103: Working in Recovery – Where to Start (Sort Of)

Where do we start when we are ready to enter the workforce? Do we look for a career, or start with just any old job? How do we stay motivated to keep looking for a job after we already have one? What about criminal background checks, how do we approach those on applications? And further, what about for those of us that have felonies? Are felonies completely limiting to what we can do, or is there room for pursuing our interests no matter our criminal history? How do we address work history gaps on our applications? Is honesty always the best policy? Or are there times we might want to use a little discretion? We explore the work world for people entering the workforce from a perspective of those of us finding recovery and getting back into society. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com,  or find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature hey welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason i’m a guy in recovery that also has a job and i’m billy i’m a person in long term recovery and i am caroline i am also a person in long-term recovery all right so today we’re going to talk about work in recovery that is the overarching theme and i think the goal is sort of to start out with the idea of like how do you find work and what limitations do we have for what kind of jobs we can do once we’re in recovery since we have this past of you know addiction and and also how do you find what you’re supposed to do right like i want to say calling but i know that’s not everybody’s belief system and i do think that ties into it right well how you perceive the world is a little bit tied into how you view where you’re supposed to go and work um and then from there you know eventually whether it’s on this episode or part two of this episode it’s gonna be how do we take our recovery into our work lives and what does that look like as well um so i i think maybe do we start with the idea of like how do we perceive the world because i definitely today am a guy who believes in like sort of a calling kind of thing or a work soul mate yeah yes i believe in a work soulmate no but i i think when i get in tune with me through the process of recovery i start to realize what i want and what i don’t want and maybe that is just to a small extent like oh well these are the kinds of things i want in my job right i want them to not be looking over my shoulder every moment i want to just have clear laid out plans i don’t want too much pressure or responsibility like maybe we just know that or maybe it’s oh i feel especially like my life would be more purposeful if i did this line of work in particular um but i didn’t always believe that in my recovery so that’s like not uh that hasn’t been around since day one that’s that’s more of a newer thing for me so my immediate thought to that is and this is going to be terrible to say but how many people you know get into recovery and then they’re like i’m going to get into helping people and i’m going to be a counselor or treatment person or work at a rehab and i’m about you but that doesn’t tend to work out well i don’t think which is interesting because you would think like that fits right in line with the goals of recovery right is that we feel better about ourselves when we help people well and that became my sort of when you first brought this up of became my thing is like well i think for some people for a lot of people when something you love becomes your means of making a living or your job like it gets corrupted in some way yeah i i remember hearing somebody say what i do for a living is stay clean what i do for money is something else way the [ _ ] over there and if i ever get that confused i’m gonna have a big problem and that’s probably more my approach to things i don’t necessarily know that that means we couldn’t be in a helping profession right i think it’s just keeping those things clear like this is my my recovery is what i do for a living right like that’s what i need to do my job and how i make money yeah i might like this line of work but i need to pay attention because if this line of work starts feeling unhealthy for me then i need to do some other kind of line of work right that’s not the important part like i’ll make money and and and this guy in particular happened to be talking about he had all these sponsees that made more and you know got more back in taxes than he’s ever made in a year or whatever like he’s like but none of them stay clean right what’s up with that yeah i think uh that kind of comes back to like how much value you’re placing on on money and and not so much what you’re doing but what is what is your ultimate motivation i think with the recovery thing i it does seem to be everybody’s default like at around three or four months clean where they’re like i want to go into addictions treatment and uh i did a little variation of that right so when i got i went back to college or i went to college with with four months clean um decided to major in psychology but i wanted to go into addiction to research because i think i knew myself enough even at that point that i am not really um i’m not really a people person so like therapy was never really like something that was gonna but i did want to you know kind of dig into the the why and the how um i think the struggle with going into counseling addiction counseling that i’ve seen is that people really have a hard time drawing the line and they start to get to a point where they’re like oh well you know i’m sitting in these meetings all day talking about recovery so i don’t need to go to a meeting tonight because i’ve been doing that all day and they start to kind of think their their their career is filling that recovery hole as well and that seems to go poorly um and that could be dangerous like it w so what i’m picturing and her i can’t say i haven’t kind of fallen into this myself at some times right they’re the senior member in these groups that they’re running or the meetings that they’re going to with all these new people and so they’re espousing this great information and all this but they’re not going anywhere to get any other information from people that can help them right so in some ways it works because i think when we teach others we teach ourselves more and reingrain it right but at the same time for me and this happens like oh i hit my home group every week well when do you hit extra meetings well every once in a while when i’m asked to share and hear my own [ _ ] and then it becomes i get a little less teachable in that place because all of a sudden i’m the one who’s got all the information all the time and it’s not about anybody else’s information right and what happens when your career is so tightly tied to your recovery too like what what happens when you’re an addictions counselor but you relapse you have a slip what does that mean for your career and do you feel like you have to like in that instance your your recovery is probably already known right amongst your your co-workers your employers so then do you have to disclose that does that result in an emotion because personally you had a slip up like i just how do you get demoted in addictions counseling right you can’t counsel people who have more than two weeks clean you only counsel the guys walking in the door still you know detoxing what i will say is that knowing i sponsored a guy who worked in you know addiction stuff and he would tell me that for him it got to be just it was overwhelming to all day talk to people about addiction and how it’s [ _ ] up their lives and what they’re doing and all this stuff and then wanna like do that for eight hours a day and then go home and have dinner and then go out to a meeting and hear about addiction for another hour and a half and it just he felt overrun with hearing talk about addiction like it was just like this is [ _ ] too much for my head i don’t want to go to meetings anymore yeah i worked at a treatment center when i had about a year clean as like a tech not not not as a counselor what most people end up as a tech or somebody at a rehab or in a peer role right and not ever with the intention of that being like my long-term career goal just as like a job while i was in school and um i liked it um i did end up i i did end up changing from that job after probably a year and a half two years clean uh to going into nanny and i would tell people oh i it’s the same job i just make more now right like i’m just i’m babysitting um and i didn’t find it to be overly but again i wasn’t a counselor i was i was a babysitter so um i think it’s the the counseling part that has the higher higher burnout rate um but yeah i mean i know people that it’s worked for but i also know a lot of people that were counselors addictions counselors or whatever i know there’s a lot of different qualifications that have gotten out of the field um because it was too much and certainly then obviously also know or know of the people that were counselors and then started using and had to get out of that field because the two don’t really mesh i mean for me like if i start using like i’m not working anyway like that’s my story right like i don’t i don’t hold a productive job when i’m getting high but there are a lot of people who can yeah i always did yeah i was not that yeah what do you think a sponsor’s role in guiding someone is because i remember having this exact same three to four month i want to be a counselor i want to help people right and my sponsor kind of [ _ ] all over the idea and like i was like all right well i ain’t doing that and and i don’t know if that was for the good or the bad if i could have handled that kind of stuff at that point in time but i i really i’ve always questioned that i’m like damn do we really do we want to [ _ ] on people’s i would say no yeah no absolutely not but what if we know better what was that what if we know better i think there’s a way to try to get your your responses to think through so one of the things that i’ve done i actually have a sponsee right now who is literally in school to become an addictions counselor and uh working in the old field

and one of the recommendations that i made to her was to talk to some people who are in the field and have been in the field for a while and i actually connected her with a few friends some that are currently working in the field some that have gotten out of it after working in the field just so she could get some perspective from people who have that experience because like right like i i have my opinions and i have no i i know what i’ve seen but like i’m not i’m not the person to tell someone yes this is a good choice for you or it’s not um but certainly someone who’s working in the field or has worked in the field has some personal first hand experience that they can share so that was kind of my i always want people to explore what’s best for them it’s not my decision it’s not my my place to to tell them what’s best for them yeah i would challenge whether your sponsor at the time ever worked in treatment or had that experience yeah i i think he might have actually but the the interesting thing was just thinking back to another situation that happened with a sponsee brother and his girlfriend they were getting ready to like move in together didn’t really make enough money to move in together weren’t really even on good terms and like i kind of when he presented the idea to me to my sponsee brother i was like ah dude i don’t know if that’s a good idea or whatever and my sponsor got wind of what i said and he was like why would you [ _ ] on his dreams like let him try it out and figure it out the main sponsor yeah [ _ ] on my drive i was like i do it because of you spons well i think there’s also a big difference between a friend saying something to a friend and a sponsor saying something to a sponsee like i think you have there’s a lot more um there’s a lot more value placed in something that your sponsor tells you versus your friends right as peers so you have to be even more careful as a sponsor what what you’re saying because of that inherent kind of almost position of power that you hold i think and that’s tricky because all my sponsors have either ended up or already been friends like we’ve already been friends or we ended up as friends and so i don’t it’s hard to make that distinction and i’ve always struggled with that on the other end not to go into like should we sponsor friends as a topic but uh when friends ask me and it’s like part of me is like oh this is gonna be tricky because i gotta say [ _ ] that’s uncomfortable as a sponsor but the truth is like if i’m being a good friend i’m gonna say that [ _ ] anyway right a good friend to me at least is the guy who’s gonna say that and not just be like oh yeah yeah yeah that’s cool buddy like i don’t know that has your best interest you know but don’t you think that there’s things that you can say as a friend that you probably shouldn’t say as a sponsor like what like that’s a terrible idea don’t do that i mean i guess there’s some circumstances as a sponsor you could say that but in your case where he was like giving you career advice and just kind of shooting you down i think a friend can do that because with a friend you’re always going to kind of take it with as a great with a grain of salt if your sponsor says that to you and you’re like well i should listen to my sponsor my sponsor knows more than me like there just becomes more more stock put in it well and i think maybe the learning there is that as a friend or a sponsor really our goal should be to help people question things and never actually tell them what they need to do yeah right like hey that’s interesting what what makes you want to go that route and well let’s look at some of the drawbacks and some of the positives and let’s really think about that and take some time and sit with like you know what i mean it should always be about questioning instead of just uh no that’s [ _ ] dumb don’t do it yeah i try to really avoid advice as a sponsor as a sponsor right but as a friend i don’t want to advise people as a friend yeah it depends on if you ask what i would do and i would preface that by what i would do which is the same thing as i would say to a friend or a sponsor you know yeah it was me in that situation here’s what i would do and here’s why these are my values these are my morals this is why i would and you know i don’t know you have to sort out what your values and morals are i think i feel more beholden to those like boundaries as a sponsor like i’m much more aware of like what my role is and acting within that role as a sponsor then maybe as a friend like some of those boundaries and those walls maybe aren’t as firm i totally get that from you too i get you as a friend being like yeah that’s [ _ ] dumb totally get that and i don’t even i don’t in some of my relationships with guys that i quote unquote sponsor i all i am is a friend i mean it’s i i don’t know that there’s differences right i mean that’s just me the longer i stay clean the more i’m just like i don’t know dude i’m here to help you in whatever way you just need a [ __ ] friend okay i’m your friend yeah call me whatever you want yeah but there’s still that obligation within that role to to stick within some some boundaries right i mean this has turned into a very very difficult person

well i and i think i was just sitting here thinking this is like relevant i think to anybody we talk about the idea of really being about you know mental health and addiction and all that and recovery but how many people do you talk to that are you know 34 and like i don’t know what i want to be when i grow up right like i think a lot of us feel lost and not guided into what really fills our spirit as we would say in recovery i don’t know what the person out in the world would say like i just don’t know what i want to do right like how do we come across that and so so maybe going back for the addiction piece and finding recovery some of the difficulties and caroline kind of brought one of these up specifically the idea of felonies right like a lot of us have some kind of criminal record whether that be misdemeanors felonies and what kind of limitations that places on people in recovery finding not just any work but what they want to do like what if you wanted to be a bank teller or you wanted to work for the police or join the army i don’t know if felonies keep you up from the military or not honestly but they keep you up from a lot of things so what do you do with that like how do you combat that idea well in a lot of jobs doing background checks i mean you you know they got 30 applications they’re looking through and they just look through and oh record bump you go in the no pile right before they’re even going to look right right and and it’s not like we can say oh you work hard and clean up your record well to get a felony off your record you’re talking seven to ten years like that’s quite a bit of time and money exactly and and for a lot of felonies you’re talking about looking at a pardon and then an expungement after the pardon and i mean i i’ve looked into this for my own personal self you’re talking 15 20 grand right and which is ultimately why i was like i could take some vacations that [ __ ] ain’t worth it honestly but yeah i mean i’m relying on some people sitting around the governor that say hey you should really look at this governor you might want to pardon this guy like what why like right why don’t we have some kind of established limit like hey you did this type of crime this many years went by and you’ve done no other crime i guess that comes off your record so you can like have paid your debt to society and be free again yeah well i think i mean i think that’s a whole nother conversation it is i just had to throw it in there i will say yeah i think and i you know i i when i got clean and came back to maryland i had four open warrants for my arrest but my record is clean now so i can’t really speak of this with with super personal experience but i do know felonies is something i hear a lot of people sharing about as a reason why you know they can’t find a good job or can’t work you know period in some cases um yeah felonies that just can’t work

on the flip side of that like i also personally know a lot of people that do have felonies and have rewarding careers and and certainly there are people that you know wanted to go into a very very strict uh career path that just it wasn’t was impossible right like there are some things that i think nursing is one um there’s certainly some career fields that do just kind of become completely out of scope if if you have you know a bad record but there’s other things that are open um my husband had felonies and you know before he passed he had an amazing career and was making really good money and was really good at what he did so um he certainly could have used that as an excuse to say oh well i can only you know do this or that and i’m limited by my background or um you know but what he did instead was was try to look and see well where can i start and where can i go within kind of what i’m working with i want to know what women with felonies do because i can tell you right now men with felonies do construction like that’s that’s where they go because that’s somewhere that accepts people with criminal records so what do women do like you don’t see a lot of women in construction there’s some but i’m just curious about that yeah i mean i one one woman in recovery comes to mind as someone who’s openly shared about her struggles with her felonies and trying to get them expunged and she owns her own cleaning business um and i think she she i think she does well with that um i actually know a few women that do cleaning businesses now i think they all have felonies that’s what they do yeah he just answered that question yeah they start cleaning businesses yeah or you know there’s a little bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy going on there right like any time that i tell myself i can’t do something because well then i’m not i’m not gonna do it um and jason i you know i think you’re probably a better one to speak about this than i am because it it does seem a little um you know for me to say that without a felony is all well and good right but like my understanding is that your background was a little tough and held you back at times and and now you have a career that you love right yes so to try to keep this version short um i was in a i was in a construction job and you know they accepted me and then uh this guy i ran into that i knew told me i should try to apply for the plumbers and steam fitters union and i was like oh man i don’t know i got a background like it always made me nervous and my plan was to never you know look i had the felonies but i also had a low sense of self like extremely low so i didn’t want to apply anywhere and get rejected already and then to have these felonies and know that my chances of rejection were increased was only worse um and so i i stepped out on a limb i was like [ _ ] i’ll apply we’ll see what happens went through that whole process of testing interviews blah blah and and they sent me that acceptance letter like hey we’re gonna take you in you’re going to make this to start five years of schooling with us and then you’ll make this at the end and it was a it was a pretty good amount of money and it was like oh my god it felt and i say this a lot it felt i look back at it now like a lot of my relationships right i would kind of put out feelers to like 10 girls and then when one showed interest it was like you were the one i knew i wanted like oh you’ll accept me you’ll have me oh my god that’s so great right and that’s what i felt like i was like oh my god thank god because if this place didn’t accept me my life would have been like really low wages for the rest of my life but this place did and now i have an opportunity with felonies to make decent money yay what i didn’t realize until later on was there was no real interest in me doing that it was just all about the fact that they would take me and there was some decent money in there and i didn’t have to be poor um and once i kind of realized that like i’m not limited and this was through some pretty extensive therapy work but it was like you know i can choose what the [ _ ] i want and go after it and even that was kind of anxiety-inducing because the two colleges i went to when i went into my career field for social work they both had to sit me down interview me to accept me because of my [ _ ] record and then like advise me and tell me hey look we can’t guarantee that you’ll actually be able to get a license once you get this degree like we think you will seems like it but we’re not sure because you do have this right and like imagine going to school and having a hundred thousand dollars in student [ _ ] loan debt and you can’t get a license with what your degree is and like that’s scary as [ _ ] but i just i kept faith through the process right and it did work out but it’s still like one of those things that’s like you know it could definitely be intimidating and i could see why it would hold people up in their life and i don’t know i mean i i’ve now hold three different maryland licenses i have a plumbing license hvac license and a social work license so i i guess it doesn’t always hold you up and maybe we’re getting more used to the idea of having people with backgrounds holding licenses for the state but so you do know i’m gonna start calling you when i have plumbing and hvac issues right i will specify i hold licenses i don’t actually know what the [ _ ] i’m doing

big steel pipe in new [ _ ] gigantic buildings and we welded it together like i don’t know about your home toilet or not i don’t know nothing about none of that fair enough fair enough what was your experience billy because i mean you got some background like what did so i was i mean i think talking earlier about the felonies what carolina said about felonies and holding people back immediately what i thought is pretty much exactly what you said i think a lot of times that becomes an easy excuse when you have low self-esteem and you fear rejection because i’ve thought about that for myself in other areas like i’ve you know at times thought well i should get a different job or i should look into a different career because mine isn’t personally fulfilling i’m good at my job but it’s not personally like i don’t feel like rewarded at the end of the day i get no moral satisfaction out of it um and what holds me back in those cases is like i’m not going to be able to make as much money i’m going to have to start somewhere low and work my way up now i’m in a position of authority i don’t want to do all you know it’s just a bunch of excuses to not do the [ _ ] work because it might be uncomfortable for me is what it boils down to so when i hear that you know oh i have felonies that’s what i hear it’s probably a little unfair to put that on everyone that’s probably not true but for me i can make excuses to not try you know but but anyway i worked for a family business so my career i mean my criminal record never really mattered much and then after my family business went out i went to work for someone i met in recovery so it was someone that owned a business in recovery and he said hey i know you need a job just come work for me so my record has never held me back i will say when we did our work camp and traveling around i had a little bit of worry about my record but at that point it had been like 15 years later and no one ever brought it up no one ever asked me about i mean i figured if they brought it up i would so just maryland law like we all say oh we have this law where companies can’t look at your old offenses after so many years oh really yeah i didn’t know we had a law like that well that’s probably useful that you didn’t know because it’s a [ _ ] useless law because if you actually look into it the law says that companies can’t take that into account they still look it up they still see it and they can ask you on applications you can’t take it into account if it’s over a certain amount of years old and anyone can go on a case search right yeah and i hope that’s true so on a lot of applications they will ask you have you ever been convicted of a crime what are the details so like now the way i answer that most time because i try to be honest you know and stuff and even like for we’ve talked about this before but like volunteering for little league and stuff like that they’ll ask you those questions it’s like how do you do i want to just say no and hope that they don’t look or that it’s so far but so usually i answer that by saying yes i got a couple of drug charges back when i was 19 years old it’s been x amount of years since i’ve been in any trouble and i just answer it like that like i don’t get too much detail but and i’m vague enough that it’s and it’s the truth i’m not lying if they ever wanted to dig in and no one’s ever really dug into the d or asked me to go into detail much right and i think that’s super informative too because along with the job aspect like i skipped out on the idea of coaching for any of my kids teams for seven years because i was terrified that they would say well you got a background you can’t because it’s right on there and it says if you have this background you can’t be on the field with them and all this stuff and i’m like well what the [ _ ] like even outside of the work environment like that’s life fulfillment right i want to be a part of my kids lives help out the community show up and volunteer to be a coach they’re always begging for coaches nobody wants to do this [ _ ] and yet here i am and i won’t step up not because i don’t have the ability or the time but because i’m worried that i’m going to be singled out in the community it’s like that’s a [ _ ] up thing man right yeah i would say my my so you know as i mentioned i don’t have felonies and my record is expunged now squeaky queen yeah it is ironically um but i guess my experiences went so i mentioned that you know i went from working in a treatment center which obviously i don’t think they were super concerned about my background um hell they look for their record she doesn’t have a record we can’t write her she might not even have been right but then i moved over to nanny which is certain i mean that is a that is a field where felonies are like not even in consideration like you have anything on your background and and parents are not going to want you around okay i don’t know i mean i even at one point um applied for a job with people i knew naa and when they found like they were talking to me until they found out it was me and even two people being in recovery themselves when they found out it was me in recovery communication stopped so even people in recovery don’t want to hire people with that kind of background to take care of their kids wow um but i had a really successful career for eight years as a nanny and um you know i did that by on quite honestly like i can’t picture you as a nanny i’m sorry i’m picturing little british kids like nanny caroline i didn’t work for any british family um can we go to the park there wasn’t a lot of that time i was babies and toddlers so no like full sentence very rarely full sentences but you know i i did have a really a really good run nanny while i was in college um and then even thereafter um and and that was really because i built up a really strong reputation so i started working for a family i don’t remember how i got in with my first family but but i got good references as a result of that and it kind of that kind of fed me through and i do remember at one point there was a family that i had interviewed with and they said something about a background check and like i just went i think i told them i found something else so like i knew like that’s that that’s not gonna go so well for me so let me let me try over here so did any of the husbands buy you cars or anything no one family um one family replaced my tires for me because i was transporting their kid around um that was about it yeah i was not i was not the nanny that like got taken to like cabo for a month with the family or anything you weren’t it was nanny and the right people i guess not i guess not a nanny dad

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you brought up case search a few minutes ago and that’s interesting i was in a session the other day and somebody was talking about somebody that was in their life and how they were looking them up and and how they use case search all the time and i’m not gonna lie i was sitting there like oh

i think a lot of normal people don’t know about case search i think the knowledge of that system is much more prevalent in our community than like at the broader level but there are certainly like normies who who know about case search right would you know do they have something similar in all states or is that just maryland imagine but you know what i just heard the other day that that uh i think somebody and and look this is hearsay information so take that for what it is um but they said delaware is much more tight-lipped about that when i was asking because we were talking about the case search thing um well and part of that is i work in delaware and i haven’t been able to find a case search yeah i don’t i don’t so maybe every state doesn’t maybe because we look for different reasons as well we investigate people for different reasons right right i mean it’s not necessarily i think there’s a problem with looking on case search i don’t like the idea but you know if you’re gonna use it okay but what are you doing once you find stuff out right is it oh they have a record so that’s the end of it or can i look at this on a case-by-case basis and say well you know this is what happened this is how long ago it was like let me hear what they have to say and and how they present themselves today and maybe they’re because i mean the whole idea is that we can become new people right yeah i think honestly at least you know again this is my experience i think honesty is going to be the best policy if you’re trying for a career if you’re just trying to get a job at you know somewhere to make some money whatever but like i had gotten a job for uh this was back when i was young in retail selling cell phones for whatever and i worked there like three or four months and i don’t know what took so long but all of a sudden they came back one day and they’re like dude we have to fire you you know you put on your application you didn’t have a record and we looked up your record and you have a record i heard that so many times and earlier yeah so i had been working there a couple of months you know so i mean i didn’t feel like that was a career choice but if it was like if that was a field i was trying to get into as a career and i feel like yeah i broke in yeah i was dishonest and they found out and so they aren’t going to [ __ ] keep you then you hope that if you’re honest you might have a chance to explain yourself or i can’t believe they had cell phones when you were young 93 or 4. yeah that is crazy early cell phones they had those ones that like were in the car phones that were like that big like i remember this wasn’t there this was still of course they didn’t have smartphones but you had uh this was for verizon phones yeah a lot of flip phones

yeah they weren’t near as expensive as they are now picture in like vietnam military like your buddy has to carry it on his back and you’re like call him over meet the radio guy um so yeah i think well one of the things that’s come up during this is the idea of i keep hearing that we got jobs through people we knew and i think that is a resource that i don’t want to overlook right like even outside of recovery that has been my experience it’s very easy or helpful or useful to get jobs from people you know and i don’t think that’s necessarily a terrible thing at all times right like look around especially if you’re earlier on or maybe even if you’re not earlier on look around your recovery community who’s doing something you like like a couple of my jobs definitely came because of people that were close in my network of recovery friends and i was like oh there’s openings there i’m coming yeah right and if you’re consistent and a person that’s living by values and doing the right things you know people will take a risk on you or or put put their neck out for you give you references and things like that and to speak on that i’ve always been like when i didn’t like myself i was always worried about how that looked like oh my god if i if i want to get him in my job i got to worry about how he performs because that affects how i look [ _ ] all that i’ll say no yeah sure hire them try them out like maybe not too much of my job now i’ll be honest like well this is what i know about them right do do what you want with that but i don’t have to feel guilty about like i don’t give a [ _ ] if i asked for somebody to get hired and they don’t do well like that’s on them that’s not me i’ve been responsible for getting a few people at my current company jobs and that was a case where when they came there and worked in the beginning they did real well because they were strong in their recovery and then over time like their recovery waned and you could tell they were go and then they became bad employees and had to be fired and it’s like we can’t

it would depend on the person i mean and same thing now again i’m lucky you know my boss understands people in addiction so you know i mean what i’ve seen at least for the most part is that we had those people come in and do that that’s happened with probably 20 other people over the years that i’ve been there for a myriad of different reasons divorce you know whatever people that aren’t even addicts i mean i think some of these employment issues are just common employment issues but no i would i mean if we had somebody needed a job and we had an opening and thought they’d be good at it if they were in recovery i wouldn’t necessarily automatically say this is the person we need because they’re in recovery but i wouldn’t disqualify them either yeah i’ve recommended you know i for example i have a really good friend who i have a ton of faith in and know she is a great person um that i really went to bat for for for a couple of roles at my company um and felt really comfortable doing that you know i know her she’s a hard worker she hears her here’s her cover letter like i i think she would be great um whereas there’s other people that i’ve been like yeah if there’s anything you find like here’s the website check it out if there’s anything you find i’m sure i’m willing to recommend you and in those cases it would be much more of a like i don’t know them well they seem like a good person you know what i mean like i’m gonna i’m gonna i’m gonna make my recommendation based on what i do or don’t know about someone so i’m not gonna go to bat and completely voucher someone that i don’t feel comfortable yeah and i had a weird situation one time at work so the flip side of that so i was at work this person shows up at my job with this other person who i don’t know and says hey this is my boyfriend he just moved down here from new jersey he does hvac work and he’s in recovery can’t you get him a job here like at my job in front of like my co-workers and [ _ ] like that’s not something my co-workers necessarily know that i’m in recovery it wasn’t even a person i was overly close with it was just someone i knew from meetings like we weren’t [ _ ] friends you know what i mean it wasn’t someone that was even like in my phone list of contacts you know what i mean it was just someone who kind of knew but they knew that i worked in recovery and and what i did i mean that i worked in hvac and just was like well my boyfriend works in hvac and he’s in recovery so you’re supposed to give him a job and they got mad at me because i was like he can fill out an application but we’re not really hiring right now i don’t you know that’s not how this works as soon as i get some time on my hands i’m gonna start calling billy’s work hey is that narcotics anonymous guy there where is he still working there but that don’t do that don’t do that to people right yeah show up i think that can be another that can be another excuse that people use is oh well i don’t know anyone right and so while tapping your resources whatever they may be you know your personal connections is is is a great option when you have it there’s certainly other ways to to get into a career path besides besides that well and the way that worked for me wasn’t like i just went to meetings and shared honestly about where i was you know i was like hey i worked for my family’s business most of my life i thought that’s what i was going to be doing the rest of my life apparently that’s not working out now i’m going to be unemployed i don’t know what i’m going to do and that’s all i said and then someone approached me who i didn’t even necessarily i mean i probably knew he had a business or whatever but i you know wasn’t like i’m i wasn’t like fishing for a job i was just being honest about where i was well and i think we that’s an important point because like and this all depends are we searching for a career or are we searching for a job just in the immediate i’m in recovery and i need some work and some money and to get back into you know societal living but yeah they just share right hey there is no work i’m looking for some kind of work right i see so many posts on facebook regularly because maybe all these guys with felonies have their own construction companies now right and they’re always like man i need some day labor i need this kind of help does anybody have these kind of skills like there’s people looking for people all the time and we are a wealthy community of of networking that we have you know just by association with it and so i think that’s useful it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to find your dream job that way you might but it’s something to get started but right and and you can right so like even that day labor job that might feel below you if you go into that circumstance and and and show your best self and you’re working hard and you’re willing to do whatever it takes um that very often i think you know that was my my experience not day labor my experience um so so my my undergrad degree which i was nannying while i got was in psychology and um when i graduated with that degree and i realized that you know going on to get my my master’s and my it was probably not not your calling well not that no it was really more the financial aspects of continuing to be in school for another seven years what i didn’t have at that point that i did down the road have was was humility because everyone had told me at that point that i should take a take and i should get an internship and a lot of times at that point internships were low paid or unpaid and i was like well i just went to school for it was it was five years but it should have been four i just went to school for all this time i shouldn’t have to go take a job where i’m not being paid and i didn’t have the humility and so i just kept nannying and um you know nannying was was a great pay at 20. it was not as great pay as i was starting to approach 30. um and so i decided to go back to school and what i did different this time was um have the willingness to to take an internship and and lo and behold i ended up getting an internship where i work now in a field that wasn’t like so i took an internship in business development knowing 100 without a doubt that i did not want to go into business development that was not my objective but this was a company that was willing to give me a a quote-unquote real job um there was pay um and uh it was a company that i was seeing a track record that they had employees that had been there 15 20 years and that people were were able to move around and so i took that uh internship as kind of just a step in the right direction not a this is what i’m going to do for the rest of my life and and within two months i had found an opening within the company for you know a quote-unquote like full-time job um again in a field that i was much more open to but not something i’d ever planned on going into and that has led me to where i am today um and and certainly so my undergrad degree is in psychology um i’m more than halfway through a graduate degree in it which i found out i hate while going to school for it and now i’m back uh in grad school trying to redirect that in in a different way but i work kind of in sales enablement now and i never in a million years 10 years ago would have told you that that’s where i wanted to be but i love my job um and i don’t i don’t think it’s my calling but i think my calling if i have a calling my calling is to have a job that i love because that affects my happiness on such a broad scale right because i’m spending 40 50 hours a week doing this it’s a huge part of my life and if i don’t love the job that i have it’s going to impact my my my happiness across the board and not to get i guess that’s in line with the topic of like how do we find our job one of the things i find interesting and this was kind of my life perspective for a long time and it makes sense that because i haven’t followed that perspective that i would have a different opinion now and so i don’t want anybody to think that like i think i have the right opinion and there’s a wrong one um that you two have uh that’s not what i’m saying here but i i do find that a lot of us fall into this idea of like we get somewhere and then like when i got a job i stopped looking for jobs right right like why look i have one there’s no point and even when that wasn’t the job i wanted it was almost like i almost waited till it was like way too late in the game of me completely and utterly hating my job to even think about the idea of looking for something else and then you know olden days where i come from this was a little tougher because you had to look for jobs on your days off you had to go like place to place and put in applications you couldn’t like surf the internet at in the evenings when you were off um but i’m fascinated by this idea at this point with my change of my life of people that kind of fall into somewhere and then just stay and i’m like are you really happy there did you really that that to me feels like soul mate kind of [ _ ] i’m like did you really like oh my god the the heavens just placed you right where you were supposed to be from the get-go who knew right like that seems so baffling to me and i’m like are the and and you say you’re happy and billy sounds pretty happy too and that’s that’s great but i’m like i can’t imagine at least the jobs i was at i can’t imagine being happy at any of them for a long super long period of time and i’m just i’m i’m amazed kind of this idea of well i’m here and okay there’s a little chance for moving up the ladder and progressing so that’s good enough for me versus like what is it that i really want to do with my life and how do i want to impact the world or maybe even a different perspective of what tools and gifts do i feel like i have that i’m just naturally maybe better at other people than and where could they be useful in the world and i think i’m i’m the second right like i don’t think just based on the the jobs that are available in the us at least if you look at them and you divide them out by like ones that actually bring substantial value to society the the do-gooder jobs right that is a small fraction of like the amount of jobs that need to get done so i work in corporate america it is not i’m my job is not do-gooder right like it’s not um but i can i can look at the good that i do for the people that i’m working with on a day-to-day basis and get that do-gooder feeling right like i you know i have employees that i certainly hope that i’m helping and helping them to develop their career and develop uh their skill sets and then i have internal clients within our business that i hope i’m making their lives easier right um but no i mean i don’t work in a nonprofit i’m not feeding the hungry i’m not and when i say i didn’t mean it to come across like you had to be in a a quote unquote do-gooder job like i just mean like what are my talents like maybe your talent is is incredibly inventing video games that make people happy right like it’s not about so much do good or i wasn’t coming from that aspect but just well i think it’s great to be able to do that like my sister works in um kind of the non-profit sector and like for her that is a really strong conviction like she’s not going she’s not willing to go outside of that right now you know or and maybe not ever and it’s awesome to be able to have that drive but i think there’s value to your point there’s value to be derived even if you’re not in kind of one of more those traditional like helping fields right um for me what i found is i i think you the second way you framed it is like what are your skills and how can they be applied your talents that maybe other people don’t have and like even though i didn’t go to school for what i’m doing like my my my degree in psychology really built my my writing abilities and i have a strong um i love creativity i love anything and so like my job really really plays well to to my writing abilities and and allows me to be very creative um and so but but that i think that’s the point right like there’s a million jobs out here and like i didn’t even know that this was like a job when i was in college i wasn’t like oh there’s someone who like leads these proposal responses and helps the sales team to be more effective like i didn’t know that was a job i did fall into it and i worked really hard i think that’s the other piece but i do love my job i don’t know if i’m i’m kind of like you look really baffled no no no i’m just i’m sitting here picturing right and and it’s i feel like i’m not giving billy a chance to even talk on that but it’s kind of a follow-up to to what you’re saying is like so both of you are kind of in these management level positions and you do feel really useful and you feel like you’re good to your employees and can help the business and and and super useful people and great at what you’re doing and and i still i guess there’s that question of well but what if there was a little shift in that that could even provide more fulfillment right like maybe billy is incredible and helps the people he manages but maybe if he managed somewhere that was i don’t know uh helping peers better you know help people in the addiction community find recovery maybe that would like take what he feels good about now and even still add a little more flavor of what he like it’s kind of like when you get a really good tasting meal but you’re like oh just a little bit of salt on this to really [ _ ] kill it right and for you you’re like creative writing and these kind of things and i’m like well well maybe she needs to like you know maybe it’s writing maybe it’s writing books maybe it’s being a [ _ ] author maybe it’s you know some other management type that is still helping people but even more like just adds that extra i’m like i i don’t know and i’m not saying it has to be right i think a lot of us can live fulfilled lives but there is that question of like but what if you were open to another position that has all the things yours does but also has this other flavor that somehow you know hits your your taste buds really well for what you want well i think there’s a difference between being open to and constantly looking for the next thing so this is a little bit of like what kind of broach that this kind of when i was here the last time i think i was talking to you guys about um you know someone at my company who’s a little further along in their career asking me what’s next and um me feeling really bad that i didn’t have the answer to that right so i got promoted into my current role in like march april of this year it’s been like six months and so i started to feel a little down on myself that i didn’t have the like what is my next role where am i going from here but on the flip side like i feel like there’s a lot of value into like finding happiness where you are and not always needing to like as soon as i achieve one goal now now the next one needs to be you know because that constant like never being satisfied with where i am is not for me not super great for my mental health so like while there might be a role out there that would would make me even happier and bring me even more joy and make me feel more fulfilled um that thought that there might be something better out there is not a good thought for me does that make sense and i would similar i mean kind of piggyback off that idea but for me it goes back to like the old attic thing it’s like we seek satisfaction you know for outside things to satisfy that inner knowing and it’s like i my personal you know spirituality and fulfillment and satisfaction i aren’t necessarily dictated by the world and all these outside circumstances like i seek things and do things for my personal recovery and and maybe it’s stuff that i do with my kids or my family like for me i’ve found what things i do that are in alignment with my values you know and the job is my job like that’s where i go because i’ve had some different jobs and what i’ve personally my opinion experience whatever with jobs is that they all have good and bad and equally you know things you got to weigh out you know we did the work camping thing and traveled around and worked at these campgrounds and all that it’s great i loved it i was outside all the time doing groundskeeping and maintenance my one buddy is called beautification you know you’re doing all this beautifying things to make things look pretty and building [ _ ] it’s fun it’s great money was terrible you know what i mean money was terrible so i’m doing this work that i really liked in the meantime i’m [ _ ] home stressing and my anxieties at 11 because we’re trying to figure out financial stuff you know so there’s a balance and it’s not that i can’t necessarily do both but like my job that i have now affords a certain level of comfortableness that’s not even a word but you know there’s a level of comfort that i get from being there um there’s a level of i go to work i do my job i’m confident in it you know security to some degree i think the pandemic was interesting with security stuff but you know there’s there’s a balance there and like when i left um i had one opinion and when i came back to work there i had a different opinion of like no i’m coming back here by choice of free will that this is what i want to do i didn’t i knew i wasn’t trapped there because i had left you know what i mean i knew i had other options out there because i [ _ ] just did other stuff i treated my marriage like that worked well so when i went back it was a full free choice of like no this is a conscious decision on what i want to do and this is where i want to be i’ve looked at the the you know values that i have compared to the values that this job is offering and that’s what i want to do and so my fulfillment doesn’t come from my job it comes from other things you know for me it’s a lot of involvement in recovery and stuff like this doing the podcast you know things like that i feel like we’ll all agree to that but then we’ll see the guy who’s got 20 years clean who’s still living in a recovery house who’s on his 18th fast food job working the drive-through window at mcdonald’s and we’ll be like oh well why doesn’t he aspire to be more it’s like really oh man that’s definitely i mean if that’s what you want to do with your life you know it’s a short film living in the recovery house part is the part that gets me i’m like you have to like you’re settling you’re settling if you’re living in is that contentment any different than anywhere else like what if you don’t have a family and that’s not what you wanted to live alone

i don’t know i mean there’s so much chaos in living in a recovery house how is that anyone’s like favorite place to be and you are training people to be [ _ ] adult hopefully men you know teaching them how to live teaching them a skill set yes so it could be beautiful we’re getting a little late in the time factor here but just another idea that goes along kind of with these felonies that i think a lot of us face is that we come in with these large work history gaps on our resumes or applications right how do you explain that or why do you have to explain that or like and maybe the pandemic actually softens some of that right there might be a whole lot of work history gaps for a lot of [ _ ] people but that’s another limitation that’s gonna hinder us right or you have people and i think this is changing slowly but people who have opinions of people who’ve been in addiction at some point in time or another so is that when you say oh well i was an alcoholic instead of and i was an addict right like because you want to soften it and and have more social acceptability so we do come in with these walls right these things in our way that we either have to knock down or go around like there’s there’s borders for us that i feel like the average joe doesn’t have right beyond just figuring out where we want to be and i think with the employment gaps i will say i think that’s where baby steps help right like i’m in a career now with 16 years clean that is a career and pays my bills but 16 years ago i wasn’t in a career 16 years ago i was working at kfc or like you know what i mean like i started with those jobs that like didn’t care about any of that stuff did they have the chicken bowls then i love the chicken so the biscuits were my nemesis madness because i would eat like when they come right out of the oven uh they’re warm have you heard pat and oswald talk about the sadness bulbs he’s a comedian you should listen i like the popcorn kfc biscuits and poles anyway these are the dry but i started there and i got some of those jobs to build the work history they didn’t have a whole lot of requirements on me but they let me build some work history while i did some other stuff like for me going back to school was was really key um because that’s another way to explain work history right is while i was in college i you know um i used that one yeah it took seven years off of work but yeah in recovery i was like nope seven years no work history i’m good with it and i’ll tell you i mean the pandemic only goes so far i’m in the process of hiring right now for an entry level role and uh there’s red flags for me if i see someone who hasn’t been working for a year and a half especially if their last role ended in 2019 i’m like well what have you been doing they were preparing for the pandemic right right right right they saw a comment before all of us but also i mean if someone’s you know if someone has a gap in their employment and i’m like well why haven’t you been working for a year if they’re honest i’ve been searching i haven’t been able to find anything because i didn’t want to don’t say that why if you have the ability and you don’t want to work why the [ _ ] would anybody want you to to me that screams like i’m not driven i’m not a hard worker ooh yeah now you’re opening a whole another can of worms like why the [ _ ] do i have to be driven for society’s money well you don’t but you need to be driven to have a job working for me you need to be driven so that companies know you’re going to be a good employee yeah that’s [ _ ] stupid why because why would that be stupid so so i’m hiring an entry-level role right and i would gladly take someone like just out of college with no work experience honestly what matters to me for this person is that they’re personable they have good communication skills they can write and they have they’re driven they want to work i need someone who wants to work who wants to learn who wants to work hard why we’re all poor all i need we got to keep everybody poor so they’re driven to work yeah i mean i don’t care if people are like not i mean no i’m driven to work i’m not poor because you work but i’m driven still right but like if we didn’t need money if everything you needed was delivered on the first of the month by the [ _ ] delivery fairies or whatever they’re like here’s your food for the month here’s you know you got a place to live you’re good to go i don’t want to [ _ ] work no me neither right so we all got to be kept poor and in need of [ _ ] in order to be driven to do whatever these companies slave us and tell us to do all that no i’m also inherently driven because if i okay so if i was in a situation where i didn’t need to like i i don’t think there’s any fairies that are going to deliver everything but if i came from wealth right if my family had tons of wealth and i was just independently wealthy i would be driven to do other things i probably would not work at my current job i probably would want to do something probably you know rescue rescuing animals or like that’s probably what i would focus on but i would still have drive within within those efforts and i think my take on this whole how to find your job in recovery idea is what the [ _ ] would you do if you didn’t have to have money in life because that’s probably what you really want to do and will bring you the most satisfaction like if all your [ _ ] was taken care of if you were just wealthy for no good reason whatever where would you invest your time because i agree i think we would all do something right maybe i’d golf every [ _ ] day maybe i need to go be a golf instructor or something maybe i would help animals maybe i would just go volunteer at the homeless shelter whatever the [ _ ] it is i would do if i didn’t have to do anything for money i truly think that’s what the [ _ ] we want to do but that’s not always feasible and money does help happiness to a certain degree not being able to meet your basic needs and wants has a massive toll on happiness well and that’s where you get into the discussion of figuring out what is my really my basic needs is it running a recovery house room and just being chill or renting a room in some old person’s basement where nothing ever happens and i’m happy and i don’t need a whole lot of [ _ ] or is it that i do i need a xbox and wi-fi to play my online games because that’s what my happiness is and and so i that’s an interesting question so for the sake of time and i’m guessing we’ll have a part two to this since we definitely didn’t get into a whole lot of it let’s have like a final recap of where do you start like what’s the first important parts like give us a couple of things about the first important parts of how to start even thinking about work in recovery uh if you’re new i would say just try to be honest about your situation rather than lie and manipulate your way into a job the other thing is just look at the opportunities that you have my advice would be if you look at the opportunities that you have pick the one that you think is going to be the best for now maybe it’s not your career chosen whatever but you know as caroline mentioned sometimes just getting in a job and having a job for a consistent period of time showing some consistency one it looks good and two you may be able to get some references from that employer so you know whether it’s to go back to school or do some other things in a small rural community like this like having a personal reference from a business you know leader in this community carries some [ _ ] weight so you know maybe you only go work for the restaurant and wash dishes for three years but you know you get the owner of the restaurant says hey was in great employees showed up every day was honest dependable hard worker i think you know he’d really do well at some new opportunities that [ _ ] matters that matters to employers in a small community where everybody knows everybody that definitely matters what do you got caroline uh yeah welliness and and baby steps right you’re not more than likely you’re not gonna find your dream job day one it takes it takes a couple of jobs before that to get there but you know having the willingness to do things that maybe aren’t exactly what you want to be doing at that very moment um and then also kind of keeping your eyes and ears open for for other opportunities and and being willing to no matter what you’re doing uh work hard and show that you want to be there and you you you want to succeed i think goes a long way uh employers are always looking for people who are willing to go above and beyond yeah i definitely like all of that i i think you know being honest from the get-go is hugely important let’s let’s just start where i am and and work to where i’m not i think taking different jobs is fine right sometimes we have to know what we aren’t before we can know what we are so just go have those experiences oh [ _ ] i worked construction for six months this [ _ ] sucks i don’t ever want to do this again right let me go somewhere else um and and dream big rejection is god’s protection man i don’t know if i really believe that all the time but go into it with that attitude if they [ _ ] reject me it’s because i’m being saved from some miserable [ _ ] work career that i would have had if i was here tell somebody up front hey i’m applying for this job i’m scared i won’t get it i might need to cry on your shoulder when i don’t get it okay then we’ll cry on our shoulders and we’ll be all right and we’ll try to apply for the next one but don’t don’t be held back by this work history gaps or felonies or anything else man go for what the [ _ ] you want yeah and i heard an interesting saying recently so i’m gonna use it to kind of close out it’s a guy said uh when one door closes another one opens but sometimes the hallway is really [ _ ] narrow yeah absolutely so start get a job and uh hopefully we’ll have some more advice for you in the next month about what to do once you’re at that job take it easy

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