Vincy Workplace
October 15, 2010
Out of jail and need a job?

Although we’ve published this article before, too many young people are not considering the consequences of their actions when they commit a crime. A criminal record can destroy your career dreams and cause serious financial hardships. Unfortunately, the criminal population is growing in the Caribbean, not just from local criminals but from the influx of criminal deportees from Canada, USA, and UK.{{more}} Regardless of where you commit the crime, you need to rebuild your life and career. If you decide to rebuild and make an honest living, here are a few tips from this previous article.

It could have happened when you were young; it might have been more recently—it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is this simple fact: jail time will irreparably hinder your career. Most companies don’t really care what you went in for, unless you committed a heinous crime. They just know that you spent time in jail. And that makes them apprehensive to consider you as a serious job applicant.

It’s a stigma on people who make bad choices. And, you’ll carry it for the rest of your working life.

Some people do learn skills while behind bars that they hope will be useful when they get out, but they still need to overcome that stigma of being a “jailbird.” Let’s look at what can be expected in the world of work and how to handle some of those obstacles.

Career Limitations. When you get out of jail and are ready to be employed, you will be totally excluded from holding certain types of jobs. Obviously, if you had dreamed of a career in law enforcement, that is no longer a possibility. In fact, if you had dreamed of any career in which security or money or children are related to the job, you will need to modify any aspirations related to those fields.

Put a resume together. If you had work experience prior to incarceration, pull a resume together and begin knocking on doors. Be honest when completing applications and attending interviews. Don’t lie about your criminal background because it will eventually catch up with. (If you are a deportee from the US, Canada, UK, and other countries, do not think that your criminal record can be hidden.)

Don’t get too picky. Your criminal record is a big red mark, not only on your career but also on your life. If you can get your foot into any door, take the job—regardless of what it is or how much it pays. Once you prove yourself, you can always work your way up or move on. You just have to demonstrate that you can actually hold a job and be a responsible worker.

Don’t give up. Expect the majority of people to say “no” to you, but hold onto the hope that you’ll find that one person who is willing to give people who are down on their luck a break. Don’t get bitter; keep pushing. You’ll find an opportunity.

Consider self-employment. Sometimes you cannot wait around for someone to hire you. If you picked up a few skills while behind bars or had prior experience, try your hand at a small entrepreneurial venture. You will need to start small, with a venture that does not require a lot of capital, or borrow money from friends and family, as most banks will be reluctant to lend you any funds.

Stay clean. Disassociate yourself from the people and habits that landed you in prison in the first place, otherwise you are headed right back to prison, as your bad habits will eventually catch up with you. Working is seldom the easy way of life.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to [email protected]

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