It hurt my heart to find out yesterday that a person that I selected to work with me turned out to have a very stormy past–legal troubles–that still need to be reckoned with. If you fail to disclose your past to a potential employer who intends to hire you, it is highly unlikely that you will be hired. This is a test of your integrity and it’s also about facing up to your responsibilities, as well.
This job search cycle will continue over and over again unless you take ownership of your situation and deal with it. You can’t ignore it or pretend that it will go away. It will never go away completely. You cannot leave this matter to chance. Ongoing denial–failure to face and deal with the truth–will only hurt you and others around you. You can’t be your best. It robs from your potential for the future.
This is water under the bridge for the person who I wanted to join my team, but it is very, very important that any legal issues are addressed once and for all even though they may have happened many years ago. Court records will follow you everywhere because many notable employers will run background checks. The job application asks an applicant to disclose any information about the past (convictions or felonies), and if you do it and it matches up with your background check, you will stand a much better chance of getting the job, provided that you have resolved all open legal issues. You need to also be honest about any misdemeanors, as well (anything that will show up on a background check).
If your past is catching up to you in your job searches, you can either settle for jobs that are much less fulfilling (personally and financially), or you can take and make the strides needed to live up to your true potential. Take true ownership of your life! If you can take a hint, then you need to get your business taken care of.
Finally, a good dose of self-examination is in order. You had a difficult past, and you had moments of immaturity. I get it, and most people get it. We are in a nation that gives a lot of second chances, but they’re not always handed to you. You need to put some elbow grease into some of them. You absolutely need to be your own advocate to get these matters resolved. If, for example, you were supposed to do community service, make sure that you complete it in its entirety and don’t blow it off. Make sure that you get someone to sign off on its completion and keep a record of it. Your goal, if you’re dealing with a first-time offense, is to get your records expunged. Don’t squander your opportunity if it is in front of you. If your court issue is something that you need to revisit, call the court and take ownership of your situation. There are people there who genuinely want to help someone who is willing to help themselves. On a personal front, surround yourself with people that support you and want to see you succeed, and (I shouldn’t have to say it, but I will) stay away from those people who are not going to help you in this area. Bad company will negatively affect good people. Drama also follows drama, if you get my meaning.
Once you decide that it is time to grow up, what are your plans to move ahead to the future? A good plan is a target for you to aim for. The target may move from time to time and change its size or shape, but at least you still have a target to shoot for. Not having a target means having no plan. Sit down quietly and make a plan. It may begin with dealing with your past and getting it fixed, and doing what the court or the authorities tell you to do. It’s not about liking it, but it is about getting matters to a place where you don’t need to explain your life to complete strangers over and over again when you apply for work.
Many will tell you to forget the past in order to move forward, but that’s not completely true. You will need to deal with the past (and get some things fixed where you can) in order to move forward. A lot of this has to do with looking at who you are and how you see yourself. There is such a thing as reconciling with others, but there is also a need to reconcile within yourself.
There are many aspects of faith and trust in Jesus Christ that, first and foremost, deal with you personally. If you sincerely regret your past, just tell Him about it and ask for forgiveness. He promises that He will no longer remember your sins (Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12). Once you are confident that He loves you and that you are forgiven, you can begin to be your best before others.
There is hope for the future, but it involves a lot of hard truths. The work is long and hard for those of us who have really messed up, but at least you still have a road to travel on. Start from the beginning today, and keep moving forward. Move forward with the knowledge that you have an Advocate who, as you trust in Him, will move with you (1 John 2:1).
Copyright © Melvin Gaines