I have a bachelor’s degree and I am currently working on certification to gain additional expertise in my field. Four years ago, I was convicted of copyright infringement, making me a convicted felon. What options are there for someone in my position? I refuse to accept that I am doomed to work low-paying jobs because of a past mistake.
-M. Woods, Kansas City, MO
Not being able to participate as actively in the workforce as you would like because of past indiscretions is unfortunate. However, this is a predicament you put yourself into. As a convicted felon, you will have to disclose this information and all related details to potential employers at their request.
Research the process of expunction in your state. If you, and the crime, meet the qualifications, then there may be an opportunity to get the records sealed or destroyed. Also, Hand Up Ministries (www. felonresources.com) is a nonprofit organization that offers a plethora of national and local resources specific to employment, housing, counseling, education, and related advocacy groups.
Consider seeking employment pertaining to your field within government or nonprofit organizations that are lenient with convicted felons. You have the education, so your qualifications will speak for themselves. Of course, you will have to build a repertoire of references and actions that will reflect a reformed individual.
Read, Going Straight: An Ex-convict Psychologist Tells Why and How by Paul Karsten Fauteck. (Writers Press Club; $23.95).