Criminal Thinking: A Productive Mindset

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criminal thinking
Criminal Thinking was an article something I wrote back in 2011. I do still feel that it is helpful for what it is. There is a much more in-depth article I’m writing that you can find here. I’m still in the process of writing a new version of Criminal Thinking. I’m interviewing hiring managers and HR personnel in a lot of different industries. The goal of my research is to see common hiring practices pertaining to convicted felons. I feel that the new version of Criminal Thinking will turn out to be a great resource for ex-offenders.

Criminal Thinking: Your Guide to a Productive Mindset

A lot of people ask me about how I formulated the list in the Employment section, and my answer is always the same. A lot of research and a lot of networking. There isn’t a single job listed in that section that 100% will not hire you if you have a felony. When looking at a job, you have to understand that a lot of things factor in to the decision besides just the presence of a felony. You have to look at:

A) Severity of offense (As in, a possession offense is not going to be looked at the same as a Manslaughter offense)
B) Number of offenses (Multiple convictions will generally lead to a much harder time finding employment)
C) Date of offense (It will be much easier to find a job with a felony that happened years ago compared to one that happened last week)
D) Things you’ve done since the offense (College, rehabilitation, vocational programs, volunteer work)

Of course, there’s other things that can be taken into account as well. This is just a basic list of things you should think about before you start applying to jobs. After you’ve figured out the answers to those, please read on.

Some companies don’t hire felons at all, we all know that. But just because a company doesn’t hire you, or rejects you based on your background, does not automatically mean a 100% refusal of every ex-offender. I see a lot of comments about Walmart not hiring felons. This is simply not true. You should have read this Criminal Thinking page first! I know people that work at Walmart with a criminal record. Walmart just happens to be one of the many companies that are extremely strict on their policy with hiring people with a criminal background. I don’t believe they’ll touch you if you have multiple felonies, the felonies aren’t from 7 or more years ago, and there are only a few types of convictions they will consider.

You just have to think about how your felony relates to the job you’re applying for. It’s part of criminal thinking, you’re “casing” the job. Do you have a fraud conviction, or a theft of any type? Then you’re going to have a really hard time getting a job in retail or anything that involves dealing with money or secure information. Do you have a drug related offense? Don’t apply to be a pharmacist. I’m not saying that you surely will not get a job like that, but the chances are a lot smaller.

One thing that really hurt me when first reintegrating myself into society after prison was my defeatist attitude. I would go to 3 or 4 job interviews, get declined, and just give up telling myself that no one will hire felons and my task was impossible. You cannot get in this mindset. You have to keep muscling through this hard time. Is it difficult? Absolutely. It’s probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. Is it impossible? Absolutely not! For me, prison was easy, it was the getting out and figuring out how to be an upstanding member of society that was the hard part.

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The Criminal Thinking page was last updated on 8/25/2016.


Comments 5

  1. All ex-offenders need to look at Barrier Crimes Codes in their home state . This is very important on what jobs or career you may won’t for yourself . Just type Barrier Crimes in you state

  2. Ashley, Have your husband check with your local technical colleges to see what programs thay have to offer. There should be some program that the state is offering at no cost (tution or books) are paid for by the program. The individual can become certified in a particular program. At our technical college the following career training courses are being offered: Aviation, welding air conditioning healthcare and early childhood. The United Way helps to fund these programs as well.

    Good Luck.

  3. Ashley’s husband is going to be facing many challenges during his transition back into society. Notice that I said “challenges” and not “barriers.” What it’s going to come down to is how much desire her husband has to succeed. I went in at 20 years old and got paroled after 25 years. Believe me, if I can make it, so can anyone. My best advice for her husband: talk to people, network, market himself and his skill-set through word of mouth. How he presents himself to prospective employers and contacts will go a long way towards his success of finding a better paying job. Good luck and don’t give up!

  4. This was very informative thank you my husband is having a tough time trying to find employment being that he went in so young (19 yrs old ) and released at age 28 he doesn’t have any work experience so he’s beating himself up for a mistake he made when he was a teenager. he got his GED while serving and also completed a vocational program and is currently working at a personal trainer but he gets paid $10 per client he trains (not much room for growth). Is there anything else he can do to probably better his chances of getting a better paying job ?

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