In the past year, I’ve helped more than 150 adults in recovery look for jobs and get their lives back on track. As a job placement coach who also runs sober houses, I make it my personal mission to get employment for each and every able resident. At Warrior’s Path, we’ve found that the best way to stay sober is to stay active, whether that means full-time employment, part-time shifts, volunteer work, fellowship, or 12-step work. I’m known for giving motivational speeches to every newcomer; I typically open with something like this: The world needs you to contribute; get out there and show us what you can do!
Looking for Work in CRADLE
Many adults in recovery come to us as career-changers or employment re-starters. In early sobriety, it is best to humble yourself and start at the bottom. We affectionately refer to minimum wage positions as “Get Well” jobs. These jobs may not be glamorous, but they come with just the right perks: a regular paycheck, dependable hours, and a chance to demonstrate responsibility, even if that means just showing up on time. Holding yourself accountable can be tough in early sobriety, so an employer can be an excellent motivational tool to keep you on track. If you know you’re waking up early for work tomorrow, you’re less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol the night before your early shift. Employers can be just as effective as your AA/NA sponsors; they can make sure you’re sober by linking your continued employment to your sobriety. You’ll stay sober, and you’ll literally get paid to do it! How cool is that?
We use the acronym CRADLE for the best places to look for work. CRADLE jobs include: Caregiving, Retail and sales, Administration, Delivery, Labor, and Entertainment (restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas and concert venues). Any of those jobs include on-time shift starts and opportunities for career advancement down the road. You’ll stand out if you work hard, complete a full shift, and remain polite and professional. You should be doing that stuff anyway, so you might as well be in a place that appreciates and rewards that behavior. For that reason, minimum wage is the best environment. Once you’re a manager, your sales and performance will matter more than your attitude and punctuality. That’s why management is not ideal for early sobriety. The best Get Well job will be a position that has the same goals as you: schedule, effort, honesty and teamwork.
The absolute first place to start is a resume. A clean, logical and organized resume can make all the difference. It shows that you are serious about your future.
Try to follow these Get Well Resume Rules:
1. Make sure your email address is professional and includes your full name.
2. For “Recent Professional Experience” you should list three to five jobs that together demonstrate three to five years of experience.
3. For “Skills” you should list things you enjoy doing.
4. For “Education” you should include any classes you liked, certification you’ve achieved, and team sports you’ve played.
This process should take roughly 30 minutes if done correctly, and it’s a really good investment.
So, take a 30-minute break today from your endless clicking on Monster.com or Indeed.com and make a new resume. Then print 20 copies, walk out your front door and pound the pavement. Visit every business in a one-mile radius, because walking to work sure beats waiting for the bus. If you start from the bottom and work hard, you’ll get the solid foundation you need to make it through early sobriety. You can do it, I believe in you.