Jeffrey has a violent conviction. He applied to many jobs, but no one called him back because of his criminal background. With the help of Honest Jobs, he started working within five days. Now he is a machine operator and motivated to grow within the company.
Read the whole interview with Jeffrey here:
What experience do you have with the criminal justice system?
Jeffrey: "I did two years in prison, years ago, back in the nineties, actually. I got out and moved back from Texas to South Carolina. I went to work and just climbed the ladder to success in the corporate world. I was on a very good long stretch for 16 years with no issues with the law. It started with losing my job, then I lost my dad, and I went through a divorce. It just spiraled out of control from there. I started hanging with the wrong crowd and using drugs. If you're not, you will become what you surround yourself with. And that's what happened to me.
South Carolina has a law that says if you go and commit a crime and I go pick you up, it doesn't matter if I did or did not know; I'm just as guilty as you are. I was facing ten counts of burglary with a possession charge as well of a controlled substance. I ended up pleading to three counts. And because it was at nighttime, they made it "violent." I'm not a violent person; I never have been. But adding violence to the end of anything is bad. Especially in the employment world. Because they think you're a violent person, and they don't want you."
What was your job search experience like before and after finding Honest Jobs?
Jeffrey: "I got out of jail 34 days ago, but who's counting? I want to say I was looking for three weeks. I went through temp agencies. I was very frustrated with those folks because they claim that a criminal background is not a problem. And yet it turned out to be a problem. Unfortunately, no matter what anyone says, people judge you by your past, and literally, no one called back. And that's when I found you guys. To be honest with you, I thought it was going to be like all the other ones. It was going to be a lot of questions and no action. And it turned out to be very satisfying. I'm very pleased with the outcome. I'm glad I did it. I applied through your website to Giti Tires. Your website directed me to them, and literally, two days later, I got an email from the HR person over there. I started working within five days."
Tell us about your new job!
Jeffrey: "I'm a machine operator. The training is only $13 an hour, but within a year you can earn up to $18 to $22 an hour. They're not going to start me up there because I have no tire experience. But I always look at the big picture. There are several big opportunities there that are ahead of me. I like to talk to people, deal with people and solve problems. I have a lot of opportunities; it's just a matter of time. I do a lot of actions...actions speak louder than words, and that's how I operate. They could have me sweeping floors, but I'm going to be the best-motivated floor sweeper you've ever seen. I mean, it's true for anyone that has a criminal history. It's basically someone handing you a silver platter and saying, "Here it is, it's up to you." They handed me a silver platter, and I'm going to eat off of it. And I'm gonna turn that silver into gold."
Would you recommend Honest Jobs to other formerly incarcerated job seekers?
Jeffrey: "I would highly recommend you guys. As a matter of fact, I have. And I will continue to do that with anyone because you guys know how it feels, so that's why you are so good. I know lots of people in our world, or "ex-world," I should say, that I want to motivate and inspire. If you don't leave the environment that you're in, there's a 95% chance you're gonna go right back to it. You're gonna be right back wearing orange. And I don't want canteen day to be the happiest day of my week. That's not gonna happen anymore. I won't wear the color orange anymore. I'm just going to keep going. So I really appreciate all the help."