Featured

Get a Career Today by Building a Ten-Minute Resumé with Keywords

In this photo from http://www.theguardian.com, an entrepreneur considers applicants.

About the author: Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college English professor and writer from Chicago who creates fiction, nonfiction and local and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and Creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

These days, getting a good job or career is similar to publishing online content: you have to have good keywords to attract traffic. In layman’s terms, keywords are simply important words or phrases used to attract your audience which, in this case, is employers. After landing plenty of interviews from simple delivery jobs to professor positions, I’ve been able to use keywords to make my resumé standout, regardless of how bland or tacky it looked. Today, I will explain to you how to make sure your resumé almost certainly gets you the interview and career you want.

Find the skills or qualifications section on [a live] application [or job posting] and copy and paste them into a resumé template.

To begin with, first search the position you’re looking for and find a real job listing. So, for instance, if you’re looking for a tutoring position, find a listing on a site like http://www.varsitytutors.com and locate a tutor position listing. Find the skills or qualifications section on that listing and copy and paste them into your resumé or template.

Now, you’re wondering what template to use. As long as you stick to the following rules, your template is not very important. Employers recommend using a basic format of 12. Times New Roman black font. It is clear and easy to read. Of course, you may be tempted to use glamorous cursive font to make your resumé standout; don’t. What makes your resumé standout is the words on the page not the decoration of the words on the page. Use a basic template, and make it easy for the employer to read.

In this photo by http://www.wordpress.com, a job seeker looks over her resumé.

Moreover, shorten up your resumé. Some say your resumé shouldn’t be more than two pages, three at the most. On the contrary, one page is enough. Say more with less. The shorter, the better. We live in a fast-moving society, COVID-19 aside. No employer has time to flip through a three-page resumé. Have you ever listened to someone tell you a story for an hour that should have taken less than five? You’d want that person to hurry up and get to the point. That’s the same thing with resumés. I’ve kept my resumés one page, and it has worked out well landing me interviews.

Also, those employers evaluating your resumé are likely millennials. Those in leadership positions continue to be younger and younger. These younger leaders are social media frequenters who have the attention span of a distracted toddler. They do not want to read a three-page resumé. So, do not insist on putting your whole life on a resumé.

If you want to be a mail carrier or work in IT, your experience mopping as a janitor is not relevant.

To continue, you’re probably saying, “I have many years of experience. How can I make it all one page? What do I include in my work experience?” There are two ways to handle this issue. In the “experience” section, you can either list the last three employers you have had or your last ten years of experience. Include only work relevant to the current position. If you want to be a mail carrier or work in IT, your experience mopping as a janitor is not relevant. You may use whatever experience you have in any field, but the more relevant the experience, the more likely it is to get your resumé acknowledged. For the work experience area, I usually put three past work experiences and include three one-sentence descriptions of the duties I performed. If you are currently employed at a job listed on your resumé, describe your duties in present-tense; use past-tense if you are no longer employed by an employer listed on your resumé.

In this photo from http://www.wordpress.com, an insightful professor fills his students in on what is expected in the job market.

As for the skills or qualifications section, this is where your previous search of a live position within your field comes in. Your skills/qualifications descriptions are usually one or two words such as “management” or “computer savvy” and these can be found in active job listings. The reason to do a search on a live job listing is because many applications are run through algorithms before they even reach the eyes of a real person. An algorithm is software used by employers to calculate how well an applicant’s resumé matches their job listing. Adding keywords from one active application will almost guarantee you an interview. Additionally, choosing one good application to pull keywords or phrases from will help your overall job search if you use that same resumé to apply to similar positions.

In this partial resumé screenshot, the applicant’s qualifications are listed in no more than three keywords copied and pasted from an active job listing

Moving on, as far as the “objective” section on your resumé, keep it at one simple line. The urge here sometimes is to write a paragraph about how great you want to make the employer, and this is not a great approach. The “objective” section should read this way: “To obtain a (whatever position you want) and help the company grow (in a specific way such as customer acquisition, gaining new accounts, retaining customers through good customer service or in any specific way).” Keep it simple and specific.

On another note, you don’t want too much negative space on the page. A sheet of paper with scarce information is a turnoff to employers. It tells them you’re a bland person and have no experience. Even this is true, you don’t want to reflect that on your resumé. If you’re short on experience, use volunteer experience. You don’t have any? Well, add in awards, hobbies or more skills. Do anything to make your resumé appear full enough to eliminate too much negative space.

In this post from Instagram, successful businesswoman Rosetta Thurman enjoys a gentle squeeze from her hubby.

In closing, using the methods above, I’ve become a college professor. You can do the same with the right resumé. Getting an interview is about having a good resumé with the right words. Search keywords or phrases by finding live job posting and copying the listed “skills” or “qualifications” onto your own resumé so that the employer’s algorithm selects your resumé. Keep the entire resumé at no more than one page. Cut what you must. Following these instructions, you will have a job interview within days of building your ten-minute resumé.

For the follow-up articles showing how to create a cover letter and what to do once you get an interview, subscribe by clicking here.

Featured

Book of Rhymes: How to Beat Internet Bullies and Trolls

In this photo from HelpGuide.com, a troubled girl reacts to a rude text message while also being isolated from the others.

About the author: Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college English professor and writer from Chicago who creates fiction, nonfiction and local and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and Creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

In the last bars of Eminem’s song “Book of Rhymes,” Eminem declares, “Note to self: ‘Sometimes you’re gonna bomb, so you just might have to pull yourself up with no one’s help.’” To his listeners, he then says, “I just wrote this down in my Book of Rhymes.” This inspirational line is delivered by an unlikely source in a song where he decries having to “wrestle with this iPad…unsuccessfully” as he responds in knee jerk fashion to online criticism, the same criticism people like you face every day. There are ways to beat internet bullies and trolls, and those methods are scarcely but powerfully dropped jewels in Eminem’s song “Book of Rhymes.”

Bullies thrive off of controlling your emotions.

To continue, in the very first lines of the song, Eminem says, “I don’t frown; I don’t smile; get too up or get too down.” What he is expressing here is nearly absolute control of his feelings. To say he doesn’t smile is an exaggeration meant to show that he does not allow others to control his happiness. This is something you must embrace. Bullies thrive off controlling your emotions. They will intentionally trick you into laughing just to make you the butt of the joke. Point is, be less open to allowing others to emotionally manipulate you, no matter how much you miss him when he isn’t cheating or how happy she makes you when she isn’t lying.

In this Dreamstime.com pic, a woman shields her eyes from mean social media messages.

Moreover, day in and out, you scroll Facebook and see an old high school buddy has graduated college or landed a big career. Or that gossiper Keisha got married, and the bling of her ring on Instagram nearly blinds you. You sigh. You’re nobody, and the internet perpetually reminds you of that. As Eminem puts it, “I can not have [any] success!” But you’re wrong, and even Em admits that he is incorrect in “Book of Rhymes.”

You have to know who the haters are in your life.

As we have seen, in a game thick in deception and flooded with struggling artists, an emcee as unlikely as Eminem made it. None of his foes thought he would, and just few of his friends stood by. By the time he finally solidified his name in the rap industry, Eminem had come to learn his trolls and bullies were no more than “haters.” You have to know who the haters are in your life. Their job is to put doubt in your head about your potential and to douse the flame of any spark of a good idea you may have. Without identifying and cutting these people off, you run the risk of letting them silently but purposefully murder your dreams.

And just exactly how do you beat internet bullies? Other than what is already mentioned, realize that bullies do not own you. Most of the time, they are weird ignorant people who hide behind keyboards and VPNs. Even if you know the bully personally, you still should not let what they think dictate how you maneuver through your life. Put you first, because nobody else will, especially not a troll. Turn off the computer, and do you. No pity parties. As Eminem puts it, “Sometimes you’re gonna bomb, so you just might have to pull yourself up with no one’s help.”

Subscribe for more.

Featured

Only Desperate Women Propose to Men

Here, a woman happily kneels while proposing to her husband-to-be. Photo from Buzz-Caribbean.com

About the author: Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college English professor and writer from Chicago who creates fiction, nonfiction and local and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and Creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

Recently, a new trend began sweeping the nation in which women are proposing to men. Considering that, up until recently, men proposed in nearly all previous marriages and they ended in divorce about 50 percent of the time. That means men get it wrong once out of every two times. Yet this fails to convince some that women-made proposals are probably better for everyone. Maybe women choose better. The internet has memed and mocked the crumbly outcome of proposals by “good men” like Derrick Jaxn who are narcissistic liars out to womanize. Considering that, there are plenty of reasons women should propose to men, some contend.

Why is a woman’s going after what she wants such an issue?

To begin, women who propose to men are not desperate by default. Plus, there are likely more desperate men popping the question than women, since women don’t do it often. A popular saying is, “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” If the notion of a woman going after what she wants is an issue, why? If the argument is soley, “She’s a woman, and women don’t propose,” whether you’re male or female, you may be a tad sexiest. Applying sets of rules based on gender is sexist on its face.

In this photo by WordPress, a couple happily links pinky fingers while walking along some train tracks

Also, some contend a woman who proposes to a man is loved less by that man than she does him. In relationships, love is measured in different ways. Does the wife-beating judge who proposes deserve a seat at the table of love over the man who actually loves his wife who proposed to him? That’s a conundrum. People weigh love differently. They express it differently. How they express that love should not be determined by gender, not in a progressive society deviating from assigned gender roles and oppressive patriarchy.

When you propose to your man and he says yes, he’s yours forever, through it all. He is pledging his love and loyalty to you. And think about it. Women who refuse to pop the question usually end up with the same man who didn’t ask for her hand or in multiple fruitless relationships. Would you rather be the stubborn one who refuses to ask a man to be yours and potentially be permanently single or put your pride aside and make your own dreams come true?

…you can not always pick up and leave…but you can proactively choose who you date or marry…

Proposing to your man gives you control. Why be a damsel in distress waiting for a man who may never arrive? Currently, society says pick from what you are offered. What if all the offerings are subpar? Those who live within the same demographic many times share the same values; so dating man person from a particular area could be the equivalent of dating them all; that is, there is no variety in their personalities.

In this photo by WordPress, husband and wife share a kiss while surrounded by the calming embrace of nature.

That said, women can not always choose where and when they date. The world is bound by social constructs such as employment, raising children or functioning. Though women may not be able to just pick up and go to a new area for better pickings, they can proactively choose who they date or marry. They have been picking from the bad offerings for awhile and it has gotten them nowhere with certain men. What’s wrong with changing things up a bit and popping the question? What’s wrong with a woman saying to a man, “Would you like to go out for coffee?” or “I love you so much. Will you marry me?”

The world respects women who know what they want and how to get it.

As far as the haters, — there will be plenty — you don’t owe them an explanation. The haters judging you probably can’t even get a goodbye kiss from their “man.” You don’t have to be that woman, and you shouldn’t let what others say about you hurt you. With the haters will also come a lot of love. The world respects women who know what they want and how to get it. The love outweighs the hate. So, get the ring and claim your man.

Sign up for more.

Featured

Succeeding in Relationships by Burning Off Emotional Leeches

Photo by WordPress

About the author: Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college English professor and writer from Chicago who creates fiction, nonfiction and local and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and Creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

If you have been keeping up with the Derrick Jaxn fiasco, you witnessed him sit beside his wife in a cringy live Instagram post where he readily admits to cheating on his wife. His wife sits beside him on the couch in a black bonnet or skullcap, sad-looking and defeated. Derrick Jaxn, the self-proclaimed relationship guru, is nothing more than an emotional leech who has emotionally drained his wife. His wife probably is thinking, I gave him my all being loyal and faithful, yet he still cheated. Why? His wife represents a multitude of people betrayed by friends and family they have saved from evictions, unemployment, bad relationships and much more, so many can relate. What those who have been betrayed do not realize is, they are too good for some whom they let into their lives, and now it is time to let those emotional leeches go.

In this post, a Facebook user unfairly blames Derrick Jaxn’s wife’s looks as the reason for Derrick’s cheating. In this photo, Derrick Jaxn sits beside his wife while explaining his infidelity with the Instagram model to the right.

Here you are again, grace under pressure, listening to your friend bawl her eyes out about a guy you TOLD her was poison; or your best friend needs another ride to work, even after you advised him betting his last at the dice game was not a particularly great idea. No matter how irritating or needy they are, you’re there for your friend. Yet in your greatest need, they are unreachable, literally and emotionally. They have no time or empathy for you. These people are emotional leeches — parasites — and it’s time you burn them off, figuratively speaking.

…what’s more important: your success or [other people’s] drama?

You know what pain and failure feel like, but you listen to everyone else’s problems without fully resolving your own. Right now, you have a deadline to meet, a child to pick up drop off, an assignment to complete or other work. You’re stressed, overworked and underpaid. You can rise above this, but you must first silence your phone. Yes, your mother wants to talk your ears off about the new puppy she equally loves and hates; your friend needs relationship advice; your other friend needs someone to talk to. You need to do you, so what’s more important: your success or their drama?

To those whom you can not call on in your time of need, those emotional leeches, burn them off. Talking with, not to, others about your issues and empathizing with and listening to theirs, can be therapeutic. However, not having that person actually hear you out and empathize with you can be overbearing. Emotionally, it will drain you. Unintentionally, you become their emotional landfill l, a dumping site. You inherit their problems, compounding your own. This may lead to depression. This person is not your friend or loved one.

[Everyone] can not be helped

Furthermore, how do you confront an emotional leech? First, you must talk to this person alone. Start with a preamble expressing how serious you are about what you’re about to say. Tell that person you are not looking for an excuse or defense but understanding. Make sure they understand this. Then, tell them what the issue is. Maybe they don’t answer when you call. Sometimes, they may flake out on you at the last minute. Or they just don’t listen to your issues. Whatever it is, express that. Still, what if they don’t hear you out?

If the person you’re trying to reason with can not understand why you’re bringing up the issue of them not spending enough time with you or their inability to empathize with you, you must leave this person behind. Imagine showing up to have a conversation, but instead of getting the tall, lanky person you expected, you encounter a brick wall. That is what it is like trying to reason with someone on the defensive. They are their to argue, not reason. For every real concern you have, they have an equal, brutal gaslight or lie armed and ready to fire. Everything no matter how small or how large, is an attack to an emotional leech. They can not be helped.

These types of people will never admit they’re lying.

Moreover, emotional leeches are crafty with excuses, gaslights and lies, so yo must use logic when choosing to burn them off like unwanted fat. For example, you’ve tried calling Shelly six times, but she has not answered or returned your phone calls. Her Facebook Messenger shows she’s been recently active. You confront her about this when you finally she her, but she says her phone was dead, but you know she always keeps her charger, and she has never let her phone go dead as long as you’ve known her. You bring up Messenger, but she says Messenger is wrong. Add up the evidence: do you believe her or the accurate Messenger timestamp? These types of people will never admit they are lying or wrong. You must end it with them, no matter whom they are or how long you’ve know them.

In this GIF, a man and woman smile together joyfully, while wrapped in the simplicity of true love.

That said, it is perfectly fine to be that shoulder to lean on in a rough time. There is nothing wrong with relating with others, taking in their issues and helping them overcome those issues. However, you must be mindful of your own physical and mental health. You also need someone to talk to and be understood by. You are not a mindless drone or disposable sponge meant for soaking up the filth of ungrateful people who can not even return a phone call. Put yourself first and take care of yourself while limiting the number of people whom you choose to be there for, because they may not be there when you need them.

Subscribe for more.

Featured

Black Men Don’t Cheat: Derrick Jaxn Exposed

Photo by Zee

About the author: Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college English professor and writer from Chicago who creates fiction, nonfiction and local and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and Creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

A Self-described poet, philanthropist and businessman from New York, Derrick Jaxn has gained notoriety as a “relationship guru.” Jaxn (real name Jackson) has made his mark highlighting the flaws of men while uplifting and empowering women; undoubtedly, his message resonated with women who work hard at relationships only to be cheated on or abused by “dog” men. The latter part of his message is what seems to trigger some innocent men who believe his message casts a net of stereotypes over all men. Now, Derrick is finding himself in the doghouse and facing Cancel Culture after allegedly repeatedly cheating on his wife of nearly three years with the same Instagram model. The question becomes, does Derrick Jaxn’s alleged cheating invalidate his overall message of empowering women and deconstructing patriarchy?

Derrick being a secret womanizer is like a lifetime KKK member suddenly revealing he is Black.

Supposedly, Derrick became entangled with an Instagram model whom he flew out to his home in Miami. Leaked screenshots reveal messages where Derrick asked the woman what color underwear she was wearing. To solidify his shot of seeing for himself what color underwear his side chick was wearing, he lied about the status of his marriage. Videos and much of the alleged evidence has been released by Tasha K and is on her Patreon account.

In this photo from Bee With The Tee YouTube’s account, Derrick Jaxn cuddles with his wife (center) while his Instagram model side chick takes a selfie (bottom right).

To understand why this is a big deal, one must be familiar with Derrick’s brand. He has built a minor empire based on uplifting women, deconstructing patriarchy and exposing womanizers. Derrick being a secret womanizer is like a lifetime KKK member suddenly revealing he is Black. It is so ironic, it is almost funny, but it is not. In this, there are real victims.

During his local and national interviews, he actively voiced his anti-womanizer message while secretly engaging in said behavior.

On Twitter, Jackson addressed Pastor John Gray’s admission to taking his wife through “eight years of pain.” However, Derrick did not admit that he himself was actively taking his own wife through that same pain. During his local and national interviews, he actively voiced his anti-womanizer message while secretly engaging in said behavior. He did not take into account or care about his wife’s feelings. It seems that his motivation for money and addiction to to having women at his his whim created a disconnect between him and his wife.

Video from Derrick Jaxn’s Twitter Account in which he laments male cheaters and offers relationship advice to a distressed follower.

As for the woman Derrick supposedly cheated with, she too is a victim. Derrick led her on to believe he was divorcing his wife and that he cared about the Instagram model, she feels. Some may say she is complicit in hurting the wife, and maybe she is to an extent depending on what she actually knew about the marriage. However, her knowledge of the marriage was limited to what Derrick told her and Derrick used this model for his own selfish desires. He made her feel the way he makes all women feel: worth it. But his intentions were evil.

It does not mean [Derrick’s] message that women must know their self-worth and avoid shady men is void…

And so what does this mean about men? Do they all cheat if Derrick does? No. Derrick is one man who used an excellent message to unfairly trick women into his web of deceit. It does not mean his message that women must know their self-worth and avoid shady men is void; it is indeed valid. However, Derrick Jaxn is not. Accused men who are side-eyed every day by women they love waited for years for this shoe to drop. They told their women lovers it would. Now that it has, Derrick is exactly what the men who took the brunt of his false accusations said he was: The Devil Himself portraying an angel.

If you enjoyed this read, please signup for more.

Memo to the Rebel Black Boy in the Name of George Floyd (Jury Pick Starts Today in Trial of Derek Chauvin)

In this photo, a melting pot of protestors peacefully demonstrate shoulder-to-shoulder after the murder of George Floyd. Photo by: Vox.com

Amid the beginning of the pandemic, protests across America broke out in support of George Floyd, a Black man strangled to death while pinned down by the knee of a relentless officer named Derek Chauvin, who picks his jury today. Floyd’s final words were “I can’t breathe” while he also called for his mother. Enraged, some Black people, acting like boat-rockers, urged others to take to the streets and essentially raze the country in the name of justice; other Blacks cautioned that any protests would lead to further oppression of Black people. Indignant fury won, and neighborhoods across the country were razed in the name of George Floyd. After the broken glass scattered like loose marbles across sidewalks, bruised Black bodies and dozens of arrests, we ask, does our end justify our means?

Right now, there is a boy waking up in a naked, sheet-less bed, cold and hungry. A puzzle piece that does not fit with the pieces with which he was boxed, the world has already classified the rebel boy as a “thug”. Opposed to the aroma of rising buttery biscuits mixed with the addictive smell of bacon, the rebel wrinkles his nose at the stench of weeks-old urine that has marinated and dried on his mattress a dozen times over. When he leaves his home, head down as he absentmindedly kicks empty beer cans to hear them clatter over concrete, he bypasses drug dealers and addicts conducting their transactions on the open market of the local corner. He does not see the old, stained church beside the liquor store, both dishonestly promising him a peace neither could ever deliver.

What [this boy] feels is a shrinking bag of embarrassment pulling too tightly against the soft flesh of his dark-brown throat…

What this boy, this child, does see is the police screeching to a halt in front of him, the sirens screaming like his two-month old brother when their mother leaves for days and his father never shows; he feels their pale, emotionless hands snake through his pockets, lingering a little too long near the place he knows at his young age only he should touch. What he feels is a shrinking bag of embarrassment pulling too tightly against the soft flesh of his dark-brown throat while his gasps are met with not a hint of oxygen; this is an embarrassment that will evolve in his life and take many forms: resentment, self-loathing, hopelessness, fear and more. He knows nothing else because he has seen nothing else. He says nothing because he believes his voice has been stripped by the system since no one has told him differently. Either the System will chin-check the rebel within him and he will grow into the cautionary Black man; or the System’s attempt to break him will transform him into the progressive Black boat-rocker. Enter Black Lives Matter mixed with the riots and everything else.

He sees those Black men who rock the boat of complacency in the name of human and civil rights as beggars…

There have always been cautionary Black men, those who reluctantly acknowledge Black men have it harder. Yet they understand that it could be harder; in fact, many of these men have experienced harder and worked hard to rise above it. Those Black people who rock the boat of indifferent complacency are seen as threats to cautionary Black men.

In this photo, tragic character Bigger Thomas (played by Ashton Sanders) of Richard Wright’s Native Son contemplates his reality while gazing over Chicago’s side of Lake Michigan. Photo by: Tribes.org

The cautionary Black man is a working man. He believes if other Black men work as hard as he does, they will be fine. He does not view the constructs of society as having any real bindings on the “success” of the individual Black man. (How that “success” is measured — whether it be by economical or educational achievements or other — depends on the person answering the question.) The cautionary Black man despises those Black men who rock the boat of complacency in the name of human and civil rights as beggars, or thugs or lazy men seeking a handout from their oppressor whom they too often blame. The cautionary Black man does not understand that every Black man is not him and that limiting social constructs directly hinder him and Black men as a whole. Moreover, those oppressive social constructs are made to predetermine and restrict what socio-economic level any Black man reaches in his life as proven in The New Jim Crow by writer, civil rights activist and professor Michelle Alexander. Oppression behaves as a living, breathing mechanism which the cautionary Black man has been knowingly enveloped by.

At one point in his life, the cautionary Black man may have been the boy mentioned earlier; that is the background he shares with the boat-rocking Black man. However, on their paths to becoming men, something happened, drastically splitting the two into different mindsets. The cautionary Black man, having been broken by the system in one way or another, enjoys his chitterlings in his quiet, cold home unbothered that his hardwork — had his skin been five shades lighter and hair less curly — would have earned him enough land for his nephews’ nephews to live on.

…the boat-rocker decides in this crowded country of oppression, something must go

However, the boat-rocking Black man is ruffled. In his tight quarters that fade between concrete and steel and whichever floor he can sleep on, he tosses and turns, aggravated by his situation. He has encountered the solid, immovable system in every aspect of his life, from criminal charges to child support. In his late forties, he’s held down odd jobs and made some ends meet, but indifferent barriers block him: no license, due to child support issues; no money to pay child support due to license issues and his inability to do rideshare work; enter his frustration over this all. It is an endless, maddeningly disheartening cycle. So, the boat-rocker correctly decides in this crowded country of oppression, something must go. He and the system can not co-exist.

Those things said, the cautionary Black man urged the boat-rocking Black man not to act when George Floyd was murdered at the hands of justice. The cautionary Black man predicted a backlash against the whole Black community, and he may have been right. CNN, Fox News and every media outlet across the country showed what happened when the boat-rockers spoke. Quiet rumblings of those tear gas-filled days and police assaults on peaceful protesters still haunt the articles of fearless but diligent journalists.

[the cautionary Black man] does not understand the revolution…

In the end, though the uproar was about George Floyd, it was also about the state of Black America under this oppressive system as a whole. Also, a catalyst for hate at the highest level was stripped of his office and soapbox by the not-quite-perfect-but-needed voice of democracy. The first Black female Vice President now calls the White House her office. Millions have received COVID-19 vaccines, though the long-term effects of its use remain to be seen. The Senate has just passed a COVID stimulus relief bill that will further strengthen the economy and families overall.

Photo by: TheAtlantic.com

As he did when Martin Luther King spoke in D.C. and when Malcolm X disturbed the racist waters of America, the cautionary Black man, or conformed Black man (whichever one prefers), has lost the debate. He sits mumbling beneath his breath while shaming clips of Black people entering damaged stores and exiting with everything from clothes to food to televisions.

The cautionary Black man has thrown up at the stench of hanging of Black bodies, winced at the sting of the prickly cotton plant while the sun cracked his parched skin, witnessed the riots of 1968 and every race riot before and after. He too came bound among forsaken slave ships. He stole his brethren’s attention with embellished stories of heavenly glory to come while men who spoke a foreign tongue leapt on his brethren from behind. The cautionary Black man has existed physically and mentally as an archetype within Black America since before its inception. He does not understand the revolution, what is needed or why his voice has mostly been on the wrong side of the issues. The cautionary Black man does not understand the end most certainly justifies the means.

Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college professor and writer from Chicago who creates fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

Accepting People Who Will Never Change

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

The last time someone took something of yours without permission or mistreated you in one way or another, you forgave them. After explaining to them what they did wrong to you and listening to their half-hearted explanation, you accepted their quasi-apology and let them back into your life. Yet their undesirable character traits continue to shine. They’ve lied to you again after saying they wouldn’t; or maybe something of yours has come up missing. In either case, that person has broken their promise again. You have to realize that some people will never change, no matter what, and you must either accept it or remove them from your life.

I knew of a man who everyone accused against his agreement that he was a fall-down alcoholic. The first time I saw the man, he was intoxicated and nude in public and being pursued by the police. When this man died many years later, he did so with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit on a very public street in his birthday suit. It was no coincidence he died under these circumstances and that these were similar to the circumstances under which I met him for the first time.

First impressions are like life audits.”

Some people say first impressions last a lifetime, and they do. I like to think of first impressions like life audits. That is, when you meet most people in your life, it won’t be planned. You’ll meet the sloppy coworker for the first time, and he’ll like have a brown stain of coffee on his shirt. Sassy Susan is likely going to yap your ears off. I use these archetypes as examples of meeting people on their terms — as who they are. The sloppy coworker will say to you, “Excuse the coffee stain; I usually keep a clean shirt.” In reality, this coworker is sloppy. That’s who he is. So, if you meet someone for the first time who’s screaming his ears off at his employees, he’s probably a yeller, and you’re soon to be his next victim. Nothing you say will change the yeller into a whisperer.

“…when your brother or sister passes away, will it matter who started the argument.”

That said, we have standards and expectations in our life, and we should. In fifty years, though, when your brother or sister passes away, will it matter who started the argument in 2002 that led to the family fight? Will you be able to replace those missed moments smothered by huge egos and the inability to apologize? Or will you accept that person back into your life, the same one who mistreated you, lied to you and refused to apologize?

We tend to use loosely the words “family” and “friends.” To be sure, some would contend that blood relation doesn’t make people family. If you disagree, how likely are you to claim a distant cousin you’ve never met who may be a psycho? Depending on your relationship or experiences with your family, you may or may not claim this person as your own family. Your moral scale must be aligned properly. Understand what you stand to lose from a petty argument. Sometimes, you lose more than just a friend or family member when it comes to real circumstances such as paying back a loan or just having someone be there for you in your time of need. But some people are more trouble than they’re worth. Friend or family, for those who won’t change for the better, you’ve probably outgrown them, and it’s time to move on.

Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college professor and a writer from Chicago who creates fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

How to Reveal Juicy Secrets about Yourself to Friends

Monday Morning Inspiration Column
Photo by Pexels.com

You consider yourself to be honest, trustworthy and loyal. Although you trust your best friend and love your family, there is something destroying you from the inside out, a secret yearning to be shared lest it tear you apart. The problem is, your secret can shatter your life and image. Maybe you have a secret OnlyFans page, or you want to share something about your sexuality or maybe you didn’t really ever work at that place you claimed. Whatever it is, you need to release the burden of holding it secret and tell someone you trust or love, but you have to be careful.

Before revealing your secret to anyone, consider how you feel about it. Are you comfortable with sharing this with someone at this point? For instance, if you’ve just accepted a new part of your sexuality, unless you feel comfortable, you don’t immediately need to share this with anyone. They may have questions you haven’t even considered. So, be comfortable with yourself first. If this secret were to leak, how damaging could it be to your image? Can you withstand the fallout. Whenever telling a secret to someone, no matter who the person is or how much you trust that person, you have to realize the potential for leaks is real. Don’t say anything you’re not comfortable with owning up to.

…you don’t owe anybody anything.

Also, don’t feel guilty about not sharing your secret. Sharing is therapeutic and may assist you in dealing with stress in a positive manner, but you don’t owe anything to anyone. Share for your benefit first and someone else’s last. Unless the secret you’re sharing has something to do with the other person on a vital level, don’t guilt trip yourself for not telling them. They may ask why you didn’t tell them sooner. Just say you brought it up when you were comfortable. A reasonable person will understand.

On the contrary to sharing, you must protect yourself. Let’s say you’re in your last year of law school, and you’re about to graduate and take the bar. To get to this point, you made sacrifices in the form of creating online sexual content through OnlyFans. The fact that you did this could end your legal career before it begins. This secret you’re holding could break your future. In this instance, silence is best. Yes, your best friend has been your best friend forever. But what if she accidentally leaks your secret or you two have a fallout and she tells the world via social media about your content? Your career would be over, and there would be nothing you could do about it. People change, and so do your relationships with them. Be mindful of that when considering sharing a potentially harmful secret about yourself.

Who you tell your secret to will have different ramifications...

You must consider the audience or individual you’re revealing your secret to. If you’ve been a secret Trump supporter voting against Black rights, you may want to avoid spilling that in a community meeting in a Black church. Who you tell your secret to will have different ramifications, if there are any. Telling your best friend you smoke weed will receive a wildly different reception than if you told that same story to your religious granny. There’s a fine line between becoming a sympathetic figure and being the town’s gossip.

If you have to keep the most important aspects of your life completely secret, then what’s the use of loved ones and friends? Sure, there are licensed counselors, and you should seek their professional help when needed. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Still, lean on your friends and family. If the secret may ruin you, consider keeping it to yourself for the protection of your future. Don’t betray yourself or ruin your future. If you have to tell someone something that could end you, tell it to a professional who is legallly required to keep it a secret. Be you, and be proud to be you.

Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college professor and a writer from Chicago who creates fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

Beware of Slum “Publishers”

For the umpteenth time, an agent has rejected your manuscript. Your heart skipped a beat when you saw the email, but the excitement the agent led with is gone by the fourth word. You exhale, sinking into yourself like a deflated ballon. What’s the purpose of writing all of this if you can’t get a book deal? You think, instead of shooting for Penguin or other Big Five Publishers, I’ll settle for a small indie press. Though this is a smart move after repeated failure, you must be weary of slum publishers.

In 2018, I checked my Submittable author account and almost exploded with happiness, seeing a small publishing house had accepted my book Operation Soul Cast for publishing. Over the time between the company accepting my manuscript and its publishing it, I got bad vibes from the company. For instance, after agreeing to publish my book at a certain date in order to give me time to promote, the company published the story without my knowledge. After challenging who I believe was the current COO, she defended the actions of the company. It made me uncomfortable, but there was nothing I could do.

Don’t choose a publisher because they’re “easy” to get with…

Since publishing my book, the publisher has put no effort into promoting it. Though I tried setting up a marketing plan with the company, they did not give me that opportunity. I’m not sure how many work for the company, but it doesn’t seem to be a bunch. Other than having my manuscript edited, Solstice did very little in the way of preparing my book for selling. Without an effective marketing plan, my book basically sat untouched on the shelf.

I say that to say this, do not choose a publisher because they’re “easy” to get a contract with. There are other things that come with book deals, such as proper marketing of your work and being able to count on your publisher in a time of need. Recently, a college offered me a professor position, and part of the reason was because of the book I had published with Solstice. On behalf of the college, an employment background check company reached out to my publisher to confirm verbally it had published my work but got no response. The reason is, my publisher uses its submissions email as a contact email as well, but it seems to be unmonitored. Their site doesn’t have any clear contact information, outside of the submissions and newsletter email addresses. So, to an outsider looking in, they may wonder about the legitimacy of a company like the one I signed with, especially when no one will confirm it even exists outside of a webpage.

Are the people [of your publisher] friendly and approachable?

When the employment background check company could not reach the company, I did through Facebook. I asked for them to confirm verbally my publisher had published my work, but they refused. After back-and-forth Facebook messages between myself and a representative of my publisher, I got an email in which it continually denied the employment history check company had tried reaching out to them. Further, the my publisher’s representative explained that they can email, but they do not do verbal confirmations for any author because of time constraints. The phone call she would have had to take would have been less than 5 minutes, and the background company had been trying to reach my publisher for about two weeks by the time I finally made contact with someone from Solstice. The representative effectively told me, no, we don’t help our authors advance their careers. This was after she agreed to speak with the other company. So, she reneged on her word. This put me in a bind with the college that wanted to hire me, because the publisher would not verbally confirm working with me.

When search for a book deal, consider more than seeing your name on a book. Will this company promote your work? Are the people approachable and friendly? How long has this press been around, and what books has it published? What do other authors say about this company? There are small presses and big presses, but small doesn’t always mean bad. My publisher is a small publisher, but so is Tor, yet Tor is more successful because of its dedication to both its writers and readers. The last publisher you signed a deal with could determine your next career move. Just make sure you choose the right one.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here. Operation Soul Cast is now available for purchase by following this link. Thank you for your support.

How Felons Become Rich Overnight

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pexels-photo-5240425.jpeg
Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

For decades, the justice system tagged dads across America with felonies, effectively barring them from the workplace. With the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana spreading like wildfire across the States, criminal justice reform, overall, is becoming more progressive. Suddenly, serious jail-time for minor drug offenses is a thing of the past, and now, voters are questioning the legitimacy of background checks. For ex-felons who seek to change their lives, the barriers they face often force them back into a life of crime or permanent second-class citizenship. However, with a shift in the political climate, judges are ruling more in favor of second chances than punishment. New legislation has made it possible for some offenders to have their felony records sealed or expunged. Background check companies like Checkr routinely break FCRA rules on background checks, and companies like Uber who rely on these inaccurate reports break EEOC rules too. Good for the ex-felon or current felon, there are tens of thousands of dollars you can make from companies like Uber who deny you a job because of your background or Checkr who issues faulty background reports.

When that pre-adverse action letter comes, I’m sure your heart sinks and you feel less than dirt. The letter tells you they’ve found something on your report and they’re going to tell your employer about it. At this point, the company you applied for has already offered you the position, but it’s being snatched out of your mouth. You sigh and shake your head, defeated. However, if you are familiar with FCRA rules, you may be able to make a ton of money from the situation.

…you may be entitled to money in damages and loss wages.

Say, for instance, you do have a felony on your background that is not sealed or expunged. An employer has a right to consider that felony. However, their decision not to hire you can not be solely based on your felony. Quite the opposite. The company has to get your side of the story. It has to take into consideration any evidence of rehabilitation while weighing if your job and nature of conviction would be a conflict of interest. For example, if you have a felony conviction for bank fraud, that’s probably enough for a bank not to hire you, unless you have some outstanding proof of rehabilitation. But if you have the same bank fraud felony but you’re denied an Uber driver position solely because of your bank fraud conviction, you may be entitled to money in damages and loss wages from the company.

Under the circumstances above, when a company like Uber flat-out denies employment to an applicant only because of a felony, that company has violated EEOC rules. To remedy this, you start off by writing a demand letter to Uber (or whatever company), telling Uber where they went wrong, how many hours of work you missed and the amount of punitive damages you deserve from the company. So, if they denied your employment a month ago, you would claim they owe you a working-month’s salary and whatever you assess the punitive damages to be. Also, you tell them you expect compensation within two weeks of the date on the letter and hope to avoid further legal action. It doesn’t mean they’ll pay, but it puts them on notice. Likely, Uber would be willing to pay some of what you demand, but not all. Doing it this way with just a demand letter which you should mail, you have no court or legal fees or overhead. All the money would be yours.

Demand reasonable amounts…

When a judge grants your record sealed or expunged, it takes at least a couple of months to be completely removed from public view. In between this time, if you apply for a job, companies like Checkr will unethically furnish your felony conviction to your employer. You can sue Checkr for this. Instead of suing, follow the steps described in the previous paragraph, but you send demand letters to both the background investigation company and the employer. The background company is at fault for 1. giving out a record that is under order to be sealed or expunged (violation of FCRA), even if it is not sealed or expunged yet. Uber is at fault for 1. Using a sealed or expunged record to deny you employment and 2. Not giving you a chance to present evidence of rehabilitation or mitigating factors (violations of EEOC rules). This way, you can earn money from two different companies. You can do this to as many companies you need to who unethically deny you employment.

When assessing your damages, you must not exaggerated. Demand reasonable amounts for lost wages. Whatever the job is, just calculate the hours of lost pay. When it comes to punitive damages, how long has it been since Uber or Checkr violated your rights? How impactful was that violation to your life? How was that violation illegal and to what degree? Reasonable numbers make your demand more reasonable. Remember, demand letters go to lawyers. So, use the right language to press the right buttons. A demand letter is short and free if you write it yourself, and you don’t have to go to court. Get what you can for free. Use your background to your advantage and become a wealthy ex-felon or felon overnight.

*This is not legal advice, and should not be taken as such.

Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

To get more self-help advice and tips on mending or building personal relationships, subscribe now.

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

The Reeders Block will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.