Category Archives: Employment

2CU: Robert and Accepting Defeat

Continuing with our work and getting you a front seat as to our programs, time to introduce Robert. As always, share and respond to the insight.

Robert:

 Hey, I’m Robert. I work in construction, or at least I did until a few months ago. Boss fired me because the company wasn’t doing well. I know they are getting plenty of business so I’m pretty upset about not working; probably has to do with my arrest.  

True enough, I’m more of a construction laborer but I still have lots to offer. Now, I can’t seem to find a job no matter how hard I try. I’m 24 years old and all I’ve ever done is construction work. They don’t want to hire somebody my age or maybe they think I can’t handle the job. It may be time for me to move on from manual labor, but I don’t know how. 

All the jobs I apply for wash out, and I can’t live off unemployment forever. I need a job now, any job. Don’t want to be in the system (prison) but I am ready to give up.

Insight: Sounds like Robert has accepted defeat. What advice would you share with Robert if he was in the classroom right now? Have you ever accepted defeat?

My advice to Robert would be:

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                               

Here’s what happens when I accept defeat:

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                               

2nd Chance University partners with organizations/institutions dedicated to those who have stumbled. Our material and workshops take advantage of real people, real life, and real issues.

I welcome your stories to be added into our series. If you chose to share or support, email me directly. For those wishing to introduce 2CU and our programs into an organization, institution, or facility, please step forward; together we can make a difference.

Danny Huffman
407-878-0474
2nd Chance University
dhuffman@2ndChanceUniversity.org

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President Trump Signs First Step Act into Law,

Just signed (presented by The Council of State Governments Justice Center Staff):
President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation today to reform the federal prison system. The First Step Act, which passed the U.S. Senate 87-12 and the House 358-36, will usher in significant changes to federal sentencing laws as well as improvements to programs that aim to reduce recidivism and provide support to people who are involved in the criminal justice system…
As a non-profit focusing on keeping our communities safe by educating, empowering, and employing those who have struggled, we are encouraged by the latest signature (and also encourage your full read

Balancing Consequence and Intent

But I intended to… not my fault it did not work out as planned.

Looking at my own experience over the years, the gap between intent and consequence is beyond measure; but not beyond the every-moment pain. No doubt we all share the gap; the only difference resides in the degree (of self-deception).

In most aspects we lean toward the side of intent, often ignoring consequence. How do we regain the balance where consequence and culpability are the primary characteristic of who we are?

Intent: a shallow consideration highlighted by mentally laziness or a self-serving delusion.

Consequence: Emotional, psychological, and overall outcome of action — be it in words or in the physical.

Instead of rehashing the past, let’s move on to today and examine one of the core reasons why intent and consequence rarely run parallel: self-delusion.

What is self-delusion? By my definition, it is closed-eye reality where all one sees is the darkness of inner want.

Truth is, the past is the past so now all we can do is come up with a plan to regain balance and live a life where choice and action run closer as one.

Career: When it comes to work, shrugging off responsibility or cleansing your hands by shouldering burdens to another is not a sign balance, this is a sign of self-deception. As a business owner, when tough decisions are needed to be made such as lay-offs or pay increases, I don’t look at employee intent, I evaluate balance between intent and consequence. I look for employees who accept responsibility, who own the mission, who don’t put burdens on fellow peers, and whose intent is consistent with consequence.

Justice-Involved: Our non-profit is about giving second chances and our intense programs have been developed to open eyes, accept responsibility, bring intent and consequences closer, and to secure a path where freedom, respect, and success become part of each person’s core. In this capacity, we hear the stories of “it was not meant to happen this way,” “it’s not my fault,” “there is nothing I can do about my situation,” and so many more excuses pushing intent to the next level… there is no balance within those making excuses for their failure.

Under the umbrella of balancing consequence and intent, there are a few things we can ALL do now to get it right (or at least not so wrong):

  • Think BEFORE you do
  • Be the other person and consider his/her feelings
  • Make a list of what might go wrong and what will happen if it does (and the worst case usually happens – prove me wrong
  • Recognize there are only TWO choices: the right thing or the wrong thing

By following the four bullets above, changes will happen in your life… no matter tribulations of the past.

In your career, make choices based upon outer-vision, not inner self-delusion.

For those with a stumbled background, be who you are meant to be, not who others think you have become.

In conclusion, I ask you take the first step: take ownership in your life… only you control YOU, no more excuses or playing the victim.

2nd Chance University is a non-profit designed for those who have stumbled within our justice system as they regain their Commitment, Hope, and Empowerment.

At current, we are seeking partnerships to bring our programs to communities across the nation. If you work with or know of organizations, work force centers, penal institutions, and/or judges and district attorneys committed to changing people’s path, bring it on. Together we can change the world, one person at a time.

Danny Huffman
2nd Chance University
407-878-0474
dhuffman@2ndChanceUniversity.org

Career Progression: Attitude and Character

During speaking engagements across the country, I’m often asked about tactics to secure career progression. Though responses differ from audience to audience, there remains a shared set to follow.

FAQ #1: Just began an entry-level position, how can I keep the job and let my employer know she made the right choice?

Answer #1: If you were hired, chances are good your employer believes you have the skills to complete the job and WANTS you to succeed. Unfortunately, being able to get the job done doesn’t mean career progression or job security.

  • The most qualifying quality new hires can possess is attitude. For those faking attitude, don’t fool yourself, employers are smarter than a first grader. Look at it this way, if you were an employer, would you keep (and promote) employees with a positive attitude, a willingness to follow your guidelines without whining, and an eagerness to learn or would you keep employee who go against the grain and your proven processes?

FAQ #2: I was released from county jail last year and can’t get a job.

Answer #2: There is an indirect relationship between recidivism and employment: higher the employment rate, the lower the recidivism rate. This common reality is often ignored by politicians and businesses (we can get into that issue in upcoming sessions).

Though each justice-involved individual, circumstances, and consequences vary, there remain issues demanding immediate attention:

  • Keep it real. You are re-entering an un-friendly environment so best hold dreams on the ground level for now.
  • One way to get that job is to increase employer incentives by way of federal government programs and offering your services below cost. Yes, you heard it, consider working at a decreased wage (or even at no wage) for a designated time; getting in the door is more important than watching Jerry Springer!
  • Character is key… employers willing to give you an opportunity believe you will do the right thing. Now is the time to represent in a professional, courteous, and respectful manner.

In future articles, we will detail FAQs with real-life examples and open the floor for conversation. For now, we’ll rely on character and attitude to keep us on the right path.

2nd Chance University is a non-profit designed for those who have stumbled within our justice system as they regain their Commitment, Hope, and Empowerment.

I welcome your stories to be added into our series. If you chose to share or support, email me directly at dhuffman@2ndChanceUniversity.org.

Danny Huffman
321-972-8919

1 + 1 equals… well, that depends

Statistics and numbers have their uses, mostly depending upon the agenda spinners manipulating them. While numbers reveal much about a particular situation, the fact remains, they can also obscure things, creating more of a head-scratching event than a cerebral epitome.

Question, if numbers are black and white, how can they also turn into grey on a subjective whim? To illustrate, let’s concentrate on what we know best… the criminal element, namely recidivism.

It’s easy to get caught up in discussing recidivism rates, budget allotments, and what really works as the amount of money involved is racking up beyond infinity. Given the nature of subjective realism, debating crime stats, studying methodologies, and examining sample sizes is akin to trying to close a cracked Pandora Box.

Unfortunately, without context and content, numbers on a spreadsheet are simply just that: numbers on a spreadsheet.

To be real, numbers mean nothing, what matters is living a good life, where fear no longer exists and where dreams can (and do) become reality through hard work, commitment, hope, and empowerment.

Truth is, 2CU is not here to crunch numbers (though we have a few to crunch), we’re here to change lives and bring light to an otherwise darkened world. Offering hope, especially for the justice-involved, and raising the torch for all to follow.

For a moment, let’s look beyond retention rates and placement numbers and uncover the human element so many simply don’t understand or chose not to see. Let’s look through the eyes of Steven, a graduate of our program and one who happens to wear a number on his back.

Steven was reared to see the world where struggle was a way of life and giving up on the system (and self) was just the way it was. He saw a dark, dangerous place with no security, no safety net, no support, and definitely no future. Lacking a father figure at home, he sought acceptance and guidance in the street.

Didn’t take long for a gang to offer Steven what he felt was lacking. A series of arrests would give him a record and a narrower path to follow for the remainder of his years.

After release, Steven resisted change, claiming there was no way anyone would give him a chance. His stint in prison left a heavy mark on him. Holding a CHE Quotient of less than 1.5, his main obstacle was himself and the barriers HE created for himself.

Two months after release and slipping back into his old routine, he came to realize (due another near-by) destiny would be behind bars. He got picked up but was gifted a second chance.

Avoiding a return to prison depended upon his finding himself and gainful employment, but the difficulty he faced in finding work with his past was daunting. Steven was despondent, feeling that the stigma of his past would never go away.

Looking at the numbers, he had no chance… but you can’t always bet on the numbers

(Going to slow this down for now, will conclude tomorrow when we will uncover Steven’s CHE Quotient after the program and what path he is venturing)

Richard Milaschewski,
2ndChanceUniversity.org

#1 Interview Ooop

Picture by Yu-Chuan Hsu
Picture by Yu-Chuan Hsu

You’ve sent a tailored cover letter and resume to a job posting you’ve been hoping to find over the past six months. To your good fortune, you receive a call to schedule an initial interview for two days from now. Excited and eager, you plan the next 40 hours in preparation for a potentially life-changing event.

Here’s what you’ve done to prepare for the interview:

  • Gathered additional company research, examining their website, mission statement, and products (research should be on your “must do” list as questions about the company will come us. For example, the interview may ask: “What do you like about our company,” if you don’t have the mission statement down, when asked, you will stumble (no ooops allowed when it comes to company knowledge).
  • Revisit your references. Make sure references are aware of possible contact, what position and company you are applying for, and ALWAYS offer a thank you for their help. For those not reaching out to references, a huge ooops may answer the phone.
  • Know where you are going. Immediately Map Quest the route, estimate the driving time and always add 20 minutes to the route (just in case). If time allows, take a practice drive to the location and spot the building and/or office you will be expected to be at. Nothing like being late or having a panic attack because of traffic delays.
  • Appropriate attire needs to be rehearsed the day/night before. Make sure your clothes and shoes are clean, sharp, AND appropriate.

Though the above is not a complete list, it’s a good start. Going back to the scheduled interview mentioned in the beginning, you’ve made all the necessary steps and feel confident tomorrow is not going to be just another day.

As the night before the interview nears an end, you barely sleep. The anticipation and self-talk about possible questions and possible answers swirl like a tail-free tornado. Finally, at midnight the sound of sleep departs your lips…

Morning comes without a hitch or interruption. Immediately you look at your watch and notice the 8:00 am interview appointment time and the numbers on your watch don’t make sense. How could your watch display 8:45 am?

#1 Interview Ooop: Not setting the alarm the night before your early morning interview.

After all the preparation, you oversleep… in a single snore, you lose.

As an employer, with great confidence I claim that climbing out of the “no-show” ooop is rarely accomplished.

Seeking employment insight and career collateral, visit www.edu-cs.com or if you are seeking material designed for those transitioning out of prison, check out www.CareerBreakOut.com and consider the most powerful book that will change your life: Walls, Bars, and Razor Wire… You Choose.”

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com
321-972-8919
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: http://www.CareerBreakOut.com

(MO)tivator or (N0)tivator: You Represent?

baby wolf by Jose Inesta
baby wolf by Jose Inesta

Too often we game ourselves into believing work performance and attitude tell the story of MOtivation… unfortunately, many are fooling themselves by representing NOtivation to all but themselves.

Several key words/terms in the above sentence need to be unpacked before the looking glass:

  • Tell the story: This refers to the message of your behavior as defined by your supervisor, co-workers, and customers being served. Truth is, don’t matter what you believe to be truth, others define every step you take, every move you make, and every breath you take (yes, they will be watching you).
  • Motivation: Do the actions and messages you perform represent enthusiasm? Wondering how enthusiasm is displayed? Here’s a quick tutorial: desiring to learn (and do) more than minimum job responsibilities and expressing a good attitude. Supervisors and co-workers notice those who are willing and wanting to grow with the company; willing and wanting to take on new challenges; willing and wanting to represent.
  • NOtivation: Does the mere thought of getting to work cause cramps or undue anxiety? Truth is, the vast majority of employees are not satisfied with their employment situation. Tall-tell signs of being a NOtivator include being late, performing the bare minimum (just enough to get by), rarely assisting others though you are caught up and able to do so, navigating the Internet or your personal phone during business hours, declining cross-training opportunities, holding a “not my job” attitude, and watching the clock with quivering anticipation. Naturally these are just a few of the obvious signs for the NOtivator as there are many more.

After reading the above, if your reaction was “who cares,” congratulations, you are swimming with the majority of folks out there and boxed yourself in as a NOtivator. How long do you tread?

Ever wonder why you keep getting ignored when it comes to job promotions or pay increases?

For the record: Promotions and pay increases are not a right, they are a privilege; a privilege rarely earned (or given) to the NOtivators in the world.

Take an objective look in the mirror. Reflect on what the person looking back sees… not just the surface, but the actions and attitudes behind and beyond the blind.

If you dare, imagine what the customers experience when you assist their needs. Imagine what your co-workers define and if respect has been earned. Imagine if you were your supervisor or owner of the company… would you give the person looking back a promotion or pay increase? If so, why? If not, why not?

Looking glass moment: through the eyes of the customer and company, what do your ACTIONS represent?

One of the most difficult (and bravest yet rewarding) things in life is self-examination. Truth is, until you see who that person looking back really is, you’ll reside behind a sheath of disillusion preventing progression and personal/professional happiness.

I won’t ask the question again… for now.

Seeking employment insight and career collateral, visit www.edu-cs.com or if you are seeking material designed for those transitioning out of prison, check out www.CareerBreakOut.com and consider the most powerful book that will change your life: Walls, Bars, and Razor Wire… You Choose.”

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com 321-972-8919
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: http://www.CareerBreakOut.com