Interesting Reads – List of the Week

Hey Readers! I’ve been browsing the catalog again!

There’s a lot of nifty books in this list, check them out below:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/503385?ref=AzaEnigma (Strong Brains, Sharp Minds)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/23934?ref=AzaEnigma (Digital Media Skills)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/398936?ref=AzaEnigma (Job Guide for Nurses)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/578517?ref=AzaEnigma (Doctor Who Stuff)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/252936?ref=AzaEnigma (Learning on the Go)

And that’s my collection of interesting reads this week!

If you dig this list, why not check out my previous posts for more links (here and here)

That’s all for now folks

Love and Peace – Aza

The Early Morning Struggle

Good Morning Readers, it’s approximately 5:16 am, and I’ve been up for nearly an hour already.

It’s breakfast shift day at my payroll job.

Partly my own fault for volunteering, but I also have inventory to deal with today. Either way, thanks to the lovely cold in the Midwest right now, my car loves to not start immediately.

As I was cursing my volunteering spirit, and the poor, cold battery that has been struggling for its life for the last month or so, I realized that the sort of determination I was showing was part of why I’ve moved so far forward.

Are you the person who lets those moments of frustration overwhelm them? Or are you the one that pushes through the frustration and makes things happen?

No matter how many times my car has refused to start in this weather, I don’t let it quit, because I know I CAN’T QUIT either. It doesn’t matter if it’s just while I’m facing off with a loose battery post in 0 degree Fahrenheit for the eighteenth time in a morning – or going to that millionth interview where my background is going to get brought up again (even after an entire decade of good behavior) – I make the best of those situations, and push through them – because I have a goal.

And I’m determined to reach it.

Keep pushing forward guys! Even on those cold, dark mornings, where it seems the sun will never light your day.

Love and Peace – (a very cold and sleepy) Aza

Who Likes Reading? (raises hand)

Hey Readers! Back again today with a short list of inspiring reads I’ve found on Smashwords while doing a bit of research.

I’ve bookmarked them for myself too, for that rainy day that I have off every now and then. Hopefully, I’ll snag enough time to finish these before the end of the year, so I can use them as stepping stones for my goals next year!

Check them out below:

1. Smashword Reading List Book 1
I’m hoping to get into the interviewer mindset from this, to help build a workshop for local ex-offenders who need interview training.

2.  Smashword Reading List Book 2
Who doesn’t love getting pumped up with inspirational quotes? These are fuel for me, and also give additional perspective on the various situations we can encounter.

3. Smashword Reading List Book 3
This one, well, it seems a lot more blunt from the title, and yes.. you’ll have to click to find out what it is. I have a feeling that I’m going to love it, the reviews are wicked, and I can’t resist that darkly honest and slightly edgy writing style and perspective.

Thanks for stopping by again! Love and Peace
Aza

Building a Local Marketing Pack

Hey Readers!

As always, I’m staying productive and busy, and I’ve been working on a few different projects recently.

While I am pursuing an online marketing plan (we’re in the very early stages of this – more on it later) , I also wanted to try to get the book out to my local felons.

So, I’ve been playing with Canva non-stop, and trying out different templates in Microsoft Word and Publisher.

These are the ones I’ve settled on for my local marketing plan. The packs will be sent to over ten local probation offices for the first run, and will be expanded to halfway homes, shelters, and other community organizations that tend to cater to those with background problems.

Check them out and let me know what you think!

Marketing Letter 2 Probation Offices 

Marketing Flyer Probation Offices 1      

Marketing Sample Content Page Pack

I’ll admit that I really hate marketing, but since I need to reach out to people that don’t know I’m here offering help, I know I have to do it, even if it feels kinda gross. All I can keep thinking about is how I react to marketing and having things basically shoved in my face – examples: hanging up on cold callers (although its more scam things these days), throwing out mail that I don’t recognize, etc, etc. I mean, who wants to be on the sending/calling side of that? However, there aren’t really any other ways to get out there locally.

I’ll also be starting to offer motivational speeches on how I overcame my own obstacles and how it is possible for you to do the same. This will begin on a local scale as well, and might expand if I have enough of a positive impact.

That’s all for now guys! Peace and Love

-Aza

What am I doing? (Find Out Here)

Happy Friday Readers!

It’s been a long week, but things have picked back up again after  a tiny rough spot. Over the week, I’ve been going nuts with the survey that I created which can be found here.

Some of you might be wondering just what the heck I am up to.

Well, I’m trying to create an after felony life coaching program. I know that I was crazy lost after my conviction. I felt that I was boxed up, stamped with a defunct label, and tucked into a forgotten corner of society.

Familiar sensation? I know, right? Super suck-tacular.

In my situation, I didn’t find out about relief or figure out how to get my life back on track until a considerable amount of time had passed and I was on the verge of giving up and letting go of what little progress I had made. The only thing that helped stop me from doing that was my son. Now, not all of us have that sort of situation, where we have a little one that needs our love and protection, but even without that sort of inspiration to keep going, we on our own as individuals are worth the immense amount of stress and struggle that we will have to endure to get on our feet and feel worthy again.

What I want to do is make sure that we don’t HAVE to feel alone or hopeless anymore. While the program would have some limitations, as relief is so varied between states and our situations are even more varied, I still feel that with guidance that many of us could push through our obstacles and make our lives a little bit more live-able. If we can adjust our mindsets toward growth, resilience, and determination – we can overcome just about anything that we face.

I’m also trying to address how society perceives us. If we focus on our positive aspects instead of our negative aspects, we can improve how society sees us and improve our chances for a better life. But we have to interact with society in positive ways to help that happen. For instance, I recently moved to a smaller town that is still close to where I was convicted. As I’ve socialized over that time with the residents of this area, I try to ensure that there are more positive interactions than negative. Once a few people got to know me better, I dropped the social bomb of having a record. Every single one of them were surprised, but none of them stopped interacting with me because I had created a positive association by being helpful and kind. The good character that I’ve built up over the years is helping improve how these people view some of the felons around here.

So far, I’ve written a basic guide book for those that prefer to do things on their own (like myself) (available here), and I’ve begun developing the one on one after felony coaching program that will help those that need more guidance. I can’t promise that it will be a fix all for everyone, but I can promise that my intentions are to help as many as I can and to inspire others to do the same.

That’s all for now guys, thanks for stopping by and I hope you rock your day and smash your goals!

Aza

Finding Freedom (Full Release)

Hey Readers!

It’s been a long two weeks since I uploaded my work into Smashwords, but the book is finally fully released!

If you haven’t pre-ordered it already, please use this coupon code to get your copy from any retailer for only one dollar! (CF98Q ) (Smashwords Link)

It contains helpful tips and hints that I found useful over my own years of struggle, as well as a state by state breakdown of what we can do to get our records off of our backs. I’m not saying getting through it is easy, but I know from experience that it’s worth it.

Also, if you love the cover art, please go here to see more of the artists work. She’s a wonderful photographer and digital artist, as well as a close friend of mine. (See, positive networking helps out everyone involved!)

Anywho, thank you so much for stopping by, I hope you’ve found something helpful here, and if you’d like to connect, find my Facebook page The Friendly Felon .

Stay strong fellow felons, we got this!

Finding Freedom (Pre-Release)

Hey Readers! I’ve got my first book on pre-release at Smashwords!

I’m excited and nervous, and all sorts of amped up about this!

The book, Finding Freedom, is a sort of guide book for felons on how to find their path to freedom again. It’s based largely on my own experiences and on a lot of research that I’ve done over the last decade or so while trying to forge my own path back to society.

I’ve also included basic outlines of laws from state to state in the United States, which will be most helpful to those who have stayed out of trouble for at least three to five years and have only a few convictions on their records.

And guess what! You guys get a private coupon code to use so you can pre-order the book for only $1.00 (USD) !

XH35B

Just find the book at your favorite ebook retailer, and when you’re in the checkout, enter the code above to get your copy for just one buck. It expires with the pre-order period, so act fast to get it at this great price!

I’ll be back soon with more updates!

Love and peace,

Aza

Learning to be Flexible about Work

Hello again dear Readers! I want to talk to you about being a felon and finding work. If I’ve learned anything over the past ten years of having a record tied to my name, it’s that being flexible about the kind of work I’m available for, is the best way to keep the income coming in.

With my conviction, I was pushed to gain my GED by a given date in the probation papers, and this helped fill in the first -good- part of my resume. In some cases, your own convictions may have included similar pushes to become an active member of society again, either while serving time or while getting probation or parole over with. If not, I suggest getting this generalized diploma as soon as you feel you can pass the test. There are tons of GED classes available in most areas, as well as numerous free sources online that you can use (like Kahn Academy) to get your basics in shape for the test.

After I got the GED out of the way, I marched around town (7 months pregnant at the time on top of it), and put in an application to nearly every business I happened across. Did I get any of the jobs? Absolutely not. My conviction was too recent, my name too recently brought up as dirt, and I was too far along for any employers to want to invest their money training me for a job I’d statistically either thieve from or leave from too soon. Did it stop me? Again – absolutely not.

It did take a while for me to finally find a job that would employ me, and that first job (I’ll leave you guessing here) after the conviction had actually left me with some majorly mixed emotions – even to this day- and helped push me into a state of mind where I was very uncomfortable with myself. Normally, this isn’t a great thing, but it allowed me to realize that in order to get my good (or even just neutralized) name back in the surrounding area, I’d have to find a way to do good things and prove that I wasn’t the person I had been before.

I started applying to the diners and cafes in the area, so that I could interact with people and let them get to know me as a person. Nothing like a customer service job in a small town to . My probation wasn’t quite up at the time, and the incident I had been involved in was still relatively known and discussed, so even a slight misstep was cause enough to get myself fired in these early days. The pay was low, and customers were fairly rude (to which I learned to respond with kindness), and the tips were unreliable. Once probation was up and I passed the age of 21, the option of working in bars opened up as well. This proved rather lucrative, as when the locals came and drank on my shift, they would get drunk and actually begin to give me time to talk to them and they tipped even more than the morning rushes at the diners. I even managed to make a couple friends. However, thanks to my refusal to move, there were still rumors flying about and job security was still based on how few of these rumors reached my employer’s ears.

This was still only about four years into my felon status, so things were still pretty raw when it came to jobs that actually ran background checks. Another thing I’ve learned is that you can’t win by lying to your (potential) employer. The background checks now are often not limited to a certain number of years as everything is becoming digital and can be retrieved for a low rate by nearly every company. The most recent application I made for a part-time independent contract inspection agent position proved this, as I found that even after ten years and one month past my conviction date, my record was readily available and staring me in the face in an (accusatory feeling) email. However, they have given me the chance to discuss the conviction and how I’ve proven that I’m not a naughty person any longer. Not all companies will do this, and even when they do, it’s likely something required by law and they’re just covering the bases to cover their arses. So, don’t expect a company to be welcoming, we have to fight for it in the right ways, and earn respect from the working community by going above and beyond.

 

Part Two Coming Soon – On being painfully honest, and the last six years of highly varied employment that I’ve found to be willing to work with felons.

Getting Bonded (Insured at Work)

Hey there Reader, thanks for coming back! We’re going to cover another topic today, one which can really help you sell yourself to the various employers that might be on the fence for hiring you.

It’s called the Federal Bonding Program, and it won’t cost you or your employer a single cent and it lasts for six whole months.

This particular pro-tip isn’t just for felons, it can be used by those who have substance abuse issues, those who are on various forms of welfare, those with poor credit (for those pesky jobs that evaluate every aspect of your personal life), those with little to no work history and those who were discharged from the military without the honorable discharge.

The great thing about this is how easy it is to get started. You can use this link (http://bonds4jobs.com/our-services/job-seekers) to get more information about how to get started or to grab information to take with you to your next interview.

In line with this program, I’ve also heard that many factory jobs receive tax incentives for hiring felons, so if you have a healthy enough body for that kind of work, you may have much better luck finding employment through one of your local factories.