Why do you want to change?

While looking for inspiration for my next class, I came upon this great column by California-based career counselor Maureen P. Nelson.  Nelson, who works for the Oakland Private Industry Council  has spoken to soon-to-be-released prisoners in San Quentin and other correctional facilities about starting over.  

 Here are some of the reason they’ve given her for wanting to go straight:

•“I’m tired of looking over my shoulder — for the police or for a peer who wants me dead.”

•“I want my kids/nieces/nephews to be able to look up to me, not be ashamed of me. I was gone for much of their lives; I want to be there now. I want to be a good role model.”

•“I’m too old to do this anymore.”

•“I realize everything I’ve done has brought me to where I am and only I can change things.”

•“I have the power to help others: to be a drug counselor or social service worker helping re-entry people like myself. Or warning away people younger than me.”

•“I have something that inspires me to do better: my faith/my role models/my ethnic tradition.”

•“I don’t want to go back to prison — it’s overcrowded, unpleasant, violent.”

•“I want my freedom; I want to make my own decisions about daily life.”

Do any of these sound familiar?  Are there others you’d care to  add?  Feel free.



Filed under jobs ex-offenders, starting over

2 responses to “Why do you want to change?

  1. Ha! Whenever I think I’m stepping backward into a bad habit, I remember one of these reasons: I’m too old for this. And then I continue moving forward. These reasons to embrace change don’t have to be only for the former offender. They can work for the average Joe or Jane as well.

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