The subject in the programme of this presentation by Richard McCann was ‘Author and Motivator’ but for me it didn’t really do any motivating. Richard had a diffcult childhood, in part due his mother being murdered when he was young. Growing up in care, joining the army but being discharged for what they considered pshycological problems, falling into crime and going to prison for drugs. The first part of his life could be summed up as disaster.
But here’s the good bit, he never give’s up. Step forward not so many years (He’s late thirties I think) and he’s now a published auther, effective public speaker, married family man determined to give his young children a better upbringing than he had.
Perhaps the first line I wrote appears a little unfair. I found the presentation of Geoff McKay more effective for motivating the audience, a group of Rotarians on an issue that affects Rotary as a whole. Richard McCann though is in a different league from that sort of motivation. For me, he’s not passing a message of motivation to the masses, he’s the role model we would all want to become if things had been so hard for us. I found his message more insipriation than motivation. If I come across a young person in trouble, Richard is the real life example I could now give to them to show they can achieve whatever they want if they don’t give up.
Something else came from his presentation. When he left prison he’d made the decision not to go back to drugs and the same situation. Yet he found it difficult applying for jobs because of his criminal record, employers would discount him for jobs. Coming from the other side, looking for employees, I spoke to him afterwards about what the solution is to the problem of finding work after leaving prison. For me, I don’t really care if an employee has a criminal record (easy for me to say, none have ever mentioned it to test my reaction). What worries me more is whether someone who does have a record is geniunely trying to reform. For my business I have an obligation to find the best person for job that will bring the most profit to the business and recruitment is not an exact science. For every person like Richard, how many others don’t have the self motivation. How, as an employer in an interview, can I spot the people reforming like Richard in comparison to those that aren’t? I’m not sure there is a way and Richard couldn’t give me an answer either, but believes that many employers (read also; managers selecting new staff) need to be educated to open their mind to employing ex-prisoners in the first place.
This entry is part of a series about my visit to the Rotary District Conference. It might not make much sense on it’s own, why not start at the first post and read all the way through.
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