Sometimes our past isn’t easy to get away from when we are trying to change our future, and plenty of people in recovery have an arrest record to prove it. When looking for work our old behaviors and consequences get dragged out in the open, and not all employers understand depending on the charges. Some recovering addicts and alcoholics have a tough time finding work because of their record once they have made the decision to change, and after getting started whether through treatment or other methods they struggle to find financial stability.
A lot of people in recovery come across a pretty common question, how can I get a job with a record? Depending on your area, and what kind of industry dominates, you may have an easier time than you think. Here are a few common suggestions to get you started, including specific job options or just strategies on approaching the situation.
- Driving Jobs
Depending on the nature of your record, some opportunities still exist with jobs driving. If you still have a decently clean driving record you may still be able to get work in a number of different transportation businesses. Offences like DUI’s, reckless endangerment, or even excessive tickets may hinder these positions from being available. But if your driving record is in good shape look into work such as:
- Car wash operator
- Customer Courier
- Delivery Driver
- Truck Driver
A lot of construction and landscaping companies have private contractors or owners that will work with people. Positions in manual labor such as these often employ a fair amount of individuals with some type of arrest record or even pending court issues.
- Temp Agencies/Other Programs
Temporary Work Agencies are a pretty huge help for people with some kind of record, and there are even specific programs set up in some areas geared specially to assist with rehabilitation of ex-cons and people who have difficulty finding work due to criminal history. Temp Agencies will often assess your criminal background and optimize their list of affiliate companies in order to find you work where businesses won’t deny you based on your record.
Some companies like UPS have policies where they hire felons and other people who would have a harder time finding work based on a record as part of an effort to help reform ex-cons. Do a little research and see what kind of programs or agencies may be in your area to assist you.
- Mom and Pop Shop’s
Sometimes an easy route is to look for smaller family owned businesses where there is not so much corporate regulation on their hiring requirements. Working at a small privately owned business to get a decent amount of experience especially in a more specific skill set like auto-repair or installations may help you build up a resume strong enough that you can later work for larger companies with extensive enough experience in a trade.
Many times companies have a tougher time finding employees who will work the grave-yard hours. It could range from stocking grocery store shelves to kitchen jobs in restaurants, depending on the nature of your record and the time frame. Especially if the business is closed to customers and it is primarily manual labor or cleaning after hours then you may have a better shot.
- Being Honest
Honesty goes a long way with a lot of employers. If you can get to an interview and take the time to speak openly with the owner or upper-management, be sure to explain the situation as well as you can, and emphasize the fact that you are actively changing your life. Explain the nature of the offense if they have not yet conducted a background check so that there are no surprises when they do, and let them know that you are willing to work to prove yourself. Some employers will be sympathetic in your situation, and you can sometimes be surprised how far it takes you.
- Ask for Help
In this respect, a recommendation is a huge help as well. If you keep your friends informed of the situation and ask that they help you in regards to getting an interview it can also give you an edge on getting past the initial snag on an application. Again, honesty here really comes in handy. If someone makes an effort to vouch for you, make sure you show up early, dressed to impress and ready to lay the facts out for the interview. Again any experience you can build up now, even if the job is not what you want, can help you later on down the line.
- Do NOT Give Up
So many people give up far too early and revert back to old habits. These are just a few options listed that are available to you, and you may give a few a shot once or twice and they may work out, they may not. The point is that you stay consistent in your efforts. If you have tried some of these and you’re still having trouble that is not a dead end, you just have not found the right route. NO ONE is completely and totally unemployable.
I personally know plenty of people with felony records, ex-cons and reckless drivers with disaster records who have put in the footwork to find a way to make a living. Sometimes it is surprising the kind of awesome job opportunity you can find when you just don’t give up. What is it we hear all the time in the rooms of recovery? Don’t quit before the miracle happens.
So many people in recovery face the same problems and must hurdle the same obstacles in order for real progression. Sometimes circumstances seem more limiting than they really are, and sometimes those who suffer confine themselves too closely to the excuses and stories they tell themselves not to get clean and stay sober. There is always a way to get the job done, if you’re willing to put the work in and change for life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135