Over the next few moments, take a self-psychological moment and get into the conviction of jamais vu.
Seeing eyeless allows one to gain insight and empathy into a world most know nothing about or are too afraid to invest emotionally.
Crossing the bridge onto renewing adventures is challenging.
For those leaving prison and entering a new world the level of trauma is dominated
by an eerie sense of misplacement.
Try to imagine entering a new world after 13 years wrongly
incarcerated as Duck experienced.
One of our goals at 2nd
Chance University is to bring worlds together through life experiences from
Duck, Stick, and many others contributing to our curriculum.
Don’t just read the lines from Duck, for a moment, feel each word and emotion. Come to understand crossing the bridge is not a matter of walking through an opened steel door.
Nothing was more intense than approaching the door for the final time. I grabbed mismatched clothes, got a bus voucher, and held my head high. No greater feeling at the time. Looking back, I don’t see release as a success. Release meant I let people down. After all, if I had done right, I would have never been sent to prison in the first place. This failure will haunt me every moment of my life. Duck
After serving 13 years Duck entered a changed world. For a moment, place yourself in his shoes and imagine how your life would be if you were locked away for the next 13 years.
What world would you enter?
What do you think the most difficult adjustment you would have to make?
Escape jamais vu:
See eyeless to transcend self/social-delusion.
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 2nd Chance
University justice-involved empowerment programs into an organization,
institution, or facility, step forward; together we can make a difference.
In prison, sanity is balanced by lost years and steel
doors. Stick takes our workshop audiences on a quick mental venture as he
compares freedom to lines captivity.
2nd Chance University keeps the experience
real, giving all a taste of what life behind bars is like in an effort to pull
workshop participants back onto their path.
Lines are formed in
a silent hypnotic manner as we are told how to walk, where to sit, and when to
think. Don’t talk or act on your own initiative, for those things are reserved
for the free world.
Obey, work, obey,
work, and then you notice a faraway look in your coworker’s cold gray eyes.
Where is he looking?
For some it’s 2025
and for others 2040. Still others can only look back in time to that one
precious thought, that real moment in time, freedom, knowing they will never
hold freedom ever again.
eyes of an ex-convict, what do you think freedom means? Why would Stick claim
they will never hold freedom ever again?
To an ex-convict, what do you believe freedom
After our work day we silently shuffle down the
quarter-mile-long hallway that connects to our wings. They lead us to our
Cruel steel doors loudly slam behind us as we step
inside the small, dreary existence of home. The few possessions we are allowed
to keep try to fill the emptiness of our cement boxes.
Pictures from home, a small plastic radio and commissary
goods are no match for the colorless white and gray that overwhelms our
comfortless cells. But in this apathetic world these small concessions mean as
much as having a ten thousand dollar bank account in the free-world.
If you were in prison, what possessions would
you hold most dear and why
Day becomes night
and night becomes day with little variation in most of our lives.
We think back on
past mistakes that relentlessly chew on our memories.
For most of us
these memories are hurtful and hateful things we try to erase, but they
continue to creep, crawling into our awareness like a stinging scorpion.
Heartaches and headaches are now measured in choices that were wrong.
Sanity is balanced
by lost years and steel doors.
We suffer from a
broken past and a distant, uncertain future of when and how. When are we going
to get out, and how? Walking or carried out feet first?
doubt constantly lurk in the shadows of our mind. Insanity hides just behind
Do you believe Stick’s words ring true to what
it’s like in prison? Why or why not? What do you think prison is like on the
soul and sanity?
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, step forward; together we can make a
In today’s political and over-ambushed scene, treading the sensitive has taken on new
and unbalancing dimensions.
For the justice-involved, recognizing their
mental, emotional, and psychological landscape can be a huge step away from
recidivism and leaps closer to safer streets.
Dose of reality
2nd Chance University is about preparing those
who have stumbled with the tools to succeed. With this in mind, the topic of
sensitivity needs to be addressed. Partnering with triangulation, let’s take a
look at treading the sensitive from three
From the justice-involved:
Any miss-step could mean revocation and a return
Being released does not equate to instant
freedom, physically, emotionally, or psychologically
Typically an “out to get me” view where choices bombard, forcing vertigo with reckless
From the employer:
How do I interview someone convicted of a crime
What will other employees think if I hire a
convict, is it fair, is it safe
Is hiring a felon the right thing to do or
should I just close my eyes from it all and pretend I am doing the right thing
by discriminating against those who have stumbled
From the community:
Let those who have been incarcerated remain and
Don’t want anyone who has a record in my
Those who have stumbled cannot be trusted,
believed, or are capable of recovery
When it comes to treading the sensitive, those who have
stumbled have lived the life and will continue to do so until their dying days.
Granted, some are not deserving of second chances but all deserve to be treated humanely and with dignity.
In order to become a productive member of the community,
those who have stumbled must understand not only the above perspectives, but
must also develop tools to overcome those obstacles… this is the mission at 2nd
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.
There are many excuses for doing just enough to get by, personally as well as professionally. Being a business owner and career coach, I’ve heard more than my share of excuses justifying complacent behavior over the years.
“I don’t get paid what I’m worth, so why give more than I get paid?” Sharon
Tell the truth, how many out there have not worked their promised potential simply because you believed you deserved more?
NOT good enough defined?
Accepting defeat without putting up an honest attempt to overcome barriers
Giving up after one attempt or let down… stopping never will get you beyond
Allowing others to convince an attitude of complacency (guilty by association)
Believing negative self-talk, living each day as just another day
Convincing yourself you do not deserve better
Being satisfied with who you are… here’s a hint, no matter who or what you are, there is ALWAYS room to advance
Accepting an invisible status
Performing at the lowest denominator (just doing enough)
Taking extra time at the coffee pot, texting, or strolling the Internet
Not stepping up to the plate, taking charge, or being the go-to person
Always having to be asked to perform a function or making careless mistakes
Believing your worth far exceeds your production (self-delusion can be job threatening)
For those identified with the “good-enough-disorder,” don’t fret as there are ways to get unstuck. No doubt the first question one with this disorder would ask… “why isn’t good enough, good enough?”
The core of humanity and civilization is progression, creating a better life for you, your family, and the community; without personal and cultural evolution, humanity would have never advanced beyond the Stone Age, meaning life without Facebook would be a reality.
Companies AND employees accepting complacency do not survive… period.
Employers seek candidates to hire and promote who are not satisfied with status quo, desiring those with the aptitude to go boldly beyond grey.
Complacent employees rarely earn promotions, pay increases, and are often downsizing victims.
What you can do NOW:
Take a clear look at yourself, your goals, and your life. Determine if the person looking back in the mirror is the person you were meant to be AND you are happy with who you are and where you are. If the answer is yes, you may be carrying the highly contagious good-enough-disorder bug. If the answer is no, the first step has been crossed… off to a good start.
Upon reading this article, take out a piece of paper and make a “reachable” commitment with action plan. In other words, on a personal and professional note, tell yourself a goal and then WRITE the goal (and action plan) on a piece of paper (the act of writing is an important step toward goal achievement). Clipping or drawing a picture also adds to eventual realization—be sure and post the picture wear you will see it EVERY morning as you begin the day.
Establish a time-line and stick to it.
VISUALIZATION: Imagine the new you or the desired product as if it has become a reality. Once your mind accepts this reality, achieving becomes more attainable.
AFFIRMATION: Each evening and each morning make a pledge that required steps will happen. Upon the evening, if steps were not satisfied, evaluate how you will overcome challenges on the following day. That morning, engage in self-talk, determining the goal will become a reality.
Association: Gather around peers, friends, family, etc. who challenge you to stand up to the goal and will not allow excuses to get in the way.
The good-enough-disorder has the capacity to stumble not only your achievements, but those around you as well (including family members). Ultimately, how you want to live your life is entirely up to you and if you decide complacency defines you, don’t blame the lack of promotions, employment, and satisfaction on anyone but yourself.
The final element purging the good-enough-disorder out of your system resides within the following:
Focus and Single-Mindedness
With focus and single-mindedness, there is nothing which cannot be overcome. Remember there may be one peak atop the mountaintop, but there are MANY paths one can take to get there.
There are no excuses but the ones you convince yourself you believe! For the highly sensitive person, the above tips are exceedingly important. I know how easy it is to melt into the landscape (and wanting to melt into the landscape).
For the HSP, take small steps… NEVER stop stepping!
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.”
“Circle the yard until every grain touches your soul.” Duck
Duck died last month, on parole. After serving 13 years in prison, he entered a world dramatically changed since beginning incarceration. Duck’s story, challenges, employment barriers, and societal roadblocks are not his alone.
After all, according to the latest Bureau of Justice Statistics:
One in four United States adults have a criminal record
The United States has 4% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s incarcerated people
14,000,000 people move through the prison system every year (no typo here)
Time ain’t nothing but empty space. What we decide to put in the empty space determines who we are. Nothing else matters… nothing else.” Stick
Stick served time twice and is currently supervised by the board of pardons and paroles. While doing time, Stick took advantage of every educational opportunity and continued his education upon release. He too, is not alone according to the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (December 2014):
An estimated 6,899,000 persons were under the supervision of adult correctional systems at yearend 2013
About 1 in 35 adults (2.8%) in the United States was under some form of correctional supervision at yearend 2013
Recognizing the stories behind Stick and Duck are relatable to approximately one in four adults (not to mention affected family members), Education Career Services, Career Breakout, and 2nd Chance University are dedicated to providing successful offender transitional programs and books into an often non-forgiving public.
For over ten years, Duck and Stick consulted with the research, writing, and coaching teams, offering a perspective and reality into “Walls, Bars, and Razor Wire… You Choose” as well as our six-book intensive series offered through 2nd Chance University.
What have we learned over the years? Glad you asked. Positive offender reintegration as well as personal and professional success can become a reality. Will it be easy? Not a chance. Are there help and resources to get you on your path? There is, Career Breakout has taken the lead.
Research highlights many employers ARE willing to give second chances if the individual possesses these basic characteristics (just to name a few):
The right mindset: too often offenders are not mentally prepared to the challenges they will be facing upon release and for years to come. Taking wishes out of the equation and keeping it real must be the first step… and that comes from within as detailed by Duck and Stick.
Honesty: Offenders are watched like an eagle, accept it, live with it. This means no lying on job applications, during interviews, or while networking. This does NOT mean one should shout to the world background blemishes… don’t get me wrong.
Confidence: When asked about an arrest, conviction, or probation, own it. Once accepted, turn poor past judgments into a learning and growing experience. There are several effective methods to do this, unfortunately there is not enough space to cover at this time (do get our website address concluding this article for available insight and resources).
Preparation: If you’ve never heard of a letter of explanation, time to get the groove on and develop one. Our material covers these, and above bullets, for your advantage.
As Duck, Stick, and thousands of others have found out, transitioning from prison to the “real world” begins with the self.
No one ever promised life after prison would be easy. Truth is, easy is not part of the equation, but there are common mistakes many felons make upon release. It’s not really their fault, they just didn’t know the right things to do after getting their 50 dollar voucher and bus ticket. With Career Breakout, the right things to do are in black and white.
Time is now to accept reality: the individual transitioning from razor wire fences are seen as a risk. Not knowing effective methods to turn risk into benefit or believing you won’t succeed places you on the fast track back to prison.
“What’s the use of trying? After 12 years in prison, I can’t change the stripes on my back.” Felix
Do you have what it takes to make it upon release or will the rebound find you with a violation? Believe it not, you have the power AND now you have the resources.
If you or someone you know desires to overcome barriers due to an arrest or conviction, invite them to review the latest publication from Career Breakout, Duck, and Stick. Warning, the contents offered demands an active role on your part and will only be effective if you are committed to freedom… at any cost.
There are no excuses but the ones you convince yourself you believe!
“I’m not a number.” Duck
Seeking material designed for those transitioning out of prison and choose freedom, visit www.CareerBreakOut.com and consider the most powerful book that will change your life: “Walls, Bars, and Razor Wire… You Choose.”