It often just takes a bit of confidence to achieve success at finding a job. And for Mary Wixson, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, that confidence was rediscovered through reading our book, Jails to Jobs: Seven Steps to Becoming Employed.
Wixson’s life has not been easy. After her brother died when she was 16, she began drinking and was arrested a few times for DUIs in her 20s. Her boyfriend at the time was in and out of jail and later passed away. She was sentenced to work furlough.
Once when she was on probation, the probation officer came and took her out to lunch. “I asked her ‘do you take everyone out to lunch?’ And she said, ‘No but I know you want to change,’” says Wixson.
Over the years, Mary Wixson learned that she needed to tell the truth about her incarceration and recovery from drinking. As a result, she had bosses who embraced her courage, and good things came from being honest and transparent.
She recently attended an online reentry conference, where Mark Drevno, Jails to Jobs’ executive director, was giving a workshop.
“I was just listening and taking notes. He sent me a book. And now my girlfriend who’s my age is reading it, because she’s out of work,” Wixson says.
Our book restored her confidence
And, for her it came at the right time. “Because of Covid I was out of work. When I lost my full-time job as activities director for Alzheimer’s patients at an adult day care center that had to close, I went to my part-time job as a server,” she says. “I was struggling because I had been full time then only part time.
Then I read this book. I was lacking confidence, because it’s not easy to get a job. I also messed up interviews. But when I read the book, I got another part-time job that I really enjoy. I followed his (Drevno’s) instructions to do what you really want to do. I just felt really blessed by it and really believe in it. It gave me a lot of confidence.”
Her new part time job is as a funeral assistant just 10 minutes away from her home.
“It was my first interview. When I was young I got rejected, rejected, rejected. It’s hard, too, when you have a record. I had to write that I was convicted,” Wixson says. “I used to be really angry about it, but then I realized that the employers who hired me didn’t feel bad about it. I’d rather work for employers who are open.”
And her new employers are open, and she’s happy there. “I wanted to work with good people. That’s what I looked for. The people there are so nice, and I fit in.”
Advice for others
People in reentry who are having trouble finding a job should “read this book. It’s going to motivate them and give them confidence. That’s what’s lacking much of the time. They think they’re inferior,” Wixson adds.
“There are people who are out there who will help if you persevere. Keep going on the right path to do the right thing.”
Editor’s note: Among other things, Wixson found that reviewing the book’s appendix section on interview questions proved beneficial. It’s important to be well prepared for an interview, and our book gives advice on how to handle questions such as “What is your greatest strength,” “How do you handle stress,” and “There seems to be gaps in your work history. What were you doing during that time?”
Another part of Jails to Jobs: Seven Steps to Becoming Employed that is beneficial for people who have been incarcerated is the turnaround packet and turnaround talk, which can also be found on our website. By reading and following what’s suggested, you will be able to better handle how to deal with your record.
We also recommend a series of pre-interview confidence builders that can help you to rediscover the confidence you need when the day of your interview arrives.
Also, we suggest an effective question to close the interview that will help to make one final impression and give your interviewer something to remember you by.
Get our book for free: The first 100 people who contact us will receive a free copy of Jails to Jobs: Seven Steps to Becoming Employed.