Cornbread Hustle

Opening doors and creating opportunity for the improvement of society.

What it's like to work with someone with anxiety

If you have anxiety, you probably clicked this link with thoughts racing through your mind of what your co-workers really think of you. I know, because I have anxiety and I would do the same thing. If you are productive day in and day out despite your anxiety, you are stronger than you think. Don't let your own thoughts or people's reaction to your anxiety tell you otherwise. I have anxiety with a capital A. It's truly crippling. For those of you who don't understand it, here's what it feels like: physically, it's like having a constant hangover mixed with way too much caffeine. It's spending hours of your day pacing back and fourth. On bad days, it's throwing up first thing in the morning. Your palms are sweaty, you're short of breath and sometimes it feels like your chest and throat are caving in. Mentally, It's a thousand negative thoughts going through your mind even when you're having fun. It's playing out the worst case scenario of any situation, and actually believing it already happened. It's thinking you've done something wrong because you didn't get a text reply within a few minutes. 

I decided to write this blog because for the first time in years, I somehow, magically haven't had anxiety for a few days. Honestly, I don't want this feeling to end but before it does, I want to write something inspirational for those of you who suffer with anxiety like I do. 

If you are productive or successful and have anxiety, you are truly a superhero. 

1. You don't let stuff fall through the cracks.  Ask someone with anxiety to do you a favor and they will not forget about it. Why? Because we constantly store everything in our heads and we don't want to let anyone down. It may take us a while to get around to it because we've said "yes" to you and everyone else, but trust me, it's weighing heavy on our minds and it won't go away until the job is done. If we drop the ball... even if you don't notice or care, we never forget. 

2. You don't miss deadlines. Someone with anxiety wouldn't dream of missing a deadline. In fact, you don't even have to give us deadlines. We put enough pressure on ourselves that the job would be done with or without a time frame. 

3. You are a provider. Someone with anxiety doesn't only worry about themselves. It's not that easy. We worry about everything and everyone all the time. That being said, people around you will be taken care of if they show any signs of struggle. Whether they're hurting financially, need a ride to work, or simply need someone to talk to, we'll do everything we can to find a solution. And if we don't, we will think about it forever and pressure ourselves to make it up to them. 

4. You are empathetic. Someone with anxiety can listen to people's problems without judgement. Even if their way of thinking is bat-shit crazy, we don't judge because we understand what it's like for people to think your thoughts aren't logical. If a co-worker is freaking out over something minor, it's easy for us to point out why they're thinking that way and get them through it. We may not be good at controlling our own thoughts, but we've dealt with our demons long enough to help others conquer theirs. 

5. You're a great problem solver. Someone with anxiety can look at a situation from not only every angle, but also every possible scenario. Why? Because we have already thought about all the bad that could happen with every decision. Unfortunately, that's how our mind works. Lucky for your co-workers, you're able to point out potential risks quicker than anyone. 

There is nothing positive about the way anxiety makes you feel. Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety and panic attacks on a daily basis. Being one of those people, I finally decided to embrace who I am and try to manage my anxiety through positive thoughts and healthy habits. 

Here are the top 3 things I do to control my anxiety: 

- Eat cashews. Eating a handful of cashews is almost equivalent to taking a dose of prozac. 

- Background music. Go to youtube and type in "Positive vibrations frequency" and chose a track. My favorite one is the 432Hz. You will be surprised at how different your workday goes listening to this in the background. 

- Exercise: First thing in the morning. It's not easy to get up in the morning to workout but it's so worth it and makes a huge difference. 

I hope that this blog made you smile and gave you at least 5 minutes to focus on yourself, your qualities and why people love you for who you are. Now, go kick anxiety's ass! 

 

- Cheri Garcia, Founder, Cornbread Hustle  

Why hiring a convicted felon could be the best investment for your startup

 I've been volunteering by helping inmates learn entrepreneurial skills for the past 4 years, and I  noticed something a lot of people may not realize. These men have the perfect personality traits and attitude to join a startup. There is such a stigma when employers see the little box checked that asks: "Have you been convicted of a felony"? Personally, I could have several felonies had I been caught. Most of our participants are convicted of non-violent drug charges and sentenced to years, decades and even life in prison. How many times have you been in possession of a controlled substance at a party or drank one too many beers and got behind the wheel? A lot of us has made mistakes, but dodged the bullet several times and lucky to not have the label of "felon" set in stone on our records. 

I'm an entrepreneur and know the struggles of starting a company. In my experience, finding the right people to join your small and intimate team is one of the hardest tasks, especially when millennials are known to "job hop" often. 

I recently hired a software engineer from inside the prison walls. It's been such a blessing, and I would double his pay today if I could afford it.  Here are the 4 reasons hiring a convicted felon can be the best investment for your startup. 

  1. Desire - After leaving the prison walls, there is a strong desire to succeed. A lot of inmates have tremendously let their family down and don't want to hurt them any more. On the flip side, there's usually a strong desire to "prove people wrong". It takes a while for convicted felons to build trust back up with their family, and succeeding within a company is a great start. 
  2. Loyalty - I've never seen true brotherhood and loyalty as strong as what I see displayed in the prison walls. I feel like I've gained 300 brothers that will have my back no matter what the situation would be. It takes a lot of loyalty and a "what ever it takes" attitude from your co-founders and employees to succeed with a startup. 
  3. Humble - I've gone through a lot of employees with a "that's not my job" mentality. Convicted felons are the most humble people I've ever worked with. Think about it. It's mandatory for them to have full-time, labor-intensive jobs that begin as early as 3am... without pay. Can you imagine how thankful your employee will be to not only get paid for their work, but to also have a grateful attitude by enjoying life after prison? Our Software Engineer, who spent 7 years in prison will take out the trash, run errands, mop floors, or any other tedious task in between programming software for our startup. 
  4. Commitment - You won't have to worry about them quitting. They know they have a good opportunity to work with a company that has already forgiven their past mistakes. It's already tough to be in the market for a job, but nothing is harder than applying to jobs as a convicted felon. It's stressful for a small company to have key people quit. The hiring and training process takes a lot of time and money, and startups don't have a lot of either. 

These are also the 4 reasons I decided to create Cornbread Hustle, A staffing agency for 2nd chances. At cornbread hustle, we open doors and create opportunity for felons and employers for the improvement of society. Help us reduce the recidivism rate and get involved! 

Stay Hustlin', 

Cheri Garcia