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Alternative Life Choices for Ex-Offenders
A Different Viewpoint
Spending time in prison or being a former crack head might not be the usual career path of a motivational speaker, but it is one of the career choices worth exploring for anyone who can inspire, encourage, educate and be an agent for change. It is not a given that one has to be an ex-offender or an ex-drug addict to be a convincing motivational speaker. In fact, anyone who can research topics on prison and drugs can tell a story. However, ex-offenders willing to share their story in a public arena can be instrumental in a life changing event for someone on the road to self destruction.
Motivational Speakers are “storytellers.” They must have a captivating and effective way of delivering information. In addition, motivational speakers should have a charismatic personality, be comfortable standing in front of an audience and be able to tell a story that will make an impact on the audience.
Former inmates and drug addicts have powerful stories and one of best ways for a charismatic ex-offender to reinvent their life is to explore self employment. A career as a motivational speaker might be a good choice. One of the problems an ex-convict has when he gets out of prison is to survive on the outside. The first hurdle is getting a legal paying job. This can be the number one setback for a person who has been in prison. Most employers are not willing to give ex-offenders their first re-entry into the work world.
The traditional job interview for a former prisoner is is fraught with pitfalls. If they get past the interview, there is the background check, the drug test and finally the gap in employment as a further stumbling block. Facing insurmountable odds the ex-offender has trouble landing a job. The failure to find meaningful work that pays a decent salary oftentimes leads the ex-offender back to prison.
Motivational speaking is just one of the methods an ex-convict can create a new beginning out of an old lifestyle. It is a great way to inspire others to stay off the path to self destruction; however, it is only one of the career choices where one can be self-employed. In addition, not all ex-offenders have the personality or style to be a public speaker. However, anyone who is willing to persist and learn the skills can succeed.
Instead of ex-offenders settling for careers as janitors, warehouse workers, clerks or parking attendants, self-employment is an alternative to consider. Some famous people who danced on the wrong side of the law include: Charles Dutton, Don King, Robert Downey, Jr., and Judge Mathis. They have chosen to reinvent themselves, negate their past behavior and upgrade their quality of life. For at least one of them, the road to respectability has been extremely hard but he keeps trying.
Nothing is impossible for anyone who wants to have a different outcome for their life. For those ex-offenders too shy or not inclined to stand and speak in front of a crowd there are other careers where one can be successfully and gainfully self-employed. Some examples include: Business owner (not drug dealer), lawn care service (average income $51K per year), caterer (average income $29K per year), recycler (average income $55K per year), actor (average income starts at $60K average income and could go over a million dollars), inspirational speaker (average income $100K per year) and scrap metal dealer (average income $50K per year).
Self-improvement is not easy for any one. It takes time and it takes money. How can an ex-offender with $200 in gate money when they leave prison make the money needed to become self employed? Become a self-employed mini-entrepreneur immediately. Turn the $200 gate money into your first stake as a foundation for your future business. Open an account at a credit union (account fees are cheaper than banks) with $50. Take the other $150 and buy supplies to wash and detail cars, or to take a business course at a community college, or to buy a bicycle to run errands. Whatever it takes to advance your big picture goals, as long as it is legal it is a new beginning. The money you make from your ventures- deposit half the money into your new savings account and spend the balance on food, room and board. If you are fortunate enough to have a supportive family or partner to help with food and housing - show them, by your actions, that you are on a positive path to a future life.
Finally, get rid of every negative person in your life whether they are family or friends. In fact anybody who tells you that you cannot achieve your goals – drop them like a hot potato. They are not a good friend if they do not support your legal lifestyle. If you are an ex-offender and you are serious about changing your lifestyle and creating a quality life for yourself and your family you have to be able to identity and understand what real friendship means. Friends will support you but they will not enable you. They will also rejoice in your success and not be jealous of you.
Be persistent in your goals. Calvin Coolidge once said – “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
Start now creating a positive and quality life for yourself and your family.