April 28, 2015
Seven-years ago today I surrendered to Taft Federal Prison Camp. Admittedly, even after my surrender I still had an air of arrogance, of entitlement. Prison changed me for the better! Rather than continue to complain, however, in time I developed a sense of perspective and gratitude for the love my support network offered me and for the opportunities that awaited me. Some of those opportunities were bigger than others. I did not step right into a speaking career and in front of audiences that approached 5,000 people. Nor did I have a full list of prison consulting clients I was helping prepare for their own battle with the criminal justice system. No, I released from prison to a job in a real estate office picking up phones, sending faxes and doing some social media work–all of it for a modest wage.
That first job out of prison was part of the journey. I welcomed the chance to work, to demonstrate to my probation officer that I was accountable, and to my community and family that I recognized I was starting over. To that end, it is not uncommon for some people in prison to think some work is beneath them. In Lessons From Prison, I share a story about a friend who made fun of a fellow prisoner for securing a job at McDonalds upon his release. Rather than laud him for working, he criticized him for taking a job that he felt was beneath him. Such is the mindset for some prisoners–it is part of the reason so many fail, then call me and say, “Hey, no one wants to hire and pay me for the skill set I really have. What up, dude.” What up is they do not see the longer term vision, of recognizing that where we are and what we do today will influence our life–good or bad–tomorrow. I got that. Some do not.
I filmed a short video about an educated offender and client who is driving for Uber. Yes, driving for Uber is beneath his skill set. Still, he understands it is part of the journey and working right now is essential to his health and financial future. If you have interest in watching and learning from those who will succeed, I attach the video…