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Employment w/a Criminal Record Finding post-incarceration employment can be an almost monumental task. Find tips, job offers and stories from those of us that have experienced it first hand.

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  #1  
Old 09-16-2017, 10:28 PM
DraftOG Scott DraftOG Scott is offline
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Default When I was Unemployable...

After years of in and out in the prison system, I had a really tough time finding work. Between the felony drug convictions, petty thefts, and injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, I was virtually unemployable. I did have an employer overlook my record, and lost the job a week later when corporate denied me. And another time where I couldn't physically hack the work, but I didn't give up, just got fired after a month. Things were looking extremely bleak. Luckily, I had taken an AutoCad course in prison, and had previous experience in the Structural Steel Industry. So with nothing to lose, I stuck out on my own drafting. My first client ran me through the ringer, and I seriously considered giving up, but my wife encouraged me to try another client. Now, almost 3 years later, I'm up to my eyeballs in work, looking to expand, and putting my plans into motion. Working from home, we decided to buy an RV and a truck, and hit the road. We left 2 days after I cleared parole, and never looked back. On the road now for 2 years with an eye towards property next year. It's not easy street. I have my troubles still. Working on them one day at a time. I'm finding that the more control I have over myself, the better control I have over my future. Never give up, always stand back up, and work patiently towards your goals. Be ready to adapt, be humble, and listen.

I joined this forum in hopes of finding potential contractors, and future employees. Namely, draftsman like me, who need to work from home.
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:30 AM
jsanner jsanner is offline
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I have several felonies from 2001. My advice would simply be to lie about your record. If they are going to go through the whole process of doing a background check, they're either going to give you the job or they're not. I hate lying. I find it ethically wrong. But if a roof needs put over my head or food needs put on my table, I'm not above lying on an application to provide. It sure beats robbing or selling drugs.
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:51 AM
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I have several felonies from 2001. My advice would simply be to lie about your record. If they are going to go through the whole process of doing a background check, they're either going to give you the job or they're not. I hate lying. I find it ethically wrong. But if a roof needs put over my head or food needs put on my table, I'm not above lying on an application to provide. It sure beats robbing or selling drugs.

And when they find out you lied, you get fired. This is bad advice. Really bad advice.
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:24 AM
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Some states or cities have made it that on initial applications that they can't ask about your history. Since you are travelling, look in the direction of those areas.

I would make packages of your work to send to potential employers as well. Demonstrate what you are good at and let that speak for itself. Mail them out after some research. Hopefully you get a hit. Maybe make a webpage for your work as well.

If corporate companies are hesitant to take a chance, look for larger companies, but ones that do not have a corporate attachment.
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:44 AM
DraftOG Scott DraftOG Scott is offline
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I'm fine with work now. I'm looking at expansion and already have plenty of work. I am sharing my experience of self employment in hopes of inspiring. I want people to realize that you dont need always work for employers. No one looks at my record, I don't have to disclose my past, and I only focus on the work.

Oh and jsanner, If any of my future employees lies on thier application, It just shows how untrustworthy that person is. If they cant face the possible rejection of employment, how can they ever handle the stress of my work? Its a weak move. One I would never advise.
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Old 09-17-2017, 10:11 AM
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My guy and I were discussing work when he comes out. He was in the construction field. He would prefer to work for himself again, but it will take some money to start up again.

I told him and his family to think of everyone he used to talk be friends with and who they know in that field. The hope is someone will take the chance on him. Then he can save money to do it on his own again. Thankfully he has marketable skills.

We have some time, but I like planning a head a little and keeping contact with those who may help or give him a lead. It would kill him to work in a fast food joint, but you got to do what you got to do.
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Old 09-17-2017, 01:43 PM
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And when they find out you lied, you get fired. This is bad advice. Really bad advice.
Having a job for two weeks is definitely better than not having a job at all.
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Old 09-17-2017, 01:54 PM
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I have several felonies from 2001. My advice would simply be to lie about your record. If they are going to go through the whole process of doing a background check, they're either going to give you the job or they're not. I hate lying. I find it ethically wrong. But if a roof needs put over my head or food needs put on my table, I'm not above lying on an application to provide. It sure beats robbing or selling drugs.
Obviously you don't find it ethically wrong or you wouldn't suggest someone do it. You can't justify lying and say you hate it in the same breath.
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Old 09-17-2017, 02:56 PM
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If any of my future employees lies on thier application, It just shows how untrustworthy that person is. If they cant face the possible rejection of employment, how can they ever handle the stress of my work? Its a weak move. One I would never advise.
And don't forget guys, putting some time between you and your criminal past (while managing to stay out of trouble the whole time) speaks volumes as well.

I've been surprised how many employers HAVE been willing to overlook my past, especially now that it has been nearly 15 years since my last conviction. Quite a few employers understand the concept of "youthful indiscretions" and are willing to overlook it, if you can sell yourself right during the interview, show how you've turned your life around. It's not so much what you've done in your life that defines you, but rather what struggles you've overcome that seems to be of most interest to employers.

So unless you are running into a corporate insurance policy that says that they won't hire a certain type of offender ever, you'd be surprised how many will take a chance on you, especially since so many background checks do only go back 7 or 10 years from the date of last conviction.

Last edited by Nickel Timer; 09-17-2017 at 03:18 PM..
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Old 09-17-2017, 04:36 PM
DraftOG Scott DraftOG Scott is offline
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oneday, I would advise your guy to take CAD courses as soon as he can. I had a construction background when I learned the trade in prison. There are not enough drafters (especially in the steel industry) that actually know how to build. The work is all desk work, so I'm not broken everynight. I chose my schedule, my work, and my price. Anyone with a little patience, a few dollars, and a willingness to learn, can easily do what I've done. And I'm here to share how I did it so others can prosper. I am currently organizing my company, and I working towards creating a training program pulling talent from prisons. I know firsthand what felons go through upon release, and the devastation of repeated incarceration.
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Old 09-17-2017, 05:01 PM
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oneday, I would advise your guy to take CAD courses as soon as he can. I had a construction background when I learned the trade in prison. There are not enough drafters (especially in the steel industry) that actually know how to build. The work is all desk work, so I'm not broken everynight. I chose my schedule, my work, and my price. Anyone with a little patience, a few dollars, and a willingness to learn, can easily do what I've done. And I'm here to share how I did it so others can prosper. I am currently organizing my company, and I working towards creating a training program pulling talent from prisons. I know firsthand what felons go through upon release, and the devastation of repeated incarceration.
They do have a draft program. I'll mention it to him. He has a masonry and plumbing background.
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Old 09-17-2017, 05:25 PM
DraftOG Scott DraftOG Scott is offline
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Drafting encompasses all construction trades. Everything in commercial building is built by drafters first. How much time does he have left, and what state? If you dont mind me asking.
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Old 09-20-2017, 01:53 PM
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Obviously you don't find it ethically wrong or you wouldn't suggest someone do it. You can't justify lying and say you hate it in the same breath.
Oh, I certainly can. I just would be a hypocrite while doing so.
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Old 09-20-2017, 10:57 PM
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While I don't advocate lying, the legal discrimination used by employers can make it seem the only option to someone with a conviction that is desperate to work.

I was at a fair hiring summit in 2015 & a woman on one of the discussion panels said she had tried repeatedly to get any kind of a job to support herself & her kids. After repeated rejections, she finally lied on applications & hoped there was no background check. She would work til she got caught & then start over. Eventually she found someone to hire her that considered the whole person instead of just being freaked out by the conviction. In the meantime she had been able to support her kids & get job experience.

Instead of being super critical of those who do whatever it takes to get hired, we should start working on employers & society to change their mindset. We need to find out what it would take to get them to give someone a chance. Is it tax incentives, bonding, legal protection from unsafe workplace lawsuits filed by panicked employees?

Something has to change to allow those with a conviction in their past to be allowed to prove themselves. We can't continue to deny employment when they tell us about their background & then fault them for not working.
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:14 AM
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Instead of being super critical of those who do whatever it takes to get hired, we should start working on employers & society to change their mindset. We need to find out what it would take to get them to give someone a chance. Is it tax incentives, bonding, legal protection from unsafe workplace lawsuits filed by panicked employees?

Something has to change to allow those with a conviction in their past to be allowed to prove themselves. We can't continue to deny employment when they tell us about their background & then fault them for not working.
[Heck] yes! The low-hanging fruit is to make professional licenses easier to get for people with records. I'm just fine if my barber cheated on his taxes once, for example.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:34 AM
DraftOG Scott DraftOG Scott is offline
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The last thing i wanted this thread to be about is lying on applications. I have found that the first step towards conquering recidivism is honesty. You must be honest with yourself and others. If you do not, you will just fall in where you fit in, and for me that always made me unhappy, and lash out; restarting my cycle. My past has shaped me into who I am now. Im proud of who I am now, and grateful to my mistakes. I plan according to the compensation of my weaknesses. I don't hide from them. If people cannot accept you for your past, you don't need that negativity in your life. If I feel unwelcome, I won't lie to stay, I will gladly leave. Live life on your terms, and respect others and yourself with honesty.

Now, if anyone knows any drafters who are looking for an independent contractor position working from home, send me a resume and have a portfolio ready.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:36 AM
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P.s. there are plenty of complaints out there, lets offer solutions!
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