Section 4: Goals


Those who work with our staffing organization make valiant efforts to change the perceptions of employers. Too many employers have been reluctant to hire the formerly incarcerated. You can help us persuade more businesses to hire the formerly incarcerated by showing that you live in accordance with the same deliberate strategies that we teach in our Straight-A Guide program.

In the previous lesson, we wrote about values. Yet we must go further and offer metrics that would show our level of commitment to the value categories that we identify. At least that was a lesson Michael wrote about when he described the Straight-A Guide strategy that empowered him through 26 years of imprisonment, preparing him to return with numerous employment opportunities.

As stated previously, Michael wrote that in the beginning of his term, he identified three categories that included a commitment to work toward educating himself, contributing to society, and building a support network. Those were his value categories. As a consequence of his taking the time to identify how he would define success, Michael could take the next steps of articulating clearly defined goals within each of his value categories. He wrote that during his first ten years in prison, he would strive to achieve the following goals:

  1. Earn a college degree,
  2. Publish some type of literature that would contribute to society, and
  3. Build a support network that would include at least 10 people who would have a vested interest in helping him succeed upon release.

Michael relied upon those goals to guide his every step. Note that he set clear goals, and he gave himself a 10-year timeline. By stating the goals publicly, he encouraged others to judge him for the way he responded to a difficult situation. He felt that making deliberate decisions would encourage others to believe in him. Since he defined success for his life, he could begin working to become more than his past decisions and encourage others to judge him by his future rather his past.

Since we’re working to help place the formerly incarcerated into jobs, we’ve had the privilege of listening and learning from numerous employers. From them we learned that employers would be more inclined to hire the formerly incarcerated if those individuals could demonstrate their commitment to living as law-abiding citizens. Individuals who wanted to emulate the success of those who adhered to the Straight-A Guide may choose to take the next step after they identified their values: Set clear goals, with measurable outcomes and timelines:

After you’ve identified your value categories, tell us the specific goals that you will achieve within those value categories. Make sure to set incremental timelines as well.