The Greek Philosopher Aristotle once said: “The means to an end [can be achieved in three ways] first, have a definite, clear practical idea; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary wisdom, money, materials & methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.”
Greg, one of Daily Work’s job seekers, provides a clear example of how to create the changes necessary for achieving the means to an end…which for him, is a fresh start and a new career. Greg is a single, 57-year old African American man; he currently lives in government provided housing which only allows him to earn about $100 per month. Anything he earns in excess of that goes back to the government to help pay for the cost of his housing. While that may seem “fair” given that Greg doesn’t pay for his housing, it also makes it almost impossible for him to save money for a rent deposit, go back to school, or do anything else to advance his life.
Despite this, after his release from prison in March 2014, Greg was determined to "do it right this time around.” Upon his release, he began searching for resources that could help him re-enter the workforce and in September 2014, Greg discovered Daily Work’s website and made an appointment.
As a part of our process at Daily Work, we work with job seekers to set employment goals and identify barriers hindering their employability. Greg had some pretty big challenges to deal with such as: his felony record, no current driver’s license, no recent work history, and some health complications that prevent him from doing heavy labor, which is often the easiest type of work to get for someone with a felony record.
During several months with Daily Work and through help from the state’s office of vocational rehabilitation, Greg mapped out a goal to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and become a truck driver. Specifically, Greg identified the following things he needed to get a CDL.
- Pay a reinstatement fee to get back his regular driver’s license: $680
- Pay the cost of his new license: $26
- Pay the cost of his Dept. of Transportation (DOT) physical: $70
- Pay the cost for commercial truck driving school: $1,295
- Pay the cost of his Class B license:$37.50
Having identified the barriers preventing him from achieving his goal, Greg began seeking resources that could help him cover these costs. Through the help of Daily Work’s partnership with the Microgrant’s program and through the vocational rehab department, Greg is now a licensed driver again and is just about done with truck driving school. Without this help, Greg estimates that it would have taken him at least three years to achieve his goal of getting a commercial driver’s license, instead of just eight months.
While Greg is slow to smile (he says his nickname was “Grump” in junior high), he admits that he has something to smile about now: he is confident that he will be able to achieve his goal of finding living wage work and supporting himself.
Greg's determination and commitment to his goals is truly inspiring and Daily Work is grateful to be a part of the team that stands with him as he builds his new career and creates a new reality for himself. Congratulations Greg!
This post was written by Virginia Sanchez-Ramirez, a social work intern with Daily Work and a junior at St. Thomas University. She wrote it as a reflection about what she is learning about herself and others by interning at Daily Work.