Recovery Event – Recent Things

Hello Readers!

Your favorite felon has been one busy gal recently. Between landing two steady writing gigs (huzzah for determination!), I’ve also been recovering from the loss of a dear family member and getting the homeschooling year started, as well as preparing for a local event that celebrates recovery in all forms.

It’s been a rough and tedious couple of months, but this particular event reminded me that my work need not overtake my life – no matter how much I love it – and that I had been letting this side of things fall to the wayside. Which is not what I want to do at all – there’s still too much to be done in the realm of re-entry after conviction.

I arrived about forty minutes early, once I found the entry to the pavilion – unfamiliar territories always prove interesting for me. I always hate when I’m lost in those winding parks that dot the MidWest because I know I look insane as I frantically search for the building I need to be in while inching by whatever pedestrians might be around. /shiver

While still a bit unsure, I wandered around the area on foot until I found a familiar face – the wonderful woman that has recently founded a new approach to recovery through her own experiences. I won’t share her name here – but take it from me – she’s inspiring. We’ve even bounced ideas off of each other as we found different ways to rehabilitate our mindsets to find our own versions of freedom and happiness. Which is even better because there’s history there – and it’s not always common to see close friends on the track to recovery. It’s a beautiful thing when it does happen though, so cherish it if you have it.

We set our tables up and took turns manning tables, swapping information, and she even took a huge step and actually spoke in front of people. I know I’ve talked about doing that before, but I still haven’t reached that point yet – so I’m extra thrilled that she was able to push herself to do the public speaking thing and share her story that way. I was also able to meet a few new people on both sides of the fence, in just about every way you can define that phrase. From freshly convicted and currently supervised, to family members awaiting the release of loved ones, to genuinely interested program directors and board members of local institutions. The area judge was even present and shared the successes of the new problem-solving court that he’d recently implemented (both in terms of success stories and the financial savings that real rehabilitation efforts can offer the taxpayer). It was amazing and heart-warming to see the dedication that was obvious in the hearts of all that were present and to connect with like-minded positive individuals. The event focused on the hope that we need to utilize to heal from the past and keep moving forward in a positive way.

Overall, it was an invigorating and positive experience with fantastic people that want to help. Hearing some of the stories I did today, I can’t help but think back over my past, replaying the major events of the three years of bad choices that led to my own conviction, about the loss and depression that fueled a lot of those decisions, the addictions I toyed with and my overall tendency to destroy myself every time I found something good, and I realize that while I probably wouldn’t have chosen the life I’ve had – it’s the life I needed to find my purpose and to fully discover the things that I am truly passionate about. I also wouldn’t wish any of my experiences on my worst enemies – the bottom of the barrel is too hateful a place to be. I’m reminded of why I love to help those in need – breathing easy in life is something that is too often taken for granted and it’s far too fragile in all honesty.  But with a little bit of help, and a little bit of hope, we can lift each other up beyond our wildest dreams.

Love and Peace,
Aza (@Aza_Enigma)

 

 

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Five Things You Should Know About Felons

Hey guys, thank you for stopping by! I’m so grateful for all the supports, shares, follows, and likes in my various social media platforms.

Today, I’ve compiled a few things that felons need you (yes, YOU) to know.

Let’s take a look at what the felon community wants to share with everyone!

  1. Criminal Records are more common than you might think – weareallcriminals.org shares that ‘one in four people have a criminal record’. While this includes misdemeanors (which carry far less stigma – even if many convicted felons were only sentenced to probation or time in a county jail – which is the same punishment for many misdemeanors!), it really draws your attention to the fact that criminal records are actually quite common. That would be because…
  2. We all make mistakes – now, while only one in four has a criminal record – it can be safely assumed that at least three in four (if not four in four) have committed a crime of some level (misdemeanors included here again), they just weren’t caught or convicted. Again, weareallcriminals.org comes into play and shares stories of people who realized that they could have had their entire livelihood taken from them – had they been caught and joined the ranks of ‘convicts’.
  3.  Felons CAN change for the better – even if they’ve earned more than a few convictions. One participant in my poll describes how she’s earning a degree to work in social welfare after SIX convictions. It might take some of us longer to get out of the rut, but when we do – many of us want to contribute to the greater good. We aren’t hardwired to stay ‘bad’ like so much of society wants to think – we just have to find what will truly motivate us to make a positive change in our lives. That motivation varies for each of us – as well as the situations that lead us to our convictions.
  4. Background checks ONLY show the negatives – even when we’ve made positive changes. So, when you’re an employer that’s looking at an interviewee who has just opened up about their record – consider asking about the GOOD things that they’ve done. Rather than immediately assuming that felons are nothing but bad news – try to see the things that they are trying to change in their life. Because honestly, the income that we are seeking with you is going to be part of keeping a stable life that won’t push us back into old patterns of behavior. Many felons hang in the balance – trying to get back on track in a society that doesn’t want to let them have the chance – no matter how much we have changed for the better.
  5. Felons have a lot of GOOD to contribute – As a felon, I know that every time I find a new job – I have to work five times harder than my co-workers (and the felon community is very familiar with that sentiment) just to prove that I’m worth keeping as an employee. Employers are wasting talent when they deny felons work – especially when that work has NOTHING to do with the background. For instance, my theft record might prevent me from working in retail (thankfully I have literally zero interest in retail stores), but I’m qualified and capable in the field of psychology and coaching.

Overall, felons just want a chance to find a stable life. Our packaging might be a little bit damaged – but we have a lot to offer when given a chance. So, before you judge us based on your assumptions – take a moment and take a chance – there’s plenty of protection for employers (certificates of employability, certificates of good conduct, certificates of relief from disability [this one is a bit confusing in the title but still a great thing]). As far as society goes – who hasn’t made a mistake? We’re all flawed but we’re still beautiful people.

That’s all for today folks! Thank you for stopping by and feel free to click around and explore the various posts and links I share on the blog page. If you love what you see, please share it, especially if you know someone that needs the information I’m sharing with you!

Love and peace,
Aza

 

 

I’m on Patreon! Support and Share!

Hey guys!

So, things have been incredibly insane the last couple weeks for me.

I had finally found 2 jobs I loved (on top of the freelancing I offer) and I was excited to finally be exactly where I wanted financially. They were part-time gigs but decently paying jobs that I really liked. They didn’t require me to be around people constantly – which was great – I’m awkward as can be in person. It really was perfect.

Until my new-ish car decided to show exactly how much of a Jynx (apparently it wanted to live up to the name I gave it) it was. And the lemon law only covers 500 miles in my area – where I had already driven over 10,000 miles (I was a busy, busy bee – I’m losing my mind now honestly because I don’t have enough Gigs to keep me occupied)

Anyway, both of my payroll jobs were based on driving my vehicle. Thanks to Jynx breaking down so badly I couldn’t afford to fix it, I’m now not only out of a job – but out of all options for work locally.

While I have been building my freelancing business – I was not prepared to become a full-time freelancer so suddenly.

In light of this, I was directed to check out Patreon by a few of the fellow authors I’ve talked with. So, I decided to take a chance to really push my freelancing and my goals to reach out to struggling felons in my area.

(Sidenote: this is part of the flexibility that I talk about with work and mindset – I’m freaking out and really anxious – but I’m applying that energy to do things that might help me in the long run with what I’ve really wanted to do with my time and contributions – even if it wasn’t my original plan to be here already)

So, I checked Patreon out and I love the platform. It helps me define clear goals that you guys can help me reach – and I only ask for $5 a month on it. Of course, if you want to donate more – you are free to do so. I hate asking for help, but if I’m going to be successful in helping those who need it – I can’t do it alone.

Find my Patreon page HERE and if you can’t support – please share it – you’ll still be an awesome part of my goals!

Thank you for checking me out, don’t miss out on my other great posts where I share information for felons who want to learn how to overcome their past.

Misinformation Round 1

Misinformation Round 2

Helpful Hints for Convicts

Looking Back – The Last 365 Days

Hey Readers!

I was looking back at some of the old posts on here and realized that it’s nearly my one year anniversary of publishing my first book!

It wasn’t but a few months before that I had created this blog in the first place, and was finally inspired to write about the helpful points of my own experience in overcoming my bad background.

Thus was born, the Friendly Felon’s Guide To Life After a Felony and all the subsequently birthed ‘side-quests’ that this endeavor opened up for me.

It’s really crazy to think about how quickly everything began taking off in some way, and somehow also how slow some things feel like they’re going.

After self-publishing using Smashwords and Amazon, I also reached out to an aligned publishing company (Microcosm – has generally awesome content, go check them out, even if you don’t want or need my book) and was approved and put into print. It was amazing to get that rush of accomplishment!

This positive feedback encouraged me to continue writing and has allowed me to grow in so many ways that I didn’t expect. I’ve had the pleasure of helping a few felons across the nation and the genuine reactions I’ve seen as they realized they weren’t out of options has been the absolute best part of everything. As time passed, I also began getting more messages from fellow felons across the nation – thanking me for showing them that they really could move forward with their lives.

I’ve pushed my expectations of myself for learning – especially when it comes to the marketing and seo stuff – and have made progress in ways I never thought possible thanks to my background (it’s a difficult mindset to shake honestly – more about that another day). It’s really amazing what you can do with even a touch of determination and research guys (Nope, I’ll never say it enough, -not sorry).

In addition, I jumped more fully into the freelance writing gig and have been experiencing slow but steady success in gaining clients and a great reputation as a writer – and this blog is even part of my portfolio (of course, if you saw my last post – you should know that already). It’s all come together so wonderfully, and it is incredibly rewarding even though it’s been a long, slow business working toward this level of fulfillment in life after my felony conviction.

It’s been a crazy 365 days guys, and it just goes to show you how things can turn for the better when you find a focus and work toward it without relent. Don’t be scared to learn new things or try new industries – you never know what might actually click better with your skills and personality until you try it out. I certainly never thought I’d actually be the slightest bit successful with my writing or my life in general for the longest time – but I proved myself wrong – and that’s one of the most important lessons I could have learned.

So long for now, stay strong and keep moving forward!

Love and Peace,
Aza

 

Making Progress and Portfolios

Hey guys!

Per usual, I’ve been a busy bee – writing assignments are stacking up nicely, and I’ve finally gotten around to making the one thing that every professional needs.

A portfolio

That neat little collection of the work you’ve done in whatever industry you tend to prefer. As I lean toward the writing side of things, even with all my other skills – I used a journalism based portfolio website to create my own collection.

You can check it out here: Aza’s Portfolio

Then, feel free to make your own to begin building up your own collection of results to prove to potential employers how awesome you are at your work. It’s a huge help for anyone, but we felons need all the positive evidence we can muster up to gain employers trust after our convictions.

Pointers

  • Focus on your skills
  • Don’t be too serious
  • Get familiar with converting files from one type to another
  • Do plenty of research for samples, examples, and how-to’s to help you get on track

Don’t forget to check out these other awesome posts I’ve made:

Misinformation

Work From Home

Improve Your Resume

Thanks for stopping by, and stay strong!

Love and Peace,
Aza

Improving Your Resume (Felon Tips)

Hey Readers!

I’ve been working on a new Gig lately, and while I can’t get into a lot of detail – I can say I’ve been learning a lot about the hiring process from the hiring manager’s perspective. It’s also reminded me of some of the resume struggles I had to overcome to up my game with interviews as a felon and that nasty, aggravating little note on my background.

So, in true fashion as the Friendly Felon, I want to share some of those tips that I’ve been learning (and some I’ve practiced myself) to help my fellow felons build their resumes and their careers just a little bit more easily (even if it takes more work).

  1. Keep track of your jobs
  2. Note supervisors and managers names
  3. Customize your resume for different employers
  4. Focus on your experiences and accomplishments
  5. Get great references through positive networking

Keep Track of Your Jobs

First up, you absolutely have to keep a track record of all your work. Include side gigs that might be under the table (they count as experience if you’ve done them well – and keep track of the contact information for those people after asking if you can keep them as a reference). This leads me directly to my second biggest tip:

Maintain Good Relationships with Management

Be sure to take note of every single one of your supervisor’s and your manager’s names – and try to leave a good impression with them – even if the job ends on less than kind terms (two weeks notice preferably and no revenge pranks – getting blacklisted will not reflect well after your next interview). With a bad background already in tow, you need to focus on making great impressions with every interaction you have. Especially with the people in higher positions (in work or life in general) – they can be great keys to improved networking and better opportunities. Managers and small business owners are often incredibly connected to the local business scene – so when you prove yourself as a serious asset they will be far more likely to recommend you in the future.

Doubly important, be honest with the management and the human resources department. There are tax incentive programs available for many companies that hire felons, and the federal bonding program is an excellent point to bring up as well. In addition, you’ll be proving the misconceptions wrong and strengthening a positive perspective for all felons that are striving to find their path.

Customize Your Resume (It’s Worth the Effort)

For one, most of our applications aren’t even seen by a human eye at first. We’re now being evaluated by computer programs. It’s the digital age and when it comes to getting a decent and reliable income we have to adapt and overcome.

Look up each job you apply for on a great, free site called O*Net and discover the skills that they have listed for that type of work (ex: waiter/waitress, sales agent, etc). Then take those skills and put them on the resume you’re sending in for that job type – so long as you have them or the ability to learn them quickly and effectively that is. You have to be ready to prove you have those skills after all, and that can be a big order if you take it too far.

Along with that, you can edit down your resume to the jobs that are directly associated with the position you’re applying for – unless directed specifically otherwise. Also, when you aren’t working, find something helpful to do in your community or find a free educational course online to take to help pad the gaps in your resume. It shows dedication to improvement and helps you network at the same time!

When you do get lucky enough to get to a real human resources person in the hiring chain, you want to keep your resume short and to the point. That desk guy is about blind with reading resumes/comparing skills/getting his shortlist and you need to keep his attention by saving him time and leaving a strong positive impression.

Amplify Your Accomplishments

Also, focus on your actual experiences and accomplishments. Describe any sort of improvement you made while using your skills and share the basic details of those experiences.

For instance, when I improved sales at the local oil change shop and wanted to find a better paying job thanks to the experiences I had – I made a bullet point under that job that said:  “Improved sales for my store by 10% in the first three months of work.” It’s all about telling your future employer exactly what you can do for them.

Positive Networking Works Wonders!

Finally, just to reinforce the idea because it really is important –  personal referrals and networking are the best bet to get great jobs – and I’m so serious it’s ridiculous (I kind of hate networking honestly – I’m working on it).

Seriously though. Network, network, network. Make sure you’re leaving good impressions with people. Be the change you want to see in your life – it’s the only way to create those positive pathways we all want to see in our lives. Even if you have to fake it a bit until you make it.

Keep up the great work guys! Great things are waiting for us to find them!

Oh, don’t forget to like and share to let me know you dig what I’m doing here. Thank you in advance!

Peace and love
-Aza

Time for a poll with the Friendly Felon!

Morning Thoughts

Before I run off to my first job of the week, I have been wondering how my Readers (with records) have dealt with their own backgrounds and getting jobs.

What have you found that has worked for you?

I’ve kind of experimented with ways to get into interviews and employment and some situations are based on sheer luck and circumstance.

Once, I got a job because the boss lived above me in my apartment complex, so she knew me to some extent and was able to slip me in before higher-ups noticed the record bit. They couldn’t fire me because I had been upfront about it on my application and after she left the company a few months later, I was able to stay because I had proven myself to them (I made senior tech within the first three months – a record time for that location).

I was even offered her job as Manager of the place, but the pay wasn’t what I wanted for the hours I would be putting in (kind of a bad choice in retrospect, because having that experience would probably be really handy in helping get better jobs down the line). This is one way that enforced the idea that networking with people outside our typical groups of friends is important. They can help you find people that are helpful and willing to give you references or even give you a chance themselves.

I’ve also tried hiding the fact that I was a felon, but that never panned out, especially since it seems that backgrounds don’t have an expiration date. If you get a job by lying about the past, it’s because you lucked out and got a company that doesn’t run backgrounds most likely. (Even with the chance of being charged with negligent hiring in the case that something bad happens…)

I’ve also discovered recently that a good percentage of background checks run the entire past, except for juvenile records (simply because it’s illegal to share those without extra special paperwork).

One of my most recent background checks had no problem finding the ten-year-old conviction on my record, plus I got charged 15 bucks to cover the business’s expenses. (Actually currently arguing with them about the record, because they’re trying to deny me a raise in position because of the background, which is not in line with equal opportunity law from what my early research is telling me – it’s old and isn’t connected to the work that I’m performing in any way.)

Has anyone else used equal opportunity laws to help them with keeping or getting a position with a company?

Another way to go about it is to avoid the background checks period. And the only way to really do that is to go into business for yourself. Sure, you’ll have to look into what you are good at doing, if it can be marketed, and if you need a license from the state you live in to do the work, but it can be very much worth it. You can build a better reputation through this, or at least learn a lot while trying. And it never hurts to learn (even if the learning itself might be a touch painful for some).

Anyway, I’ve got to run for now, and I’m looking forward to seeing my Readers interact and share their stories and ideas here in the comments.

Love and peace
Aza

P.S. – Please support The Friendly Felon – shares and purchases are always appreciated!

Timelines and Tips

In light of my graduation (still blows my mind that I’ve finished it after my conviction), there has been a lot of recent reflection on time and how it affects our convictions and our careers. I know that I will have to invest a lot of research into the companies that I will be applying to. Especially because I chose a human services pathway (for my focal career, I have lots of different interests though, so I’m also not limiting myself – a very important factor for getting by in life as a felon) and the industry really wants good examples for employees – which is difficult to prove when you have a felony background.

So, I’ve started to venture into the pool of knowledge and experiences of other like-minded individuals with similar circumstances. Much like you yourself are doing now, reading this post. Here’s a bit of what I’ve found so far:

First off, some employers are just always going to reject you. They have this policy or that policy or sometimes it happens to be some sort of personal bias based on a negative experience.
It isn’t your fault, and you shouldn’t let yourself base your worth off of their rejection, and you shouldn’t hate them for it either. They simply want to cover their behinds in the case of court situations (based on some sort of statistics that they’ve had created by their insurance agencies) or they’ve been taught to be this way in some shape or form at some point. But there are plenty of employers that are willing to take a chance on someone that is honest and upfront about their past, you just have to sift through the rest to find them.

If you need additional experience for your resume, consider volunteering in various organizations or even a local community garden. And then put it on your resume. It shows that you have interests in the community and that you’re taking steps in socially preferred situations. It also gives you more depth on your resume and if you stick with it for a while, you get serious brownie points with human resources people – trust me it’s helped me a ton.
Stability of some sort really makes them happy, at least from my experience. For instance, when approaching interviews with personal resumes (not the single application sheet), I’ve found that focusing on the jobs I held the longest has been more rewarding in terms of improved (over minimum wage) employment than listing more of the shorter jobs that I have had over the years.

I’m also considering putting together a few presentations that show the specific reasons why felons can be good (often, fantastic actually) employees to help advocate for local felons in my area. This is still in the works – as it’s a bit of a tough sell to get their attention as a newcomer to the field. Feel free to reach out if you have ideas though!

Obviously, not gaining any new charges or convictions is also helpful, as the longer that you stay out of trouble the more things you can qualify for both in jobs, certifications for jobs, college financial aid, and even housing assistance in some states/counties. For instance, certifications of good conduct can be gained rather quickly in the state of Illinois, check your state laws to see if your area offers this and what conditions have to be met to earn it. If I recall my research into it a couple years ago when I earned mine, I found that I could have done it within a year or so of my conviction, instead of nearly 8 years later.

However, I didn’t even know something like that existed until right before I applied for it in 2015 after stumbling upon it while searching for expungement information (super lame in this state, which is why I decided to start owning my background and find a way to make it work FOR me instead of against me). I’m telling you, research is THE really big thing here. You kind of need to research until it FEELS like your eyes are bleeding and your skull is going to explode because some of it is very wordy and can be difficult to understand because laws have their own language and lawyers can muddle it up (sometimes in your favor if you’ve really proven to be recovered from making your bad choices, turns out State Attorneys can actually be nice people!). It pays off though, especially if your local court system isn’t even aware of the possibility and you are able to show them that it exists and that you deserve it. (It just makes your week, let me tell you that!)

And on that note, I’ve realized how tired I am so I bid you farewell until next time my dear Reader. If you have questions or suggestions for posts, please comment or contact me. I’d love to share useful information that you really want, instead of using random ideas that I get in the shower that become long rambles. 😛 (And I had the audacity to complain about 800 word essays each week in college…HA – now I write 800 words for FUN – well… and sometimes money if I like the topic)

Keep clicking around to find more felon friendly information – I’ve got lots stashed around here including my book – The Guide to Life After a Felony. Please share – it’ll help me stay out of the streets!

Peace and love
Aza

 

Graduating College with a Felony!

Guess what, I’m now a felon that has a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology!

It’s been a long five years (had to take a break after family losses for mental health), but I made it!

I am living proof that our pasts don’t have to stop us from becoming better people. What’s even crazier, is that the background you have can even help you depending on the career you choose to study for.

In my case, I wanted to apply my experiences as a felon in a program that will help other felons (and non-felons too!). Because I have managed to get my life back on track (messy as it might be, its what I have and what I LOVE), I want every felon to know that it isn’t the end of their normal life to have a conviction. You can move forward and you can be successful. You just have to want it, and be willing to figure out how to get it the right way!

I have a theft record, so I had to work around what I knew I couldn’t work in. I have had to avoid corporate retail positions, because it’s often a waste of my time and printed resumes (precious, expensive printer ink and paper) often because corporate or state policy simply doesn’t allow a felon with theft to work for them (state seems to be picky about lottery too, so no gas stations either for theft records around here). So, I had to find something that I COULD work in, that I actually LIKED.

I chose psychology partly because I love the intricacy of the human mind and how our emotions drive us to behave in different situations. I also love helping people with their problems and have been the go-to for my friends – both online and in real life – for advice and guidance.

Then I realized that with my background and my new expertise in psychology and life coaching, I could actually create my own coaching career built on my experiences. Plus I get to write about stuff that matters to me – it’s seriously a dream come true.

I also realized that there isn’t anything in my area that is directed to helping felons get back on their feet (the halfway houses around here don’t offer coaching, counseling, or any other actual support other than housing), and I recognized that there is a need for more support services for struggling individuals.

All in all, I wouldn’t change a thing that I’ve been through. My felony might have made me stumble, but it can’t keep me down in the dirt. If I can pick myself up, time and time again, holding my head high and continuing to move forward in life, I know you can too.

If you need guidance finding your passion and need someone to hold you accountable (it helps to have someone rooting for you and keeping you on task, it really does),  I’d love to help you. I offer books, workbooks, and one on one digital coaching. Find the links to the books in the sidebar to the right, or scroll up to the top to find a link to the exclusive print edition from Microcosm. I even created a couple of workbooks to help walk you through the process of getting back on track and these are available on Shopify for only $3 USD each. If you need one on one help, click on Hire Aza and take a look at what I offer. There’s something for everyone who is looking for a little guidance and I’ve made it as affordable as possible – so check it out and let’s support each other!

Love and peace,
Aza @aza_enigma (Twitter)

 

Misinformation about Felons

I’ve been perusing some Facebook groups that are directed toward felons and how to move forward after a conviction. And while I love that, I also notice the amount of misinformation or lack of information. People are discussing creating petitions to their state when it is very possible that the state already has something in place. These programs are not easy to find, but they are one of the least utilized tools that are already there.
People also often seem to think that felons are not supposed to be friends with each other, or that felons can’t vote for the rest of their lives. This simply is not the case in many states. Once you are finished serving your supervisory sentence (probation or parole), you actually get many rights back automatically. I know for a fact that in Illinois, I was able to vote the same year I finished my ‘supervised’ term. I didn’t care to vote until recently, but I was allowed to do so if I wished that same year.

And as for being buddies with other felons, it IS  legal for you to do so. It might not be the best of ideas, especially if the felons you’re friends with are still behaving badly as you really don’t need the inspiration to join in again, but it’s not against the law to be friends. Honestly, it might only apply to people that have specific bars against contact with certain individuals in their probation/parole while they are on it. I know on my case, there was an additional condition of avoiding the individual who had been my companion in my criminal conviction, and I found later that they had a similar condition on their paperwork against me. But it only lasted until our respective sentences were finished. Well, the legal part did, I’ve avoided that particular individual like the Prince from Edgar Allan Poes “The Masque of the Red Death” simply because I don’t need the temptation to fall back in with people I KNOW don’t have the ‘let’s move on mentality’.  The mindset of who you around GREATLY influence you and your motivation. Don’t trap yourself, and be realistic about who you’re around if you really want to make a shift to a better place.

Gun rights are another big unknown for many felons, but there are many states that will allow you to gain back your right to a firearm as well. In Illinois, once you’re done with your sentence, you can apply for your FOID again, and if you are denied, you can take it to the local court to discuss with a judge why you earned/ deserve the right back. Of course, violent offenders probably won’t get this back, and until rehabilitation efforts are created and fully functional in this direction, that probably won’t change. But for the majority of other convictions, you are likely fully eligible to make the attempt to show you’ve earned this right again. Some states are a little more hardball, and others play it more loosely. You have to learn to research these things, and have the patience to read through the “legal speak”. It isn’t easy, but IT CAN lead you to what you NEED to climb that ladder!

I think that pretty much covers the biggest things that I’ve noticed with misinformation about having a felony and how it influences us. The biggest thing to remember here is to DO THE DAMN RESEARCH. Or (shameless self-advertising) you can pay me to do it for you at my Fiverr Gig here – https://www.fiverr.com/azarathia/provide-felony-rehabilitation-support.

Point is, you HAVE to be armed with KNOWLEDGE about your state and your conviction. Without this sort of arsenal, you’ll keep feeling like the dog society tends to think we are.

 That’s all for now – although I won’t be surprised if it comes up again.
Love and peace,
Aza @aza_enigma (Twitter)

Writing Your Story

Sorry for the lack of posts guys, as usual, things are crazy on the home and business fronts. I’ve been hard at work researching and writing first drafts of my other writing projects (more information on these coming soon). And while writing is on my mind, I wanted to talk about how writing your story (how you became a felon) can help you put things into perspective. The insight that you might find through the practice of writing the story of your life might help you find your path to freedom again.

Shortly after my own incarceration, I found myself writing non-stop in my diary, talking about how I had got myself into the position I was currently in, how the people I thought were friends were just dragging me into unknown depths, and how insane my experience seemed to be in general.

I started to realize that it wasn’t just my friends that had beguiled me into the situation and that I had to take control of myself for myself. I had to start being accountable for my actions and lack of actions. This realization helped guide me to where I am now. I have raised a child to double digits (the little one isn’t so little these days), I have supported my family, and I have taken control of my life and I won’t let anything stop me from being successful. Felon or not, I am going to find or forge (create forcibly, not write bad checks, just FYI) my path to freedom and acceptance in society. And I know you can do it too!

Point is, writing it out can help you get outside of your head and might take a bit of the depression off your shoulders. It helped me learn more about myself and find out what I needed to change about myself – you never know until you authentically give it a shot.

Til next time,

Love and peace,
Aza @aza_enigma (Twitter)

Part Two Work Flexibility

Welcome back reader, let’s dig into part two of work flexibility.

I attempt to be very upfront with companies even if they don’t run background checks. (I know I mentioned this before, but I gotta repeat it)

At every single interview, I will bring up the fact that I am a felon, what my conviction was, and what I’ve done since my conviction. Now, half the time, it bites me directly in the arse. I won’t lie about that either. A good portion of people that were ready to hire me on the spot immediately withdrew their hand or waved me off impatiently as if I had wasted their time. (No consideration of the expenses I’d made toward fuel for traveling to the interview, my own time, and the often suffocating feeling of defeat they dealt me, mind you.)

However, it’s also won over a number of hiring managers, and they’ve been willing to put their arse on the line for me. This technique, a disposition toward being open and honest, has by far given me the most job opportunities. And thanks to the steadily shifting job market, I have had repeated opportunities to test and re-test this method.

As for the jobs that I have held over the years, they include the first post-conviction mystery job (ha, thought I was going to tell didn’t you?), waitressing, bar-tending, and then an intensive dive into the automotive industry.

My most stable positions have been in the automotive industry by far, as I personally have the knack for it (all three, [yes, three] parents were aviators and both fathers were mechanics with histories of being mechanics in their heritage).

I’ve also found that call centers and transcribing jobs are generally willing to work with felons (thanks to very strict rules within the call centers for information – no phones, no papers, no writing utensils, etc ).

More recently, I just ended my two-year employment with a local blind vendor (these guys have programs in every state). It was a great job, but my car crapped out so I’m back to freelancing (see my Extra Work from Home post for more on that!)

I also highly recommend attempting to get your work history built up through temporary labor agencies when you have one available to you. They are not the greatest jobs by far, but they will provide an income, and more importantly an avenue to better jobs to come.

The more experience that you can get in any sort of employment, the more you can give to the next job that you really want. Some of the day labor places will require a very intense dedication, as some places get clogged with substance abusers who will start a line at the door at 4 am (when the door doesn’t open until 6 am, just to get the jump on the day’s list of needed workers. And even if you do get in line early, you may not be asked to take a job for over a week, and still, you’ll have to come into the agency each morning until you get to know the dispatchers behind the desk.

Other labor agencies will add you to a larger compiled list of possible employees, and once they get to a job that you might be matched with, they will call you. This is a safer investment of time, but may take much longer to find work that works with you.

That’s all I can think of, for now. But keep checking back for more!

Love and Peace,
Aza