While being released from prison is surely a positive experience, it does, unfortunately, come with its own hurdles and challenges. As discussed in a recent post by Bored Panda, getting out of prison leads to a certain kind of reverse culture shock where you have to relearn to live among people again all the while carrying your now prison past with you.
Despite this, there are many stories of success and good luck among former prisoners. One such ex-prisoner, Londarel Harris, with whom Bored Panda got in touch, recently took to Twitter to share his joy in finding a job in a surprisingly short amount of time. And the internet was happy for him too—so happy, in fact, that it led to his tweet going viral.
Being released from prison is surely a positive thing, but it does come with its challenges, especially job-wise
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So, Londarel Harris was recently released from prison, and wasted no time—he immediately started looking for a job. To many’s surprise, including his own, he managed to get hired just 10 days after his release from prison. He posted a selfie on his Twitter with the caption: “Got my first job on the 10th day of my release from prison. Starting from the bottom up.”
“My upbringing and environment was full of negativity. All I knew was violence, abuse, and drugs. I always “knew” that a lot of the things I indulged in were wrong but I didn’t know any other way. There were no contradiction, no contrast examples around to make me stop and say, “hey, that’s the way I’m supposed to be going.” So I just kept doing the only thing I “knew” how to do until eventually it led me to be sentenced to a 15 year term in prison, with the first 10 years being mandatory, at the age of 17,” explained Harris.
Fortunately, Londarel Harris, an ex-prisoner, got lucky and was employed on his 10th day since release
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Now, this is a bit of a big deal for many reasons. Besides the fact that finding a job in less than 10 days is a challenge in and of itself, remember that Harris is still just getting used to living life as a free man—it does take time getting used to how people hunt for jobs nowadays after spending time in prison.
Also, there are still a number of employers who are reluctant to hire people with a criminal record, no matter what the crime actually was. Many employers don’t want to hire ex-prisoners out of fear that they may possibly bring trouble into the company.
Oh, and it’s also the coronavirus pandemic—that also ramps up the difficulty of finding a job due to rising unemployment rates and the subsequently fierce competition in the job market.
Turns out, for most ex-prisoners it takes months if not years after release to finally get employed
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Nevertheless, Harris pulled it off. He’s currently working at Wendy’s, a temporary job while he takes some online classes to get his AA in computer programming. We asked Harris what inspired him to go down this route and he said this: “Well, it’s not a ‘what’, but a ‘who’ inspired me to pursue computer programming. His name is Rick Wolter, a very good friend of mine who I met in prison. Man, I appreciate him so much, he’s been so helpful since my release. If it wasn’t for him, I’d still be lost, and wouldn’t be where I am now and have the things I have now.”
He continued: “He introduced me to coding when we were incarcerated, and to be honest, the only reason he had my attention was because I love computers. And how he explained everything to me was like planting a seed in my mind. And everyday he would come pull the weeds, and feed it just enough water. Not too much and not too little. And that continued until he was released, but the roots were already grounded, it was just a matter of time of me coming home.”
After his release, this experience soon led him to landing a job just ten days later and the aforementioned tweet, which went viral. Several weeks before the tweet, Harris posted that him being home from prison seemed unbelievable, but a wonderful feeling nonetheless. He promised to refocus his energy on positive things with the help of his significant other and good friend Rick Wolter, who’s now a software developer. Wolter responded to Harris’ tweet explaining that he spent much of his adult life in prison, but before getting out, he began to learn to code as it was an amazing escape that captivated him and he turned into a proper career after prison.
Everyone who commented was super positive and supportive of Harris and the tweet went viral
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As is often the case, being released from prison is not easy, so we asked how did Harris get through this and prevailed. He had this to say:
“My biggest challenge was not reverting back to my old way of living when times got hard. You know, when you do things for a long period of time it creates a habit, a pattern and a lot of people don’t possess the understanding of ‘how’ to break those habits. But due to me actually getting an understanding of myself, my faults and flaws, my weaknesses and motives, it enabled me to overcome those tendencies. Though some are still there within me, I have developed enough strength to ‘not be moved’ by them. Though I feel them, I don’t allow them to dictate my responses to any difficult situation I may encounter.”
Harris’ good friend Wolter was the inspiration for him to start programming and even shared his own experience and how he got into programming
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His tweet soon began drawing interest on the internet and went viral. Not only did it receive nearly 700,000 likes within a day, but also over 39,900 retweets and a tidal wave of positivity from friendly internauts.
Many were surprised at how fast Harris got a job, telling their stories of how they spent months and even years looking for work after their release. Some were luckier than others as there were people who explained how they believe being a felon is an automatic game over when it comes to jobs. Others were expressing their support with positive tweets. Many were congratulating him, saying that hard work and diligence will lead him to success, while others offered help with learning the right skills.
“Man, I was blown away when I woke up the next morning to see my tweet receive such an enormous response it did. The crazy thing about it was, when I tweeted that, it was a spontaneous thing. I was still trying to figure Twitter out. The first thing I did was took a screen shot and sent it to Rick because it was a little to early to call him.”
He continued: “I was up getting ready for work. And then my DM was flooded with messages and it just overwhelmed me. I had to sit down to process everything. I am really amazed at all the support I received from Twitter and am very thankful to have such a great team of supports that doesn’t know me from a can of paint.”
Harris received an overwhelming amount of positivity ant support from many strangers online
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People were genuinely happy to see Harris make it, wishing him all the best in his career
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Since Harris wanted to get into learning to program computers, some stepped up to offer help with that
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Harris’ tweet got nearly 700,000 likes with over 39,900 retweets in just a day
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Harris’ story shows that it’s never too late to turn your life around, no matter the odds and obstacles.
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