Troubled past gets in job seeker's way

Troubled past gets in job seeker's way

Troubled past gets in job seeker's way

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by Rozanne "Roze" Worrell

WVEC.com

Posted on August 17, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 17 at 1:50 PM

Dear Roze:

I’ve been searching for a job for over a year in Hampton Roads.  My background is in accounting and finance.  I’m a convicted felon with three DUIs.  I’ve abstained from alcohol and attend AA meetings and counseling.  I had my civil rights restored in 2007, and am currently petitioning Governor McDonnell for a pardon.  I’ve also contacted my delegate and senator for help.  I joined two job clubs and I’m registered with the Virginia Employment Commission and Opportunity Inc.  I’m active with my church, Toastmasters and the Jaycees.  I do volunteer work and go to Chamber events.  I also use social media to connect with people.  I’ve contacted numerous business and local government leaders, submitted dozens of resumes, and have had both interviews and informational interviews.  People say I’m doing the right things but I haven’t received any offers.  What more can I do?

Need a chance
 
Dear Need a chance:
I am very impressed with all your efforts. You obviously understand the importance of networking and using the diverse resources and tools available to job seekers.  I suggest that you customize each resume and cover letter you send to a potential employer.  The ones you sent to me were generic.  You want to show your knowledge of each organization's mission and the particular position you are seeking within the organization. That being said, your status as a convicted felon with three DUIs is your Achilles heel, especially with the job market as competitive as it is.  Your best bet is to get a pardon, but it is not easy nor is it a panacea.  I contacted Thomas B. Shuttleworth, an attorney with Shuttleworth, Ruloff, Swain, Haddad & Morecock, P.C. in Virginia Beach, VA (http://www.srgslaw.com/Attorneys/Thomas-B-Shuttleworth.shtml) for his perspective.  He specializes in the defense of citizens accused and the representation of injured persons.  He stated:

“I think that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to have your felony record expunged. Governors’ pardons do not necessarily result in your arrest record being expunged.  Any prospective employer (especially one for whom you would have to drive a car as part of the job) is going to be very hesitant to offer you a position.  I am sure by now you have realized that actions have consequences and your difficulty in finding a job is a consequence of your three DUI convictions.  Good luck in what for you is going to be a difficult task.”

Regardless of your circumstances, do not give up!  I wish you all the best!

Dear Roze:

I work for a small family-owned business where the owner’s son does clerical and courier work for us.  It’s obvious he doesn’t want to be here.  He makes lots of mistakes and has a terrible attitude, but that doesn’t make it right for his father to call him “stupid” and an “idiot.”  You can hear him say those things to his son behind closed doors; and he has voluntarily shared those feelings with me on numerous occasions and I’m not even close to him. It’s really hard to listen to.  I don’t think he expects me to tell him he’s out of line, unprofessional, and a bad dad, but I’d like to.  What do you suggest? 

Too hot to handle

Dear Too hot to handle:

Since you are not close to the owner and he is the kind of father that would say those things to and about his son, I doubt he would be appreciative or gracious if you broached the subject with him.  I suggest you say nothing.   

© 2010 Rozanne R. Worrell
 

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