there are positions out there, believe me! Most importantly, don’t give up. We all feel shame and embarrassment, but if we don’t ask, we will never know. This is part of the strength training process. The more rejection you experience, the more resilience and drive you build up to counter peoples’ concerns. I had an excellent interview with a “friend of a friend”. He’s a business consultant and was ready to refer me to a few of his other friends. Unfortunately, a very disparaging article came out on my situation publicly the evening we met. I received “the e-mail” from him basically stating he was shocked – was I really the person they wrote about in the article? I only met this business consultant once in my life and we hit off. During our first meeting he told me to always leave three key points about yourself when meeting with them. These are basically your takeaway impressions. I told him that if he would feel comfortable, I would like to meet with him in person once again and have him to an assessment of my character. I told him if he’s uncomfortable that I completely understand, but if he’s willing to take his three key points of me and provide me with an opportunity to analyze my strengths, I would welcome that opportunity. This guy went up for the challenge. He’s been in business for over 30 years and realized that just because of poor decisions, understanding business operations, my skillsets and who I truly am are what’s important to focus on. Without the publicity or knowledge of my event, he would have never judged me and would have happily connected me to all of his networks. Clearly, there is a fine line, but if there is a person who can introduce you to even one person, that person can attest on your behalf and give others the confidence to allow you to prove yourself to them. This is how I made my break. I was introduced to a smaller business, looking for strong talent on a very low operating budget. Showing how one can invest in a person who has great skillsets is an opportunity not only for your future employer, but for you to be who you truly are.
People who battle with addiction and making the wrong decisions need to first understand why this happened in the first place. Before you begin your job hunt, seek a mental health therapist who can help you see who you truly are. Get connected to support groups with individuals who have lived and breathed in the same space as you are in now. The power of human connection is essential as this connection will allow you to get through the first interview – this is an interview with yourself.
Once you passed the first interview, it’s time for you to revamp your CV. Who do you want to be? This is your second chance so make it even better. Once you determine what your passion is, start researching the field and connect with people who have been successful at achieving their goals. 70millionjobs.com is a great website that can give you an idea of what you may be willing to try. Everyone has life struggles and if you have the opportunity to get facetime with a person, this is the way to go. Being present in someone’s environment and showing the compassion and hard work you have been able to achieve will speak to the person who is interviewing you. Speak from your heart as this will go a long way. Think outside the box and put your creative skills into good use by making a tragic experience a life-learning lesson that can allow you to bring value to your future employer. As in business, you need to define what’s in it for them. Why should someone hire you?
Human connection brings complex values to our lives. Focus on truly connecting and being present. Find out what your potential employer is interested in. How would you market yourself to them and connect your experience to theirs? How did you land your last job? You can start out by volunteering and creating your base there. Today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present. Now get to work!
R.E. Searcher (pen name), is a member of our online white-collar/nonviolent support group that meets on Monday evenings, 7 pm Eastern, 6 pm Central, 5 pm Mountain, 4 pm Pacific. For more information, click here.
Louis Reed planned to kill himself last year after he was arrested for allegedly forging checks, then lost his job as Bridgeport’s prison reentry director, and then was rearrested on another round of check forgery charges. All of this came just a few years after Reed finished a 13-year stint in federal prison for inadvertently shooting a 5-year-old during a retaliatory drive-by in Bridgeport’s Newfield Park neighborhood in 1999.
As he lay in the backseat of his SUV last fall, Reed recalled on a recent episode of WNHH’s Criminal Justice Insider program with Babz Rawls Ivy and Jeff Grant, he had an epiphany… Already a man of faith, he heard a soft voice whisper in his ear a verse from the Book of Micah, proclaiming that, “When I sit in darkness, then the Lord shall be a light unto me.”
Criminal Justice Insider with Babz Rawls Ivy and Jeff Grant is broadcast live at 9 am (ET) on the first and third Friday of each month from the WNHH 103.5 FM studios in New Haven, live-streamed everywhere at newhavenindependent.org. It is also on live on Facebook Live (video) at https://www.facebook.com/wnhhradio. It is rebroadcast on WNHH at 5 pm the same day. Find all of our shows archived on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/new-haven…/…/criminal-justice-insider. An article about each show is published a few days later in the New Haven Independent (newhavenindependent.org).
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“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~Theodore Roosevelt~