We are NOT our mistakes.

“Your mistakes don’t define your character. It’s what you choose to do after you have made the mistake that makes all the difference. -Dave Willis

It’s no secret that life can catapult us into overwhelmingly pleasant situations (i.e. think becoming engaged) or hurl us into catastrophic uncertainties (i.e. loss of employment, loss of loved ones etc.), each of us has a unique narrative which helps to solidify the people we have become or will become in the future. With that being said, each of us also has a unique set of life skills special to only us (or individuals similar to us) because of these specific scenarios we have experienced. If I’m not making any sense yet, give me just a minute more to delve further and better explain my thoughts.

Case in point, I myself KNOW that I am an “A-player” as Herrenkohl so eloquently dubs those in the workforce who diligently and consistently work to perfect their craft (no matter the job/organization) and grow themselves and the business exponentially. I have worked for approximately fifteen years in various roles (i.e. healthcare administration, nonprofit organizations) that have allowed me to perfect quintessential skills needed in the workforce (i.e. strong communication and interpersonal skills, excellent writing and speaking ability, blah, blah, blah). I have formal education to back up my experience in the workforce, and several prior employers who are willing to guarantee future employer’s of my work ethic and prowess. HOWEVER, I am often overlooked by organizations because I don’t “seemingly” fit the prototypical idea of what an “A-player” should resemble.

Because of this, I promise to make it a point to explore various avenues of locating suitable employment for roles. I know what it’s like to know damn well that I would kill a position, that my resumé speaks specifically to my capabilities, but that I oftentimes never receive additional calls or meetings when I should be one of the top candidates. My friends always say, “they just don’t know what they’re missing.” But, sometimes it makes me feel the same way!?! What am I missing?!?

As a future employer, I hope not to overlook talent or the opportunity to hire talent because of their cultural background, religion, perspectives, or past mistakes (technically known as discrimination). A person is not their mistakes…or so I heard recently! Although no one wants to hire an ex-convict, they are a pool of applicants that may offer a few “A-players” if an employer took the time to further investigate the individual and not their indiscretions. If the person was convicted of a non-violent crime, had prior related work experience or skills, completed their sentence without difficulties and wanted to successfully re-enter society; they would be ideal candidates for positions. With the proper amount of coaching, these ex-convicts could potentially be exemplary employees in your organization. They’re certain to be on time and will want to be consistent to continue receiving an income if they have to provide payment for probation services or other parole-related expenses. Furthermore, there are several programs geared towards companies that hire persons with criminal records. These programs provide substantial tax breaks and further incentivize businesses who have taken the risk to hire individuals with criminal records.

To me, this is also what being an entrepreneur is all about. The freedom to make an income, while also having the ability to make an impact ?



Herrenkohl, Eric. How to Hire A-Players Finding the Top People for Your Team – Even If You Dont Have a Recruiting Department. Wiley, 2010.

Petersen, Lainie. “Tax Breaks for Employers Who Hire Felons.” Small Business – Chron.com, Chron.com, 6 Mar. 2019, https://smallbusiness.chron.com/tax-breaks-employers-hire-felons-14421.html.


4 thoughts on “Recognizing and Appreciating People for the Skills they have Amassed over Time, Regardless of How Counterparts May Feel

  1. Another great post! While reading that chapter of How to Hire A-Players, I immediately started thinking of non-violent drug offenders as an excellent untapped talent pool. As you mention, the tax incentives are great, and let’s be real — people from all walks of life engage in recreational drug use, yet those incarcerated for it tend to fit specific profiles (racial, economic, etc). What’s worse, we release the non-violent drug offenders — only to take away basic rights like voting and make obtaining even basic employment nearly impossible. This just perpetuates a vicious cycle that puts a huge strain on social mobility. I personally know extremely bright, vibrant individuals who served time for something like marijuana possession when they were younger and now are left stuck with few options other than fast food restaurants. I greatly respect you for shining a light on just how valuable these individuals can be to a company. Sure, there are risks, but the same holds true for nearly any hire.

    • Thanks Travis! I really appreciate your perspective! So true, that there are ex-offenders who will be punished for the rest of their lives for mere mistakes that were made in their youth or without much thinking (impulsively). We’re all human and prone to making mistakes at some point…Maybe not to the extent of others, but almost everyone deserves a chance at redemption. I completely stand by my decision to hire ex-convicts and would absolutely do so when the time comes. Thanks for the support on the issue!

  2. I really glad I decided to read your Blog post. Your honesty and ability to relate the teachings makes it a great read. I totally understand and agree 1000% with your points. I also have not looked the past for many roles and feel my abilities have been overlooked. There are doers I the world and then there are some that seem to be faking by trying to look a part. I have always made those people need me.

    Thanks again!

    Jeramy Hooper

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