Working After A Conviction
Q: I've had an excellent career for more than 10 years in IT, but I made a mistake that seriously hurt my career. My first few years were productive and I received excellent performance reviews, salary increases and a promotion. I then got a new manager and he was trying to force me out to hire his own team.
On leaving the company, I deleted a number of files I had created. I also posted several messages on the Internet involving that manager. I was caught, prosecuted and pleaded guilty to a felony charge (unauthorized access). I received a one-year probation.
I apologized to the company for my actions and I voluntarily went through counseling. My resume is well written; I have excellent communication and interview skills, a good work history and great references and solid experience. I have been upfront about my situation, but employers have backed off. I then changed my strategy and waited to explain my record after being offered a job. Each company rescinded the offer. Where do I go from here?
A: Getting a job with a felony on your record is difficult, and not all felonies are equal. Counseling is a positive move, but it doesn't change one's personality. Companies may worry about how you might react when you have access to confidential information and you experience another situation that upsets you.
Forget pursuing large companies, as they can have rigid rules, such as not hiring anyone with a criminal record due to potential liabilities. Smaller, privately owned companies may be more understanding and accepting of your error in judgment and change of heart. And management can adjust the rules. Though personalities stay the same, a person's attitude and behavior can change with emotional growth and maturity.
You have successfully interviewed to the point of receiving job offers, so continue doing what you've been doing. The time to explain your record is when you receive an offer. It will greatly help you to practice interviewing with an experienced job counselor. Many states have nonprofit agencies to help ex-offenders get jobs. Both IT and banking crimes may be harder for hiring managers to accept, so your success may be depend on your ability to immediately connect with the interviewer in that short period.
Have an action plan in case you can't re-join the traditional workforce. Also explore the possibilities of starting your own company where your record can remain private and be a non-issue for clients.
JOB SEARCH WILL DECIDE YOUR VALUE
Q: I started an entry-level job at $18,500; three years later I make $40,000 as a supervisor. I only have a GED. My resume emphasizes the improvements I've made in my job. I'd like to find a job with greater potential, but I'm afraid my salary and lack of education will scare away employers.
A: You've experienced an impressive increase over the past three years, apparently due to your accomplishments on the job. Your GED didn't stop you from succeeding, and you won't know your potential until you look for a new job. College degrees are common today, but your experience could be worth more than a degree, especially if a degree is from a low ranking school.
Don't limit yourself by thinking you are less of a person because of your GED. Companies demanding college degrees won't ever consider you, but there are industries that place a high value on performance alone. If you find you cannot go further in the type of career you want, you can attend school part-time. Just make sure the school is on the lists of the Regional and National Institutional Accrediting agencies before you apply.
Email your workplace questions to Life and Career Coach LindseyNovak@yahoo.com. For more information, visit www.lindseyparkernovak.com and for past columns, see www.creators.com/read/At-Work-Lindsey-Novak COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM