Now Hiring

Just recently I was inspired to create a few cartoons because of a conversation I had with a guy who sleeps in the bunk next to mine.

We were talking about just how hard it is going to be to reestablish ourselves once released.

How hard it is going to be to find jobs… especially for us, two ex cons with no real job training and minimal job experience.

Hell, I have more cartoon experience creating cartoons and caricatures than anything else!

We also talked about jobs in the past we had…

Some that were physically demanding and demeaning beyond comprehension… and most that didn’t even provide enough to survive on solely.

Brandon, the guy who sleeps in the bunk beside mine, told me of a job he had once where he was working construction… where all he did was hold up a stop sign to direct traffic.

Doesn’t that just seem like the most fitting of jobs for guys like us?

This was an easy job to… not physically demanding at all.

But kind of demining… I mean, just a little…

Though, to the jobs defense, Brandon is sort of an idea.

He said one day while he was at work he actually fell asleep holding up the stop sign. Some old woman pulled up and saw that Brandon was asleep on his feet and decided to mess with him. She bumped the sign just a little with her car, and then laid on the horn.

Brandon said he woke up sp fast he damn near shit himself.

He thought he was about to be hit by a car.

He told me that the old woman almost fell out of her car as she got out of it and was laughing hysterically at him.

It’s not really a good example of what I am trying to convey here.

Here is a better one; before I got arrested I had a job working on a marina on very big expensive boats…

I did everything there.

I ran all sorts of equipment, and pretty much busted my ass for this company for about 7 months.

I was hired at $8.50 an hour and got a raise, once, to $10.00 an hour.

But then the recession hit and only 2 people were laid off… a guy who made $20+ an hour and the lowest paid employee at the company…me.

I specifically remember saying to myself, how I hope the $600.00 I made every 2 weeks (5 and some change after taxes) really helped keep the company from going under during the economic slump.

It must have, too.

There still around today.

So, I got laid off. But, I didn’t give up!

I refused to give up!

I went and busted my ass some more. Now, to find work again.

I found a new job in 3 days. But this was no normal job.

It was a horrible job.

I got hired working for a moving company making $9.00 an hour which would have been fine except I was only working about 20 hours a week.

I remember cashing a check one time for about $125.00 and asking if I could have it in all 5’s so it actually LOOKED like I had some money.

It was then that I realized it was time to look for a second job. And look I did.

Everywhere!

I must have put in 20 applications in a short period of time, everything from restaurants to fast food. Hell, Hardees wouldn’t event hire me!

I even went and talked to an Army recruiter. I said “I want to join the Army…You can even send me to war, I will go.”

They told me because of my record I would need X amount of college credits…

The Army told me I would need COLLEGE to go to war!

I even tried to start my own business… Jobs done right. No job too big or too small, We’ll (figure out a way) to do it right!”

 I received 0 business.

By this point, I was beaten.

The moving company now only had a use for me seldom to none… and it seemed only when it was some intense rigorous shit.

Like “Oh, we got three pianos that need to be carried by hand up four flights of spiral staircases and you can’t wear your shoes in the home either.

Can you image moving a 500 pound piano with 5 other guys up multiple flights of stairs with no traction on your feet?

I did that…

Like twice!

Before long, I gave up.

I quit.

I went back to what I knew best…

And that in turn eventually sent me back to prison.

Success in the free world for an ex-prisoner-felon can be a real shot in the dark…

Just hoping to hit the mark.

It “must” take an immense amount of determination to succeed after prison.

Notice I used the word must in quotations.  I do so because I have never experienced this first hand myself.

I only offer what I assume to be correct.

If the DOC would spend more time and energy focusing on job training instead of the senseless bullshit that they do maybe that would in turn give guys like myself and Brandon a real opportunity to succeed.

Maybe then prison wouldn’t be so much of a revolving door type of operation for guys like us who have spent many years getting let out only to come right back.  

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16 thoughts on “Now Hiring

  1. I don’t mean to minimize what ex-prisoners go through when searching for a job. Jail must be a tough thing to explain to potential employers.

    However, I am currently unemployed and I’m on the other end of the spectrum. Short version: “overqualified” and therefore too expensive (they assume) to hire.

    Even the school systems want kids fresh out of college with no experience or advanced degrees who will quit in 3 years and be replaced with other warm bodies at the bottom of the salary scale.

    Companies will probably think you’ll accept a lower salary than other applicants. That may make you attractive to some employers.

    Be hopeful. At the very least, it makes life easier.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That sucks, to put it bluntly. You seem like a decent person, you obviously know right from wrong, but you’re forced to consider criminal activity just to put food on the table and a roof over your head. That just isn’t right or fair. I’m sorry the odds are stacked the way they are. If I could help you I would : \

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! They are stacked against me and have been for a long time, this time I won’t let them stand in my way though. I am determined to do something great with my life and I won’t let my current situation stand in my way, even if it is the biggest thing in my way right now.

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  3. It’s hard for anyone but even more so hard when you are judged because you have a record. Not sure what state you live in, but in i live in NY and I’ve know alot of people that signed up for halfway house living after getting out and through that program the organization finds you jobs. It may be minimum wage and it may be grunt work. But,they do advance you up as you hold down the job. My sister’s ex when he got out , he got in as a janitor for a university and he was making 17 bucks a hour, full time. He threw that away and went back to the old life.

    Construction is a good field for those with records, they don’t care as long as you didn’t commit murder. Hard to get into, but it’s worth the effort. My cousin got in, without even a GED at the time and started as a broom pusher advanced to the go- for getting breakfasts and lunches and now he’s moved up to a regular ol’ worker.

    Even for people without a record , the job market just sucks. I work a retail job for just over 10 bucks an hours, which would be decent if it was full time But they keep me at 25 hours a week. Just enough job security to keep me stuck there but not enough and not flexible hours to get another job. But, soon I’m going to have to make a hard choice and take the gamble of finding another job and risking making in through the temporary phase of the job( that’s what almost all jobs do now, they hire you as a temp/seasonal and if you last past their probational period they they keep you as permanent ). It’s frustrating and its gamble.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for all the helpful information. I wish you luck on your gamble in finding another job…I can imagine it being frustrating in your situation as well, having a decent pay but not the hours and job security you wish to have and need. Good luck!

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  4. Your words express well the predicament of many. People need encouragement and support in order to change course.
    Work on your cartoons. They are excellent. Maybe you can somehow obtain some materials and make cards with your drawings. Maybe you can work your natural gifts into something that others will pay you to create.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent post. The cartoon is great, too; when I got out I actually did work for literally $4/hour for a few months. I was living in the middle of nowhere because the only place I could parole to was in the country miles from a bus stop (for a bus that was only twice daily anyway). I had no car and no license so my only option was to try working from home. I wrote trivia questions for some guy I found on Craig’s List and the pay was so low per question that it came out to $4 an hour. Eventually, a friend introduced me to a local newspaper editor who was willing to use me for freelance work even though I didn’t have a car; she would just assign me stories that I could do only by phone interviews. Eventually, I got a license and now am able to drive to cover stories and have gotten into freelance journalism. Fortunately, most papers don’t do background checks on freelancers. Some don’t care about full-time employees, either, but pretty much none of them care about freelancers. It’s been a long process getting to this point and ultimately I’m going to need something more substantives (i.e., a full-time job instead of freelance). But it’s certainly better than where I was.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate your comment, it was great hearing it. I already know how hard it is going to be for me when I get out, reading your comment makes it that much more real. Yet, it also shows me that eventually I can get past it all and on my way to where I want to be. For now I have been creating cartoons for submission to a few magazines and working on some cartoon/comic strips to submit to some of the newspapers around here as well. Sounds like things are looking up for you and I wish you the best in all of it.

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