Backgrounds and Jobs

Finding a Second Chance Job

Today, we’re going to talk about the to-do’s and NOT to-do’s when it comes to your background and finding a job. I’ve been perusing groups on Facebook recently again, and there’s a lot of talk about simply hiding the background. It’s easy enough to try to ignore that little box that asks about your background, but it really isn’t the best approach. No matter how tempting it is to just lie about your past, it is always better to be honest when the matter comes up. Especially if you’re still in the area that you were convicted in because it is extremely easy for an employer to get wind of your conviction after they’ve hired someone who told them they were ‘clean’. Even a simple search in county records can pull up court information – including charges and convictions together (along with any civil cases). Which is a totally embarrassing situation if you’re insisting that you haven’t had a run in with the law.

The LAST thing you want to do is get caught up in a lie with a potential employer – especially for a second chance sort of job after earning a conviction of any kind. This sort of thing is recorded in subtle ways on your work record, along with refused/failed drug tests, and more. And once you’re on record lying about things or hiding things, well… no other employer is going to want to trust you because you’re still relying on bad habits. Now, privacy laws go a long way to protect you regardless of behavior in particular, but increasing the negative marks on any record just isn’t the goal here – even when you’re desperate.

Now, it’s not easy to talk about something we’d all rather forget about. I hate going into an interview simply because I know I have to bare my soul a bit to get anywhere and I’m not a sharing person. Especially when it comes to my mistakes – it sucks to admit I messed up enough to get a felony record, but it also means I’m owning up to those mistakes and people seem to like it. It means I know that I screwed up and the fact that I have continually gathered references and experiences goes a long way to show that I’m on a path of positivity and growth.

But, I’ve come to realize that one sometimes has to take steps that are not comfortable in order to get anywhere near one’s goals. So, I march my happy, if anxious butt in there, plaster a smile on my face to get those happy hormones running through my system (the fake it til you make it is a REAL thing – read about it here), and I start making my best first impression. My key tips for that is to be early and to be eager to learn whatever it takes to succeed in the job.

Once I’ve made a good impression by talking about what I have made myself accomplish since my conviction, I go ahead and bring up that portion. I don’t wait for them to ask, it gives them the power and makes me feel like I’m a bug. So, instead, I bring it up first. This allows me to take the power for myself, and use the conviction to set off the strength of my achievements rather than allowing it to be framed in a poor light.

Additionally, it will help you if you have followed any recommendations by your PO to gain your GED at the least and to have pushed yourself further than the court asks when possible. Not all of us have the same story, and you’ll have to find your own personalized way to make your past a vital part of your path to success.

Of course, there are also some options available for those that have the time and determination to pursue them. These options open up the possibility to avoid the entire background question safely, where there won’t be more punishment and social stigma with future employers. Some states offer pardons and sealing of records, and you’ll have a huge number of hoops to jump through if it is available – but if you want it badly enough, it isn’t that difficult in many cases. You can do almost anything you put your mind to doing, so don’t be afraid to push for what you really deserve.

You are worthy of a job, you are worthy of respect, and you are worthy of FREEDOM from stigma and distrust. Be the change you want to be, be honest and open, and help change society’s mind about felons. We’re just humans that made mistakes, and we can overcome all the barriers life presents us.

Find more posts about Ban the Box , how to build a better resume, and some ideas on where to find extra work from home jobs. Don’t forget to check out my books!

Thanks again for stopping by, see you next post!

Peace and Love,
Aza @aza_enigma (Twitter)

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