Negative Attitudes

After months and possibly years of incarceration, few ex-offenders re-enter society with a positive, can-do attitude. Many feel worthless, hopeless, and unwanted. Their negative attitudes are often obvious to family members, friends, and employers. Not surprisingly, those attitudes affect their motivation to take actions that lead to success in finding a job.

More often than not, ex-offenders' re-entry is filled with anxiety and uncertainty - uncertain how people will receive them, uncertain about their families, uncertain about their housing and financial situations, and uncertain whether or not they will find a job, succeed on the outside, or become another recidivism statistic.

If they harbor anger and negative attitudes, chances are they also lack the necessary motivation to become successful. Older ex-offenders, who may have been incarcerated for several years, especially fear re-entering the job market. Unlike many young ex-offenders, older ex-offenders often lack self-motivation skills that are essential for making a successful transition.

If you have nothing to start with, at least you have an attitude that will potentially motivate you and thus propel you to success. On the other hand, your attitude might drag you down a road to failure.

Take a moment to examine your attitude. Is it negative much of the time? Do you often make excuses? Does your attitude often show in what you say and do? Are others attracted to you in a positive manner? What motivates you to succeed?

If you have negative attitudes and often need to make excuses for your behavior, you are probably an unhappy person. It's time you took control of both your attitudes and behaviors.

Start by identifying several of your negative attitudes and try to transform them into positive attitudes. As you do this, you will begin to identify the positive person you want to be.

SOURCE: Adapted from Ron and Caryl Krannich, Ph.Ds, The Ex-Offender's Job Hunting Guide (Manassas Park, VA: Impact Publications). Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.