Every person, every day, faces choices. The obstacles of mental illness, impulsivity, drug abuse, poverty and peer pressure seem impossible to get past some days, but think it through. The series of decisions that lead to a life of crime require thought, planning, initiative and action: the same skills valued by employers on almost any job site. You take your strongest skills on your best day, put them to work one way or another and in the end, one career choice gets you three square meals inside four brick walls; the other gets you concert tickets, vacations with friends, and a new car or guitar if you want it, with no looking over your shoulder, no fear of getting caught, killed or busted.
It’s not that simple, of course.
Your buddy cases a house and backs you up when you go in to take the TV and Xbox. If the same buddy offered you a job in a warehouse, you would maybe take that job instead, but no one comes by connecting you with that kind of work. You have to go find it, and that means leaving your neighborhood and taking a few chances.
The next time you are faced with an opportunity to sell or not sell, hurt someone or hold back, kill or not kill, check that end result. What’s in it for me? If the answer is, a paycheck and weekends off to hang with friends, that’s great. If your potential end result is jail time, think about taking a step back; that extra second you spend weighing your decision could lead to all kinds of great things down the road.
Julie’s 2010 challenge: if you want work and just have no clue about where to start, send me an email. I’ll help you figure it out. You might be surprised at what’s out there for you.
Already this year, Minneapolis has seen more murders and far more crime than any community needs; If you know someone who is standing at the crossroads, do everything you can to push them in the direction of something better. They’ll thank you. We’ll all thank you.