Yes, that is me on the left and hard to believe that was me. Long hair and a different mindset had set in after having had to survive in Federal Prison for 12 years. It took me a long time to get adjusted to being into the Pro- Social flow of things and just turning my attitude around to become a productive citizen of the community. Many hardships, turmoil and deep reflection had to be done to overcome to get where I am at today. But I survived and became who I am today, because of it.
Not knowing nothing about FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or INSTAGRAM since it was not part of my culture when I got incarcerated back in 2001. Can you imagine not knowing what any of this stuff and actually was afraid to use it. Hows this one for example, the last time I used a computer to run my other businesses, NETSCAPE was the browser, and my cell phone was a nokia, that lit up! That is just to show how back I was in the field of this New world…!
Let me tell you a quick story about Gordon Wat.
8 years ago I had to make a decision that would have a long term effect on my life. Fresh out of federal prison 75k in past debt including child support and court fines. Not a dollar to my name but a back pack of prison grays, which was hygienes, 6 pairs of sox, 6 underwear, 6 t-shirts, and a gray track suit. These are things you have to work with when standing in line ready to get checked in to start your new life. Do I make a change here and now, with no real job experience, not a clue in the world on who to see where to go and no money in your pocket execept from the savings of working 14 cents an hour. Didn’t know what a smart phone was, or an app on top of that you have 6 months to put your life togehter before they send you back or kick you out.
“Then something happened that changed things forever…”
I was free but wasn’t free, still had rules in my head and the halfway house. Started looking for a job but everything was done online and I had no computer no email infact didn’t even know what google or youtube was. I almost got run over by a car because I forgot about traffic and sidewalks and just was amazed at everything and how fast everything was moving. I had so much stimulation in one I had a headache so bad, I had to take a long nap. The intake person told me what is wrong? I have a huge headache..she says this happens alot, all you have to do is go back and take a nap. Got up and took an assessment about my life looked around at everyone in the half-way house and was amazed that everyone was still huslting. Selling bus passes, weed, and thinking of ways to just come up. I vowed never to put myself or my loved ones in that situation ever again.
“The problem was…
Thought to myself do I go back to what I know and risk the consequences…life in prison with no way back out? I had a more than second change. But like any other person, internal struggles of who is going to hire me, no managers just take walk ups for interviews (old thinking) how do I use the public transit to get around in a town I know nothing about, and where to actually start.
“Things were about to go from bad to worse…”
To move on you have to get cleared medically which meant bus rides to offices all before even stepping into someone that would hire me, if asked if I was an ex-felon what do I say or do on an application, all with noo money to even get to where I needed to go…but long story short after a week. Went to a job interview by three owners and if they told me if I cut my long Troy Polomalu hair I can start so I accepted a job as a valet running around with young kids just to make some money and my body wasn’t used to it. I knew there had to be more but for the time being I would go through the pains of shin splints, sore muscles just to get my life going all while looking to get to the strip.
“That’s when the situation truly hit rock bottom…”
I was still living at the half way house and was told by one of the career counselors they don’t hire ex-felons on the las vegas strip. So many reasons why I felt defeated because I came to vegas to become a host but just getting there to even step foot in one was going to be an uphill battle. At my time of release economy was just beginning to move in the right direction and it was moving slow nobody was hiring truck drivers, equipment operators, and not even things I had my certificates for. Feeling defeated, I just waited my time and wait for that one moment that can happen and it did.
“Then, something happened that changed everything…”
So been working as a valet for a few months and one of my managers told me to apply for a bellman/luggage handler position at one of the premier hotels on the strip. I was still at the halfway house and thought in my head noone will hire me there and I expressed what I was told. No clothes to interview, no money to buy clothes, and a messed up thinking. But what the heck….so borrowed laptop to apply and took my time to answer the questions to see what would happen.
“In that moment…”
Taking that chance to apply anyway.. thinking what is the worst that can happen at least Ill get the experience.
“Here’s what happened next…”
Told the halfway house I had an interview for the hotel at a different location, no clothes but there was a Ross’s store near us. I had to buy a pair of slacks and found an aloha shirt for both cheap. I had to duct tape my $9.00 pants from Ross’s because it was too long, went to a group interview and because I had been in so many support groups I was able to talk and show genuine interest for questions and expressing myself. (Didn’t even know people were watching on camera from a different location) Got a call later that day to come in for an person to person interview in two days. Shit…never thought it a million years I would even get that call. I had to borrow money from my sister on credit card to buy a suit to go meet with hiring managers. So bought clothes at mens warehouse a few suits at about $1000 thinking this a a huge gamble. How am I going to pay this back, what if it don’t work…So I booked my time slot.
“The situation transformed because…”
The minute I had my time to interview, the mangar said one of his employees spoke highly of me, so I explained my situation honestly, not knowing he had my printed records right on my desk. You know the hotel has access to everything interpol, arrest records he looked at my resume and looked at me and said nobody has to know about this and shredded it in front of me. Holy shit! he told me I believe in second chances and I am going to give you one, if you can get past the other managers. Went on to meet other managers, and the hotel director on two other days, and on the last one..
“Here’s how things turned out…”
Got hired that day and got a letter of commitment right there took it back to the job co-ordinator and he didn’t believe it. He didn’t believe I got the job so he went down to the hotel and talked to the managers… and since then have helped many people get jobs on the strip. I alsoh got involved with helping other addicts at a christian mission and now help youth. Wrote a book, have speaking engagements online through webinars, and in-person. Shared the stage with prominent business people, started a family at the age 52, own multiple houses from scratch, and started a talk show, a podcast and generally have helped thousands of people get on track.
“What I’d like you to take away from this story is…”
- Having the right mentality and attitude can take you far
- You Cannot let fear or frustration control your side of the story
- Taking chances in the right time and place can literally change the trajectory of your life
- Be appreciative of what you been through and honestly use that to your advantage