Changes in Employment – What This Means for the Reentrant in 2021
Under normal circumstances, returning citizens struggle to find employment, and employment opportunities have been even more scarce due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses have had to temporarily or permanently close, and for those that have remained open. social-distancing safety measures have drastically affected the job market and environment. As a result, many companies and jobs have people working from home or working “remotely”. If you have a computer and internet access, freelance or remote work may be a great option to explore.
What does freelance work look like?
Flexible Schedule and Location: This can be especially helpful at the beginning of your reentry journey when you want to make time for other commitments like family, group meetings, or parole/probation appointments. You may find it overwhelming jumping back into work after release, therefore a flexible schedule may help you juggle additional commitments.
No Commuting Costs: The work commute can be stressful for anyone, by car or when dealing with public transportation and their schedules. Freelance opportunities can be especially helpful in rural areas where public transit is less available. Working from home also lets you avoid commuting costs, saving you extra money.
Use Your Skills to Pursue Your Passions: Freelance opportunities are available across a wide range of industries and professions. The freedom that comes with freelance work allows you to explore many different opportunities and find what you are passionate about. If you are someone who is still exploring what they want to do, this may be a great option.
No Background Checks: Perhaps the best reason to choose freelance work is that it does not require a background check. You are your own employer. If your past record stands in the way of a job or career you are interested in, freelance work may be able to open these doors.
Accountability: Make sure you are someone who is comfortable setting and achieving goals without much supervision. It’s very easy to get distracted with other things when you don’t have anyone directly overseeing your progress throughout the day.
Lack of Interaction: Depending on your personality, you may miss the face-to-face communication and social interaction that comes with working from home.
Probation/Parole Requirements: Depending on the conditions of your release, freelance or remote work may not be an option. It’s helpful to discuss these opportunities with your supervisor or caseworker before you start your job search.
Upwork is a free website that connects you with jobs and projects. Each job will list the tasks, timeline, and salary. When you show interest, the employer may ask you for references and examples of past work. You are paid online, and once the job is complete, employers can review or rank the experience, which is visible to other employers looking to hire. Upwork is a great way to explore different types of jobs if you are unsure of the industry you would like to pursue.
What does remote work look like?
COVID-19 has made a huge impact on employees working remotely from home, especially within the customer service industry. Many of these jobs have transitioned to the phone and/or computer. Below we have listed a few reputable companies that offer pay-as-you-go opportunities from home.
The best way to know if you are ready to work from home is by asking your support team for their recommendations. Ask individuals that will give you honest answers and have your best interest in mind. If you are at the beginning of your reentry journey, the lack of structure and accountability may be difficult. Find something that works best for you and your reentry transition.
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GEO Reentry Connect is a comprehensive resource for individuals who have been incarcerated. Find resources you need upon release from prison or jail–employment, housing, education, family services, treatment, and more.