"God Bless the Dream, the Dreamer and the Result." 

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The True Meaning of Ex-:Tips for Job Seekers with a Criminal Past

By LD Lewis, CWDP*

For something to be true, it has to be in accord with reality. For our purposes here, that would mean that the true meaning of ex-con or ex-felon should be that a person slapped with either label would be seen as one who is separated or disassociated from being a con or a felon. But for too many job seekers with a criminal past, the prefix ex- does not take on the same meaning as it does when it describes other kinds of separations, such as ex-judge; ex-ballplayer; or ex-husband, ex-wife. In fact, for many employers, ex-con means that you are a con --and you will always be one --for ours is a society of labelers.

While labels can help us to categorize our world, it becomes a heinous thing when we so rigidly label others that they become buried underneath the weight of it –much like when employers automatically label folks as ex-cons so rigidly that they miss the value of the person underneath the label.

So, dear job seeker, if you have a criminal past, it falls squarely on your shoulders to learn how to refuse to be locked behind bars of labels, committing a mental recidivism of sorts. To that end, there will be a series of articles written in this spot over the next several weeks designed to encourage the job seeker who is trying to shake off a shaky past while job searching at the same time.

The first segment, “Keeping Your Esteem in Tact,” will run next week.
Until then, remember to take heart in the true meaning of ex-.

*Certified workforce development professional.

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