* Jacob’s ladder 06/19/13

Prayer for myself often takes the form of imagining myself climbing up a ladder out of a pit, the pit being my current circumstances of poverty and homelessness.  Getting out at the top represents a return to the normal life of the American mainstream.  I didn’t start with a ladder in there, but I decided to add one to symbolize the various structures and tools that others have made available to me — and eliminate the possibility of clawing at loose earth.

Here begins a list of “rungs” on the ladder that I’ve become aware I need to “overcome.”  Each one takes effort, exertion, to get over. I will update this list from time to time as I learn of others.

  1. Fear of the unknown.  See From my diary: Learning to pray.
  2. Jealousy of others who seem to be prospering more quickly than I am.  In particular, at the shelter in recent months have been several guys who just “came home” from doing “hard time,” and within days had found jobs.
  3. Times of despair.  I guess, from time to time, they’ll happen.  The question isn’t whether I fall down, but whether I’ll get back up.  A moment of despair doesn’t rule out faith long-term.  It can be OK for me to lie there and have a little pity party, as long as it’s reasonably brief.
  4. Incidents of utter selfishness.  (I may rename this if I think of a better name.)  Several weeks ago after church, I became impatient waiting for the person who had promised me a ride downtown, and waiting also for my principal patron, who was tied up in conversation with others.  I became disgusted with myself over feeling that way; and disgusted that I was hanging out there long after I would otherwise have left, having feelings all about obtaining favors for me, me, me.

That’s not a pretty way to end this just now, but in the long run I do think I need to be candid in admitting what it takes to climb one’s way out of poverty.

on air talent, talk show host, radio talk show, the homeless blogger

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Hiring discrimination and “backgrounds”

EEOC sues over criminal background checks

This affects me.

In August ’10 I became the first member of my family in three generations ever to be arrested, let alone jailed.  It was the only time I have ever been arrested.  I was locked up for 40 days before being sentenced to “time served” on one misdemeanor charge.  I have no other convictions.

In the months following, I applied to all kinds of jobs, including at each of the half dozen major hospitals located in downtown Baltimore.  I was applying for secretarial jobs, janitorial jobs, groundskeeping — anything I could possibly do, as remains so today.

Each of those hospitals has its own online application system, and they’re all very similar, so I don’t recall which specific hospital this story involves.  You enter a “profile” into their database, that includes all your employment information, history, references, etc.; this takes 90 minutes to two hours.  That information is kept in their database, and thereafter you can apply to any job listing with just a handful of clicks.  You can also access a listing of the jobs you’ve applied to, and each application’s status.

One Saturday I was at the public library submitting applications online.  Click, click, click, submit.  Check out the next listing; decide “go” or “no go;” click, click, submit.  I did a bunch of those, and then went to check the list of applications’ status.

A number of the applications I’d submitted in the previous half hour had already been turned down.

I really don’t think anyone was working in the HR office on a Saturday screening applications.  Clearly, they had some automatic software set up to pre-screen applications and reject anyone who admitted a criminal record.

The question is whether reformed criminals can find honest work.

Subsequent post: My record cannot be expunged
 

* Paying My Dues, Singing the Blues?

My first piece published on Yahoo! Voices:

Paying My Dues, Singing the Blues?

Please disseminate as widely as possible!

* Job search status: Pep talk

A week ago today I had a highly successful interview at a dollar store.  There may be one obstacle that, if it’s there, cannot be overcome; but if it’s not there, I’ll have to take a drug test and go for a second interview at which the actual job offer will be made.  In the days since, there have been some communications glitches.  Meanwhile, time goes on.

This morning in my last five minutes at Lenny’s, I prayed about this, reflecting on (1) my disappointment to have had no word so far and (2) the path by which I got here.

I just completed a two-month “job readiness” program … not as if I needed any program to make me “ready” for a job, but this one is unique in that while one is taking classes, they have scouts hunting down specific job opportunities that well match each candidate. That is the big factor I see missing for most people in the big picture.

Was the class a waste of time?  Continue reading

Job creation: Mitt Romney’s other 30%

Democrats: Political slant marks Romney tax return

Without in any way defending the candidate, I have scratched my head all along at the controversy surrounding his tax returns.  What about yours?  What about mine?  Is there no end to the invasion of privacy?

So he may have taken fewer deductions than he was entitled to.  Tsk tsk.

A feature of his 2011 tax return that the media reported, but that the media and his opponents have otherwise ignored:  he gave 30% of his income to charity.

30%.

How much did you give?

More than that, since job creation is a central issue in this Presidential race: a sizeable portion of that 30% went directly into jobs creation.

Continue reading

* Change your diet, chapter 3

(Reblogged 2014/04/09.)

How Swearing at Work Could Ruin Your @#*! Career

[See also the William Tell Show page, “Word of the Day.”]

talk show host, on air talent, talk radio, radio talk show, the homeless blogger